Radio mods are one of the best things to ever happen to the post-Interplay Fallout games. Exploration games in general benefit greatly from a good soundtrack, and the ability to constantly change the tunes emanating from your Pipboy makes wandering the Commonwealth as pleasant and enjoyable as cruising an old Chevy through the backwoods while listening to the radio on a sunny day.
Over the years since Fallout 3 I’ve had the chance to listen to dozens of different user-made stations, some of which are still around and available for your auditory pleasure today. Others on this list are brand-spanking new. Some are standalone stations, meaning they make up a radio station of their own, while others replace radio stations that are already within the game, rendering them incompatible with certain other radio mods. Be sure to read the description page of each before installing.
Here are our ten favorite radio mods for Fallout 4.
10. Existence 2.0
When I first started modding Fallout 3, this was among the first radio stations I downloaded. It remains one of my favorites. It has since been ported both to Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4 and while the unsettling ambient horror style of music may not be lore-friendly, it serves as the perfect soundtrack for creeping around the radioactive haze of Far Harbor or combing the Glowing Sea.
This radio station doesn’t necessarily have a lot of long-term listening appeal, but I like it anyway. The Commercial Radio mod is a collection of over 100 old commercials from the 40s through the 60s. There aren’t any music tracks, so it’s just one ad and its chintzy jingle after another, but in terms of hearing what history sounds like, it’s a winner.
8. On The Air Old Time Radio Shows
Like the Commercial Mod, this Fallout 4 radio station doesn’t offer music. Instead it replaces Diamond City songs with old radio plays, available in three volumes, comedy, western, and drama. It also offers the October, 30 1938 broadcast of H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” by Orson Welles, a particularly well chosen and thematic addition. This is mod is a great change of pace if you’re tired of subconsciously blocking out the tunes from your other radio stations and want something you can actively listen to in a lore-friendly way.
“If you have ever been lulled to sleep listening to the Minutemen’s resident violinist rehearse for a recital that will never be held, please download this mod.” And with that, the author of the Independence Radio mod gives it far better of an endorsement than I ever could. This station replaces Radio Freedom with 122 tracks of folks and blues songs from the 1920s and 30s, with an emphasis on fiddle music to retain the original station’s feel. Each is weathered and aged and as beat-up sounding as an antique post-apocalyptic track should, making this mod fit within Fallout 4 like a glove.
I’ve always been disappointed that Atom Cats branch of side quests in Fallout 4 were cut so short. I liked the Atom Cats. They’re like The Tunnel Snakes of Fallout 3 or The Kings of Fallout: New Vegas: a gang bound by an appreciation of a bygone pop culture they don’t really understand. There’s still something kind of romantic about the 50s, that last shred of shared history before Fallout’s timeline diverges. This rockabilly radio station is both true to the Atom Cats, and delightfully upbeat and refreshing.
5. Blues Radio
Probably the best part of listening to the many era porn radio station mods available for Fallout 3/NV/4 is the music history lesson they provide. My favorite Fallout experience is playing the mod, Blues Radio, while wandering the Mojave in Fallout: New Vegas. It’s a great place to start if you want a primer on early American blues; for example it includes C. C. Rider as performed by Lead Belly, the massively influential folks and blues musician who inspired a veritable “Who’s Who” of artists, from Martin Scorsese to Kurt Cobain. Available for both Fallout 3 and New Vegas, it went on to inspire this, the Fallout 4 version, which has several additional tracks. Fire it up, then make sure you keep your smartphone nearby for the inevitable Wikipedia rabbit holes.
This mod is among the best I’ve ever heard for any of the post-Interplay Fallout games and possibly my new personal favorite. It changes both the menu music and the Classical radio station to blues tunes featuring Chicago musicians from the 50s to early 60s. The picks are energizing and addictively catchy, and if you’re a fan of Blues Radio, then you’ll pick up right where that mod left off in terms of rock and roll history.
3. CONELRAD 640-1240 Civil Defense Radio
CONELRAD Radio is a great mod if you love the music of Fallout 4 and want to hear more directly from the source. I mean this literally. A handful of the tracks from Fallout 4 were first unearthed and showcased by this wonderful radio mod, which was initially released for Fallout 3. As a radio mod it was an early pioneer in what Fallout mod enthusiasts now recognize as an established formula: finding songs and old commercials from the pre-War era of Fallout that no longer have a license holder and binding them together in an era-appropriate radio station. There have been many solid, high quality imitators since, but it arguably started with CONELRAD Radio. Despite the literal hundreds of hours I’ve spent listening to it, I still love it after all these years.
Aptly named, this mod adds 111 new tracks to Diamond City Radio, many of them what you’d call “the usual suspects” of Fallout music, like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, The Andrews Sisters, and The Ink Spots. You’ll also find one of my favorite tracks from CONELRAD Radio, the almost-too-perfect “Dig Myself A Hole” by Arthur Crudup. In order to smoothly transition from one song to the next, this mod also removes Travis’s one liners and dialogue. You’re welcome.
If sheer quantity is of concern when installing Fallout 4 mods, then Old World Radio Boston is for you. With a network consisting of a whopping 29 stations, each with their own theme, you may find you never need another radio mod again. Heck I probably could have written a radio mod ranking list just out of the channels in Old World Radio Boston (all of which can be found as separate downloadable stations if you don’t wish to have them all).
This mod has taken a massive amount of collaborative work and is constantly updating. The team behind it plans to next record an audio-drama of every issue of Astoundingly Awesome Tales, the magazine that can be found in-game. Most of the stations are lore-friendly, but there’s at least one dedicated to Nine Inch Nails. Others include colorful characters like Malt Shop Mayhem, a malt shop classics station hosted by a guy who thinks he is Vinny Barbarino from Welcome Back Kotter.
I’ve never seen a game mod that required a talent scout, much less two, but the project goes so far as to hire voice actors for various shows and segments that play on their stations. One of the next, Walken’s Wacky Wasteland, was recorded with the Christopher Walken impersonator Timothy Banfield. Many of the stations are also focused on radio dramas and plays, so there are plenty of different things to listen to should even music become too boring. Whatever your preferences, this mod alone can extend the life of your Fallout 4 file by hundreds of hours.
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.