As in previous Grand Theft Auto games, radio stations play a big part in Grand Theft Auto IV. When in a taxi, the player can ask driver to switch station, often accompanied by Niko's views on the station.
In previous GTA games (with the exception of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas), radio stations were a single audio file, repeating after completing a loop. In GTA IV, most of the songs are shuffled while some still follow a loop (The Beat, Massive B, etc.).
The radio is dynamic. DJs and news programs tell you what the current weather and the current time is. Weazel News updates itself as you progress through the story, sometimes reporting news about Niko's actions.
In The Lost and Damned, the first episodic downloadable content for GTA IV, five of these radio stations were expanded, namely WKTT, The Beat, L.C.H.C., Liberty Rock Radio and Radio Broker. The new music has been added to the song rotations of the stations, so that both the original music and the new tracks play concurrently. The new tracks are also included in the original GTA IV game.
The second DLC The Ballad of Gay Tony similarly updated five different stations: Vladivostok FM, K109 The Studio, Electro-Choc, San Juan Sounds, and Integrity 2.0. With both DLC packs installed, the player hears the combined radio content in all single-player and multiplayer modes.
The two episodes are available in a stand-alone format, Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City. The radio content included with The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony is combined with additional, exclusive music appearing on three new radio stations: Vice City FM, RamJam FM, and Self-Actualization FM. These replace several radio stations that do not carry over from Grand Theft Auto IV. However, if the player downloaded the episodes, the radio stations from Grand Theft Auto IV will still be able to listen, the three exclusive radio stations from The Ballad of Gay Tony episode are only automatically included if the player bought the special disc from the episodes.
If the player is in a vehicle and it is close to another vehicle, the radio station playing in the vehicle may be "channeled" or transferred to the next vehicle that normally plays a different station. This is a glitch.
Radio stations list
These are the radio stations in Grand Theft Auto IV:
- IF99 - International Funk - Funk/Afrobeat - Hosted by Femi Kuti;
- Vladivostok FM - Eastern European/Dance - Hosted by Ukrainian pop singer Ruslana (later replaced by DJ Paul);
- K109 The Studio - Disco - Hosted by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld (Also replaces IF99 - International Funk in EFLC);
- WKTT Radio (We Know The Truth) - Conservative Talk Radio;
- The Beat 102.7 - Contemporary Hip-Hop/Rap/R&B - Hosted and remixed by DJ Green Lantern and DJ Mister Cee and then Funkmaster Flex and Statik Selektah (Also replaces The Classics 104.1 in EFLC);
- Electro-Choc - Electro House - Hosted by legendary DJ François K and then the Crookers;
- L.C.H.C - Liberty City Hardcore - Hardcore Punk/Death Metal - Hosted by Murphy's Law guitarist Jimmy Gestapo and later Max Cavalera;
- The Classics 104.1 - Old-school Hip-Hop/Rap - Hosted and remixed by DJ Premier;
- Fusion FM - Jazz-Funk/Jazz-Fusion - Hosted by Roy Ayers;
- JNR - Jazz Nation Radio 108.5 - Jazz - Hosted by Roy Haynes;
- The Journey - Ambient/Chillout (Hosted by "a computer" actually voiced by text-to-speech software on a Macintosh);
- Liberty Rock Radio 97.8 - Classic Rock/Pop Rock/Metal - Hosted by Iggy Pop;
- Massive B Soundsystem 96.9 - Dancehall - Hosted by Bobby Konders;
- Radio Broker - Alternative Rock/Indie Rock - Hosted by Juliette Lewis;
- San Juan Sounds - Latin/Reggaeton - Hosted by Daddy Yankee and then Henry Santos Jeter;
- Tuff Gong Radio - Reggae/Dub - Hosted by Carl Bradshaw;
- The Vibe 98.8 - Soul/R&B - Hosted by Vaughn Harper;
- Integrity 2.0 - Talk Radio hosted by Lazlow;
- PLR - Liberal Talk Radio;
- Vice City FM - 80's pop music - Exclusive radio station on Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City disc - Hosted by Fernando Martinez (replaces The Vibe 98.8)
- RamJam FM - Reggae/Dub/Dancehall - Exclusive radio station on GTA Episodes From Liberty City disc - Hosted by David Rodigan (replaces Tuff Gong Radio and Massive B Soundsystem 96.9)
- Self-Actualization FM - Ambient/Chillout - Exclusive radio station on GTA Episodes From Liberty City disc - Hosted by Audrey (replaces The Journey, Jazz Nation Radio 108.5 and Fusion FM)
Several advertisements can be heard on the radio. These include:
- The Science Of Crime TV show (2)
- The Serrated Edge TV show
- The Men's Room TV show (2)
- Ambulate's Motorized Scooter (3)
- Excelsior Extreme 9 (one in English, one in Spanish, one in Russian)
- Alcotine Patch
- Waning with the Stars TV show (2)
- Weazel News promo
- Wing It computer software
- Mas Fuego energy drink (2)
- Michael Graves campaign ad (2)
- John Hunter campaign ad (2)
- The Red Cloud Tsunami anime Princess Robot Bubblegum
- Full Robo Hickey Hurry Mech Battle Suit
- Electrolyte sports drink
- MCHBTT (abbreviation of long title)
- Medicate Me TV show
- The Horn deodorant (two in English, one in Russian)
- Eugenics Inc. International (2)
- Mummification (2)
- Feinburg's International Realty
- FLEECA credit card (3)
- Lipurgex pill (2)
- Whiz Wireless
- Brucie's Executive Lifestyle Autos
- Trackify tracking beacon (2)
- Whiz Flip cell phone (one in English, one in Spanish)
- Double Helix DNA Search
- Hamster Harex
- NUCA Museum
- Bittersweet personal e-mail device (2)
- WTF musical
- Civil Service computer game
- The Suburbs TV show
- Mollis pills
- "Little Bitches" dolls
- "My Drunk Uncle" upcoming Performance at Star Junction
- "From the people who brought you the Domestobot, we proudly present El Comercio Roboto! It's the robotic future... from south of the border! 'Politicians may demand illegal aliens leave the country, but I want a Mexican gardener I can ogle!' El Comercio Roboto! You little devil. He can mow the lawn, if you know what I mean! Comes with six different attachments!"
- "Are you ready to live the real estate dream? Whether you're new on the market or an old hack, we'll take your dream to the limits of prestige, in a spacious loft or an outstanding penthouse! It's a 500-square ft glass coated box in the sky, with windows that won't open and a doorman that masturbates in your bed while you're at work! Only three million dollars, only three blocks from the ghetto!"
- "You can begin living a life of luxury. Why worry about health, your weight, or what people think of you? Now, you're faster! Motorized scooters are the future of the American lifestyle - carefree! Take the wait off!"
- "Now these middle-aged twin transsexuals are photographing themselves re-enacting famous atrocities from history dressed as gorillas! Once you see Hitler portrayed as a gorilla, it’ll explain the war in a way you never imagined. It is truly shocking!"
- "Sometimes the family wants that Italian taste without those tiny Italian portions, that’s why you should come to Al Dentes - all the mama-mia you can eat! It’s Italian food like you’ll never get in Italy. That’s because it’s an American theme restaurant! So the portions are huge, and the food tasteless and unhealthy. We’ve got a special linguine with Cheesy Poof sauce!
‘Hey, when you’re at Al Dentes everyone’s like family! A hyper, macho, food-obsessed, alcoholic family just like min!’
Al Dentes - we’ve got more of what you love and less of what you don’t. Like more calories and fat, and a lot less taste and nutrients! That’s why it’s Al Dentes! All the mama mia you can eat!"
- During the mission That Special Someone, Niko Bellic turns off the radio due to the Annoying Djs.
- In GTA IV and Episodes From Liberty City, radio stations were split into small groups to become default radio stations for the vehicles as well as peds. Here are those groups:
- 1970's dance music (Disco/Funk) - K109 The Studio (and IF99 - International Funk in GTA IV)
- Eastern European music (or modern Dance House in EFLC) - Vladivostok FM
- Hip-Hop - The Beat (and The Classics in GTA IV)
- Modern Electronic music - Electro-Choc and Radio Broker
- Hard Rock/Death Metal - Liberty City Hardcore
- Jazz - Jazz Nation Radio and Fusion FM (merged with the "ambient music" group in EFLC)
- Ambient music - The Journey (in GTA IV), Self-Actualization FM (in EFLC)
- Classic Rock - Liberty Rock Radio
- Reggae and its variations - Tuff Gong and Massive B Soundsystem (in GTA IV), RamJam FM (in EFLC)
- Latin music - San Juan Sounds
- "Love" music (RnB/Soul/1980's Pop) - The Vibe (in GTA IV), Vice City FM (in EFLC)
- Talk radio stations - WKTT and Integrity (and PLR in GTA IV)
- The radio stations that have looped playlists are the ones that have one continuous mix. These stations are: The Beat 102.7, The Classics 104.1, Electro-Choc, Massive B 96.9, L.C.H.C(in The Lost and Damned), San Juan Sounds(in The Ballad of Gay Tony) and RamJam FM(In Episodes From Liberty City).
- After watching certain mission cutscenes, when you go back to your car and any of these stations mentioned above have been played before starting the mission, most likely the station will repeat to the starting point. It also occurs if the station hasn't been heard after awhile. This can get annoying and to keep from hearing the same song, visit the nearest Pay 'N Spray and songs will be skipped.
- Many of the songs featured in GTA IV's episodes were released in 2009. This may imply that the timeline for the GTA IV era, or at least the episodes, goes from late 2008 into early 2009.