Various radio stations can be received on radios in most vehicles in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. They act as the game's soundtrack and can also be heard in the Audio menu, while the game is paused. Many of the songs appear on cutscenes, and some songs are programmed to be played on certain parts of a mission; for example, Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" starts to play when the player enters their first vehicle at the start of the game. Emergency vehicles feature instead a police radio, especially recorded for the game which was a departure from previous games in the series.
The arrangement of the soundtrack of GTA Vice City was a big move on the part of Rockstar Games: unlike previous games in the series, which relied to a great extent in original creations, GTA Vice City has an overwhelming majority of licensed content, with just 5 original songs.
Most radio stations play a mixture of music, DJ chat, and spoof advertising. The stations each reflect one style of music intended to evoke the atmosphere of the time. The bulk of the soundtrack is made of contemporary 1980s music by an overwhelming majority; however, the soundtrack also features a few songs from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
The radio stations that the player can listen in GTA Vice City are as follows:
- Wildstyle: Hip Hop, Electro
- Flash FM: Pop
- K-Chat: Entertainment Talk Station
- Fever 105: Disco, Soul, R&B, Funk
- V-Rock: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
- Vice City Public Radio: Politics Talk Station
- Radio Espantoso: Latin Jazz, Mambo, Son, Salsa
- Emotion 98.3: Soft Pop, Power Ballad
- Wave 103: New Wave, Synthpop, Post-Punk
Several of the stations also reappear in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, which is a direct prequel to the game.
An extensive 7-CD Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Official Soundtrack Box Set was released containing music from the game's radio stations, while a shorter Greatest Hits compilation CD was also released.
On 6 December 2012, GTA Vice City was released on iOS and Android to celebrate the game's 10th anniversary. However, over the years, song licenses expired, and therefore some songs were removed from these versions of the game. The same songs are missing from the game re-releases as a PS2 Classic on PS3 and PS4.
- The songs are listed in the same order as they appear in the game manual.
- For the original songs the year of release is that of GTA Vice City: 2002.
- Authors of the original songs, at the side, in superscript.
- * - This song is missing from the iOS, Android, PS2 Classics (PS3 and PS4) editions.
- Trouble Funk - "Pump Me Up" (1980)
- Davy DMX - "One for the Treble" (1984)
- Cybotron - "Clear" (1983)
- Hashim - "Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)" (1983)
- Herbie Hancock - "Rockit" (1983) *
- Afrika Bambaataa and The Soul Sonic Force - "Looking for the Perfect Beat" (1983) *
- 2 Live Crew - "Get It Girl" (1986)
- Run-D.M.C - "Rock Box" (1984)
- Mantronix - "Bassline" (1985)
- Tyrone Brunson - "The Smurf" (1982) *
- Whodini - "Magic's Wand" (1982)
- Zapp & Roger - "More Bounce to the Ounce" (1980)
- Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five - "The Message" (1982)
- Kurtis Blow - "The Breaks" (1980)
- Man Parrish - "Hip Hop, Be Bop (Don't Stop)" (1982)
- Hall and Oates - "Out of Touch" (1984)
- Wang Chung - "Dance Hall Days" (1982)
- Michael Jackson - "Billie Jean" (1982) *
- Laura Branigan - "Self Control" (1984)
- Go West - "Call Me" (1985)
- INXS - "Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain)" (1985)
- Bryan Adams - "Run to You" (1984)
- Electric Light Orchestra - "Four Little Diamonds" (1983)
- Yes - "Owner of a Lonely Heart" (1983)
- The Buggles - "Video Killed the Radio Star" (1979)
- Aneka - "Japanese Boy" (1981)
- Talk Talk - "Life's What You Make It" (1986)
- The Outfield - "Your Love" (1985)
- Joe Jackson - "Steppin' Out" (1982)
- The Fixx - "One Thing Leads to Another" (1983)
- Lionel Richie - "Running with the Night" (1983) (PS2 only)
The following persons are interviewed:
- Jezz Torrent
- Michaela Carapadis
- Pat "Mr. Zoo" Flannerdy
- Gethsemanee Starhawk Moonmaker
- BJ Smith
- Claude Maginot
- The Whispers - "And the Beat Goes On" (1979)
- Fat Larry's Band - "Act Like You Know" (1982)
- Oliver Cheatham - "Get Down Saturday Night" (1983)
- Pointer Sisters - "Automatic" (1983)
- René & Angela - "I'll Be Good" (1985)
- Mary Jane Girls - "All Night Long" (1983)
- Rick James - "Ghetto Life" (1981)
- Michael Jackson - "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" (1982) *
- Evelyn "Champagne" King - "Shame" (1977)
- Teena Marie - "Behind the Groove" (1980)
- Mtume - "Juicy Fruit" (1983)
- Kool & the Gang - "Summer Madness" (1974)
- Indeep - "Last Night a D.J. Saved My Life" (1982)
- Twisted Sister - "I Wanna Rock" (1984)
- Mötley Crüe - "Too Young to Fall in Love" (1983)
- Quiet Riot - "Cum On Feel the Noize" (1983)
- The Cult - "She Sells Sanctuary" (1985)
- Ozzy Osbourne - "Bark at the Moon" (1983) *
- Love Fist - "Dangerous Bastard" (Allan Walker)
- Iron Maiden - "2 Minutes to Midnight" (1984)
- Loverboy - "Working for the Weekend" (1981)
- Alcatrazz - "God Blessed Video" (1985)
- Tesla - "Cumin' Atcha Live" (1986)
- Autograph - "Turn Up the Radio" (1984)
- Megadeth - "Peace Sells" (1986)
- Anthrax - "Madhouse" (1985)
- Slayer - "Raining Blood" (1986)
- Judas Priest - "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" (1982)
- Love Fist - "Fist Fury" (Allan Walker)
- David Lee Roth - "Yankee Rose" (1986)
Vice City Public Radio, abbreviated as VCPR, is a public talk station. It has only one program, called Pressing Issues, which is hosted by Maurice Chavez. The two station supervisors, Jonathan Freeloader and Michelle Montanius, appeal listeners for money funding during breaks. Each segment focuses on a particular issue, with Chavez chairing a discussion on the issue between several guests with different backgrounds, points of view or approaches.
Three such issues are broadcast within the game. They are:
- Morality (guests: Pastor Richards, Jan Brown, Barry Stark)
- Perception and Positive Thinking (guests: Konstantinos Smith, Jeremy Robard, Jenny Louise Crab)
- Public Safety (guests: Alex Shrub, Callum Crayshaw, John F. Hickory)
Translations for the titles, at the side, in superscript.
- Cachao - "A Gozar Con Mi Combo" (Let's Rejoice With My Combo) (1994)
- Alpha Banditos - "The Bull is Wrong" (Stuart Ross)
- Tres Apenas Como Eso - "Yo Te Miré" (I Saw You) (Craig Conner)
- Deodato - "Latin Flute" (1973)
- Mongo Santamaría - "Mama Papa Tú" (Mom, Dad, You) (1969)
- Mongo Santamaría - "Me and You Baby (Picao y Tostao)" (Chopped and Toasted) (1969)
- Machito and his Afro-Cuban Orchestra - "Mambo Mucho Mambo" (Mambo Lots of Mambo) (1952)
- Unaesta - "La Vida Es Una Lenteja" (Life Is A Lentil) (Craig Conner)
- Lonnie Liston Smith - "Expansions" (1975)
- Irakere - "Añunga Ñunga" (1980) (Incorrectly credited in the manual as "Aguanile")
- Deodato - "Super Strut" (1973)
- Xavier Cugat and his Orchestra - "Jamay" (Nahuatl word, means "adobe crafting place") (1955)
- Benny Moré - "Maracaibo Oriental" (Eastern Maracaibo) (1958)
- Tito Puente - "Mambo Gozón" (Enjoyable Mambo) (1958)
- Foreigner - "Waiting for a Girl Like You" (1981)
- Kate Bush - "Wow" (1978) *
- Squeeze - "Tempted" (1981)
- REO Speedwagon - "Keep On Loving You" (1980)
- Cutting Crew - "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" (1986)
- Roxy Music - "More Than This" (1982)
- Toto - "Africa" (1982)
- Mr. Mister - "Broken Wings" (1985)
- John Waite - "Missing You" (1984)
- Jan Hammer - "Crockett's Theme" (1984)
- Night Ranger - "Sister Christian" (1983)
- Luther Vandross - "Never Too Much" (1981)
- Frankie Goes to Hollywood - "Two Tribes" (1984)
- Sigue Sigue Sputnik - "Love Missile F1-11" (1986)
- Gary Numan - "Cars" (1979)
- The Human League - "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" (1983)
- Blondie - "Atomic" (1979)
- Nena - "99 Luftballons" (1983)
- Kim Wilde - "Kids in America" (1981)
- Tears for Fears - "Pale Shelter" (1983)
- Corey Hart - "Sunglasses at Night" (1983)
- ABC - "Poison Arrow" (1982)
- A Flock of Seagulls - "I Ran (So Far Away)" (1982)
- The Psychedelic Furs - "Love My Way" (1982)
- Animotion - "Obsession" (1984)
- Spandau Ballet - "Gold" (1983)
- Thomas Dolby - "Hyperactive!" (1984)
- Romeo Void - "Never Say Never" (1981)
A number of other songs can be heard during mission cutscenes. These songs are not featured on any of the game's radio stations.
- Modern English - "I Melt with You" (1982) (featured during the third Back Alley Brawl cutscene)
- Los Super Seven - "Compay Gato" (2001) (featured during the Naval Engagement cutscene)
- Los Super Seven - "Campesino" (2001) (featured during the Trojan Voodoo cutscene)
- Al Di Meola - "Ritmo De La Noche" (1982) (featured during the Bar Brawl scene)
- Big Country - "In a Big Country" (1983) (featured during the first cutscene of The Driver, original PS2 version only; replaced by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "The Message" in all subsequent versions)
- Whodini - "The Freaks Come Out at Night" (1984) (featured during The Job cutscene)
- Blue Öyster Cult - "Burnin' for You" (1981) (featured during the Boomshine Saigon cutscene)
In addition, the European release of the 7-CD Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Official Soundtrack Box Set contains, in the Flash FM CD, the following songs that didn't appear in the game:
- Glenn Frey - "Smuggler's Blues" (1984)
- Toto - "Hold the Line" (1978)
- Boys Don't Cry - "I Wanna Be a Cowboy" (1985)
Commercials in GTA Vice City were greatily expanded from the commercials of the previous game. The biggest appeal of the commercials in Vice City is that for the first time in the series Rockstar could produce commercials that dealt with an earlier era, here showcasing the typical vibe and mindset of people and media of the '80s. Later games in the series that were set in an earlier period would follow this model.
Due to being the first game made in the 3D Universe that was set in an earlier era, Rockstar had enough technological advances to showcase the music, clothes, atmosphere and thus, the typical commercials of the '80s. There are references to relevant topics of the period, such as hair products, the Red scare, Japanese car companies winning the American market and early home consoles that could bring the quality of arcade machines to the living room.
Some products advertized are: "Ammu-Nation" (the firearms store that is "leading the war against communism" and that has film festivals where they "screen the documentary "Red Dawn"), "Yuppie and the Alien" (a "Miami Vice" meets "ALF" police drama that teams up a human cop and an alien "that could vaporize dissidents in Alpha Centauri but in this precinct [he has to] do it by-the-book") and the "Domestobot" (a domestic helper robot for people that tried hiring a nanny but desisted after she wanted health insurance).
- The number of new songs in this soundtrack is 103.
- The year with the most songs is 1983, with 21 songs.
- The radio soundtrack in GTA Vice City was a major upgrade in the GTA series: while soundtracks in previous games were very dependent on original creations produced by the Rockstar staff, GTA Vice City was the first to have an overwhelming majority of licensed content, with just 5 songs in the entire soundtrack being original creations (2 for V-Rock and 3 for Radio Espantoso).
- It is worth noting that, while there where previous inroads in making stations with licensed content (GTA London had an array of '60s Italian films soundtracks and reggae, and GTA III had electronic, rap, dub and '80s pop songs), that was nothing on the scale and depth of the soundtrack of GTA Vice City, with hits well-known by the mainstream public and in a quantity that large in every station.
- The game consolidated the use of an original police radio track created especially for it. Previous games in the series used a generic police track used in countless films, series and games ("5 George K, number 30 Broad street" is said in the track), with the exception of GTA London (which used an original police track with British accents and references to locations in London). Since GTA Vice City, all the GTA games that have included a police track have used a track created especially for that game.
- The radio tuning sound effects are snippets from various tracks from GTA III.
- For example, one of the snippets heard when tuning the radio is a fragment from the Dormatron commercial in GTA III where the woman says "strap in your arms and legs".
- First game in the series where there are two talk stations instead of only one like in the previous games.
- GTA creator Dan Houser can be heard in K-Chat, he is the caller that wants to be spanked by Gethsemanee's broom.
- The only anachronistic songs given the 1986 setting are Cachao's "A Gozar Con Mi Combo" (1994) and two songs that aren't included in any radio and can only be heard in certain cutscenes: Los Super Seven's "Compay Gato" and "Campesino" (both from 2001).
- Whodini's "The Freaks Come Out at Night" can be heard in a cutscene but is not included in any of the game's radios. It would be included later on the hip hop radio Fresh FM in GTA Vice City Stories.
- Toto's "Hold the Line" was included in the European release of the 7-CD Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Official Soundtrack Box Set but not in the actual game. It would be included later on the classic rock radio K-DST in GTA San Andreas.
- Only Radio Espantoso and Wave 103 retained their full tracklists for the 10th Anniversary re-release.
- Radio Stations in GTA 1
- Radio Stations in GTA London
- Radio Stations in GTA 2
- Radio Stations in GTA III
- Radio Stations in GTA San Andreas
- Radio Stations in GTA Liberty City Stories
- Radio Stations in GTA Vice City Stories
- Radio Stations in GTA IV
- Radio Stations in GTA Chinatown Wars
- Radio Stations in GTA V