Thursday, December 8, 2011

Let's talk about radio for a second

Nobody listens to the radio anymore. This is practically an article of faith. Oh, wait, maybe more people are listening to the radio. "An average of 241.6 million people 12 and older listened to conventional radio stations each week last year, an increase of 2.1 million over 2009 — and up 4.9% vs. 2005," says USA Today. 241 million is a lot, so maybe people do listen to the radio. That kind of hurts my point so let's move on.

2 radio things to touch on today.

First, Live 105. Live 105 is a sad radio station that I guess positions itself as "alternative" or something. "Alternative" was what new and interesting music used to be called in the 80's and 90's. Live 105 calls itself "alternative" even though they still play the same shit they were playing in 1992.

Just looking at the playlist, in the past 12 hours, Live 105 has played the following:

"Come as You Are," by Nirvana
"The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, at least twice
"Adam's Song" by Blink-182
"Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley
"Wrong Way" by Sublime
"Say It Ain't So" by Weezer
"After Midnight" by Blink-182, twice
"Come Original" by 311
"Creep" by Radiohead
"Snow (Hey Oh)" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana
"The Sound of Winter" by Bush, multiple times
"Tell Me Baby" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
At least two songs from Stone Temple Pilots' 1992 debut Core
"Jamming" by Bob Marley
"Santeria" by Sublime
A shitload of Linkin Park songs

Not pretty, is it? We can make a few observations:

1. Live 105's program director really likes the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park, "Legend" by Bob Marley, and the Stone Temple Pilots' first album
2. Very little of this is "alternative," in any sense of the word
3. Bush apparently has a new album out and Live 105 is interested in seeing it succeed, for some reason beyond my grasp
4. Blink-182 is still played as if they were a viable concern and not a band that we all laugh about behind their backs

This isn't alternative; this is classic rock. I mean, do you really need to hear any Sublime song, ever again? And what the fuck is up with the Bob Marley? What is this, a freshman dorm room in 1988?

Go in peace and do whatever you want, Live 105. I guess it's just kind of sad that there is so much good, new, exciting, interesting music out there that I bet people would actually like if you played it and you're not giving it a chance. You could be pushing Ty Segall (who has the extra advantage of being a local!) and Yuck and TV on the Radio and instead you're pushing albums that came out in 1991 and 1992.

Don't get me wrong, "Nevermind" is one of the best albums ever, but we've all heard it, Live 105. You can set down Nevermind and back slowly away. We know every song.

In other radio news, KGO 810 just fired everyone that works there, in one fell swoop destroying decades of goodwill and community relationships. WOW GREAT PLAN.

(MOMENTARY DIVERSION: The Wife says I'm the only person under 50 who listens to talk radio, but that can't be true, right? I even listen to KSFO Tea Party Radio sometimes just to see how far around the bend those people have gone. ANSWER: Very far. But you know where you to go if you want to hear the word "Marxist" tossed around in a context-free manner.)

Anyway, I'm not in radio and so I have no idea but it seems like a bad move to me.


GG said...

WOW! I interned in KGO's news department about a hundred million years ago (and Paul Hosley was still in charge even way back then -- seriously, I think it was 1995) so some part of me is glad to see them moving to an all-news format, but I can't imagine how they're going to distinguish themselves from my other alma mater, KCBS. Can the Bay Area really support two all-news stations, especially with two excellent NPR stations in the mix?

BTW, I'm glad to know that I haven't missed anything by not listening to Live 105 for the past 15 years, but it did bring back memories of how sad I was when I moved here from L.A. in 1992 and realized that there was not a SINGLE good radio station to listen to (we had KROQ, which was one of the best stations in the country back then). I bitterly settled for Live 105 and "Alice" 97.3, but with much consternation.

TK said...

Sadly, judging from today's playlist, KROQ isn't any better.

In fact, it's eerily similar to Live 105's. They must be programmed by the same computer.

Opinionated Lady said...

My husband and I were both regular listeners to KGO (and under the age of 50). John Rothmann was one of my favorites! We're definitely disappointed to see it move to an all news format - we tuned in most often times for the commentary.

GG said...

Sublime AND the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the same hour? Now I'm depressed...

Not surprisingly, I Googled it and KROQ and Live 105 are now owned by the same corporation (Viacom/CBS). Good ol' media mega-consolidation, a big part of why I went to law school instead of staying in the biz! Sigh.

subframe said...

Hockey is actually great to listen to on the radio, it accounts for 100% of the radio listening I've done in the past, oh, 17 years or so.

Anonymous said...

++ for hockey on the radio. I grew up on that shit.

Love it when games are on the east coast and I can stream them on the drive home.

amy.leblanc said...

i listen to KALX radio almost every day. it's where i find all the new music that doesn't suck.

and i also listen to NPR. and i'm not 50.

i love the classic rock 4ever but yeah i don't understand why they think there are only 4 songs by The Who and the repeat rotation makes me angry.

and i am also the only person i know who does't have an iPod or a smart phone. so, well. that might explain a lot.