Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Local Radio Woes

The local radio station that carries the occasionally entertaining Opie and Anthony is dumping the program and going all music (in this case, mildly alternative rock). This is a little risky and probably the last act of a desperate station. The trend has been to add 'shock jock' type talk programs to bring in a stable, though not large, base of listeners. This has been disappointing for a number of reasons since I think traditional radio can work given the right tract.

Unfortunately one look at CBS's other stations in Cleveland leave little reason for hope. The best of the bunch is their ageing hippie oldies station that no doubt plays the exact same tracklist as the classic rock radio station in Cincinnati (despite a different owner). From there it goes downhill. There's the soft rock station that plays the odious (though unfortunately successful) Delilah* and then there is what is the worst radio station in the entire city: Q104**.

Despite their faults, numerous as they are, the other stations have some (weak) radio personalities; but they all suffer from very, very poor station programming.

I think I've mentioned them before but the best programming I've ever heard is from WOXY/97X quite possibly the greatest radio station ever to exist. This was the only music radio station that I ever turned on at home just to listen to it. I recall one time back in the mid-nineties a block of music that included the likes of The Smiths, The Beastie Boys, and The Bangles. They're not afraid to play good music no matter where it comes from, so long as it's not getting wide play elsewhere.

With the proliferation of different listening choices*** and the price pressures on radio advertising, broadcasting companies have faced the choice of either taking a chance and putting out something that might draw listeners in or playing it safe and phoning in their playlists and personalities so that they can preserve what little listener base still exists. CBS Radio is playing up the 92.3 K-Rock decision as the former, but they did play Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend the other day, so that counts for something, even though Devine Intervention is better, but anyway:

*My favorite Delilah memory was being around Columbus, Ohio driving home and while looking for something to listen to I was able to tune in Delilah's sugary bilge crystal clear on three different radio stations.

**Because it plays generic semi-upbeat music, Q104 is the radio station of choice at the local YMCA (despite the fact that it advertises competitors). When I exercised regularly back around 2004 I got so sick of hearing the same songs every morning that I sprang for an early MP3 player. When I started exercising a little more than three years later, Q104 was still grinding away on the same crap with some slightly new crap added in. Try sitting through more than thirty seconds of this dreck and then imagine hearing it and noise like it every single day. How do those stations stay in business?

***Our Saturn only has a tape deck and I only have one good tape, a Jesus Jones single of Real Real Real and the excellent, nearly unacquirable B-side Maryland. When I drive the other car it's all Paul van Dyk and Tiesto in the CD player.

1 comment:

thismarty said...

I won't disagree with anyone who bashes Delilah.