Radio killed the Radio Star? Wait….. what?

I think it might be safe enough to say that we all have had our grievances with radio as listeners. Are they justified? I dunno, is this a situation where “the costumer is always right”? or “that we are just too old and can’t get with the times”?  Either way, I am sure that if you have been listening to radio for more than 15 years, you would have noticed a few dramatic changes to the radio stations. And we aren’t happy!

The other day I put out the question “What do you want from your radio station”  on twitter and a few folks were kind enough to tweet out some great answers.  Although, I didn’t agree with some of them;  it’s their opinion. Take note of me putting my two cents worth in the brackets.

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My biggest problem is that many of the radio stations that I listened to played indie bands or had a themed show. This is slowly being removed from the stations, or it just doesn’t exist anymore.

Have you ever wanted to tell/write your “terrestrial radio station”  why they lost you as a listener?  Me too!  In fact I actually did exactly that. I am sure that it will serve no other purpose than being a cathartic process. Of course I am not going to share that particular letter with you the reader, but after everyone tweeting out their suggestions, I realized I wasn’t alone on this.

I miss terrestrial radio stations that were eclectic, and supported their local/indie/unsigned music scene. I am telling you folks, once upon a time it happened.  Will this inspire you? I dunno…. If anything this gave me an excuse to write some shit or blog or whatever you might call this.

This is my generic rant/plea to terrestrial radio station

I really don’t expect anything from this but the opportunity to share what I loved about “the radio station”  so long ago and why you lost me as a listener.

I guess perhaps the best way to start off this letter is to explain that a long time ago in a galaxy far away“the radio station” was my favourite radio station. Back then,”the radio station” in my opinion was an eclectic radio station with a variety of “themed” shows, music genres and a radio station that also highlighted/supported indie music.

“the radio station”  would encourage and support indie bands by bringing them into the station having chats with them, playing their tunes, alongside the more “popular” music. It was a great mess of music where you would have numerous of genres slapped into a broadcast.

Many radio stations, not just “the radio station” are about the singles now, not the deeper cuts. It’s about the repetitiveness of playing the same song within the span of two/three hours to ingrain that particular track/band into your listeners’ brain.

Correct me if I am wrong, but its marketing; it’s promoting the band because you’ve entered agreements with labels to play bands etc. I am also thinking this is why DJ’s have to pick their music from specific catalogs and not whatever they choose. I get it.

Whether it’s the case of being in these said agreements with music labels or perhaps your sponsors; the way music is played, specific bands, tracks and their frequency through a 24 hour time span etc, has changed dramatically over the years.

I realize that I am just one person, and I am well aware that you still continue to have a very large listenership without me.  However, I am not the only listener that has changed the way they listen to music since technology has changed how music can be listened to. Sure,“the radio station” has a website that you can listen in and stream but now you are in competition with everyone else on the web.

Some folks have gone back to listening to college/university radio shows, because broadcasting ranges aren’t an issue anymore. Some listen to music podcasts that provide information, stories and music. And then there are the streaming stations/websites, where you can listen to music all the time without hearing commercials or the same damn song or the same bands 4 or 5 times a day.

Generally speaking, no one talks about music anymore; no one talks about how that song made them feel, what’s in the lyrics, what the band’s musical influences are. There are no stories about the music anymore, just tabloid gossip. I don’t care about Lana Del Rey holding a cat on a magazine cover and what a music hosts’ opinion of that is. There’s a distinct and defining difference. I am not saying all radio shows. But yes,  many don’t.

I have to say that having music surveys where your listeners pick tracks “to have their say”  is misleading at best and you should call it what it is. “the radio station”  promotion is about creating an algorithm to compete with the other radio stations because you’re all competing for the same audience.

So here’s my crazy take on “the radio station” “have your say in what we play” type promotions.

You play 90’s GREAT!  It would be great if  “the radio station” went back to playing ska, punk, reggae, new wave, post -punk, stoner rock, metal, goth, industrial, electronica,rockabilly, surfer  etc from All the years not just the 90’s. Yes, I am well aware of the “the radio station” currently  has this as a featured theme show. However, this wasn’t a themed show before. This was how “the radio station” was every day.

If a radio station is playing the same band 3 or 4 times or a day, where is the variety? What’s wrong with educating, inspiring your audience/listeners in a breadth and depth of musical genres.

Go back to themed shows that encompass a breath and depth of music (this is where “the radio station” forgot its roots in being who they were) and also a show that solely supports and promotes the indie bands with their shows at venues. I am not talking just about the well known indie record labels or the well known “indie bands”, I am also  talking about the unsigned bands.

Whether it’s a “hipster” or a “music junkie” audience supporting the local/independent music scene, the music and exposure is very much lacking in terrestrial radio.“the radio station” a long time ago was not only about supporting established bands, labels, but also was one of the few “mainstream radio stations” that supported unsigned bands

Was this at all useful to you or the“the radio station” team? Probably not, but I do appreciate that you bothered to give this old music junkie the time to write down her grievances with terrestrial radio. Radio and music in my opinion, had the unique ability to unite the commercial aspects of the big labels and still support the community /musicians where the target audience was.

Somehow this got lost, with the repetitiveness of either bands, or songs, the lack of breadth/ depth in the music genres, and the support of unsigned bands for the sake of i don’t know… Whether it’s about the money, survival of a station, progress, call it what you will, “the radio station” lost an old loyal listener, but gained 1,000 more.

It’s all about a numbers game. I get it. I will listen to the “popular” bands via my iTunes and I will carry on listening to college/university radio/podcasts, hunt bandcamps/ soundclouds for new unsigned music and find my way to support local bands without the assistance of terrestrial commercial radio. I have felt that radio has left out many key components that once made it enjoyable, for me.

 

4 Comments

  1. I hope that “the radio station” does take heed of this. I’ve got a companion piece that I’ll be writing as soon as I can get it done. Thanks for fighting the good fight.

    -@TheShrevest/@UnScholars

    • Thank you for reading. Apparently there are a few folks out there that feel the same way.I look forward to reading your piece. Hell, I will even hyperlink it to this nonsense!

      • I’m working on the piece right now and I’m linking to both YOUR piece here AND I found a blog post from one of the main DJs at the radio station that I listened to in my youth – he blogged the whole story of the station and how it ended up failing and it’s a gold mine of information. It SHOULD be a case study in how NOT to ruin a radio station, but “the radio station” you mention here looks like it’s headed in the exact same direction, which, combined with your rant, is what inspired me to write my piece as well.

        Hopefully I’ll be done in the next couple of days? I’ve got reviews to do also… AGH

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