Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The downfall of FM Radio

This week, This Girl went through one of the most major changes a girl can go through in her life. Getting married? Nope. Having a baby? Guess again. Breaking a nail? Not even close. She learned that her favorite radio station is getting the boot. Yup, that's right ladies and gents. Everything Alternative 99x, the ONLY alternative radio station in Atlanta will be off the air and All the Hits Q100 will be taking over.

Now, word on the street has it that the reason for the switch is due to the fact that the morning show on 99x isn't getting great ratings, and the head honchos want to move Q100's morning show to the stronger signal of 99.7 f.m. And I guess technically, this is true. However, the decision to replace the entire radio station was most likely not a hard one for corporate swine because 99x and alternative music altogether has not been getting the listeners it used to. Instead, 99x will become just an internet and HD radio entity.

Now that we have the hard truth and boring facts behind us, we can begin to wonder, "What the hell are we supposed to listen to NOW?" Being in the south, there are several country radio stations around town. And not to say anything bad about country music because many of those folks are very talented, but I can almost guarantee that at least 75% of 99x listeners (we'll refer to an alternative fan as Alt from here on out) do not consider themselves country music fans. It is a simple truth of personal preference. We can scratch off any station that plays Barry Manilow, Michael Bolton, and Celine Dion. Which leaves us with the Top 40 station, the hip-hop station, the hard rock station, and Pop station; Q100, 95.5 The Beat, Project 96.1, and Star 94 respectively.

Alt tunes to the hip-hop station 95.5 The Beat. There is a good chance that anyone listening to the alternative likes of Oasis and Stone Temple Pilots such as Alt, might like to hear a Snoop Dogg or Nelly classic from their high school days. But does Alt usually go to the club on Friday nights to 'Lean Wit it, Rock Wit it', or do the 'Soulja Boy' dance? The correct answer is no. So why would he listen to it on his way to work or going to pick up a date? Alt will learn to change the channel when he hears Rhianna's 'Umbrella' for the third time in an hour.

After flipping stations, Alt settles on Star 94, the Pop music station. After a few songs, he wonders why the station isn't called American Idol Contestant 94. Every other song is sang by either, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry, or Jordin Sparks. When a singer with questionable talent is finally played, Alt looks at the car next to him to see the most disturbing sight. A mini van with a car seat in the back and a kid in a soccer uniform playing his Nintendo DS, a bumper sticker that says 'I heart my Shitzu', driven by a woman in a button up top singing and dancing to the EXACT same Justin Timberlake song that he is listening to at the moment. Alt sinks down in his seat and turns the volume all the way down.

When the embarassment has faded, Alt decides to brave the radio once again and finds Project 96.1. At first listen, it's not so bad! A little Foo Fighters, a little Chili Peppers, even some Finger 11. But after 15 minutes, Alt starts to get a headache. With all the Drowing Pool, Senses Fail, and Disturbed how can a guy think and drive at the same time?! He finds himself headbanging uncontrollably and has to pull over to the side of the road to prevent a full blown siezure. Deep breaths, Alt, deep breaths. He makes the wise choice of changing the channel once more.

The last station of the day is Q100. The arch enemy. The suck up who got to go to the front of the line. The guy who took your girl. It takes exactly one hour to hear all the music in the playlist rotation. Alt must be a genius because he has figured out what songs, and in what order they are played every hour. He has learned the Beyonce dance, memorized all the words to Timbaland, and purchased Gwen Stefani's purfume for his girlfriend. He has become just like any of the other plastic people that live in Atlanta. All in one hour of poison and brainwashing. While at a stoplight, Alt overhears a 311 CD being played in the car beside him by a girl with 4 earrings in each ear. With a shake of his head, Alt is back in reality.

So tell me my friends, what are WE, those who enjoy Radiohead, Silverchair, Nirvana, even Primitive Radio Gods supposed to do without our alternative radio station? Where do we get our daily dose of Linkin Park and Wolfmother? Where WILL the Killers go?! Until that question can be answered, I guess the 'Alts' of Atlanta will be stopped on the side of the road headbanging until someone brings back Organic X to calm us down.

But that's just this girl talking...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The music-oriented FMs are in trouble:

"News/Talk/Sports:Radio's Last Bastion"

"Music FMs of any flavor are utterly screwed... Right now -- while FMs are losing the music audience to new media -- satellite radio is offering more News/Talk/Sports programming than we can fit on AM radio..."

The farce called HD Radio, won't save terrestrial radio: