Friday, June 4, 2010

Hey Mr. Radio Programmer? Your Programming Skills Suck!

I am a hardcore radio listener, both college and commercial, and I've come to the conclusion that I can program a time slot better than most of the yokels that are out there today screwing up the formats.

While there isn't much I can offer in the way of advice for college radio...wait a minute, yes I can. I can offer tons of advice to college radio jocks. But this rant is for the most part going to be focused on those yokels who program the commercial stations.

I've come to seriously question the brain cell capacity of the people who program the various radio stations I listen to, simply because their musical choices make absolutely no sense whatsoever. How, you may ask? Simple.

Lets start off by chopping down the major rock (shoot, the only rock) station in Hartford CT, 106.9 WCCC. While for the most part, they do play a decent selection of hard rock and arena rock and mix it quite well (on their AM side 1290 plays classical), they have this need to play two artists who absolutely drives me nuts. One doesn't fit the format, and the other should've been put away about fifteen years ago.

The one that should've been put away fifteen years ago is Motley Crue. Pop metal didn't cut it back in the 80's and it certainly isn't cutting it now. Please, put away the song "Home Sweet Home" and "Girls, Girls, Girls" because they don't belong on the radio station. They're tired, redundant and no one under the age of thirty or over the age of 40 don't give a crap about them.

The one that don't fit the format is U2. I like U2, although if I hear "With or Without You" one more time, I'll personally come down to the station and yank out all the copies that you have of U2 an burn them. And why the hell are you playing U2 to begin with? Your format is hard rock and you play bands like Nickelback, Nonpoint, Puddle of Mudd and Avenged Sevenfold. Not 80's bands who haven't been relevant since the mid 90's.

Now, as for the other yokels who don't know how to program, here are a few suggestions for those of you who have Modern Alternative or MOR rock formats for your stations.

Stop playing one or two particular songs by an artist. Both of your formats are notorious for that. Here is my partial list of what you should permanently put away.

"Amie" by Pure Prairie League. I like Pure Prairie League. I even like the album where this song originates from {Bustin' Out}. I'm not liking the song anymore. You want to play some PPL, then try playing the companion cut to this song. It's called "Falling In And Out Of Love" and it actually fades into the song "Amie". Or from the same album, a cut called "The Jazzman".

"I Need You Tonight" by INXS. I like INXS, but this song is perpetually chopped because you guys don't like the companion song that this song bridges into. Stop playing it unless you're gonna play the second one as well.

"Sedated" and "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones. Calling yourself Alternative because you play the Ramones would be a little more convincing if you played something else besides these two songs from their vast catalogue.

Same goes for Pearl Jam. They did other songs besides "Teen Angel", but you seemed to be overly enamored of a 60's cover tune. And let's not forget "Joe's Garage" by Frank Zappa. I love Frank Zappa, but "Joe's Garage" is a sucky song.

Oooh, oooh, even better. How 'bout playing something else by the Clash instead of "Rock The Casbah" or "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" Or something else by Jimmy Buffet instead of "Margaritaville"?

Or for those stations who decide to be "hip" by playing reggae, could you play something else besides Bob Marley's "Buffalo Soldier" or "No Worry No Cry"? I mean, there is a ton of fantastic old school reggae just begging to be played. So why don't you actually play some?

So how 'bout it gang? Got any pet peeves about the redundant schtuff that radio programmers foist upon their listeners? Any suggestions to add? Songs or artists, it don't matter which. All will be honored, commented and approved.


  1. This has long been a problem with radio stations everywhere. They are reluctant to play lesser known tracks because as folks are flipping channels they may not stop. That's why "Satisfaction" by The Stones is played to death. Mick and the boys have recorded a few hundred tunes but all you will hear are the same ten. I hardly listen to radio these days outside of Talk.

  2. I, too, have grown tired of the same stuff played over and over. My favorite "alternative" rock station in Atlanta, Dave-fm, kind of ran me off with overplaying songs. For instance, "Hey Soul Sister" by Train. I liked the song at first, but they have played it to death and I noticed it is now the music on a detergent commercial. The also overplayed "Drops of Jupiter" by Train. Does that band not have any other songs that those two? (Dave-fm doesn't think so.)

    I listen this great quirky station on am now 1690 - "the voice of the arts." You might have jazz for one song, and then Waylon Jennings, then some folk song. I love it. (Except they played that song "The sultans of swing" yesterday and made me flip over the the classical station.)

  3. Oh, if only we could rule the airwaves, G! I listen to radio all the time. I'm a channel hopper - looking for tunes and tuning out the banter.

    I have to admit I love The Clash, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

    My pet peeve is the overplaying of the same songs. But it's always been that way on the radio. And I suspect if I were in charge, I'd probably overplay my favorites, too :)

  4. I can't listen to the radio any more, it makes me too mad. And I totally agree with you about the Pearl Jam "Teen Angel" cover. Never understood it's appeal.

  5. LMAO G! If I hear "I Want to be Sedated" or anything by Muse one more time, I'm going to have to go step on ants. ;)

  6. I agree with you on the redundancy and the weird choices. Down here the classic rock station plays the Police, which makes no sense to me at all. I think the redundancy has to do with money, how much money they have to pay to get songs. And that's why they play such a narrow selection.

    As for music, you and I have very different tastes there, my friend. I'm glad they play some rockers like Motley Crue. If I never hear another Peal Jam song it'll be too soon, and I've never made it all the way through an INXS or Pure Prairie League song without changing the channel. I only let Clash play all the way through if Lana is in the car. I do like some Ramones, though!

  7. Wow, I really hit a nerve with everyone with my take on commercial radio.

    Side note: I'm actually a fan of WCCC's FB page, but I just lambasted them for playing five songs in a hour and half of prime drive time (rush hour).

    Now, on with the comments. You guys left me some goodies.

    David: I actually grew up listening to the moldy oldies before turning my attention to what I like to call BMJ pop (Before Michael Jackson). When I listened to it, it was fresh and new. When its played now, it's called "The River" type format.

    I don't do much talk because I can't get AM at work and most of what passes for intelligent blather out here makes my skin crawl. I usually stick to baseball games on AM.

    Lynn: Well, I haven't heard the latest by Train but it is now a popular ring tone. And I agree that the fastest way to kill an artist is to overplay their hits (Train and Gavin DeGraw come to mind as well).

    At work, I exclusively listen to college radio. Although I can do without a jock influencing his playlist with his personal political beliefs, those stations have been my favorites for the past fifteen years. Opened a whole new world for me.

    Factoid: I love singing to "Sultans of Swing". :D

    Talon: My channel hopping has gotten so severe, which is due to a zero tolerance of banter/commercials, I have quite frequently tuned into Spanish or Eastern European music programming in order to fill the need.

    I actually like the Clash and have made a concentrated effort to listen to their music, but its been a tough road to travel in the process.

    R.K.: One time when Bon Jovi was obscenely popular, I sliced up a co-worker's tape of "Slippery When Wet". Cost me about $15 to replace, but it was worth it.

    I'm not even gonna tell you what songs make me want to rip the radio out, because it would take too long, but suffice to say that there was a Gretchen Wilson song that made me want to wash my ears out with Michael Jackson.

    Libby: I could never understand the appeal of modern rock bands doing covers of songs from the 60's and 70's (which I might do as a stand alone post) because that's another thing that drives me insane.

    "Teen Angel" while mildly interesting when it first came out, is not when it's done with a rock beat.

    Charles: You be surprised at how vast my appreciation is of different genres. You're talking to a guy who was brought up on hardcore folk music/classic country/50's & 60's pop, who when he hit his 20's and early 30's started listening to everything but, and then came full circle once he hit 40. I have some hidden faves that people really look at me wierd when they hear them on my CD player.

    I can't stand classic rock, simply because it was fresh when I was in high school ('79-'83), and I would rather leave that music where it truly belongs.

    The Police? Classic rock? Makes about as much sense as WCCC playing U2.

    Bearman: Yeah, I'm sorry. What can I say? I like Nickelback and I was on a roll trying to remember bands that they play on that station.

    Gotta remember though, hard rock on a commercial station is much different that hard rock on a college station. Two radically different creatures.

    Commercial hard rock is what I listed on the post and what the average listener has been exposed to. College hard rock is something the average listener hasn't been exposed to because its what I consider true hard rock.

  8. Totally agree with you George. I ponder when does Classic Rock stop. WAQY 102.1 in Springfield/Longmeadow plays Classic Rock. Now you hear Aerosmith and U2 on it but only to a point. So is there a time frame for Classic Rock? My son in law says it's till the advent of Grunge Rock/Nirvana. Hmm Your thoughts?
    Oh and I will be taking you up on your suggestion in your comment on my blog. Thanks!

  9. Jeanne: To me, classic rock is roughly when I was in high school, backwards. Which would make the time frame of anything pre 1983.

    By the time the mid to late 80's rolled around, everything was turning into pop/hair metal.

    While grunge did kick in around the early 90's, it basically displaced all of those hair metal bands and the like.

    Haven't listend to WAQY in a couple of years, but when I did, it did turn my stomach just a little because of that format in particular (which I really dispise with a passion).

    And thanks.

  10. I used to notice almost the exact same trends from '99 to '04, the last time I had to listen to radio all day at work.
    Where I work now, it's been outlawed. (boring)!

    I heard way back that aol n Ike Turner were deciding who gets all the air time (Please don't forget Hall & Oates n James Taylor ad-nauseums)- which is maknfg it almost impossible to get new artists needed air time for fame- it's prechosen who gets replay-

    I hypothisize they don't owe those guys much in residuals, n so it's cheaper!

  11. For the most part, I don't even listen to commercial radio at work, I listen to college radio. Better selection and more variety, although I have a few bones to pick with them as well.

    Playlists are so tight nowadays that's almost impossible for a new artist to break out on commercial radio.

    Usually they have to break out via the colleges/constant touring before they can get even remotely noticed.

  12. I want to hear "Jukebox Hero" more. I'm always hearing "Cold as Ice" and "Hot Blooded." Two great tracks, but I would like to hear my Foreigner favorite once in a while. I could go on and on...

  13. I like "Jukebox Hero".

    At this point though, my speed is more collegiate and whatever I can scronge up at home from my vast collection of music.


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