Friday, October 06, 2006

A Tale of Two Stations

What's Playing in my Head: "Feel Good Inc.", by Gorillaz

Quote of the Day:
"Oh, Lord! Hallowed be Thy name. May our feet be swift; may our bats be mighty; may our balls... be plentiful. Lord, I'd just like to thank you for that waitress in South Bend. You know who she is – she kept calling your name." - Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

I've been listening to the radio a lot since I've come to Cowtown, mostly because my XM radio car antenna's busted, and my mp3 player needs a battery charge. (Yes, I'm lazy. Shut up.) Unfortunately, I've re-discovered something that I've known since I started coming down to Cowtown years ago: Cowtown radio blows. Hard.

I'll be fair - Cowtown radio sucks because radio anywhere sucks. It's the same mind-numbing songs, the same tired formats, and the same carbon-copy disc jockeys fresh out of the Columbia School of Broadcasting. It isn't any better in the DC area, and it isn't going to change. (This is one reason why I got satellite radio in the first place)

I will say, though, that Cowtown has got to be the last place left on the face of the fucking Earth that has an honest-to-God-gouge-your-eyes-out-rip-your-lungs-out-with-a-fork Morning Zoo. It's on 3WV, and it's called something like the Big Crap-Ass Morning Show (I'm paraphrasing here). There's a reason why these jive-ass, five-minutes-of-music-and-45-of-bullshit-blather stations died out circa 1993. And since it's on 3WV, it's a double-kick in the ass because I like rock. There's nothing more I'd like in the morning on my way to work than to have my car speakers blaring hard rock. (So 3WV, please, PLAY SOME FUCKING ROCK MUSIC IN THE MORNINGS AND SHUT THE FUCK UP. Thank you.)

There's one thing that's saving Cowtown radio from itself these days, though, and that's freeform stations. Actually, Cowtown now has two of these stations: 106.1 The Corner (which started up a couple of weeks ago), and 105.5 SAM-FM. Ever since I got to Cowtown permanently, I've seen these two stations as total opposites on the radio spectrum, even though they basically do the exact same thing. Both have no DJ's, and neither one has a play list of the same 20 songs every hour. Both play lots of 80's & 90's songs, but neither one has news, traffic, weather or any of the other crap that radio suits say we're supposed to like. And both have signals that can be picked up strong in virtually any corner of Cowtown (except for Pantops, which doesn't count. Pantops never counts).

Here's the thing, though: SAM-FM and The Corner are two totally different stations. Why? Image.

SAM-FM has always reminded me of the abbreviation of some sort of secret military project, one capable of mass destruction, chaos, and oh yes, playing "Just What I Needed" by The Cars. I started listening to SAM just after it first came on in July of 2005, and I've always pictured their studios headquartered in a bunker in the hills of Orange County, with lots of WOPR-style machines with flashing lights and buttons and spinning tape wheels just like in the movie War Games. It's an automated station, so naturally, there's not a single person in sight at the SAM-FM bunker, just a lonely repeater broadcasting the same feed infinitely into the night, WGU-20 style. It's a military station, a guy's station for real guys.

The Corner is different. It's more friendly - Hey, how's it going, want to come down to The Corner, have a mocha grande and maybe listen to some music? Yeah, okay, that'd be cool, I guess. Where SAM is in a military installation, I see The Corner studios in the back of some small coffee shop where bohemian attitude comes with the plush couches, and a cup of joe with a funny name costs $4.00. Naturally, this is a place where a lot of women hang out, but they're all sort of off-beat or weird-looking, and they're surrounded by guys with names like Lance and Sergio who dress like artists and have strong opinions on women's fashion. I also see lots of newspapers and Nietzsche books lying around, being read by people who think the cartoons in the Cav Daily are funny. It's a kinder, gentler station that appeals to women, gay people, and quasisexual college students with nothing better to do than hang out.

Honestly, I like them both. I'm partial to SAM because it's closer to where I live, and it plays cooler music most of the time. But I'll take either. Anything to escape the crap that is Cowtown radio.

Also, it's cool to listen to a station that can start World War III. Or play some White Stripes.


At October 06, 2006 9:50 AM, Anonymous Mediocre Fred said...

I would love to hear the definition of the word "quasisexual." I have no idea what it means (or if it's a real word), and yet somehow it seems to fit perfectly.

At October 06, 2006 10:06 AM, Anonymous K said...

LOL! "The Corner" is actually in the exact same building as your much-reviled Big Greasy Breakfast. ;-) And "The Corner" just got a program director from Michigan so you can likely count on the playlist narrowing and the hiring of jocks. They're soliciting for a morning & afternoon show on their website.

As for the glad you have a LOCAL morning show to listen to. You could have piped in John Boy and Billy crap.

At October 06, 2006 2:38 PM, Blogger B.C. said...

Quasisexual n. - One who lacks clear definition of sexual orientation or interest. Often associated with sweater vests, coffee houses and bong hits.

Common Usage:
"That weird dude buying chai tea and Cheetos down at the Pick 'N Save is such a total quasisexual."

- From "Brian's Complete Abridged BS Dictionary"

At October 06, 2006 2:39 PM, Blogger B.C. said...

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