Friday, February 24, 2006

Philly airwaves have no alternative: One year later

It was one year ago today that alternative rock station Y100 was taken off the air and replaced with a rap/R&B format. I didn't miss it a whole lot to be honest with you; its playlist was too conservative for my taste. I much perfered the previous efforts to bring modern/alternative rock to the Philadelphia airwaves like I-92 (Summer of 1983) and 103.9 WDRE (November 1992-Janurary 1997). But I did find it distrubing that with Y100 out of the picture there isn't a place for new rock on the commercial Philadelphia radio airwaves now. Sure WXPN could handle some of the slack, but they're more in a folky/singer-songwriter/AAA mode (plus there's Robert Drake's great Rock of the 80s program Land Of The Lost tonight as well); where does that leave the more aggressive rock acts? Where's Courtney Love going to get airplay in Philly now when her next album comes out (after she gets back from rehab)? True, there's Y100 Rocks internet radio now, with its playlist better than when it had a place on the FM dial, but you can't take it with you on your car radio (as yet anyway); and if you work in a place that has a firewall and your access to the station is blocked, you're out of luck. I'd much perfer it when you can easily get some good rock on the commercial FM airwaves. I'm not an elitist snob; I like when bands that I like get popular and don't compromise their musical vision to achieve that success. It seems that musical genres I like a lot--dance and Rock-of-the-8os/modern/alternative rock--currently just don't get a lot of love from commercial radio in Philly. And it looks like the situation isn't going to change anytime soon, with the radio corporations that own the Philly airwaves are more interested in reaching #1 in the ratings rather than just going after a good niche market with some good music. So it looks like I'll have to keep on trying to get various internet stations and maybe try to shell out some money to get satelite radio as well. Plus just listen to mix-tapes and CDs in my car.

Here's a cover story that the Philly City Paper did on the whole Y100/Y100rocks.com controversy last year. It'll shed some more light what went down.

3 Comments:

Blogger circleinasquare said...

It's true, not a lot of commercial choices, but if you can endure the erratic block programming and pathological self involvement of the undergrad DJs,
both the Drexel and Rutgers stations offer a few listenable hours each day. KEXP live and radiodavidbyrne.com offer pleasant on-line diversions.

OH, and don't you say hello when you're out and about? I'm awfully shy you know...

1:15 AM  
Blogger Chris Krakora said...

Hey circle, sorry for not saying hello at the Bike Stop this past Saturday. I thought you looked familar but I wasn't too sure. Didn't mean to be rude. Actually I'm shy as well...

I do listen to Drexel sometimes when I drive into or out of the city. There's also the local college station as well, WCUR-FM which has the same frequency as Drexel, 91.7.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Andy said...

I found this post in a Google of I-92, and I too recall it fondly. Grew up in Philly around that same time and miss that whole wonderful experiment that brought decent free-form radio out of the shadows and into the mainstream for at least a while.

I resorted to Satellite (both XM and Sirius) some time back and haven't returned to commercial radio because of it's lack of identity. And now that I've moved to NY, it's just gotten worse. And college radio up here isn't all that terrific. C'est la vie.

9:38 PM  

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