Trust the Gene Genie

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Radio ga-ga

I've got some good stories about the girls I need to post. But first I need to get this off my chest.

I've long had a problem with commercial radio. If I were a rich man, I'd follow in Thom G's footsteps and get on the satellite radio band wagon. Which I'm sure will happen eventually.

Anyway, this little quote, from an AP story on the Dixie Chicks' big win at the Grammys on Sunday serves as a case in point. (You'll remember, the band, in trouble for criticizing Bush while on tour in Europe in 2003, was shut out of the Country Music Awards earlier this year):

The Dixie Chicks peaked at No. 36 on the Billboard country charts with "Not Ready to Make Nice." That ought to disqualify them from winning best country album, said Jacobs, the Alabama radio station owner.

"How do you win country music album of the year, when country music radio is not playing you?" he said.

I love it. It's like he's arguing radio play weighs more than quality if your handing out awards with names with the suffix "of the Year".

See, country radio is a microcosm of the all the ills afflicting mainstream commercial radio. Country radio, as everyone knows, plays nothing but crap all the time. Redding has like 15 country stations on the FM dial. The ones that aren't are evangelical Christian stations. I've never lived in a place like this before.

Anyway, there's great country and there's crap country. For some reason it's crap country that gets the air time. For example, Johnny Cash? Not on the radio. Rascal Flats -- basically a glorified high school cover band? On the radio all the time. The mavericks and innovators of the genre are completely shut out. Artists like Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, Old Crow Medicine Show and on and on. Instead, you've got Toby Keith with his brand of country music -- which has appropriately been dubbed "Amerigasmic" -- choking out the radio.

I don't know why it bothers me so badly, but it does. I don't understand why so many people chose terrible music over the good. I don't want to sound snobbish, but stop and think about it for a minute. When was the last time you heard a good song on commercial radio? Maybe you have in the last little while. Maybe I have, too.

But even if it's a station dedicated to a genre you like, playing bands and songs you like, they'll only play the same three songs by the same 10 artists over and over and over and over. You know, "Whole Lotta Love" instead of "Traveling Riverside Blues," "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" instead of "I'm Only Sleeping" or "With or Without You" instead of "Do You Feel Loved." You get the idea. Add to that that you'll never hear an independent band and probably drown in a deluge of one-hit-wonders. It's all wrong and bass-ackwards.

I've never been a big fan of the Dixie Chicks, but I like to see people stand up to the establishment. That's always worth applauding. And when it happens, you got to point it out:

But it is not clear that the support [at the Grammys] was uniform. Mr. Ayeroff, who founded the voter-registration group Rock the Vote, said a man sitting behind him in the Grammy audience snickered each time the Dixie Chicks received another trophy. “Finally,” Mr. Ayeroff said, “I got so disgusted, I turned around and said: ‘Dude, you’re in California now. Even our Republicans are Democrats.’ ”

1 comment:

ThomG said...

One word: Sirius. It's all you need, at work, in the car, at home. No commercials, no dipshit D.J.s talking over songs. It is so worth it.

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