There are people out there who justify musicians selling out with the timeless adage, “It’s called the music business.” I want those people to give themselves lobotomies while listening to Creed.
I turned on the radio today to the local rock station, G106.3 and nearly swerved into the nearest telephone pole. Overnight, the station had turned into a “Top 40 Hits” format called Hit 106. Are there really not enough of these stations? What drive me insane is how radio stations never announce that they are changing formats. You just wake up one morning and POW!, the Black Eyed Peas are mauling your eardrums. I guess all the people who moved here from New York complained about not getting good reception for Z100. Not that G106.3 was a great rock station to begin with, but I’d rather have that than the garbage they are playing now.
The likely explanation though is that a radio station that only plays “hits” is bound to get more revenue by playing music that had a broader market. It’s really disheartening to see how rock music is being constantly being pushed aside to make way for more popular, radio-ready music. On one hand, it gives me one less reason to listen to the radio and makes websites like Pitchfork that much more important for finding new music. However, it is now clear that my generation supports some of the WORST music the world has ever seen. And what’s worse is that these songs are really only popular because the record companies pay the radio stations to play certain songs.
I will be the first to admit that I carry a chip on my shoulder when it comes to the perversion of radio. It’s probably because of how amazing 106.3 was when I was a kid, when it was just called FM106.3. They played post punk, rock, alternative, indie, and the Beastie Boys. The first time I heard The Smiths was on 106.3, before I even knew who the hell they were and just recognized “How Soon is Now?” because of the awesome intro. More importantly though, my dad loved the station, and we’d bond over listening to the music we loved. Hell, all of my dad’s “Best of” mix tapes were songs he heard on FM106.3. The DJs’ would actually go out of their way to play new music. Then in 2000, just as they did last night, the station switched formats and became G106.3, fired all but one DJ, and played more commercial rock. Some asshole executive in an expensive suit crushed my childhood because the alternative rock niche market wasn’t making as much money as he’d like. Despite how soul crushing that experience was, it pales in comparison to what 106.3 has become today.
Is nothing sacred? Is the sole purpose of the radio to make money? At this rate, rock radio won’t exist in 10 years. Or perhaps we’ll see another drought of pop music like in 2001, when rock was suddenly “back”. I remember a time when I’d hear a song on the radio that I would consider life changing… songs that meant something. If it weren’t for RXP (101.9), I might have gone mad.
Modern Rock at the Jersey Shore
For anyone interested, there is now an anti-Hits106/bring back G106.3 Facebook group. Normally I wouldn’t give a Facebook cause group the time of day, but they are scheduling a protest for Saturday. Plus, the group gained 4,000+ members in only two days, which is pretty good for a local cause.
There is something about 106.3’s new format is kind of disturbing… it’s music for BENNYs (if you don’t know who they are, look it up). And to have a BENNY music station for the Monmouth and Ocean counties is insulting. We hate these people! Why must we be subjected to their music? But that could be my central-NJ xenophobia talking.
The best comment I’ve heard about this came from my mom. We were talking about it and she said, “I liked to listen to it in the car when I was driving… this is ridiculous. This is music for 7th graders.”
Fact: when you get owned by my mom, you have truly failed at life. When the DJs’ finally arrive, I wonder what kind of wacky zoo crew they will have? I HOPE THEY TALK ABOUT GOSSIP GIRL AND AMERICAN IDOL LOLOLOL!!!1!