Let’s Talk Radio

Articles | Jun 20th, 2007

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Let’s talk radio for a moment, shall we? If you live in the NYC vicinity you will have noticed the so-called “triumphant” return of music to 92.3 aka KROCK aka Free FM. To really get the most out of this blog, let’s go through a brief synopsis of the recent history of KROCK. Now, if you’ll remember KROCK flipped from a broad spectrum of rock music to an all-talk format not too long ago. Actually, it was right when Howard Stern left terrestrial radio for Sirius. KROCK featured all day talk programs from the likes of Ron and Fez, Penn Gilette, JV and Elvis and in the beginning, a morning show hosted by David Lee Roth. The morning show was terrible, agree or disagree? AGREE! How could you not? The man had no prior radio experience and really brought nothing to the table. It was painful to listen to him, so they terminated his contract early and opted to pay Opie and Anthony butt loads of money to do a “Free FM” morning show in conjunction with their show on XM.

Then the news recently came, that the rock was coming back to New York and the villagers rejoiced. The rejoicing was brief and abruptly stopped as soon as the villagers started listening. The new Free FM (now WITH music), or “the rock of New York” as they like to call it offers nothing to the jaded audience they’re trying to win over, music fans of today.

Let’s face it, the kids don’t get their music from listening to the radio any more. That’s what MySpace, iPods and Fuse (to a much lesser extent) are for. But Free FM isn’t even trying. Their play list is akin to the nostalgia rock heard on Q104.3 and Jack FM. They rarely play anything current, and by current I mean after 1998. I think they would have a better chance of getting some listeners if they were at least trying to put something out there that wasn’t already out there times three. Play a track from the new Used record, or the new Tim Armstrong record,at least play some The Academy Is… or Senses Fail. You have to give kids something to listen to that they want, give them what’s on their iPod.

But, even if Free FM WAS playing current music kids would probably be too impatient to listen. Society today is all about immediate gratification. You can carry around 10,000 songs on your ipod and listen to exactly what you want exactly when you want it just by pushing a button. Why then would anyone sit through songs they didn’t like and commercials in hopes of hearing something they will like? The answer is, they won’t and I’m sure the ratings for Free FM can prove that. The folks down at Free FM need to put their heads together and figure something out to start pulling audiences in, they need to breathe new life into their station and quick. Remember when they used to do shows with tickets for 92 cents? Or their Dysfunctional Family Picnic? I mean, even though the concerts got lamer as time went on, it was still in essence, a good idea.

So what’s the answer here? If you ask me, I’d suggest that Free FM throw caution to the wind and just be a current rock station. Since New York doesn’t have one, they’d at least do better than they’re doing now contending with Q104, Jack FM and… dare I say it, PLJ. The PDs over there should learn from the past. They already did this broad-array-of-rock-music thing while they had Stern. Then they got scared because people weren’t listening anymore and flipped to talk. Now they’re back to their initial problem, no one is listening to the music. It isn’t completely because they don’t have Stern anymore (it’s a big reason, but not the only reason), it’s because no one wants to hear The Killers into Rage Against The Machine into a commercial for Crazy Eddie’s. Free FM needs to suck it up and become a genre-specific station. If they keep trying to please everyone, they’re going to end up doing what they’re doing now: pleasing no one.

Just for fun I kept a running list of the bands I heard while writing this blog:
Green Day (Dookie era), Jet, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Beck, Nirvana (I’m not kidding) and the Ataris covering Don Henley’s Boys of Summer.

Just for fun I kept a running list of the bands I heard while writing this blog:
Green Day (Dookie era), Jet, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Beck, Nirvana (I’m not kidding) and the Ataris covering Don Henley’s Boys of Summer.