Saturday, April 4, 2009

Radio, Radio

This post is a bit o' advertising for one of the best...nay, THE best rock radio station in the NYC metro area. I normally don't do this sort of thing, but I believe in the product...and being that one of my closest friends just started listening...I realize that the word isn't completely out yet and I'm willing to be the prophet in this juncture.

I love music...but you knew that already. Music is like religion to me. I'm quite selective in my music and which artists I consider "good," "better," and "best" in exalting the form to a new level. I think to appreciate music, you have to listen to a wide variety of artists and genres, not just what's "cool" today or what the mainstream radio stations want you to listen to. They're paid to tell you what to listen to, people.

Then, there is 101.9 WRXP.

If you haven't heard of this station, listen to it and you, too, will become a believer.

For years, 101.9 was synonymous with jazz here in the New York area - CD 101.9 to be exact - which I listened to from time to time. Like the day, just about a year ago, when I tuned in for some relaxing jazz...and instead heard a rare Clash song: "Whu-what?? Uh...oh...OH! Oh my god! This is awesome!!" And so a love affair was born.

It's not just a rock station - it plays the deep cuts that most mainstream radio stations have NEVER played. It plays classic rock, modern rock, and the alternative songs from the New Wave and Britpop eras that I loved. [Back in the '80s/'90s, there was an alternative radio station based in Garden City, Long Island 92.7 WDRE (later WLIR). My older sister listened to it, so of course, I listened to it. They played the likes of The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Ocean Blue and so much more. The sound was like none other I heard - and remember, this was during the days of MC Hammer, New Kids on the Block and the bland sounds of Huey Lewis and the News. The music on WDRE was original, intelligent, exotic. Top-40 didn't cut it anymore for me, and still doesn't.]

I've since been struggling with the gap between my taste in music and what radio plays.

I believe that New York is a "rock-n-roll town". Yet, lately, it seems top-40, rap, R&B and teen pop are the only options out there. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The few stations that once played rock have faded out/changed formats in favor of terrible music-of-the-minute pop hits, like 92.3 K-ROCK and Jersey favorite 106.3 G-Rock. 92.7 WLIR is now a Latin-music station. There is still the class rock played by Q104.3 and some local sprinklings (89.9 WSHU - a station from Seton Hall University with mixed programming; and 105.5 WDHA). While all of these stations that have, so far, resisted the sting of changing formats, they still - in my ears - are dismally disappointing.

So - 101.9 WRXP. Do it. Your ears and mind will thank you....profusely.

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