Satellite killing the radio star?

Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Real Rock DJ Kirby Ray -- one appeal of local radio (Fred Lynch photo).

Local stations are no match for high-tech counterparts

Local radio, through no fault of its own, was already being phased out by the illegal music pirates who could just as easily make hundreds of burnt albums of their favorite artists than wait for said artists to be played on any station. But now the Whithers Broadcastings and River Radios of the world have more to worry about, and some of the blame rests squarely on their own shoulders.

One of the hottest holiday gift items was, undoubtedly, the satellite radio. And who wouldn't want hundreds of specialized, commercial-free channels with CD-quality sound!

"I think I might still listen to regular radio because it's local and has local music. I would definitely love to have it (satellite radio) though," said John Moore, former Rage 103.7 program director.

OK, so you still have your fans, local radio -- and understandably so. I need to know about local music, news, traffic reports and other various items that I can't get with Sirius or XM. The only problem is the locals just don't get it done in those departments.

If you want local music news, you need to read this publication 'cause you ain't gettin' it on any of the radio stations. Both Real Rock 99.3 and Rage 103.7 claim to cover the local music scene, but do a poor job of doing so (although 99.3 does have more info on its website).

As far as news, 960 KZIM does a great job, and ESPN radio 1220 is one of my favorite stations.

When it comes down to the music, however, nobody really does a great job -- especially when (almost unfairly) compared to satellite.

But in the very crowded country genre, Pure Country C106.1 does the best all-around job, especially considering they have a bluegrass show and do a really good job of not continuously repeating the same songs over and over again (unlike 100.7 KGMO, a classic rock station I have heard the same 37 songs played non-stop for the last 10 years, and half of them are from Lynyrd Skynyrd's greatest hits CD. So that's what was in your pocket all along, 100.7). Mix 96.5 may play the evil top-40 pop music that is the choice of little girls everywhere, but they do a good job with it.

Real Rock 99.3 is the safer choice for best rock station, but I'll go with Rage 103.7 and for better reasons than I'm a "young, dumb kid" that "doesn't appreciate classic rock (my favorite bands are Zeppelin, Sabbath, The Beatles, Radiohead, and Nirvana)." It actually has to do with Rage's variety. Rage can go for a week or more without playing the same music over again.

But Rage has its problems, too. Rage sometimes plays music that is so indie the band that played it doesn't even know what it is.

If you've already switched to satellite, oh well. But not having any stations in your area worth listing to makes it a much easier decision.

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