May 29, 2008

Finally, The Rock has come back to New York?

On the way back from Providence this weekend, I saw a billboard announcing a brand new rock radio station in New York City. I've been bitching for years and years about how boring this radio market has been and how ashamed it should be for it's lack of competition. This is one of the largest markets in the whole god damned universe, and it only has 1 current rock station, 1 classic rock station, and 1 oldies station. And they just keep playing the same shit over and over driving millions of New Yorkers to their portable media storage devices.

The radio used to be a cool place to discover new music, but now it's just the place to go when you want to make sure you can still hear Sublime or Linkin Park every single hour. Or if you're in Philly, you can hear Pearl Jam every 5 minutes. But at least Philly has two rock stations. And so does Boston (at least it did when I was last paying attention in the early '00's).

Finally, someone has heard my cry and fired everyone at CD 101.9 (the smooth jazz station) and started restocking with some people that know a thing or two about rock. It's apparently been around since February, but no one told me until this past weekend. I've been glued to it in the car ever since. (All right, I was until I bought all those new CD's yesterday--sue me). The station is called WRXP--the Rock Experience--and has a ton of variety and not a lot of talking. A quick scan of public opinion on the internet and I see some complain it is too much variety to sound like a cohesive station. Sure, after years of a stalwart like KRock (WXRK)'s formula, I can see that if Audioslave doesn't follow Rage Against the Machine, someone's going to get suspicious.
So tonight I've decided to run a little experiment and see if this RXP is going to give KRock a run for its money (and hopefully, a kick in its ass). I will be monitoring all three stations at once, but only truely listening to one at a time. When I song I like or am interested in comes on, that station gets points for the duration of the track, and first crack at the next set of points. I may be aware that another good song is on another station, but I'm not going to switch unless I'm bored with the current one. Since RXP throws in a lot of classic alternative, I've decided to add the classic rock station Q104.3 (WAXQ) to the fray. 104.3 plays a lot of what's considered modern classic nowadays anyway, so I won't be surprised if all three of these stations end up playing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Under the Bridge" simultaneously.

8:00 PM
WAXQ - Some shit by Led Zeppelin
WRXP - "People are People" - Depeche Mode
WXRK - "Fell on Black Days" - Soundgarden
Easy one. I will never tire of that song.

8:06 PM
WAXQ - Still Led Zzzzzzzzz
WRXP - Talkset... "Salute Your Solution" - The Rancoteurs
WXRK - "Paralyzer" - Finger 11
Though I'm not exactly a Rancoteurs fan, I tend to not trust anything relatively new that KRock plays.

8:10 PM
WAXQ - "Misty Mountain Hop" - Fucking Led Zeppelin Again
WRXP - "Runnin' With the Devil" - Van Halen
WXRK - "Janie's Got a Gun" - Aerosmith
Ok, either it's a Led Zeppelin block, or 104.3 does this every night, which sort of throws my results off.

8:13 PM
WAXQ - Still getting the Led out.
WRXP - "Get Off This" - Cracker
WXRK - Still Aerosmith
RXP actually just let that Cracker completely fade out without interruption by a douchebag DJ. Whether it's out of inexperience, or out of respect, I am extremely impressed by this.

8:18 PM
WAXQ - Commercials
WRXP - "Need You Tonight" - INXS
WXRK - Talkset... Commercials
I am very active radio listener, and I refuse to stop for commercials. I will not hesitate to keep switching until I hear music (and sometimes that includes jingles).

8:21 PM
WAXQ - "Beast of Burden" - The Rolling Stones
WRXP - Commercials
WXRK - Commercials

8:24 PM
WAXQ - Still The Rolling Stones
WRXP - Commercials
WXRK - "One" - U2
I can really only stand about 3 minutes of The Rolling Stones.

8:30 PM
WAXQ - "Bad to the Bone" - George Thorogood
WRXP - "Don't Look Back" - Boston
WXRK - "Rise Above This" - SeetherIn all honesty, this is the point where I would have completely shut the radio off, but I'll give George a shot in hopes that the song is almost over. Plus I think The Destroyers is one of the coolest band names ever.

8:31 PM
WAXQ - Still Thorogood
WRXP - "Don't Look Back" - Boston
WXRK - "Rise Above This" - Seether
I realize Georgie is only on his 15th solo and flip away.

8:33 PM
WAXQ - "Casey Jones" - Grateful Dead
WRXP - still Boston
WXRK - "Everlong" - Foo Fighters
Can't stand any more Boston either.

8:37 PM
WAXQ - "Casey Jones" - Grateful Dead
WRXP - "Slave to Love" - Bryan Ferry
WXRK - "All My Love" - Led Zeppelin
Ok, I admit I'm a pussy. I like this Led Zeppelin song. And I even sit through the keyboard solo. And the bridge. And the key change...

8:42 PM
WAXQ - "Freewill" - Rush
WRXP - "Runaway Train" - Soul Asylum
WXRK - "One" - Metallica
If I were in my car, I'd be playing fierce air drums.

8:50 PM
WAXQ - "Touch Me" - The Doors
WRXP - "One Tree Hill" - U2
WXRK - Commercials
Woozy from all the rocking out, The KRock guy easily tricked me with a short talkset that went immediately into a commercial, but I quickly recovered in time for one of my favorite Doors songs.

8:53 PM
WAXQ - "Don't You" - Simple Minds
WRXP - "Strawberry Fields Forever" - The Beatles
WXRK - Commercials
This was a case where I probably do like The Beatles song better, but saw no reason to switch off Simple Minds.

8:57 PM
WAXQ - "Layla" - Derek & The Dominos (I prefer the second half)
WRXP - No idea what is on. A lot of fucking noise.
WXRK - "When I Come Around" - Green Day
I may be tired of Green Day being on the radio, but I prefer the long coda of "Layla" to the fast first half.

9:00 PM
WAXQ - Still "Layla"
WRXP - "Laid" - James
WXRK - "Interstate Love Song" - Stone Temple Pilots
"Layla" still wasn't at the good part.

9:03 PM
WAXQ - "Losing My Religion" - REM
WRXP - "Gasoline" - Sheryl Crow
WXRK - "Runnin' With the Devil" - Van Halen
Sorry, just heard "Runnin' With the Tent Poles" an hour ago on RXP.

9:08 PM
WAXQ - "Long Cool Woman" - Hollies
WRXP - "Starman" - David Bowie
WXRK -"Discipline" - Nine Inch Nails
Another moment when I would have just shut this production down. I flip until something good comes on. Therefore, no winners.

9:11 PM
WAXQ - "Jump" - Van Halen
WRXP - "Starman" - David Bowie
WXRK - "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" - Aerosmith

9:15 PM
WAXQ - Talkset... Commercials
WRXP - "Dig In" - Lenny Kravitz
WXRK - Talkset... Commercials
I'd rather listen to Carol Miller's smoky talkset than this Schwenker douche on KRock. I would also rather eat my own shit than listen to Lenny Kravitz on purpose.

9:16 PM
WAXQ - Commercials
WRXP - "You Got Lucky" - Tom Petty
WXRK - Commercials
Another near silent fadeout. Unheard of.

9:19 PM
WAXQ - "Bron-y-aur Stomp" - Led Zeppelin
WRXP - "Man-sized Wreath" - REM
WXRK - Commecials
Eh, new REM. A very weird track. A lot of dissonance in some parts, but a lot of nice harmonies in others. And short enough to listen to the whole thing.

9:22 PM
WAXQ - "Brain Damage/Eclipse" - Pink Floyd
WRXP - "Basket Case" - Green Day
WXRK - "On A Plain" - Nirvana
It's cute when KRock pulls out what it thinks is a Deep Cut. I really can't get enough of "On A Plain" though.

9:25 PM
WAXQ - Hour 3 of "Brain Damage/Eclipse" - Pink Floyd
WRXP - "How Many More Times" - Led Zeppelin
WXRK - "Beds are Burning" - Midnight Oil
How is KRock is winning this contest?

9:30 PM
WAXQ - "Locomotive Breath" - Jethro Tull
WRXP - "How Many More Times" - Led Zeppelin
WXRK - "Life is Beautiful" - Sixx A.M.
I start picking my nose and hope Led Zep is almost over. Please end soon. Please. Please. Oh my god. Who could possibly sit through a Led Zeppelin concert without assassinating Jimmy Page?

9:33 PM
WAXQ - "Time Of Your Life" - Green Day
WRXP - "Somebody Told Me" - The Killers
WXRK - "Iron Man" - Black Sabbath
Oh hell no. I didn't just sit through three minutes of Led Zeppelin live to hear the fucking Killers? I wish The Destroyers would fight The Killers to death.

9:39 PM
WAXQ - "Jailbreak" - Thin Lizzy
WRXP - "Message of Love" - The Pretenders
WXRK - "Self Esteem" - The Offspring
Unfortunately, just catching the end of the Pretenders' tune... which they again let fully fade out!

9:40 PM
WAXQ - "Rock and Roll All Nite" - Kiss
WRXP - "Dani California" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
WXRK - "Self Esteem" - The Offspring
I can handle "Rock and Roll All Nite" only for as many choruses as it takes for a different station to put a better song on.

9:44 PM
WAXQ - Talkset... Commercials
WRXP - "Dani California" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
WXRK - Talkset... Commercials
Nothing better came on, but oooh, 75 degrees tomorrow!
9:46 PM
WAXQ - "Night of a Thousand Stars" Phil Lesh and Friends
WRXP - "Closer to Free" - Bodeans
WXRK - Commercials
Where do I know this song? Is this a TV Theme song? (Ok, I had to look it up.) It's fucking Party of Five.

9:49 PM
WAXQ - Commercials
WRXP - "Foxey Lady" - Jimi Hendrix
WAXQ - "Night of a Thousand Stars" Phil Lesh and Friends
If I didn't have the Internet in front of me for this experiment, I would have spent the next two hours not listening to radio and instead still trying to figure out where I knew that Bodeans song from.

9:50 PM
WAXQ - "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" - Creedence Clearwater Revival
WRXP - "Foxey Lady" - Jimi Hendrix
WXRK - "Learn to Fly" - Foo Fighters
"Foxey Lady" is one Jimi Hendrix song that I am totally sick of hearing.

9:54 PM
WAXQ - "Time of the Season" - The Zombies
WRXP - Commercials
WXRK - "Patience" - Guns N' Roses
Whenever I hear "Patience" or "Civil War" or "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" I immediately jump off the train.

9:57 PM
WAXQ - "Going to California" - Led Zeppelin
WRXP - "Time To Pretend" - Mgmt
WXRK - "Patience" - Guns N' Roses
Ok, Ok! There are like 3 or 4 Led Zeppelin songs I like. There are another 3 maybe that I can stand on a good day. This is one that I can stand. Plus, Mgmt are from Brooklyn and therefore, too hip for me.

10:00 PM

In my very unscientific survey, I've discovered that KRock has really got a hold on me. Still. In two hours of programming, I listened to KRock for nearly an hour (53), and both Q104 (31) and RXP (34) for just over a half hour each. The number of different songs I listened to each station is remarkably close, but the ones on KRock were often in the 5- to 6- (and in the case of Metallica, 8-) minute range while the other stations were most frequently only 3 minutes. When it comes to talksets, I'm personally biased against the KRock jocks and will almost always automatically change. The folks over at RXP are not terribly energetic or big-voiced, but at least they sound like they care about what they're playing. The DJ's on 104.3 are typically trustworthy sounding adults, and therefore, I believe them when they tell me the weather report.

Again, this survey was extremely unscientific. First, it was apparently 104.3's time to bombard us with copious amounts of Led Zeppelin, of which I am not a fan. Granted, all the stations played Led Zeppelin, but certainly not with the ferocity of 104.3. Second, I listened to the three stations online for convenience sake, so they may not have been operating with the same realtime delay. A few seconds here or there could have made a huge difference in my selections. Also, I limited my pool to only three different stations operating out of NYC and competing in an overlapping format, but in practice, I expand my choices to include a Commercial-Free College Metal station, an Oldies station, a top 40 piece of crap (that yes, I still find myself occasionally listening to) and a smaller AAA station that's located a little further west. The time of day, my mood, what I've already listened to today... all these things factor into my station flipping habits, and believe me, I'm a really impatient member of the radio audience. When my mp3 is working (which it is not), I don't even put on the radio for a second. I've even regressed back to the barbaric use of Compact Discs just to avoid today's commercial radio market.

Regardless of how inapplicable my fact-finding mission has been to the rest of the world, it can not be argued that more competition means more choices and more music. Ok, maybe it just means more fucking Led Zeppelin per hour. Either way, I hope the new kid on the block forces these other lazy stations to get off their asses and stop sucking up to 14 and 54 year old boys.


General Dowd said...

This is precisely why I haven't bought a Led Zeppelin cd since 1990. It's like buying a Wings dvd if you already have TNT. How is KRock winning the contest? With fucking MIDNIGHT OIL, friend!

PS - Dear Blogger, could you bury the comments section any DEEPER?

teh Beauty said...

How do we sleep while our beds are burning? I'll tell you how with whiskey and downers; that's how!

Ro-Beast Rollie said...

Speaking of Midnight Oil, Bald men in general, General...

Matt Pinfield hosts the WRXP Morning Show.

Rachel said...

Hilarious, my dear. I forgive you for banning me from calling you until after 10PM. I like that you're a man of science.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go schedule a cage match between the Killers & the Destroyers.

Mork, from Charlestown said...

8:42 is exactly why I hate the radio now. It's the tease when all three stations hit you with the best they're going to play all night... How do you choose? Then the songs all end which leads to a short period of cursing until you settle on NPR to finish the drive home.

And I'll put $50 on the Destroyers...They may be old, but they've been running with Thorogood. What doesn't kill you, ya know.

Master_Gio said...

Good God, that was some funny ass shit! The radio blows....

Stick to internet radio! is awesome!

Alan said...

I know it's a lot heavier than the other stations, but how about WSOU? You do live in Jersey so Seton Hall Pirate Radio is loud and clear on your dial. I wonder how it would have affected your survey if Melvins came on WSOU while the Stones and Led Zepplin were playing on the other channels.

feeney said...

Thats why i listen to sports talk radio