Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against digital radio. We live in an age in which we can order our media in any flavour, size, shape, and political leaning. There is nothing like two hours of pure singer/songwriters un-interrupted if that is what you are in the mood for. Also, apps such as Songza allow you to find playlists that are unique and fun, i.e., everything from Angry Alternative Workout to, Show Tunes to Clean out your Closet to-awesome!!!
That said, however, there is something about radio that has a home and that feels like home where you can actually picture the D.J., sweating it out in their studio (you can even go to their studio-it’s in your town!!!) and they talk about things that are quirkily specific to your patch of geography. For example, I grew up with CHOM FM in Montreal. There were big personalities like Dough Pringle in the early days and Terry Dimonte later on. They would play songs that lasted two minutes and songs that lasted 25.In the 60’s they had an hour dedicated specifically to spirituality (chanting and all). Their call song was inspired by a spaghetti western (Sean, Sean, became CHOM, CHOM) and they never missed a Habs report!!! More recently I was up at a cottage in Muskoka listening to a station that featured a dock weather report and had ads for fishing bait and local fruit and veggie markets.. Also, CBC radio Two does a pretty good job of keeping the vibe light and fun, playing a good mix of new and old artists and Canadian and international ones.
What I can’t stomach, however (and these seem to litter the airwaves these days) are the mall store franchise stations with the same sounding announcers and same redundant and reductive formulas such as only morning men, never morning women-who wants to hear a female on your way to work???!!!There is also a loop of the same 10 songs as though the programmer is being held hostage somewhere. And finally, there are ads that are so painfully bad, that they make you wish for PVR on your radio.
There’s a new presence on the airwaves, Indie 88 which so far seems to be placing the focus on good music
and giving airplay to emerging Canadian artists. Hopefully it will remain heavy on the tunes and light on the inane talk that plagues so many other stations.The Canadian music scene is strong and the talent is enormous -it really can just speak for itself. Only time will tell if it can retain a sense of place, a sense of fun and a flavour that is all its own.