Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Do Not Stay Tuned

I dumped commercial radio several years ago, and this week I was reminded why. It’s the ads, the copycat “artists,” and the wacky morning deejays.

I like news for the drive into work and music on the way home. The former informs me, while the latter helps me unwind. The past couple weeks my usual morning radio station has been holding its fall fundraiser, which interrupts regular programming. Thursday morning, for the morning commute I switched back to commercial radio.

I have concluded that I would rather keep my mp3 player loaded with plenty of music and NPR podcasts than listen to one more minute of morning commercial radio broadcasts.

The station with the music format I like the most, 102.1 KDGE (The Edge), plays the occasional tune by an independent artist. For the most part, however, they play bands that the recording companies try to make sound like Nickelback or some other wildly successful act. When they aren’t playing that new “music,” they’re typically playing decent songs I already have memorized. That isn’t bad as a rule, but when I finally tune back to commercial radio for a while, I hope to hear something new.

I suspect the dissatisfaction with the music is largely a factor of my age. Sadly, I think I’m to the point that nothing sounds new anymore, and I thrive on fresh content.

Then there are the antics of the morning deejay. On Thursday morning, host Billy Madison called and antagonized a man after a listener called in to give her side of a story. Disguising his voice, Madison yelled at the man, peppered his speech with expletives, and demanded to know why he was not doing what he should. The man got agitated and threatened to call the police. Unlike when I listen to NPR, I was glad I had arrived at work so that I was forced to stop listening to the train wreck of a morning program.

Are there people who really enjoy starting their day with this drivel? An occasional cookie-cutter song accompanied by mindless banter and tasteless, baseless gags? Is it my age or my mind that makes it worthless to me? Both?

For my 23-minute commute home, the lame attempts at entertainment are gone, but I’m lucky if I hear two or three songs among all the ads.

Do you still listen to traditional commercial radio? If not, then what has taken its place?

8 Responses to Do Not Stay Tuned

  1. I really don’t listen to commercial FM much at all any more. Most of the time, I just plug my iPhone into the stereo and listen to music on there. This has left a void in my finding new music, I too hate the Nickelbacking of most rock stations. Where’s our pirate radio stations when we need them.

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  2. I’m pretty much like you Mark.. though I’ve never liked NPR.
    I do listen to talk radio on the way into work mostly for the weather and traffic, and broadcast radio doesn’t do much for me any longer, as I find much of the music is overplayed.
    I guess the normal radio stations are going to push us to satellite radio…!

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  3. If you have an iPhone or blackberry you might want to check radioparadise.com. Great blend of music with no commercials. Completely listener supported.

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  4. And how about commercial TV? Thank goodness for TIVO.

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  5. My music choice runs to classical (and I don’t mean “classic” rock). Try to find THAT on commercial radio! Even on satellite radio there are only two choices, and they play the same selections over and over (think Pachelbel’s Canon and Four Seasons – one at a time).

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  6. I have eschewed commercial radio for pretty much your same reasons, Mark. (I also regularly yell at kids to “Get off my lawn!” while shaking a baseball bat at them.)

    I keep my iPod plugged in for both the morning and evening commutes, and have lately gotten the bug for audiobooks. WAY more engaging than radio, and trumps my song list because somebody’s telling me a story as I drive. It’s awesome.

    On the rare days I forget the iPod or the battery dies on the road, I grudgingly turn the commercial radio on and stab the pre-programmed channels every time a commercial comes on. There is an alarming frequency of all the stations having commercials on at the same time, and I die on the inside a tiny bit every time that happens.

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  7. I listen to commercial radio very rarely, for the same reasons. Lady Gaga is on every third song, and the rest of the groups are as you said, some variance on a theme from Nickelback. Which by the way, is overrated IMO.

    I love to listen to Drive Time Sports in the afternoon that covers the local sports scene, with some national flavor mixed in.

    The rest of the time it’s CD’s. I did the satellite radio thing for awhile, but it gets redundant as well.

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  8. You know I’m an NPR addict. And I’d like to say that those morning DJs were your punishment for changing the station rather than supporting the NPR station you say you love ;)

    Last year, during the midst of the economic meltdown, I couldn’t stand the news anymore…and wasn’t about to listen to commercial radio. So I started picking up audiobooks from the library. Excellent use of your time and no commercials.

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