Radio Switch In D.C. Proves That The World Is Still Collapsing Around Our Ears

Jan 25th, 2007 // 9 Comments

radio.jpgAnother day, another station trying to cut costs by using its lead engineer’s iPod as its “program director.” From a Washington Post blog:

A moment after WGMS died, something called George 104 launched, billing itself as music of “the 70s, 80s and whatever we want.”

“Change is difficult, change is hard, change is tough,” the opening announcement said. “But when you look back, change is always good.” After reeling off a long list of famous Georges (Harrison, Gershwin, Clooney, Takai, Allen, Burns, Michael, Jetson and of course Washington), the announcer said the new station will be “all about the music. One minute, you’ll flash back to high school, then college, then you’re chasing the kids.” Ugh.

The station started off with Sheryl Crow’s “Change Will Do You Good,” followed by a mix of mostly 80s hits, mostly rock tunes, with the occasional bit of 70s stuff, such as the Bee Gees’ “More Than a Woman.”

While we’re sad that yet another classical station has bit the dust (the flophouse clock radio is tuned to the New York classical outlet, because its morning patter is relatively Paris-joke-free) we’re also chuckling to ourselves grimly: Another radio station is sticking itself in July 1989, and marketing itself as “regular-guy music” (“George”? Because it’s in Washington, right?) while keeping its playlist safe as milk. (The Post‘s Marc Fisher, who provided the above report, said that there are now four stations in the D.C. area playing this faceless blend of cubicle music.) There’s something about the George/Jack/Bro branding of this new lite-radio breed that particularly sticks in our craw; maybe it’s the fact that the “we” in the station’s tagline seems to be an army of 30something bank managers, or maybe it’s the idea of using Sheryl Crow as a clarion call for anything. Either way, this narcissistic hybridization of the “lite” format adds up to yet another way for radio to continue its fade into oblivion, playing yesterday’s musical wallpaper to an ever-dwindling audience.

Classical Carousel: Shakeup In D.C. Radio [Raw Fisher, via WFMU's Beware Of The Blog]

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  1. Audif Jackson Winters III

    Listen to Sirius, and such things will never concern you again.

  2. PengIn

    My theory is that there are people who like crap. I can back this up with 31 years of research.

  3. MConnor

    Evey part of this post is spot on, except for the loss of a classical station part. The Classical music that was played on WGMS has moved to WETA, which used to be a news/talk/NPR outlet.

    I listened to “George” for about 10 minutes today. Hearing Devo was pleasant enough, but once I heard Peter Cetera’s opening warbles on “If You Leave Me Now” I vowed “never again” to myself and enjoyed the (non Simon & Garfunkel) sounds of silence for the rest of my drive home.

  4. Chris Molanphy

    If you guys are interested – it’s now nearly two summers old, but I did a blog post explaining, defending and pillorying the Jack format.

  5. VinylMine

    I live in DC and yes, this is bad since now Tiny Jewel Hut and the local Mortuaries will have to run TV ads during Monk reruns.

    But the good news is that we got our commercial-free NPR classical music station back as part of the (rather odd-don’t ask) deal.

    Now if only someone would bump of U of MD’s radio signal, like would be good in radioland, DC.

  6. mike a

    “Jack,” “Max,” “George”…why do all these stations have to have smug first names?

  7. iamlovebot

    Anyone else think “Change is natural, change is fun, change is best when it’s one-on-one” when they read the first part of the quote from the announcement?

    No? Just me? OK.

  8. RedMetal

    Our current crapbag outlet here in Santa Fe NM is “(t)he new 94.7 High Altitude Rock . . . the rock of today with the classics of yesterday.” The promos are stupid – “music for your lifestyle of skiing, fishing, the office, hanging out.” Right now, I’m happy just listening to the heater fan and the oven warm up – commercial free.

  9. iantenna

    in the bay area we’ve got max-fm with the voice of max being elaine’s boss from seinfeld. to be honest i’ll take the shit they play over the recently lost oldies station kfrc. kfrc in the last 10 years was strictly motown, james brown and the beatles (which is fine if you ever play anything other than “i can’t help myself,” “i feel good,” and “help”). at least max-fm has a diverse playlist.

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