After an early-’00s format flip to hip-hop that mirrored former alt-rock radio strongholds around the country switching to urban, country, or Latin programming, WPHH-FM in Connecticut has brought back the Pearl Jam two-fers, because “Hartford has long been well served with Top 40 and adult-contemporary stations but hasn’t had an alternative-rock option” for four years. Coolfer rightly notes that it’s tough to gauge whether this is indeed a trend, but as industry types worriedly watch hip-hop sales figures decline, certain stations around the country are slowly re-embracing modern rock. So while this might be a small part of a potentially larger story, one aspect of the WPHH-FM format change did give us pause.
The change happened with little fanfare last Thursday after comedian Steve Harvey’s nationally syndicated show wrapped for the morning. The station went to a commercial break, returning with the song that would trumpet its new direction: The Clash’s “This Is Radio Clash.”
C’mon, it’s a least little ironic that a Clash song–and one of the funkiest Clash songs to boot–was used to herald a radio station’s shift away from African-American music and back to pasty alt-rock. You know, given all the hubub about a certain recent New Yorker essay.