erockster: Horrible Name, Not Entirely Horrible Playlist

Dan Gibson | April 29, 2008 3:00 am

I’m having a hard time deciding how to feel about the new Clear Channel initiative erockster (no caps, please). First of all, anything that comes from Clear Channel is immediately evil, right? I think we’ve cleared that up already. Secondly, the station’s debut in the Coachella area this weekend was hokey to the max, with billboards declaring the station as “pirate radio” with voice-disguised DJs spinning tracks from Coachella acts past and present. Thirdly, a press release dreamed up by CC’s marketing execs in San Antonio that declares erockster “breaks all the rules” isn’t helping any cool quotient the station might have. (And the city that isn’t exactly on my good side right now, anyway.) But when you look at the playlist, you realize that the format may not be not the worst idea.

erockster’s site provides an opportunity to listen to the station, watch videos and read crappy blogs–nearly the same content as every damn site on the internet these days, complete with social networking aspect, obvs. But the playlist is large and allegedly expanding every week, and it features the sort of music that’s in my iTunes playlist already. So is it bad form to complain?

Clear Channel Radio today officially launched erockster – a vast collection of on-air, online and on-demand content for music fans of all genres. The collection will reach some 5000 songs over the next month, adding 1000 songs per week. From music to blogs to a social network and user-created content, erockster is created for 13- to 34-year-olds with hopes of appealing to music lovers of all ages.

Helmed and produced/inspired by Eric Szmanda, along with his childhood friend and business partner Tyler Malin, erockster brings a remarkable level of listener involvement and interaction. Listeners can sign on to, register their preferences, and influence the content that erockster features.

“Our main focus will be on quality and we’re going to give a lot of bands that don’t have a chance to be heard on the radio that opportunity,” said Szmanda, best known to audiences as Greg Sanders on ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’. “We want to be playing everything from indie rock to hip-hop to classic rock to soul to dance rock.”

The wildly diverse group of artists already being featured include Radiohead, the Ramones, My Morning Jacket, the Rolling Stones, Grandmaster Flash, Johnny Cash, Hot Chip, Prince, the Beatles, T Rex, Al Green, Jane’s Addiction,, Daft Punk, Pink Floyd, the Kinks, Bjork, the Who, Arcade Fire, Ray Charles, the Verve, Air, Otis Redding, Pharcyde, Velvet Underground, the Clash, Pavement, the Roots, The Police, David Bowie, and Kraftwerk.

The station will occupy the HD-2 slot for alternative rock stations already within Clear Channel’s grasp (do you have your HD radio yet? I hear they’re all the rage) and apparently be granted its own two-hour blocks on FM stations as well.

Wait, did they say Pink Floyd? Forget it, down with erockster and the creep from CSI running the thing.

erockster Breaks All the Rules [Business Wire] erockster [Official site]