More Radio Gaga

I turned in and out of this new-fangled thing called “Charlie FM” over this weekend, attempting to figure out what the hell the corporate masters over at Entercom replaced Rick Emerson, Tim Riley, Clyde Lewis (and nationally Phil Hendrie) with.

I did jot down the songs I heard, but I don’t have this log with me. I guess it’s full of surprises. No, I never imagined that I would hear Vanilla Ice on the radio ever again. Alongside Jethro Tull’s ode to animalistic sex. Alongside some vaguely memorable late 80s top 40 pop meledy.

Well… for the curious: The Tim Riley News Hour Memorial Website. The Rick Emerson Show Memorial Website. The Ground Zero Memorial Website. And, Aaron, Geek in the City.

Mesh those all as thou must.

The Charlie aesthetic is spreading. As it turns out, it’s not Entercom as I suggested over here that operates “Jack”, but it is Infinity. Why these corporation don’t just merge and be done with it, I do not know.

I’ve sort of wandered across the AM and FM dials, fixating on the two Entercom stations that have been affected by the dropping of “Max 910” (a terrible station in the sense that the marketing to “Talk Radio for Guys” was heavy-handed and obnoxious):

94.7 is a good station. How did it become a good station, when it used to be an awful station? They started spotlighting local bands a bit (and I imagine that this should be a feature of all “alt rock” format stations), they have radio personalities (djs) that are human and relatable, and focus their energies on the music, they don’t just focus on what the recording industry is pushing for play…

Why is 97.1 Charlie FM (the station that ultimately replaced Rick Emerson and Clyde Lewis… and Phil Hendrie and Imus… and, if you must, Tom Leykis) a godawful station? It is literally a randomized computer play list, a medley of playlists off of soft rock, classic rock (with the hardest stuff thrown out), and various Top 40 stations circa 1980s-early 1990s.

Question: If I wanted to call in to request a song, where would I call in? How about if I want tickets to the latest great new band’s show, or some old band’s reunion show? (Incidentally, I had not heard a single commercial. I did hear inane jibberish of “Our record collection is taller than Mt. Hood” — said by somebody back East. Fill in the blanks for whatever other locales they stick “Charlie” into — “Our record collection is wider than the Grand Canyon”, for example.)

The same thing thing goes for KSSN-910. I hear a rumour that they used to have deejays at those call-letters.

Rick Emerson and Clyde Lewis were replaced by computer autotracks. And Entercom appears to be banking serious money on the “innovative” concept of “Charlie” (Portland being honored as one of the first markets for “Charlie”):

Dear Loyal KISN Listener,
We wanted to let you know about a transition that’s going to take place today with KISN Radio. We’re moving KISN back to its original home dial position on the AM band to the 910 frequency. In its place at 97.1 FM will be a brand new radio station debuting in Portland called 97-1 Charlie FM. We actually think Charlie may very well become one of your favorite stations right along with KISN. Charlie will play thousands of songs (not hundreds like most stations) that were top 40 hits in their day from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.

At the same time, KISN is a very special station with a lot of heritage in our market, and we didn’t want to lose that. We feel like we have the best of both worlds…the ability to launch an exciting new station with nothing like it in Portland, while keeping a great Oldies station on the air that we know you love. We’ll also begin streaming KISN on the internet very soon, so you’ll be able to listen anywhere when you’re on the web as well.

All good and well. But where would one go to learn about the Great Consiracy or hear stupid dialouges on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (or soliquays to Kennewick, Washington?)?

3 Responses to “More Radio Gaga”

  1. Jeff Says:

    My radio only gets two stations. (Apparently there are other stations around here, but when I try to tune in to them, I only hear noise.) The same thing happened with a Seattle Infinity station:

  2. Patrick Says:

    You’re a little hard on Charlie. Kink says they have the largest music collection, but their playlist consists of the same 300 or so songs played over and over again. Charlie’s playlist has around 1500. Finally a good station that doesn’t play Boulevard of Broken Dreams every hour.

  3. Justin Says:

    To each their own, I guess. You’re their audience; I’m not, and my radio dial has just become a little bit narrower. (“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and its cousin “Boulevard of Broken Songs” are good, get crammed in my head, will dispense in good time replaced by something else .) At the moment, by the way, I’m not listening to “KNRK” or “KGON”, based on a lingering sense in the back of my mind that “This company replaced Rick Emerson, Tim Riley, and Clyde Lewis with an randomized shuffling machine.”

    The odd thing is I’m not a terribly huge fan of Rick Emerson — a flawed show that needs a little tightening — but — in addition to him sort of having become a weird package deal with Clyde Lewis and Tim Riley — there it is: he was replaced by “Charlie”… a randomized shuffling machine.

    Enjoy Charlie. Alice Cooper, then Tammy Wynette, and perhaps Theyre coming to take me away by Napoleon XIV one right after the other in an abstract offering.

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