as we celebrate mediocrity, the boys upstairs want to see…

It was not a good radio station, but it passed for something in a “roll through the dial” kind of way when stuck with radio as the medium, poking in and out of impossibly narrow play lists and conscripted bottom line pursuals.  In this day and age, you can probably “KILL YOUR RADIO” anyway.  I swear by pandora, but someone suggested something else a week or so ago that I didn’t quite catch.

I care more than KUFO deserves anyone to care.  But there it was.  I moved down the fm dial, from the furthest ends with its classical and jazz, on to the more commercial popular fare of KNRK 94.7, on to a stop at that “name format” which swept the nation a few years’ back (Freddy FM, is it?  They still have yet to fill those giant holes to get to compliance for their mantra “We play everything”, in case you care), and then to the spot for KUFO.  Where I heard this big batch of climate change denialism, filling the air with corporate slotted ignorance.  And there it was, I knew what happened.  I winced and shrugged and shook my head, and turned the radio off.  Maybe I should have gone back to classical, jazz, the old familiar classic rock, emo-tinged semi-indy rock.  But it seemed better to turn it off.

It says something that the death of a rather lousy rock station legitimately brings down the quality of the market’s radio stations.  At the time ALPHA BROADCASTING bought a batch of Portland’s stations from CBS, they had the last version of the Rick Emerson show.  It seemed, from the beginning, an ill fit for Emerson, merging his talk show with the needs of morning rock radio dj, coming out of 311 songs with incrdulous “Really?”  Still, these intrusions were not on the level of the compromises he made with “MAX 910″, and in retrospect ENTERCOM did a service by providing an interesting case study in market segmentation hackdom.  For KUFO’s Emerson show, it is notable that I did regularly listen to it, but on something that is not the radio.

But ALPHA axed Emerson.  Too “Cort and Fatboy”, their long-time evening drive time hosts who were respectably creative in a basically uncreative media environment.  Throw in some odds and ends, “The Punk Show” as hosted by Sarah Dylan and a few others, and then load the station with the type of dj with “ATTITUDE” (or more properly, just “‘TUDE”), and there is a certain degeneracy that came with ALPHA’s changes in KUFO.  Clyde Lewis did sneak back in, so that’s something. 

The thing about Alpha, the thing about their press release announcing that they are now broadcasting on the fm dial their “Lars and Beck” am station, and then heralding this as the “FUTURE OF RADIO”, is that they are, depressingly, correct.  Here it is.  The future of radio.  Literally programming something already available on the radio dial.  I doubt that this is a ratings’ goldmine, but it is cheap.  And with that, Alpha is in the prime place to determine this as the future of radio.  I assume they will eventually get around to blowing up one or the other outlet, selling it as spare parts — maybe to a Spanish language company  (ie: do not compete).  Or they’ll find a way to other cheap programming with no real overhead.

I do have a certain sympathy with their annoying djs.  From what I could tell from my very limited listening, they were in the middle of a promotional contest — giving away tickets to a concert for a popular 90s “Nu-Metal” band, the band named with its proper genre definitional mis-spelling after Nebraska’s biggest cash crop.  It seems a noxious thing for a company to do that, allow for the contest to proceed while knowing they’re about to axe the station, and it’s oddly worse than standard.

Hey.  Look.  Fourth comment here shows that someone set up a “Save KUFO” website.  I don’t quite understand why it should be worth saving, even to someone who cares more than I about the format and radio as it exists.  Go cultivate your Pandora song list, and more than quadruple a song selection.

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