Yeah. Let's do this. The last time I ranted about radio, I was taken to task by Bobby Mac and a couple others. More recently, Domink Diamond expressed disappointment for my stance about Radio 965, when I don't recall stating much of anything about that station. Let's see whom I can piss off this time.
Late last week the Herald ran an article regarding Newcap's intervention over Seaside FM's application to the CRTC to increase its power such that people here in Timberlea will have a chance to pick up that fine station run by my friend Wayne Harrett.
I am not going to rehash the article. You can read it for yourself. I do find it passing strange, however, that Newcap would give a flying fig newton about a small community radio station whose desired demographic is nothing that Newcap has ever coveted. One can speculate on why.
Anyway, Frank Cameron in the latest Frank Magazine wrote a pretty good refutation on that article, but made a couple of comments that I feel I must comment on.
He states, quite rightly, that radio stations play the same 800 or 900 songs "ad nauseam". I don't like it any more than he does, or than you do. There are songs that have been played on the radio so much that it would seem to me that every possible drop of entertainment value would have been wrung out of them by now, but they are still played. I am referring to anything by the Eagles, the half dozen Beatles and Rolling Stones songs one hears, and hoary old chest nuts like "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Patio Lanterns". As I like to tell people, when Stevie Nicks' "Edge of Seventeen" was a hit, I WAS seventeen. Literally.
But I digress.
Radio stations have conservative play lists because, whenever they stray from the tried and true and familiar, people call in and complain. The songs I listed above? If the Q stopped playing them, or Jack FM didn't play any of that stuff, or The Wave eschewed that material, listeners to those stations would rebel. As my friend Dan Barton told me last year, there are some songs you can't kill. You might want to take them behind the woodshed and blow them away like Old Yeller, but those songs will just come back from beyond the grave and make it back to the stations' playlists. I don't like it any more than you do.
Frank Cameron also states that today's radio personalities lack personality. He takes issue with the station that recently burned $5000 in cash. It was NOT a station in Halifax; rather, it was a Newcap station in Alberta.
I am not going to defend the burning of cash. I do defend the jocks Frank tars with the broad-brush comment that they have no personality. Disregarding the music they play, I find all of the jocks entertaining in their own way. The Q104 morning show is top-notch, and the Rant Line is a great delight to listen to, even though they have greatly cut back on the cussing. I love that Griff and Caroline are back on the air as much as I hate that it was at the expense of Chris Lawrence's and Lisa Blackburn's jobs. I think I would sell my soul to the devil, sacrifice a goat to Ba'al, or sleep with a porcupine, in order to have Neil Spence's voice. Brad and Peter and Moya make it look so easy. I love Kate Milton's irreverence. That Denyse Sibley and Brad Hart do their respective morning shows by themselves (except for news hits) speaks to their level of talent. Floyd and Chris at Live 105 are forging a new radio show and it is fun to hear them try new things unheard before in Halifax radio. Not all of it will work, but a lot of it will. Christina Fitzpatrick is the new PD at Radio 965, which means I won't be able to hear her on the radio very much any more, which disappoints me because she's a wonderful talent. You haven't lived until you have listened to Courtney Amirault's "Late Lunch" on Live 105. She was born to do that show. It will be a loss when Domink Diamond leaves Radio 965 at the end of this week. Is there a better interviewer than Don Connolly?
I could go on and on, but then this post would be in danger of running as long as the James Taylor interview. I don't want to leave anybody out. Suffice it to say that I listen to pert near every station in the market. Drives Patricia crazy as we make our way to work or our way home at night, as I switch from one station to another, but I do it because I love the medium of radio so much that I am afraid I will miss something neat on a particular station.
I love Frank Cameron. There should be a Frank Cameron shrine at the CBC radio building, which is adjacent to the Don Tremaine shrine, which is cheek-by-jowl with the Pat Connolly shrine. While I agree with his frustration over the Seaside FM power increase delay, I can't agree with him over his stance regarding the jocks who toil in the trenches every day. They work really hard to put out the best product they can, day-by-day. I am in awe of them all. That they are constrained in what they can play, and what they can say, and how they can say it, and can still put a smile on my face or make me think about the point they want to make, just speaks to how good they are. And I know that Frank Cameron knows that because he's been there.
All right. Whom have I ticked off? Bring it on! I can take it. I'm a tough sumbitch.
See you tomorrow.