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First they came for WBCN and I said nothing...
May 19, 2012 9:54 AM   Subscribe

WFNX is D-E-D, dead. The last remaining Boston indie major market radio station, WFNX, has been sold to Clear Channel Communications. 17 full- and part-time staffers, including almost all the current radio personalities, have been laid off. The station will continue to operate for a few months with a skeleton crew until the FCC approval and changeover.

Stephen Mindich, the station's owner, sent a memo announcing the sale and blaming the extended recession as the culprit. The intellectual property of the station is retained (the name, music library, etc.), with only the frequency, 101.7, being sold. In an interview with WBUR, Mindich leaves the door open for a potential Internet radio future for WFNX. WBCN has followed a similar path. Former long-time staffer Sharon Brody comments.

Clear Channel released a statement including "This was a great opportunity to expand our footprint and our listenership in Boston" — Clear Channel already owns four major market stations in the Boston area.

Why you should care about this sale. Is this another nail in the coffin of indie rock?
posted by clone boulevard (72 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is a tragedy for Boston radio. Clear Channel might as well be the iPod of a sad middle-aged accountant who has never heard music outside of an elevator.
posted by xingcat at 9:59 AM on May 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


FNX was always the best of the commercial radio stations. Though Boston is lucky to have some serious college stations.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:01 AM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honest question: who on earth listens to terrestrial music radio when they aren't in a car?
posted by silby at 10:01 AM on May 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


I still listen to broadcast radio but never commercial stations.
posted by octothorpe at 10:05 AM on May 19, 2012


I hadn't listened to 'FNX since they added Limp Bizkit and Coldplay to their playlist, but their music was a lifeline to teenage me. First time I heard good local bands (like Tribe, O Positive, Big Dipper, and Think Tree) was on 'FNX. Given their recent history, the Clear Channel buyout feels like watching a beloved relative get removed from life support.

.
posted by pxe2000 at 10:07 AM on May 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Nice title, though I would have gone with "This station's gone to heaven"

> Honest question: who on earth listens to terrestrial music radio when they aren't in a car?

WMBR - 88.1
WERS - 88.9
WBUR - 90.9
WMFO - 91.5
WHRB - 95.3
WZBC!!!!!! - 90.3

But then again, we marry homosexuals and did health care reform years ago.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:10 AM on May 19, 2012 [20 favorites]


"17 full- and part-time staffers, including almost all the current radio personalities, have been laid off. "

It's stuff like this that makes the narrative of businesses and business owners as "job creators" particularly odious to me. I just wish someone would take to the airways to point out the hypocrisy in that corporate apologist mantra...

...oh... I see what you did that major media conglomerates... well played.
posted by midmarch snowman at 10:10 AM on May 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


> Honest question: who on earth listens to terrestrial music radio when they aren't in a car?

Seriously. I listen to vinyl records, own a cathode-ray television with rabbit ears, rent DVDs, and read paper books, and even I'm like..."Radio? Get with the 21st century, yo."
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:11 AM on May 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


ugh. fix to "what you did there"
posted by midmarch snowman at 10:11 AM on May 19, 2012


"who on earth listens to terrestrial music radio when they aren't in a car?"

Not only did I dump my TV in the 90s and stop listening to radio in the 70s, I also no longer drive.
posted by Ardiril at 10:16 AM on May 19, 2012


Honest question: who on earth listens to terrestrial music radio when they aren't in a car?

I don't, but you know what? The mean time spent in a car per weekday is almost three hours. That's a lot of opportunity to hear radio. And even so, the same link asserts that in-car listening makes up only a third of the radio audience.

And I'll say this. I write articles in reasonably high-profile on-line publications and I also sometimes go on the radio. When I publish something online, a few people tell me they saw it. When I'm on the radio, a lot of people tell me they heard it. Radio may not exist in the future, but it still exists now.
posted by escabeche at 10:16 AM on May 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


You know what? As much as it sucks to lose an awesome radio station, the whole premise of radio is quickly becoming irrelevant. On my iPhone's homescreen I have a Radio folder. It contains Pandora, Last.fm, TuneIn Radio and Spotify.

I have Pandora if I want a genre specific playlist. I have Last.fm so I can listen to their artist based radio. I have TuneIn for when I want any online radio station on the planet (including the radio stations back home in Australia for when I'm feeling homesick) and I have Spotify for when I want to just put on any album.

Honest question: who on earth listens to terrestrial music radio when they aren't in a car?

Even within a car. Ubiquitous A2DP/AUX and CDMA/UMTS/LTE is quickly making the whole dial irrelevant. 88MHz? 880MHz is the new FM.
posted by Talez at 10:17 AM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just in time for me to move to greater Boston. Boo.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:20 AM on May 19, 2012


I can't imagine that any alt / indie commercial station can stay viable in the Northeast or Chicago. People who like alt / indie only listen to the radio in the car, the people who like alt/indie in those places those people don't spend much time driving.

You should be able to keep at least one station alive where there's a criticial mass of driving alt/indie fans -- LA of course, Dallas, Minneapolis, etc.
posted by MattD at 10:20 AM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I definitely do. www.pointfm.com not only plays music I'm interested in, but also does a lot of coverage of items of local interest. In fact just yesterday they had a morning interview with the executive director of Washington County Youth Services Bureau (also a friend) about his first ever fundraising silent auction event last evening.

In fact, the only radio I do listen to is The Point (produced out of my home town) and VPR (also with a strong component of Vermont programming). I wouldn't bother if my only purpose to hearing radio was the music, but I listen because it is a way to help stay connected to my local community.

I think more of you would listen to radio more often if it was bringing that connection as well.
posted by meinvt at 10:21 AM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is a tragedy for Boston radio.

No, it's not. Anyone adept enough to be a Ramones fan graduated to online/offline radio a long time ago. That Clear Channel exists and is able to operate with monopolistic impunity is a testament to that.
posted by jsavimbi at 10:34 AM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are a lot of people that listen to the radio at work. I know Mrs Agogo is never happy when "the wrong person" gets to choose what station plays in her office. I still listen to lots of music on the radio while working, but most of it via the internet and TuneIn (KEXP out of Seattle, WFMU in Jersey, BBC6, and alternative web station CHIRP). Although those are a different animal than the world Clear Channel deals in. At least for now.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:35 AM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I saw this in the Boston Business Journal this week, and it made me sad. It's not that I really listened to 'FNX. When I was young I listened to 'ZOU (which was 94.5 FM before it became the hip-hop JAM'N; back in the day, it was the first Boston station that I heard play Guns N' Roses), and later mostly 'AAF until I got into jazz and discovered Eric Jackson on 'GBH.

But 'FNX was part of the landscape. It was Boston radio. Even if I wasn't a frequent listener to that particular station, I liked being a listener in a market that included some diverse and individual stations. It's like having a favorite store: Maybe you don't shop at the one across town, but you appreciate it existing because of the symbiosis that benefits your store in a variety of ways.

So this news made me sad. Then I thought back three years, to when 'BCN went off the air. I'll quote my comment from that thread: In its final days, 'BCN went back to its roots and played the stuff you wished you always heard on radio. "It didn't make you miss what 'BCN has been in recent years, but it sure as hell made you wish those four days could last forever."

I'm sure 'FNX last week was better than what Clear Channel will broadcast, no question. But it's not as if last week, they were playing all kinds of deep tracks and undiscovered bands and all the stuff that our collective idealized FM rock station is playing in our imaginations. It's a shame and it's sad, but it's like when somebody dies of old age. It was time and you can't really feel all that indignant.
posted by cribcage at 10:41 AM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Honest question: who on earth listens to terrestrial music radio when they aren't in a car?

FWIW, the internet stations I tend to listen to the most are the live streams of terrestrial stations. And, yes, we do play an actual radio around the house, and especially when I'm working in the garage.
(This nerd conceit that everyone and their brother is, naturally!, doing exactly as they do really needs to die.)


Bummer about WFNX. I think "footprint" is about right re:Clearchannel. A big, heavy, jackbooted footprint of corporate mediocrity.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:43 AM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine is one of those part-timers getting laid off, and through him I've met a bunch of the other folks, so I've gotten indirectly exposed to a lot of the employees mourning the end, via Facebook. They really, obviously did all feel like a family, and very loyal to the station; I don't imagine there will be that kind of heartfelt mourning when Clearchannel someday goes down.

I'm pretty sad, myself; I'm in the car a lot and listen to the radio almost all the time I'm in it. Boston-area radio just got a lot worse.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:53 AM on May 19, 2012


No, it's not. Anyone adept enough to be a Ramones fan graduated to online/offline radio a long time ago. That Clear Channel exists and is able to operate with monopolistic impunity is a testament to that.

I don't agree at all. Sure, I listen to some streaming stations. Useful at work. But the benefit that local radio provides is the "local" part. Supporting local bands, bands that you can go out and see in a local club several times a month. Talking about local events. Interviewing local personalities. We are all global citizens, sure, and I fully embrace that. But radio ties us to our local communities in ways that streaming radio cannot. And certainly Clear Channel corporate crap cannot. I never understood why the Fred and Ethel and Mike stations worked out at all, except possibly in office settings (dentist offices, etc.) where maybe you don't want any color at all. But me? I like to hear knowledgeable people talk to me about stuff I'm interested in.
posted by clone boulevard at 10:56 AM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


oops, mislinked -- "teenage me", rather
posted by pxe2000 at 10:58 AM on May 19, 2012


I was thinking of putting together links to make a post about this sale. Thanks for putting together a good post.

I've been listening to FNX since the mid 1980's. I remember back when they were a scrappy young station that didn't have the clout to give away red sox tickets for the pennant playoff, so instead they gave away TVs. When I moved to Seattle, back before radio stations were doing live streaming, I got occasional streaming FNX by piggybacking on a friend who'd set up a radio-to-internet hookup so he could listen up in NH.

Okay, there were some 'what the fuck were you thinking years' - when I moved back to Boston in 2001, they had hired some music director from WAAF and had gone into a phase of angry noisy dick waving yank-and-crank crap, but they got over that and got good again.

They had a gay community show for years, in a time when commercial radio no longer really did that kind of thing, a jazz show on sundays, and other things that interrupted their usual format and fed radio niches. They pushed local music and helped make the Boston music scene more awesome.

But I still remember things like sitting in my room, listening to FNX, and they'd play something I'd never heard before and I had to stop and just listen. I'd never have heard of some of my favorite artists without FNX. WFNX isn't quite an old friend, but they're an old buddy I keep running into and hanging out with and enjoying spending time with. They've had a prominent spot on my radio presets at home and in the car for as long as I've had cars with radios.

Fuck you, clear channel.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:58 AM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Honest question: who on earth listens to terrestrial music radio when they aren't in a car?

I listen to WERS and WUMB in the shower pretty regularly. Sometimes WHRB and WMFO.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:03 AM on May 19, 2012


But even though I haven't listened to WFNX much in years, it's still a big loss for the Boston radio scene. Also, stupid Clear Channel. Stupid, stupid Clear Channel.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:04 AM on May 19, 2012


Honest question: who on earth listens to terrestrial music radio when they aren't in a car?

A zillion blue-collar workers in warehouses, and a zillion office workers where having a not-loud music source as part of the common space but where listening through headphones or playing individual music streams is discouraged.

Just because you don't do something, don't assume others don't. There are myriad of lives being lived in myriad of ways, and radio plays an important part in a lot of people's lives.
posted by hippybear at 11:15 AM on May 19, 2012 [14 favorites]


...where having a not-loud music source as part of the common space IS OKAY...
posted by hippybear at 11:16 AM on May 19, 2012


This reminds me of the day the office telex machine was taken away.
posted by humanfont at 11:38 AM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honest question: who on earth listens to terrestrial music radio when they aren't in a car?

I do when I'm puttering in the workshop... when my hands are covered in paint, glue, or worse I don't really want to be fiddling with an MP3 player (or getting it covered with sawdust). The thing about having radio on in the background versus Pandora/Spotify/iTunes shuffle is that it's a bit like having some company. WFNX was one of the few stations I would listen to because they weren't completely soulless in that trademark Clearchannel way.
posted by usonian at 11:46 AM on May 19, 2012


This is absolutely terrible.
posted by sweetkid at 12:03 PM on May 19, 2012




This is a tragedy for Boston radio.

No, it's not. Anyone adept enough to be a Ramones fan graduated to online/offline radio a long time ago. That Clear Channel exists and is able to operate with monopolistic impunity is a testament to that.



Kids with only radios in their homes or people that work in workshops with an old fm radio or old people broaden their horizons w/o internet or any serendipity just got squashed that little bit more.

Elitist much?
posted by lalochezia at 12:12 PM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Put me in the "This is a massive bummer" category. While I don't drive that much, I've been live streaming WFNX for years. Where they the most cutting edge radio station humanly possible? No, but they were light years ahead of everyone else in the area. And I'll be the first to admit that I was more than happy to rely on the current DJs to point me at some great new music. While Pandora is fine, it really isn't stretching my musical taste too often.

And, of course, I just moved back to the Boston area and they get shut down. I feel bad for the various folks who've been on WFNX for years - Julie Kramer/Henry Santoro/Adam12 and a few others. I hope they land on their feet sometime soon, but what's Plan B when you've been a DJ for 25 years? Law School?

Does Boston really need a Clear Channel station that's broadcasting some repeated/recorded/regurgitated drivel from Jesusland? It's back to college radio for me.
posted by Farce_First at 12:20 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Just because you don't do something, don't assume others don't. There are myriad of lives being lived in myriad of ways, and radio plays an important part in a lot of people's lives.

Fair enough. The last time I regularly listened to heard terrestrial radio was when I worked in an office where CHFI ("Toronto's Lite Favourites!") was piped in. I actually asked around to see if other people in the office wanted it turned off, but apparently they hadn't had their fill of Cher's "Believe" yet, so there was nothing to be done.

On the other hand, when I worked solo shifts at Subway I was allowed to turn off the music if I wanted to, and I quickly learned that the only thing worse than Lite Favourites was the endless hum of electric appliances and florescent lights. I worked there for three months and the best song I heard was "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police. I almost wept with gratitude when that came on.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:20 PM on May 19, 2012


I wish the FCC would up their game. Consolidation of the media has been a huge problem for a long time. The fact that the FCC is a toothless old dog who only can be woken up by the sight of a nipple is not unconnected to the problem.

Now that all my cohorts are on the Internet they can't bothered about it. Then they walk around wondering why half the nation have swallowed the corporate-sponsored narrative and keep supporting policies and politicians that are not in their best interest.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 1:16 PM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


.

16-year-old Rock Steady would have thought you were insane if you told him FNX and BCN would be off the air within 20 years. Goodbye, radio.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:17 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fuck you, clear channel.

I have no love whatsoever for Clear Channel, but they aren't the force that caused WBCN to go under. Terrestrial radio is dying and the core demographic for an indie/alternative oriented radio station is going to be middle and upper class 18-40 year olds, almost all of whom have moved on to internet based music in its various forms (and a little bit of satellite as well). The market has spoken pretty decisively. The stations that will last the longest are the ones that cater to people like my parents who aren't comfortable with technology.

I have nostalgia for the cool indie stations I listened to growing up but the myriad of blogs, streaming music, podcasts, etc. that I listen to provide me with a far more diverse set of music on a daily basis than radio.

I've worked in places that allowed radio in the background but it's never been anything interesting - it's always been the blandest of bland AOR stations.
posted by Candleman at 1:24 PM on May 19, 2012


Me and my sweetie went to Baker Beach in SF a couple weeks back and en route we decided to stop and buy a cheap radio to listen to. I guess I should have expected it, but we couldn't find any places to sell us a radio at any price. Even a plugged in type. That was kind of sad actually.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:25 PM on May 19, 2012


Another piece of my childhood gone.

.
posted by rtha at 2:11 PM on May 19, 2012


jsavimbi: "Anyone adept enough to be a Ramones fan graduated to online/offline radio a long time ago. That Clear Channel exists and is able to operate with monopolistic impunity is a testament to that."

Not so. I don't listen to the radio because it's all Clear Channel Radio for Dullard Nitwits, not because of Internet radio. A good terrestrial DJ with good taste can still beat the pants off any computer-run internet radio stream, and if there was anything actually worth listening to I would have a FM radio playing right now. But no, if you tune around it's

-Oldies rock music (ranging from "Whoooo... Are you" to "My Sharona"
-NPR which is full of fascist news pretending to be liberal, or unimaginative filler jazz/classical programming
-Country station playing commercial Nashville hat acts
-Talk radio full of fascist blowhards
-Hit radio full of inane "Whoa oh oh oh" noises.

Broadcasters have found it's easiest and cheapest if they just target the lowest common denominator- which is people who such dullard nitwits that they're happy listening to the same 40 songs over and over again, never yearning to hear something different.

America will never redeem itself, because 60% of its population has no fucking taste and wins out every time.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:11 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe they could buy up a left-of-dial position and go for a business model like KDHX here in St. Louis.
posted by notsnot at 2:14 PM on May 19, 2012


notsnot: "Maybe they could buy up a left-of-dial position"

Hah, Left of the Dial was the name of my radio show, which ended this time last week. End of an era.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:16 PM on May 19, 2012


Oh, no! It's been my first-choice station since high school. Even WZBC is on number 2 programmed channel in my car. This is so sad.

(Nice though that people in this thread took their time to tell me that radio is obsolete and I'm an old elephant and this doesn't matter. Thanks for taking the time out of your day to add a bit of "I don't care" to a situation that makes others sad.)
posted by Shusha at 3:57 PM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


People like dUnkadunc like to condemn two thirds of an entire country because of a position on an FM dial, extrapolating an entire population's level of taste from one minor choice which in most cases boils down to convenience during a daily grind than any kind of banner proclaiming their taste. Corporate broadcasters know this and as businesses they provide the service that will make the most money. As a former DJ/Producer/music director at both corporate and college levels, I try to understand the difference and not get all grarrr America is doomed about it.
posted by spicynuts at 4:13 PM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I listened to Julie Kramer's last show yesterday and am still bummed out. You could tell she was tearing up between on air segments, no matter how upbeat a song she played. Some dude came on and started laying into Clear Channel and ended up swearing on air. She just let him go on for a bit. "What are they gonna do?" Julie asked, "Fire me?"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:15 PM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


America will never redeem itself, because 60% of its population has no fucking taste and wins out every time.

Ever heard Canadian radio? Or French radio? Or..?

It's the whole world, and it's probably a lot more than 60%
posted by junco at 4:43 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Still listen to Julie Kramer's show and was sorry to hear about this. The NH station (WFEX, 92.1) is being bought by Bill Blount, who owns religious radio stations in the area.

I remember when Liz Phair's whitechocolatespaceegg album came out and, for a few months in the fall of 1998, Henry Santoro played "Polyester Bride" at the same time every morning as I drove to the commuter rail.
posted by bCat at 4:50 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The station will continue to operate for a few months with a skeleton crew until the FCC approval and changeover.

...which will come, since maintaining local ownership, diversity or quality of content is not in the FCC's mandate.
posted by Gelatin at 4:58 PM on May 19, 2012


WERS is often very good. I will really miss WFNX, as I miss WBCN still. The last few days of "farewell" shows have been amazing listening, which makes it harder to lose them.
posted by theredpen at 5:06 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think more of you would listen to radio more often if it was bringing that connection as well.

Yeah up here I listen to WDEV to hear the politicians [ALL the politicians not just the ones on "my" side] talk about the issues of the day and even sometimes stream the local Tech College station that I otherwise listen to in my car because I like the music they play. I'm aware that the audience for terrestrial radio is diminishing but there are still a lot of people around here who listen to it [I live in a region where 10-30% of my neighbors are likely to have broadband at home] and when it's talking about you and your neighborhood and the events going on down the street from you, it can seem a whole bunch more relevant.

I remember when FNX started up and it was a neat alternative to the BCN/COZ/AAF right when I was in high school and that sort of thing was super important to me. Haven't listened in a long while since I moved out of state. Thanks for this post.
posted by jessamyn at 5:10 PM on May 19, 2012


Music is not important to everyone. Even more so, new/different/challenging music is not important to many people who just want pleasing, familiar sounds in the background of their lives.

I suppose that if you want to, you can write off such people as "dullard nitwits." But I'll tell you...I was a jazz musician. It was difficult. I wasn't raking in Top-40 dollars. But it was also great fun and I cherish that time in my life. Overall, I was happy. I suspect that if I'd had the attitude that such people—who weren't listening to jazz, and didn't care about it—were "dullard nitwits," then my career would have been just as difficult, except with more resentment and a lot less joy.
posted by cribcage at 7:06 PM on May 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


I never even listened to 'FNX, but in my first job out of school, I worked for a radio trade magazine that dealt in alt-rock playlists, so I knew of it as one of the leading stations in that sphere of broadcasting. Learning that friggin' Clear Channel has bought and laid it bare is sad news, indeed. Also, I somehow missed what happened to 'BCN. Argh! And yes, I still listen to real live terrestrial radio every single day. Just not the ones with commercials.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:06 PM on May 19, 2012


.
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:09 PM on May 19, 2012


Terrestrial radio is dying and the core demographic for an indie/alternative oriented radio station is going to be middle and upper class 18-40 year olds, almost all of whom have moved on to internet based music in its various forms (and a little bit of satellite as well).

The argument that no one values terrestrial radio is kind of sunk by the example set here in the Twin Cities. Lots and lots of people (myself included) regularly pay money to keep the local alt channel online and running. They can have my automatic monthy deduction so long as they keep spinning the music they play. It shocks me that we have something that damn good here, and there's nothing but ClearChannel wasteland in so many larger cities. How does Mpls have a great radio station but NYC or Boston doesn't? How does that make any sense?

Every radio I have is tuned to The Current. I listen at home, in the car, via stream at work, and via phone app when away from the area. They rock.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:07 PM on May 19, 2012


I was baffled by the W stations people keep listing. Where I'm from, we've got Ks (in-country stations) and Xs (Tijuana stations). So I looked it up: K stations are typically west of the Mississippi and W stations typically east of the Mississippi (long explanation here, short explanation here).

I wonder if this distinction will continue now that Clear Channel owns so much of the market (it's hard to find clear numbers since Clear Channel is now private--bought by Mitt Romney's old company!--and they sold off a number of stations when they went private, but it appears Clear Channel owns outright about 10% of the radio market and reaches nearly every market in the US in one form or another). Already, 'local' radio is something of a misnomer and with the purchase of WBCN, another little chunk of local radio is lost.
posted by librarylis at 11:35 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I shudder to think who I would be today without FNX to light the way for me in high school during the 90's. Pavement, The Pixies, Ani Difranco, Letters to Cleo, Sonic Youth, The Lemonheads, The Sheila Divine... Morphine, Geggy Tah and They Might Be Giants at the Hatch Shell... I haven't lived in Boston in years, and everything is different now anyway, but for me this is the saddest closing down since Curious Liquids.

It reminds me how grateful I am to have grown up when I did. I feel like it was the tail end of a different time, when authentic experience was still possible.

.
posted by désoeuvrée at 2:15 AM on May 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


the narrative of businesses and business owners as "job creators"

Pardon my naiveté, but who exactly do you think is hiring people if not "businesses and business owners"?
posted by wrok at 8:07 AM on May 20, 2012


It reminds me how grateful I am to have grown up when I did. I feel like it was the tail end of a different time, when authentic experience was still possible.

I promise you this is bullshit. Kids are still having authentic experiences. Just not on the radio.
posted by silby at 1:36 PM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Broadcast radio died so long ago. May the CC vultures richly enjoy their corpse.
posted by Twang at 11:52 PM on May 20, 2012


"17 full- and part-time staffers, including almost all the current radio personalities, have been laid off. "

It's stuff like this that makes the narrative of businesses and business owners as "job creators" particularly odious to me.


Indeed. Seems that Clear Channels new business is taking a local station, getting rid of the locals, and piping in some "super DJ/show" out of a tier 1 market. Now...if we were getting something new/different/unique/good like The Diceman or Howard Stern, that might not be so bad. But you get some guy named "Elvis" out of New York who's clearly lab-manufactured to the perfect level of boring to appeal to the largest number of markets as possible, with the number of dick jokes or references to boobies per hour exactly tailored to keep the proles from nodding off and thinking this clown is "edgy". He's even got the appropriate template, completely forgettable "morning crew": there's a "sassy girl", a "slutty girl", a "dumb guy", etc., all strictly playing their parts. All right out of a playbook some place.

Basically, they're outsourcing "entertainment". Why have 50 crappy morning shows when you can have 1.
posted by kjs3 at 7:09 AM on May 21, 2012


Actually, the ClearChannel station we listen to at work has local DJs, its own morning show, a request hour during lunch, and generally feels like a local radio station other than the stupid crappy playlist which claims to be "classic rock" but actually is a very narrow slice of a narrow slice of rock music over the past 45 years.

I have no idea whether other CC stations are like this or not. I know they didn't used to be -- they used to be centrally controlled with piped-in morning shows and such. But this one is very obviously CC and is also very obviously local on-air talent playing things very obviously requested by local people... So maybe CC doesn't do the remote thing anymore, or maybe they only do it some places, or with certain kinds of stations.
posted by hippybear at 7:53 AM on May 21, 2012


I know I am coming into this late, but I must:
THURSDAY NIGHT
VENUS DE MILO
THURSDAY NIGHT
VENUS DE MILO

*sticks pen through eardrum*
posted by wenestvedt at 8:49 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pardon my naiveté, but who exactly do you think is hiring people if not "businesses and business owners"?

I think it's a question of emphasis. While businesses and businesses owners certainly do hire people, it's not the case that all businesses necessarily create more jobs. In cases of consolidation such as this one, many people get laid off because their jobs are centralized. There are good business-y explanations for why this is a good thing for businesses (cost savings, economies of scale, all the stuff) but it's not always, in fact rarely, a good thing for individual employees. One could argue, then, whether this sort of thing, consolidation of a lot of teeny stations under one giant station, is a good thing for society and culture at large or not. And that depends on what things you thing are important, priorities and that sort of thing. No one argues, to use another example, that Wal-Mart doesn't have lower prices. They just argue that he things that Wal-mart needs to do in order to achieve lower prices are a net negative for the individuals that are affected by this sort of thing and that has a net negative affect on culture in general.

When the same sort of thing happens to a media corporation, this can be argued to have even more of an effect because they are actually consolidating cultural content of a sort, homogenizing broadcast radio to be in line with one corporate vision and not many. Again, many reasonable people disagree on whether this is a terrible thing or not, but there is a strong compelling argument that it's problematic from a diversity-of-viewpoints perspective, in addition to many others.
posted by jessamyn at 8:49 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The standardized, centralized (and sterilized) programming is also why the "I (heart) Radio" app for streaming their programming works for people coast-to-coast, few or none of whom realize that their local station is just one node on some trans-continental kudzu.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:56 AM on May 21, 2012


The standardized, centralized (and sterilized) programming is also why the "I (heart) Radio" app for streaming their programming works for people coast-to-coast, few or none of whom realize that their local station is just one node on some trans-continental kudzu.

I'm pretty sure the reason the app works for people coast to coast is because internet streaming is available anywhere there is internet.

Or are you saying something specific about how this app actually works that is significantly different from other audio streaming apps?
posted by hippybear at 9:24 AM on May 21, 2012


junco: "Ever heard Canadian radio? Or French radio? Or..?"

I listen to Canadian French-language public radio whenever I drive east. Their radio programming is two to three orders of magnitude better than anything in the States, excepting very small college stations.

When I lived in Austria, there was crap, but then there was FM4 which I could listen to pretty much all the time- and they went out of their way to give exposure to small artists. Again, much better than anything I get in the States.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:20 AM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


^ I guarantee there are sad, middle-aged accountants who listen to indie rock. Using music to flatter yourself that you are not sad, not middle-aged, and not an accountant is in itself kind of sad.
posted by Superfrankenstein at 1:53 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everyone is so fucking concerned about the relationship other people have with music.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:13 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Touché, benito.strauss. Plus, I could have been nicer about it.
posted by Superfrankenstein at 9:49 PM on May 21, 2012


And I could have been nicer too. Apologies. But if I were a sad middle-aged accountant (I'm not; I work with computerized billing systems, and am just rather pensive.), using music to lift my soul to a different place is one of the things that music is for, no?
posted by benito.strauss at 9:55 PM on May 21, 2012


I think I was trying to say the opposite of what you think I was trying to say. I thought I was defending the accountant from the first commenter. Let's go out and come back in, OK?
posted by Superfrankenstein at 11:12 PM on May 21, 2012


Ah. I was wondering what that "^" was pointing to .... and now I see that it's a click-able link, too, which I didn't notice before. Thrown strike for you, missed swing for me.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:46 PM on May 22, 2012


Another good article, this time from the mother ship, the Boston Phoenix.
posted by clone boulevard at 5:24 PM on May 23, 2012


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