Radio


Edgefest Lineup

EdgefestIn the city's worst kept secret, CFNY Edge 102 unveiled the lineup for this year's Edgefest at the Molson Amphitheater on July 1st. Billy Talent will headline, Alexisonfire will go second last and a few other bands will be there but I'm fairly unfamiliar with all of them. Let me be the first to say, on the record, that this is the worst Edgefest lineup ever. Now let me pronounce this fact Comic Book Guy style. Worst. Lineup. Ever.

As readers of this blog know, I think Billy Talent's debut is great. Their first three singles released all made SLS and the fourth will likely be on SLS13 this June. The whole disc is great, but it's one disc of twelve songs. How does one release of twelve songs make you the headlining act for a concert like this? To put things in perspective, I bitched last year because the awful Good Charlotte was headlining, but at least Billy Talent and Finger Eleven were hitting the stage first. Billy Talent at that time had the same catalogue of music, one album of twelve songs. Billy Talent and Finger Eleven beats Billy Talent and Alexisonfire, right? In other words, last year's brutal lineup was a stronger lineup than we have this year and that's pathetic.

Edgefest isn't so much about the music than it is about maximizing profits. You know this year's lineup came awfully cheap, and Billy Talent probably gave CFNY Edge 102 a discount because of their past history. There were no big bucks to shell out for a big name band like Audioslave, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Our Lady Peace or Sum 41. Heck, there aren't even any of the wicked new Canadian bands getting international praise these days, like The Arcade Fire, Metric, Broken Social Scene, Hot Hot Heat or The Dears. If you combined the entire catalogue of music from all bands announced today for Edgefest 2005 I suspect there are only a handful of songs your average rock fan would recognize, and four belong to Billy Talent.

Edgefest has certainly seen better days, but it will probably turn a profit this year. To Alan Cross and the gang at CFNY, that's truly all that matters. What a shame.

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Edgefest Headliners

EdgefestCFNY Edge 102's website tells you they're revealing their Edgefest 2005 lineup on Monday morning. This article, however, lets the cat out of the bag as to who will be headlining. Your Edgefest 2005 headliners will be Billy Talent.

Last year, I really let CFNY Edge 102 have it when they announced Good Charlotte was their headliner. You may recall my discussions with Alan Cross about the hypocrisy of it all. I'm happy to see the headliner this year is not only a solid band but a band they actually play on CFNY Edge 102.

I believe this is the first time the headlining band at an Edgefest is doing so with a mere one album under their belt. Unprecedented!

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Emotional Rescue

RadioIt was like a scene out of a movie, only it was very, very real. I was listening to the radio call of the Blue Jays opener against the Devil Rays when the Rays came to bat in the third. Joining Jerry Howarth and the rookie in the booth was a very familiar voice. It was Tom Cheek.

His voice was a little off and he was slightly shaky, but that tone was there. That baseball sensibility and love of the game was evident in every syllable uttered, every sentence strung together. In the top of the fourth, with the Blue Jays at bat, the emotional storybook moment occurred.

Against all odds, Tom Cheek took over the booth and began calling the game. The Jays had gone nine up and nine down up to this point, but with Cheek in control less than two weeks after very serious brain surgery, you knew something magically was going to happen. Right on queue, Frank Catalanotto hit a double for the Jays first base runner. Then, with Cheek still at the helm, Orlando Hudson went deep. "How about that!" was Cheek's reaction as Vernon Wells came to the plate. What did Wells do? He clobbered a homer deep to left. The Jays were in the lead for good.

The last voice I expected to hear on the radio today was that of Tom Cheek. His body is weakened but his love of baseball is strong. His role behind the microphone was minimal but for that half inning in the fourth he was back and the Jays were in charge.

It was damn sweet.

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50 Tracks

O CanadaCBC Radio has completed their quest to come up with a great list of the 50 essential Canadian popular songs. You can view the list in its entirety. Below are the top ten.

  1. 'Four Strong Winds' by Ian and Sylvia (1963)
  2. 'If I had $1000000' by the Barenaked Ladies (1992)
  3. 'Heart of Gold' by Neil Young (1971)
  4. 'Northwest Passage' by Stan Rogers (1981)
  5. 'American Woman' by The Guess Who (1970)
  6. 'Canadian Railroad Trilogy' by Gordon Lightfoot (1967)
  7. 'Both Sides Now' by Joni Mitchell (1969)
  8. 'Suzanne' by Leonard Cohen (1967)
  9. 'Big Yellow Taxi' by Joni Mitchell (1970)
  10. 'Early Morning Rain' by Gordon Lightfoot (1966)

Songs of particular interest to myself: "New Orleans is Sinking" was #16, "Rockin' in the Free World" was #24, "Courage" was #27 and "Let Your Backbone Slide" was #46.

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Doctor Demento

RadioAs a youngster, I have vivid memories of tuning in "The Doctor Demento Show" show on my little transister radio. I believe it was on Sunday nights on CHUMFM at 20:00 and I was there every week.

There is now a web site hosting over 90% of the past Doctor Demento shows. Take 1987 for example. Available right now is the profile on Spike Jones, the overview of bubblegum music, the show on Groucho Marx and more.

Where would we be without the web? MP3s of the radio shows from my youth at my fingertips. It's awesome.

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Jump Around

A RadioPeriodically CFNY Edge 102 will start to play a tune that they completely ignored when first released. This happened recently when they began playing Eminem's "My Name Is" in the fall. When this happens it's usually a song that would have been regarded as off-genre at the time of release, more often than not a hip-hop song by a white artist. This time it's "Jump Around" by House of Pain.

Over the past ten days I've heard "Jump Around" on CFNY Edge 102 at least five times, including this morning. Over the previous thirteen years since the release of their debut album I don't think I heard it spun once. It's a good tune, it's too bad they didn't have the guts to play it when it was current.

For fun, below are the dated references in "Jump Around" that may go over the head of the average teen listening to CFNY Edge 102.

  • "I'll serve your ass like John McEnroe" - It's unlikely kids today even know McEnroe played tennis. If they know him at all it's from his failed ventures into television and perhaps as a tennis commentator.
  • "Or better yet a terminator, Like Arnold Schwarzenegger" - Thanks to Terminator 3, kids will get this reference to the current Governor of California. Note to self: remove from this list.
  • "Try'n to play me out like as if my name was Sega" - I suppose this reference is still relevant because Sega continues to produce popular video games but you know they were talking about the ol' Sega console.

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Top 102 Songs of 2004

Best Songs of 2004On New Year's Eve I listened while CFNY Edge 102 played their top 102 songs of 2004. Below I will reveal my feelings about their top ten.

  1. Green Day - American Idiot
    During the political summer of 2004, this was a great single. It reminded me of the good ol' Dookie days. I'm not surprised to see it in the top ten but I am surprised to see it at the top of this list. It would have appeared on SLS12 had "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" not supplanted it.
  2. Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
    "Take Me Out" was my favourite song released in 2004. It's really two quality tunes in one. You've got that killer build up, which could have been a song unto itself, then it breaks down into a completely different but even better song. I can't say enough good things about "Take Me Out", a perfect single. It appropriately led off the excellent SLS11.
  3. Outkast - Hey Ya!
    I'm fairly certain "Hey Ya! peaked on CFNY Edge 102 in 2003, but it did have a remarkably long shelf life. It appeared way back on SLS10 and was a personal favourite of mine until it was played into the ground. It's a hard tune to dislike.
  4. U2 - Vertigo
    I said everything I had to say about this song in this entry. I had no interest, lets move on.
  5. Linkin Park - Breaking The Habit
    From the album that keeps producing hit singles, "Breaking The Habit" was a pretty decent tune and did appear on SLS12. It didn't blow me away but I heard much, much worse in 2004.
  6. Beastie Boys - Ch-Check It Out
    When this single first hit, I jacked up the car stereo every time it came on. It harkened me back to old school Beastie Boys and helped me get my groove back. It appeared on SLS11.
  7. The Offspring - Hit That
    I used to have a lot of respect for The Offspring. I must have spun their disc "Smash" a billion times. "Ixnay On The Hombre" was pretty good too, and then they released the song that killed The Offspring in my eyes. "Pretty Fly For A White Guy". Argh, thinking about that sell-out of a garbage tune makes me want to puke. "Hit That" isn't much better.
  8. Modest Mouse - Float On
    "Float On" was part of the 2004 Tunage Trifecta, all of which made CFNY Edge 102's top ten of 2004. It also made my top five. This is a great track.
  9. Incubus - Megalomaniac
    At first I wasn't sure of this song, then I started to really like it, then it grew on me so I loved it and spun it often, then I got tired of it and haven't heard it in months. It easily made SLS12.
  10. The Killers - Somebody Told Me
    Rounding out the 2004 Tunage Trifecta is "Somebody Told Me", a very catchy tune that I would catch my self singing periodically throughout 2004. I'm glad to see it on this list.

There you have it, my reaction to CFNY Edge 102's top ten songs of 2004. If you're curious where the rest of my top five ranked on their chart, they had The Tragically Hip's "Vaccination Scar" at #30 and The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" and The Von Bondies' "C'mon C'mon" didn't rank at all. Pity.

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WBUF Drops the Rock

WBUF Drops The RockIt's only been a few days since I listed the ten FM station presets on my car radio, yet one of them has already changed their format.

One of my presets is set to 92.9, WBUF out of Buffalo. I described it as "another great rock station and Howard Stern in the mornings". Howard Stern is still there, but it doesn't sound like there will be any more great rock. This morning they were describing themselves as Buffalo's FM Talk and running down their new lineup of syndicated talk radio programs.

They're talking themselves up as Buffalo's only FM talk radio, but their website still has a scroll calling them "Buffalo's Rock Station" and they're still yakking about being totally hard. I'm guessing this is simply sloppy site maintenance.

I periodically enjoyed the blend of new hard rock and older rock I heard from WBUF, but 94.9 The Rock out of Oshawa, 97.7 HTZ FM out of St. Catherines and Y108 out of Hamilton play pretty much the same stuff. Besides, I spend the bulk of my music listening time on CFNY Edge 102 anyways.

I hate the idea of a good FM signal being wasted on talk radio. FM is for music...AM is for talk.

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My Car Radio Station Presets

Car Radio Station PresetsMy car radio has two FM bands, each with five station presets. Here are the current presets.

FM1

  1. 107.9 - Hamilton's Y108, a good little rock station
  2. 99.9 - Mix 99.9, a station I never listen to so why I preset it is a wonder
  3. 97.7 - HTZ FM out of St. Catherines, another solid rock station
  4. 102.1 - Edge102, formerly known as CFNY and my favourite station for over fifteen years
  5. 107.1 - Q107, there for the rare moments I need a classic rock fix

FM2

  1. 92.9 - WBUF out of Buffalo, another great rock station and Howard Stern in the mornings
  2. 94.9 - The Rock out of Oshawa, a good mix of classic and new rock
  3. 89.5 - CIUT, UofT university radio
  4. 93.5 - Flow 93.5, the only station I can find that regularly plays hip hop
  5. 99.1 - Toronto's CBC Radio1, great for news and current affairs

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Restraint

RestraintI applaud Toronto's army of craptacular radio stations for showing such restraint this year. It's already November 18th, and not one of the usual suspects have modified their format to all holiday music, all the time.

Last year I questioned how this emerging format could sustain itself playing 24/7 carols for such an extended period of time. Last November 28th I noted that both EZ Rock 97.3 and CHFI 98.1 had done it. Imagine hearing the same fifteen tunes over and over again for over a month. The thought of that upsets my stomach as much as the thought of living on McDonalds 24/7 for a month. It's an eerily similar effect.

Of course, it's only November 18th and there is still plenty of time for a station to cave in and go all Christmas, all the time. In fact, it looks as if CHFI will do just that beginning December 10th.

I still think they've shown some restraint.

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