Radio


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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Caught!

Caught!Remember back in March when CFNY Edge 102 announced the lineup for Edgefest 2004? I wrote this entry lambasting them for selling Good Charlotte as the headliner, especially considering the fact they won't even play Good Charlotte on their station.

It was all so hypocritical, I wrote CFNY Edge 102 Program Director Alan Cross about it. I posted his complete reply here. Something Alan Cross wrote to me didn't sit well with me then and doesn't sit well with me now. Below is the offending verbiage.

Good Charlotte was part of the playlist until sometime last year and, believe it or not, they were insanely popular with a significant portion of our audience. We stopped playing them because the album had run its course and we moved on to other things.

Clearly, Alan Cross is disagreeing with my statement that they no longer play Good Charlotte. He's claiming they did play Good Charlotte until the album ran its course. The insinuation is that CFNY Edge 102 would play a new Good Charlotte album and there was no hypocrisy at play when they were heavily promoted as the Edgefest 2004 headlining act. I knew Alan Cross was feeding me hogwash then and I definitely know it now.

Take a gander at the current MuchMusic Countdown. Good Charlotte is sitting pretty at #12 with their latest single "Predictable". This is the first cut off their new CD, The Chronicles of Life and Death. Now take a peak at the Thursday 30. Do you see any sign of "Predictable"? Thankfully, no. They aren't playing the new Good Charlotte album because they realize their listeners don't like them. This is a smart decision on CFNY Edge 102's part. The poor decision was hiring Good Charlotte to play under the Edgefest banner.

I still think Alan Cross is one of the good ones and typically honest and open with his listeners, but he's been caught blowing smoke and it has tarnished his integrity in my eyes. Yet another victim of Good Charlotte and their reign of terror. When will this madness end?

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The Mike Hunt

The Mike HuntThe mediocre CFNY Edge 102 morning show is holding another annoying contest this week they call The Hunt for Mikes. The objective is to come to their store front studio with more Mikes than anyone else. As I see it, it's a lame, one-note joke that's already boring me to tears. Saying "mike hunt" out loud stops being funny when you're in grade 7. Go ahead and say it. Was it funny? Of course not.

I'm only mentioning this hunt for Mikes because I happen to be a Mike. I've always been one, since birth actually. It's not easy being a Mike. Please permit me to share my pain.

During a typical year in school, it was not uncommon for me to be one of three, four or even five Mikes. It was such a common name that I stopped responding to it altogether. Someone would call for a Mike and I wouldn't even glance over to see if it's for me. The odds were heavily against it.

Take for example my slo-pitch team, Raging Storm. There are eight men on the team and three of them are named Mike. 37.5% of the guys on my team share the name Mike. Fellow Mikes will know this story because it belongs to them as well. There's no challenge in a Mike hunt.

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Epidemic

My Name IsI don't mean to beat this horse to death, but on my drive home this afternoon I heard Eminem's "My Name Is" on CFNY Edge 102. That's twice in a span of three days and I haven't had much time for radio listening. This is officially an epidemic.

"My Name Is" was released five years ago. It was Eminem's first hit and he's released several better songs since. I can appreciate Alan Cross' comments but I'm stunned that this is the Eminem song they've suddenly decided to showcase. Is there something I'm missing? Has it been re-released? How is it that I've never heard this song once in the past five years but have now heard it twice in a span of three days?

I don't get it...

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Alan Cross Sez

Alan Cross SezJust yesterday I wrote a blog entry hearing Eminem's "My Name Is" on CFNY Edge 102. It seemed strange to me that this particular Eminem song was played and I wrote Edge 102's program director Alan Cross about it. Alan and I have exchanged emails in the past, you may recall.

My email to Alan reiterated what I wrote here. Below is Alan Cross' reply.

Thanks for taking the time to fire off an email. The least I can do is reply, right?

The weird thing about running a radio station is that you have to try and please hundreds of thousands of people at the same time. That's obviously impossible. So what can we do?

For one thing, we can spend a ton of money (hundreds of thousands of dollars, actually) on audience research. Every two weeks, we conduct some very scientific research into the wants/needs/demands/desires/wishes of a statistically relevant sample of the people who listen to the Edge. We do it so often because we recognize that music-especially the area of new rock-is always changing and mutating. It's our job to keep bobbing and weaving with the times.

Eminem is a perfect example. Three years ago, our research results were clear: Do NOT play Eminem-ever! However, since then, the attitude of the majority of our listeners has changed. In our most recent in-depth study, we found that there has been a 180-degree change. There's now an incredible demand for this guy and a surprising amount of acceptance for his music (and other hip-hip influenced material) in the whole new rock universe.

And it's not just here. Eminem has become a staple artist on new rock radio stations across North America. Go figure. (For the record, I'm not a huge fan, but majority rules.)

As for Avril Lavigne, I wouldn't worry about it. Really.

That's a short explanation for what's really a rather complicated thing.

Hope it helps.

--Alan C

Alan Cross is a very decent dude and he always gets back to me when I write him. His reply basically tells me they now play Eminem's "My Name Is" because there's suddenly a demand for Eminem on Edge 102. I actually like Eminem and have every CD he's ever released in my collection and I've even seen him live in concert but I don't believe "My Name Is" is the kind of Eminem tune that the core Edge 102 audience is demanding. There is a handful of heavier, edgier tunes from Eminem that better fit the bill.

I think it's time for me to accept the fact I've left Edge 102's target demographic. Alas, 'tis true. Edge 102 is targeting the teens and early 20s crowd and quite possibly this crowd wants to hear "My Name Is" along side their Billy Talent, Sum41 and Linkin Park in the morning. Alan Cross assures us that we won't be hearing the latest Avril Lavigne tomorrow morning, but what if this "research" they're conducting concludes that Avril's "My Happy Ending" is suddenly in demand. Why not? It's a catchy tune with guitar supporting our fellow Canadian's vocals. As you've just read, this research is very "scentific".

I'm not even going to play the race card here, but I think it's safe to say that there would not be an "incredible demand for this guy and a surprising amount of acceptance for his music" if Eminem were not white. Sad, but true.

My final thought is this. What's Edge 102 doing spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on audience research when I'll tell them what to play for free concert tickets? I'd keep Eminem on the play list, but it would be "Lose Yourself", "The Way I Am" and maybe "Stan". Of course, I'm 30 and way too old to have an opinion about such matters.

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My Name Is

My Name IsThis morning I heard Eminem's "My Name Is" on CFNY Edge 102. When "My Name Is" was introducing the world to a white rapper from Detroit by hitting the top of every top 40 chart on the continent, Edge 102 wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. You can bet they didn't play it once. Why would they? It was a poppy rap song that didn't fit Edge 102's new rock format.

Hearing "My Name Is" this morning seemed a little off. How is it that many years later it somehow found its way into Edge 102's rotation during morning rush hour? The first time an Eminem tune got multiple spins was "Lose Yourself" and that was completely justifiable. "Lose Yourself" is a heavy tune with a rock style backdrop. Without "Lose Yourself", there's no way I hear "My Name Is" this morning. There's a definite correlation.

What's next? The latest from Avril Lavigne? Don't bet against it.

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At The Hundredth Meridian

At The Hundredth MeridianWith daytime radio being more and more careful not to air that which may be perceived as offensive, it's nice to hear a song containing an expletive air completely uncensored. The other morning on CFNY Edge 102 I heard "At The Hundredth Meridian" by The Tragically Hip and the f-bomb was dropped right on queue. I'm fairly certain no American radio station would air it unedited and I'm somewhat surprised CFNY Edge 102 lets it slip by. I suppose in the context of a song the powers that be figure nobody would complain to the CRTC...and they're absolutely right. It's a great song by a great band and the f-bomb is used as an expression of anger and frustration. To omit it would be to ruin it.

Speaking of "At The Hundredth Meridian", I can no longer hear the song at the recorded speed. The version played on the radio is the version from Fully Completely and a great deal slower than the version Gord Downie sings live. The live version of this tune blows me away as Gordie rips into the chorus at double-speed.

If I die of Vanity, promise me, promise me
That if they bury me some place I don't want to be
That you'll dig me up and transport me
Unceremoniously away from the swollen city breeze, garbage bag trees
Whispers of disease, and acts of enormity
And lower me slowly, sadly, and properly
Get Ry Cooder to sing my eulogy.

Great stuff.

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Air Play

Air PlayTwo of my favourite songs this past spring were Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" and Modest Mouse's "Float On". In fact, I liked them so much they not only made SLS11 back in June but they're first and second respectively on the playlist. They open the lastest edition of SLS perfectly.

As good as these tunes are, CFNY Edge 102 plays them way too frequently. I hear them just about every time I turn on the radio. I suspect CFNY Edge 102 is only really playing about ten songs right now and they're playing them ad nauseum.

I suppose it could be worse because "Take Me Out" and "Float On" are great tunes, but a few less spins will not only extend the life span of these songs but will leave room for other cool tunes. Man cannot live on ten songs alone.

Now where's that new System of a Down disc we've been promised? The anticipation is killing me.

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Pearl Jam Live

Pearl Jam LiveCFNY Edge 102 didn't air Mike McCready's preview of tracks from "Live at Benaroya Hall" last night but if I heard correctly they'll be airing it tonight at 22:00 EDT.

If you don't live in the GTA, you can listen online.

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Pearl Jam Live

Pearl Jam LiveRemember when I told you about Pearl Jam's first ever full-length, mostly acoustic live show being released on a double disc CD entitled "Live at Benaroya Hall". It's due July 27th and Mike McCready will preview tracks from the double album via a live, one-hour radio broadcast beginning 20:00 EST tonight.

This is the kind of thing CFNY Edge 102 typically carries so I'll tune in tonight and see. It sounds awfully cool.

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