Radio


Alan Cross' Reply

Alan Cross' ReplyAs I mentioned earlier tonight, I wrote CFNY Edge 102 Program Director Alan Cross regarding this year's Edgefest line up. To the dude's credit, he's already written me back.

Below is the email I sent Alan Cross.

Hello Alan,

I've been a faithful listener of CFNY/Edge 102 for fifteen years now and I've attended several Edgefests. I was listening at 7:15 this morning to find out who would be on this year's bill and especially who would be headlining. I thought last year's lineup with The Hip, OLP, Finger Eleven and Sloan was particularly awesome. It wasn't long before my heart sunk to the ground.

Good Charlotte represents everything your station isn't. They have absolutely no edge. They wear black and make up and try to act "punk" when they're as popified as Matchbox 20. Their target audience is pre-teen girls who think they're cute and deep. I listen to a great deal of "modern rock", and I find the weak Good Charlotte sounds completely unlistenable.

Musical taste is subjective, so I'm not writing you to bitch about the weak lineup for Edgefest 2004, I'm writing to alert you to your obvious hypocrisy. I listen for several hours a day, and I'm well aware of what songs you play and don't play. I know I can expect a Nirvana song every hour and I know you've stopped playing Good Charlotte all together. I applaude this decision, as they are hardly an edgy rock that fits your format. They are as far from The White Stripes and The Strokes as you can get. I'm sure you stopped playing them because you realized your listeners don't like them and they are merely pop dressed in black. Promoting them as headliners for your Edgefest concert is just pathetic. You won't even play their music for heaven's sake.

On a more positive note, I find your "Ongoing History of New Music" to be one of the finest programs on the radio. I wish the episodes could be downloaded/streamed online. I maintain a blog and comment often on your great radio station and music in general. You'll find it here: http://torontomike.com

I'll leave you with words from the immortal Chris Rock following another horrible performance by Good Charlotte at the MTV Video Music Awards. "Good Charlotte? More like mediocre Green Day."

Mike

At 21:40 tonight, I received the following reply from Alan Cross.

Thanks for the input--and for your honesty, you deserve a reply.

Pulling together a lineup for Edgefest is getting more and more difficult due to competition from hundreds of other radio show festivals in the US and dozens of big-money European festivals. How we end up with the lineup that we do is a long, long story.

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. That being said, the band can still sell a ton of tickets--something that we need to do if we were going to make the thing profitable and thus worthwhile (again, it's FAR more complicated than just booking a bunch of cool bands. Trust me.) The drawing power of Good Charlotte is enough to help us pay for Something Corporate, Jet, Jersey, Billy Talent and the rest of the lineup.

I know this probably doesn't help much, but there you have it. And if we manage to sell out the show this week (which is something we think we'll do), we'll have enough cash to maybe do something else this summer. We'll see.

Alan C

There you have it. Popularity wins again. They may not be good, but they're popular and there are bills to pay. Another triumph for The S Factor. Still, I appreciate Alan taking the time to reply with such honesty. I met Alan Cross when I was a 15 year old working at the CNE and he was cool then too.

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Bad Charlotte

Edgefest 2004I'm still stewing over the fact Good Charlotte is headlining this year's Edgefest. Last year we had The Tragically Hip, Our Lady Peace, Sloan and Finger Eleven. Good Charlotte simply doesn't cut it.

I could go on a rant here, but I thought I'd post something I posted to the Smells Like Sour page last week. On the "Hold On" page, I mentioned the fact that every time I read the Good Charlotte pages on SLS I die just a little. Kelli responded with this "why do u die "just a little bit" when u see the gc pages?" Below is my response.

Kelli, I'm glad you asked that question.

I love music. One of my favourite genres of music is rock. I love The White Stripes, System of a Down, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, The Tragically Hip, Nirvana, Audioslave, Rage Against the Machine, whatever. You get the idea.

A few years back, a song entitled "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" began getting heavy airplay both on the radio and Muchmusic, our national video station here in Canada. My ears immediately decided this sound was weak. It sounded like pretend rock - far more pop than punk. What really irked me is I accidentally caught a special on Muchmusic about this band and they wore black and makeup and acted like they were punk when they were clearly coming across as punks.

I respect people's rights to listen to whatever the hell they want, but I'm the dude who actually performs administrative duties on this very website. That means I'm the dude who has to go on here every few days to sort through the dozens of Good Charlotte submissions and copycat bands that make my ears bleed.

That's why I die just a little each time I read this page or the thousand other Good Charlotte pages on this site. I cringe reading the praise you pre-teens heap on this crapola band. Chris Rock said it best following a pathetic Good Charlotte performance on the MTV Music Video Awards. "Good Charlotte? More like mediocre Green Day".

That's my two cents about this band - why they're so popular I'll never understand. Then again, the Backstreet Boys and N*Sync were extremely popular too, so maybe it does make sense.

The people at CFNY Edge 102 should be ashamed of themselves.

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Define "New"

Defining NewThis past weekend I heard a DJ on CFNY Edge 102 announce in all sincerity the following: "New Rock First from Edge 102 this is Nickelback with Someday". I've also heard them use this "New Rock First" intro in the past week while introducing Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?" and Three Days Grace's "I Hate Everything About You".

How are they defining "new" exactly? I realize "new" is a relative term, but in the world of music shouldn't they refrain from using it before introducing a song that was on heavy rotation four months ago? "Someday" is hardly "new rock first". In fact, as a single it's already been played and their follow-up single "Figured You Out" is currently getting spun about a dozen times a day.

Still, this pales in comparison to the stunt pulled by "The New VR". CKVR changed its name to "The New VR" about a decade ago. One would assume they'd drop the "new" part after about six months or so, but it's still there. "The New VR" has become the old VR.

Then there's the tale of Mojo Radio, "The All-New AM 640". I don't know if they've finally dropped the "All-New" part of their intro, but I heard it fairly recently and they've been Mojo Radio for about two years now.

Remembering when "new" actually meant new, this is "The New torontomike.com"

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Recognizing the Call

Recognizing the CallDuring the first period of the Leafs game tonight, I let James play with my Freeplay Ranger. My Freeplay Ranger is a radio I carry around the house and James enjoys sitting with it and tuning in different stations. He gets awfully excited when pulls in a new station and he starts banging his head and dancing to a particularly upbeat rock song.

At one point he switched from FM to AM and brought in the Leaf game. After hearing Joe Bowen call the game for approximately six seconds he got a huge smile on his face and looked at me to exclaim "Hockey Daddy! Hockey!".

I knew he's been able to identify hockey on television by the visual for many months now, but I had no idea he's be able to identify it so quickly on the radio. All I know is at that moment I was a very proud papa.

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The Storm Centre

Storm CentreWe're in the midst of the worst snow storm to hit Toronto since 1999. This morning in my car I tuned in 680News for a quick update on the road conditions. The announcer was bragging in all seriousness about how the 680News Storm Centre had been up for 24 hours already. That's right, they had set up this virtual Storm Centre to deal with this blast of typical January weather.

I wonder what setting up the Storm Centre entails exactly. As far as I can tell, it's business as usual with more time devoted to the top story of the morning, our little snow storm. Media outlets like 680News thrive when their listeners in are in a state of fear. Listening to them you'd have thought we were all buried and trapped in our homes living off the food and drink we have stored away. In reality, it's not that bad. Really.

From the torontomike.com Storm Centre, I'm Mike Boon.

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Stop Treading on My Tunage!

Pet PeeveIt happened again this morning. It's been happening a lot lately and it's got to stop. It's just not right.

The deejays from the Dean Blundell Show on CFNY Edge 102 this morning talked all over the first 30 seconds of The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony". Forever this has been a pet peeve of mine. I want to hear a decent song in its entirety without a deejay jabbering all over the intro and outro. CFNY Edge 102 has been extremely careless in this regard lately and they should know better.

Sure, "Bittersweet Symphony" has a rather long instrumental opening, but that's not license for a deejay to yak away until the words kick in. "Bittersweet Symphony" is a song I happen to dig and part of the beauty of this tune is that opening melody. I almost wrote an entry in disgust on New Year's Eve upon hearing Martin Streek tread all over tunes on the Top 102 of 2003 countdown show, but then I got distracted. Streek went so far as to trample over lyrics thus violating the cardinal sin of radio. Shame, shame.

Out of respect to the listener it would be awfully nice if deejays made a concerted effort to say what they have to say before playing a song and waiting until the final note is completed before talking again. It would make this devoted listener a much happier man.

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Top 10 in the World?

Top 10?CFNY Edge 102 airs a promo every once in a while that claims they are "One of the ten most listened to stations in the world". Every time I hear it, I wonder how they can justify such an outlandish claim.

I read the most recent BBM Ratings for Toronto radio stations, and CFNY Edge 102 can safely claim they are one of the ten most listened to stations in the GTA. They aren't number one, but they're in decent shape. The Greater Toronto Area, however, is not the world. CFNY Edge 102 shouldn't be able to claim they're one of the ten most listened to stations in Canada let alone the entire planet.

A visit to the CFNY Edge 102 website yielded no further details. They don't reference the promo anywhere. I did some further digging and I think I know what this promo is referring to.

Arbitron maintains a list of Webcast Ratings. "Arbitron Webcast Ratings is a server-side measurement, which captures all tuning to participating streamed media channels by compiling a near census of Internet tuning sessions." It's difficult to access these charts, because this information requires a paid subscription, but I was able to gander at a series of the Arbitron Webcast Ratings top 75 as part of some of their news releases. This release has CFNY Edge 102 listed at a healthy #39 with 148,798 hours of total time spent listening in February of 2003. I had to go back to their chart of February 2001 to find CFNY Edge 102 in the top 10 when they were 10th. It's my belief that CFNY Edge 102 took this chart listing them as the tenth most streamed station on the world wide web in order to justify their "One of the ten most listened to stations in the world" promo.

Their spin doctors deserve a round of applause for that one. At one time they were possibly one of the ten most listened to stations on the web, but when you factor in people listening to radio stations on actual radios, their statement doesn't come close to holding up. It still sounds impressive though, doesn't it?

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Classic Alternative

Classic AlternativeI just read an article from the New York Times that reveals the latest radio format sweeping the United States. They call it "classic alternative" and several stations have switched to the format in the past month.

"Classic alternative" is essentially music from the early 90s like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Weezer, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, and so on. In other words, my kind of music. To quote the article, "Like the classic rock format that started in the mid-1980's to cater to aging baby boomers, classic alternative - with new songs from retro-alternative bands like the White Stripes and the Strokes thrown into the mix on some stations - appeals to Generation X'ers who are beginning to show some gray." That's me!

CFNY Edge 102, my current favourite station, is pretty close to "classic alternative" as it is. They play a great deal of current modern rock hits but still hit you with a Nirvana track or two just about every hour. Just the other day I was listening to "In Bloom" and realized they're playing Nirvana as often now as they did ten years ago. I also hear a great deal of older material from bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Weezer and Soundgarden. For all intents and purposes, CFNY Edge 102 is "classic alternative" save for the wider scope of new hits being spun. Is a truer form of "classic alternative" in 102.1's future?

This new format is projected right at a guy like me and I dig it. Being catered to is always a good thing.

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Matthew Goode

Matthew GoodeListening to CFNY Edge 102 today, I heard an advertisement for Chasing Liberty starring Mandy Moore. The advertisement gave me a jolt by announcing this was a film starring Mandy Moore and Matthew Goode. Remember, you can't tell Goode is spelled with an "e" on the radio.

I was a fan of the Matthew Good Band and saw them in concert three times. I frequently spin their Underdogs disc and wondered to myself if Matthew Good had taken up acting since his band broke up. Although it turned out to be a different guy with the same sounding name as the Canadian rocker, I'm certain the advertisement was attempting to mislead the CFNY Edge 102 listeners intentionally.

Think about it. Mandy Moore is a 19 year old former pop princess starring in a fluffy teenage romantic comedy. The target audience for this flick is teens and pre-teens who enjoy the music of Moore and her compatriots Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. This target audience will not be reached by advertising on CFNY Edge 102.

CFNY Edge 102 does play a lot of Matthew Good though. Matthew Good fans listen to CFNY Edge 102 and may be inclined to check out a movie he was starring in. I believe we were intentionally deceived!

The movie is a dog with fleas by the way. Bill Muller of the Arizona Republic says it best, "Not a pleasant way to spend an hour and 45 minutes."

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The Champ

The ChampI stumbled across The Champ this morning. The Champ is a radio bit I used to listen to every morning before jetting off to high school. It was part of Brother Jake Edward's Q Morning Zoo on Q107 for years.

It's back. Q107 plays The Champ at approximately 7:45 each morning, and judging from the voice, Brother Jake Edwards is back at the helm.

If you've never heard The Champ, it's basically a hot-headed former boxer who misinterprets things said to him by other people causing him to fly off the handle. Perhaps someone was asking his wife to pass the tea bag, and The Champ would hear it as a request to pass the tea, bag. One time he snapped when he was told his wife was a thespian following her performance in a play. You get the idea.

You can listen to bits from The Champ online here, here and here.

Of course, part of the fun of The Champ was the way they would get around saying things on the radio you simply didn't hear back then. Double innuendo was their loop hole. Today, you hear just about everything on morning radio, so it's lost it's allure somewhat. Still, it's surreal hearing The Champ again. Throughout the past decade I would occasionally slip into my Champ imitation and "lose it". It's not quite as much fun as it was 12 years ago, but it sure conjures up a lot of good memories.

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