Radio


Quick Tunage

2 minute songsWhen the deejay on your local alternative music station has a couple of minutes before the traffic/weather/news update, there are usually a handful of songs he or she can go to to bridge the gap. Three songs in particular are often thrown on the air at 28 or 58 minutes past to get you to the bottom or top of the hour. As a result, these three songs still get a substantial amount of airtime despite the fact they are fairly old.

I'm referring to Green Day's Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), Sloan's The Good in Everyone and Blur's Song2. Today alone I heard Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) on two different radio stations and The Good in Everyone on one. All three times it was just before an information break. Being only a couple of minutes long has ensured these songs will receive heavy rotation for years and years to come. Pure brilliance.

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Holiday Music

Holiday MusicEZ Rock 97.3, a horrible local radio station that promises buckets of syrop all day long, is promoting itself as Toronto's original holiday music station. They're playing nothing but Christmas carols from now through December. They're including the word "original" in their billing due to the fact other stations are following suit.

Can there possibly be a demand for 24/7 carols day after day for the next month? Do these stations intend to repeat the same 40 minutes of music over and over again? I mean, how many decent holiday songs are there? I can come up with about 15 that you could stomach more than once a year and only about five I really like.

According to CHFI, another local crap station that's promising "All Christmas music from now until Christmas", the top 10 Christmas songs are: Wonderful Christmas Time - Paul McCartney, A Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee, Do They Know It's Christmas Time - Band Aid, Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms, Last Christmas - Wham, The Christmas Song - Nat "King" Cole, Do You Hear What I Hear - Whitney Houston and White Christmas - Bing Crosby. I'm sick of them already.

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Toronto Area Radio

Toronto RadioBack in July, I wrote an entry about my preferred Toronto area radio stations. My list of six at the time included Edge102, HTZ 97.7, WBUF 92.9, Q107, 680News and The Fan 590. There are three more I'd like to add.

Y108 - I don't know how I missed it, but at some point last year Hamilton's Best Rock began broadcasting from 107.9 on the FM dial. I discovered this new station only a month or two ago and I've quickly become a fan. Long time CFNY deejay and current host of the great radio program "The Ongoing History of New Music" Alan Cross is host of Y108's afternoons. It's great to hear him back on the air in the GTA. The music is a combination of modern rock tunes you'd hear on Edge102 and some butt rock you'd hear on HTZ 97.7. A typical three-pack might include Audioslave, The White Stripes and Guns N' Roses. It's pretty good stuff if you can pull it in. Their reception is fairly weak.

CBC RadioOne - I used to make fun of people who preferred this station to others considering them boring and old. I guess I now fall into that category as I've been enjoying this station quite a bit lately. It's a mixed bag of insightful interviews, current events and the odd tune or comedy bit thrown in for good measure. It's good radio.

Mojo Radio - Mojo has the broadcast rights for Maple Leaf games and therefore has my ear periodically. I used to stay away from their Leaf commentary because their bias was so prevalent, but the addition of Michael Landsberg in the mornings has balanced things out. Landsberg isn't afraid to bash Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment when they deserve it. He tells it straight up and that's how a true fan wants it. Also worth noting is the presence of Mike Stafford in the afternoons. Stafford has an encyclopedic knowledge of popular culture and The Simpsons in particular. You can't help but enjoy listening to someone who is that full of useless information. I'm envious of his talent.

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Radio Delays

Radio DelaysIn a previous blog entry, I complained about the delay between the play by play on the radio and the visual on television during Blue Jay games. I prefer the call from Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth to the television commentators so I wanted to mute the tv and listen to the radio. It was impossible because of a four second time difference between the two mediums.

Last night I tried the same thing during the Leafs game. This was strictly an experiment because I lack the same sentimental attachment to Leaf radio commentators Dennis Beyak and Jim Ralph. Again, there was a very annoying four second delay between the radio audio and the television audio.

Moments ago I tried the same experiment during the Raptors game. The funny thing is the television and radio feed for Raptor games on Sportsnet are identical. They simply simulcast Chuck Swirsky and Leo Rautins on The Fan 590. This is a cheesy move in my opinion as you can't call a game on television the way you'd call a game for the radio, but I digress... There was a delay, but this time the radio was only about two seconds ahead of the television.

Can someone explain this delay to me? Is this the result of my digital cable terminal? There must be a technical explanation for this phenomenon. Please share your theories because it's driving me nuts.

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Leeza Gibbons?

Leeza Gibbons?For years now, we in the Toronto area have been inundated with ads for EZ Rock 97.3 FM featuring Leeza Gibbons. I saw a new spot just last night. A typical 30 second advertisement is Leeza talking about how much she enjoys EZ Rock's syropy format when she's in town. We're privy to footage of Leeza gallavanting around town with Toronto landmarks such as the CN Tower and TTC in the background.

Am I the only one who doesn't get the connection? What does Leeza Gibbons have to do with Toronto? I know she doesn't live here. I know she doesn't work here. Of all the potential spokespeople EZ Rock had to choose from, how do they come up with Leeza Gibbons? My guess is she came surprisingly cheap. It's the only explanation that makes any sense. Either that or Dini Petty had a conflict of interest.

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The Kiss Of Death

Becoming UncoolThree evenings a week I undergo physiotherapy for my injury (see September 24, 2003 / 19:43 EST). The clinic plays CHUM FM over the ceiling speakers to entertain us while the various machines work to soothe and heal our pains.

Yesterday I was particularly surprised and concerned upon hearing Finger Eleven's "One Thing". This is a song I like and even nominated for inclusion on Smells Like Sour 10. Hearing it played on CHUM FM instantly stripped it of any and all coolness. How can a tune be considered cool if it's being played on CHUM FM?

There is an unwritten rule in the GTA that no song being played by CHUM FM or CHFI can retain its integrity. It's the kiss of death. For those of you reading this from outside the GTA, CHUM FM and CHFI are our local MOR stations. They play nice and safe pop songs for the middle aged masses...inoffensive and bland. Every city has one or two. Other songs I typically hear on this station during physio are Jewel's "Intuition" and Train's "Calling All Angels".

Say it ain't so Finger Eleven. Say it ain't so.

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Tom & Jerry

Blue Jays BaseballA common pastime for Jay fans is to turn down the volume on the TV and listen to the play by play of Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth. Tom and Jerry have been calling Blue Jay games for as long as I've been a fan, and they've always been far superior to the commentators on television. It had been a while since I've done this, but with a couple of Jays pursuing team records, today seemed the ideal day to revisit this old custom.

It didn't fly. For some reason, there was a lengthy four second delay between the call on the radio and the visual on the television. I would actually hear the results of the play before seeing the pitch delivered. I remember a subtle half-second difference between the two as a kid, but never anything close to this. Such a delay on the television side made it impossible to enjoy Tom and Jerry's call of the game. Write your MP and demand an obliteration of this sinful four second delay.

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The Freeplay Ranger

Freeplay RangerI have a rather strange obsession. It's with the Freeplay Ranger, a wind-up, solar and rechargeable powered radio. Sure, it's only an AM/FM radio, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about it for months now. Admittedly, I have a strange fascination with the radio (see July 24, 2003 / 10:51 EST), but the Freeplay Ranger will play for approximately 35 minutes per 30-second wind, and can be rewound at any time for as much playtime as you want. The sunlight charging feature is a bonus. I simply love the concept of a self-sufficient radio.

So why haven't I gone out and bought myself this new toy? I can't find it anywhere. Coleman is carrying it in the USA, but not in Canada. Radioshack and Home Hardware were supposed to be carrying it, but when I talk to them they plead ignorance. I've found a couple of places online that will ship it, but some place in the GTA must carry this sucker. If you know where I could pick up the Freeplay Ranger, I will forever be in your debt.

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Toronto Radio

Toronto RadioI've always been a huge fan of radio. As a kid, I'd cruise the dial on my transistor radio picking up stations from as far away as Cleveland. Even today, I love the radio.

My preferred station is Edge102. It's been my preferred station for the past 15 years. They call themselves Edge102 now, but they're still good ol' CFNY to me. It's my station because they play more tunes I like than any other station I can pick up in Toronto. When I want to hear a good tune, chances are I'll hear one on Edge102.

I also listen to HTZ 97.7 which broadcasts out of St. Catherines. They play lots of good rock, which means I'll get my fill of The Tragically Hip, Foo Fighters, Stone Temple Pilots, Nivana, Pearl Jam or whatever if Edge102 is off on some crappy Good Charlotte trip.

WBUF 92.9 out of Buffalo comes in clearly on my car stereo. This is my third favourite station on the dial. 92.9's format is similar to that of 97.7. Lots of hard rock...and Howard Stern in the mornings.

I used to listen to Q107 quite frequently, but have been drifing away of late. Q107 is now all about Classic Rock, which I dig, but have to be in the mood for. I just can't stand hearing the Rolling Stones every hour on the hour.

That's it for me on the FM dial. When something interesting is going down in the world and I need a news fix, I'll go AM and visit 680News. For a sports fix, I check out The Fan 590.

There you have my six radio stations...in case you were curious.

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