Dig Those Groovy Tunes!

the only sound that's left after the ambulances go

Why FM radio needs to put a sock in it and play some more damn music — It’s for your own good, guys… June 29, 2011

Satellite radio has spoiled me.  I was first exposed to its influence two years ago, when my dad’s truck decided it didn’t love us anymore and so he got a brand spankin’ new one, while my mom also decided it was time she got herself a new set of wheels or something like that.  Both vehicles are equipped with satellite radio.  When we’re in the car, we get to listen to an almost endless stream of music with no commericials and little to no yakkin’ from the DJs.  In the house, though, we’re stuck with AM and FM.  Which is fine, most of the time, when the commercials aren’t hawking “male enhancement” junk and when the music-talk ratio is at least 60:40.  But you know, as Sir Jagger says, you can’t always get what you want.  Especially in the mornings.  See, there’s apparently these things called morning shows which some stations insist on having.  Turns out, Q104.3, a classic rock station which I (and countless others, if the station’s claims aren’t total lies) consider one of my favorites in the New York/tri-state area, is no different.  Funny thing is, when radio stations — even halfway decent ones like Q104.3 — don’t spend enough time playing music, they’re allowed enough talking time to say some really stupid things.

I woke up early this morning, which is kind of a big deal for me.  I decided I wanted some music on while I had my breakfast, so naturally I switched on Q104.3, and Jim Kerr’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Morning Show was on.  I thought nothing of this at first, since at least they were playing some music in between the shit-chat chit-chat, and maybe, being fellow classic rock fans, Jim and his co-host Shelli Sonstein (who for some reason does not share the show’s title with Jim, but I’ll let that slide for now) might say a few interesting tidbits about my favorite music and what-not.  Instead they waste my precious seconds with something stupid and unoriginal called “Strange News” (it even has its own vapid theme song, which is basically Cream’s “Strange Brew” with the word “brew” replaced with news, sung by some Jack Bruce soundalike).  Seriously, how many radio stations must plague our poor unsuspecting, half-awake psyches in the morning with this drivel?  It barely qualifies as strange most of the time, and I wouldn’t exactly call it news so much as random events and studies that were just unusual enough for someone to care to report.

Actually, the first “Strange News” story this morning was kind of cool.  It was about this store clerk or something whose trusty dog helped her prevent a robbery by biting the assailant in the crotch.  Or something like that.  The second “story” was prefaced by Jim saying something like, “And this should be some good news for the men whose girlfriends and wives always complain about how tough women have it.”  Oh no, he didn’t.  I can’t remember if I yelled “Shut your mouth!” at the radio out loud just then, or if I just thought it really, really loud.  But what I do know is that the next thing out of Jim’s mouth was something along the lines of, “A recent study shows that men are more likely to get struck by lightning than women.”  And that definitely had me yelling “That means nothing, assbag!” at the radio.  Because you know what?  That supposed “study” doesn’t prove anything, and what’s more, it pisses me off that Mr. Kerr apparently thinks it makes a valid argument for (heterosexual) men to use when their female significant others kvetch about how our patriarchial society is screwing us over (and by “us” I mean all of us, not just the women).  I’m no scientist, but I can say with a great deal of confidence that this supposed “study” is either a) based on information gathered from past events that just so happen to be skewed one way as opposed to the other, and have no bearing or relevance whatsoever on the outcome of future human-electrical storm encounters, or b) says less about the “wonders of nature” than it does about the way men are socially encouraged to ignore their better judgement for the sake of pride in their “cajones” and so continue to work on the shed roof during a storm, thereby making themselves easier targets while women and “sissies” will generally flock to shelter.

And as for Kerr’s moronic suggestion that men now have something to complain about, well, gee, it’s terrible that I cannot go around topless in the same areas men can, and oh, yeah, I’m still not guaranteed equal pay as a male co-worker at an equivalent job, but what am I complaining for?  The menfolk have it so rough, what with being human lightning-rods and everything!

And yeah, this isn’t the first stupid thing I’ve ever heard on the radio.  It isn’t even nearly the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard on the radio (actually, there may have been times I’ve heard songs more insipid than this.  Not many, but a few).  However, it’s little things like this, things that remind me that I’m not part of the target demographic, that really get my goat.  I mean, isn’t it enough that I’m a fan of the music?  I shouldn’t have to put up with this sexist bullshit between my moments of sweet sweet rock ‘n’ roll ecstacy, should I?  (And yes, I’m fully aware that rock music, particularly classic rock, is not the most feminist-friendly genre out there.  But most of the time the tasty grooves make up for the embarrassingly antiquated lyrics, when I can figure out what they’re saying at all.  I’m lookin’ at you, Bobby Plant.)  Because when radio hosts like Jim Kerr announce silly little “news” stories like that, all I hear is, “You silly woman, don’t you know girls aren’t supposed to like rock music?”

I realize now that this post has gone all over the place and probably doesn’t address all of the issues raised at the beginning.  Oh well.  The bottom line is, as both a feminist and a music fan, I think certain FM radio stations could appeal to a lot more people if they minimalized the talking and the commercials — and therefore the superfluous information that caters only to a small handful of listeners while alienating the rest — and give us more of what we’re really there for:  the music.

P.S.  Oh, and while you’re at it, Q104.3, you might want to re-think all those totally irrelevant “babes” pages on your website, please?  Or at least add some pictures of menfolk not wearing too much, just so we can call it even?  I doubt you’ll even see this post at all, but it would be a very thoughtful gesture (which is a nice way of saying “I shouldn’t even have to ask”).

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