Tuesday, May 21, 2013

5.21.13 Bee-otch of the Day: terrestrial radio

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on Chuck69.com.


Name: terrestrial radio
Age: 93
Occupation: entertainers and informers of the general public
Last Seen: everywhere
Bee-otched For: dying

This season's finale of Fox's Kitchen Nightmares was a true hoot.

Chef Gordon Ramsay paid a visit to Amy's Baking Company in Scottsdale, AZ, near Phoenix. The restaurant was notorious for their owners, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo yelling and swearing at customers who hate their food and their slow service. Because the two stood by their food, which is mostly frozen and pre-packaged, Ramsay stormed away from the restaurant and the two owners were happy he left.

Since the episode aired, multitudes of people have slammed ABC for they way they treat their customers and employees online. One individual was nice enough to start a Facebook page called "Crazy Amy's Baking Company" and made several fake commercials for the eatery with some teasing Amy for constantly meowing to her three cats.

Now, the two are planning to re-open ABC this Tuesday in hopes that the newly-reimaged restaurant will reverse the negative attention the place got from the episode.

Sadly, the attitudes of certain restrauntuers are no different than those who own certain radio stations. When I was a teenager, I was into KoRn, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Nine Inch Nails and so much more. But, when it came to rock, the local stations in northern Michigan were in a battle to see who could play "Brown-Eyed Girl" more times in one day.

When I was young, I hated northern Michigan radio, and I still do. I busted my ass off to find ways to get distant signals from towns that had better rockers than that of KLT, The Zone and The Bear. Sometimes, I got WKLQ 94.5 out of Holland with some success, but that was if the tropo was right.

Now, there's satellite radio and internet radio, and you can get those stations quite easily on any smartphone. Plus, there's over 20 million subscribers to SiriusXM, so all should be well.

Now, northern Michigan has four rock stations. KLT and The Bear are still around while The Zone gave way to Real Rock 105 and 95-5 which gave way to Rock 105. Also, there's Q100.3 out of Grayling which is a classic-leaning AAA. Both KLT and The Bear are predominately classic rockers while Rock 105 is a 90's-focused rocker.

True, I should give Rock 105 props for giving people an alternative to the butt rock forced on us elsewhere, but it's sad that when they were Real Rock, they actually played new rock all the time. Now, certain songs won't get played on the station until maybe three months after everybody else has started playing them.

If you visit Rock 105's Facebook page and click on "posts by others", you'll see that they're, well, not well-liked. Listeners have called the station "repetitive", "grungy" and critiqued them for not playing enough new rock. One listener talked about how there's a lot of great new rock out there, and yet they're ODing on 90's music. "Smitty" responded by saying that new rock doesn't "test well", and yet the poster responded that when the station had the weekly "Buzz Cut", people overly responded positively to that. He hasn't been responded to.

I look at Rock 105's playlist and it's not too bad, but there's hardly any new rock and songs that don't fit the format (ie I saw "I've Seen All Good People" by Yes, plus Blink 182's "What's My Age Again" and Alex Clare's "Too Close"). Plus, I'm pissed that their Sunday night metal show "The Asylum" is gone. I wouldn't be too surprised if the recent switches at Rock 105 were all driven by consultants who all think that Traverse City is too much of a hick town to support something that's new and edgy. Therefore, instead of the latest from Alice in Chains, Volbeat, Device and other bands, northern Michigan's stuck with Art Alexakis crying about his daddy giving him a name and he walked away for the 347,462nd time in 15 years.

The reason why I'm pointing this out is because a recent poll by the firm Harris revealed that 60% of all Americans believe that terrestrial radio will be dead in five years. They're tuning in to services like Pandora and Slacker to avoid listening to commercials and overplayed songs.

It might also explain why some stations are also aiming for older audiences, such as northern Michigan's rock stations. Younger people tend to listen to music off their smartphones over traditional AM/FM stations. But the question is, will radio survive the next five years, or even more? I look at downstate rockers vs. the ones up north. Look at WGRD: successful morning show, always quick to add new tunes and their night jock's a hottie. Rock 105 has three local jocks and two that are fed from other markets and the same 200 songs over and over. If you lived up north, what station would you want to listen to?


Point is, radio needs to adapt and make changes. They need to stop listening to consultants and start listening to the listeners. Rock 105 was Northern Star Broadcasting's best-rated station when it was Real Rock and they killed it, crying that their ratings were too low. That kind of mentality will only drive listeners away. Just look at WKLQ here in Grand Rapids.

But hey, Howard's got a new $50 million mansion in Florida. :D

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