Thursday, January 29, 2015

1.29.15 Bee-otch of the Day: northern Michigan radio

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



Name: northern Michigan radio stations
Age: various
Occupation: providers of audio entertainment
Last Seen: Traverse City, Petoskey, etc.
Bee-otched For: 
proof that nobody's listening

When I started 16 years ago, it was to prove to the world that northern Michigan radio sucked.

I was a senior in high school when this site began, and I was infuriated knowing that the Traverse City area was the only radio market in the whole state where acts such as KoRn, Rage Against the Machine, Tool and other hard rockers were absent. We did have an alternative station, The Zone (95.5 TC, 94.5 Petoskey area and 93.9 Mio/Gaylord), but they went the wuss music route, playing crap from the Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox 20 and pretty much anybody who ever appeared at Lilith Fair.

Thankfully in 2000, thanks to new programming director Kimberly Fox, The Zone decided to grow a pair and added the aforementioned bands. Ratings shot through the roof and even longtime rock stalwart WKLT responded by adding some of the hard stuff The Zone was playing. But then, the station started to downgrade itself. In the years since, 93.9 flipped to a simulcast of sister station Big Country 102.9 and is now a religious station, 94.5 flipped to hot AC and is now WYPV, a teabagger talk station, and 95.5 ended up canning most of their local jocks for a canned, satellite-fed format from Waitt Radio Networks, now a part of Westwood One. In 2009, 95.5 alongside 105.1 in Cheboygan became a mainstream rock format known as "Real Rock 105 and 95-5". While the new station added on some local jocks and the Free Beer and Hot Wings Show, the station's music mix was an abortion a lot of the time, mixing some new rock with the overplayed butt rock shit KLT spewed out for years.

On April Fools Day 2013, Real Rock 105/95-5 lost the 95.5 signal and a lot of listeners from Traverse City and southward. They also lost Free Beer and Hot Wings, claiming low ratings although Real Rock was the highest-rated station parent Northern Star Broadcasting had. Sister classic rock station The Bear's rating was at 1.9, proving that the bastardizing of Real Rock - now Rock 105 - was to protect The Bear and its bland morning show, Bob and Tom.

As for 95.5, it flipped to severely boring soft AC as "Easy 95-5 and 106-3", simulcast with a station in Onaway. So far, the station has apparently "brightened" its playlist, dropping many of its older-sounding tunes for a more-upbeat playlist. It's not known how their ratings are, but they only have a whopping 166 likes on Facebook after two years of broadcasting.

You see, it's sad when the radio owners up north tend to overserve the Baby Boomers and older while those in the 18-49 range only have one station fitting their music needs and their signal doesn't cover the whole area. Meanwhile, we here in Grand Rapids have WGRD, Detroit has WRIF, Flint has Banana 101.5 and they're all popular stations.

What might be even funnier is that over the past decade, TC has seen many soft/AC stations come and go: 92.9 The Breeze, 106.7 WSRT/You FM and judging by what's going on in TC, WLDR/101.9 The Bay. The station has been off the air for over a week because of a dispute between the station and the Grand Traverse land bank that owns the land where the station's transmitter sits. Since the station fell silent, the local news media has been mum and on their Facebook page, only one person has asked why the station is off the air. The station hasn't even updated their Facebook page since a week ago Tuesday.

Remember the old adage "if a tree falls in the woods and there nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound?"? That's how I feel about certain northern Michigan radio stations. It's sad when the top-rated AC station in town, Lite 96.3 only has a 3.5 in the ratings, plus the fact that most AC stations up north end up being duds as-is. Every owner up north wants an AC, but there's no listeners for it. They claim it's for the advertisers, but truthfully, if I owned a business up north and a radio station ad guy walked into my shop, I'd be on the phone dialing "9-1", and if he opened his mouth about how businesses that advertised on WXXX got great results, I'd be hitting "1" again.

Let's face it. terrestrial radio is DEAD. Most teens and young adults these days are into apps such as Spotify, Pandora and Slacker. They don't want to tune in to a so-called rock station and have to hear wuss music or butt rock to hear something that's kick-ass. This is why you can skip songs you don't want on the digital services. On regular radio, you have to adhere to what the programming director forces on their listeners. It's too bad these services weren't around 20 years ago; I STILL have haunted memories and douche chills knowing that a certain PD of KLT, then northern Michigan's only rock station that played anything new forced Melissa Etheridge on her listeners every five minutes.

That would have really put the finger in the dike. 


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