Wednesday, March 18, 2015

3.18.15 Bee-otch of the Day: alternative rock stations

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Name: alternative radio
Age: 45
Occupation: radio stations that play alternative "rock" music
Last Seen: everywhere
Bee-otched For: sucking 


Monday was a sad day for alternative rock fans in mid-Michigan.

94.1 WVIC signed off for good with its modern rock format after six years. It was previously a rebirth of The Edge, originally on 92.1 in East Lansing (now all-sports 92.1 The Team), which ran from 1993 to 2003. Despite its success, piss-poor station management caused the station to flip to extremely unsuccessful hot AC My 92.1, which lasted six months. In the time since, 92.1 has aired many formats including sports, oldies and country.

As for 94.1, it is now "Duke FM", playing 80s and 90s-era country. The format itself is on several other stations owned by parent Midwest Communications; a Duke station launched the same day in Green Bay. The stations are named for Duke Wright, whose family owns Midwest.

Thankfully, several of 94.1's jocks are now at sister station 92.9 WLMI, which plays classic hits. WLMI's former morning man, Tim Barron has moved on to internet radio. However, Free Beer and Hot Wings is the biggest casualty of the Duke switch; then again, Q106 does air the bland and dated Bob and Tom.

With the death of WVIC, there's only one alternative rocker left here in Michigan, and it's sister station WZOX/Z96.5 in Kalamazoo. That station does OK in the ratings, although some claim that they have little advertising.

So, why did The Edge/Alternative Radio/WVIC die? Well, 1) they were taking a ratings bite out of sister station WJXQ/Q106, 2) their signal isn't the best on MSU's campus, 3) their ratings were meh, but most of all, 4) the modern state of alternative rock sucks.

Let's face it: many alternative stations hardly do shit in the ratings. Look at 89X in Detroit. The February Nielsen book came out for Detroit yesterday, and they're 20th place out of 29 ranked stations with a puny 1.7 share. Only a few years ago, they were around a 3 share. However, they didn't fight to keep their morning show, Dave and Chuck the Freak, who ended up over the border at WRIF. They also decided to soften their playlist to more of a corporate alternative sound. However, I just checked their playlist and I do see more hard rock titles in the mix, but you're gonna have to sit through Vance Joy (seen above) and Mumford and Sons to get to Rob Zombie and KoRn. As for D&CTF's new home, WRIF, they're in 11th place with a 4.8, its best book in ages.

To me, alternative is simply wuss music, and it doesn't do well in here in Michigan. Look at northern Michigan and The Zone: when that station came to town in 1998, it came in a time when alt-rock had the hard route with KoRn, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Nine Inch Nails and so forth and the wuss route with Dave Matthews Band, Matchbox 20 and everybody who ever played Lilith Fair. The Zone took the wuss route and lost. Two years later, they finally added harder bands and Sheryl Crow and Jewel disappeared from the playlist. End result: better ratings. The Zone disappeared in 2009 and became Real Rock 105/95-5 and is now Rock 105.

But then there's WGRD here in Grand Rapids. It was alternative for about a decade when it gradually flipped to active rock in the mid-2000s. For years, it was KLQ's bitch. But thanks to former PD Jerry Tarrents and the addition of Free Beer and Hot Wings, they're now one of the top stations in town.

You see, I don't know why station owners and record labels see positive in many of the lame-o alternative acts out there. Many of them seem to fit this description: some douchebag with long, dark hair with a white t-shirt and khaki shorts and flip-flips strumming a ukelele and singing with high notes. If Beavis and Butt-head were still on today, most of these assclowns would see their videos get slammed by the two.

Here's an idea: how about promoting active rock artists more than wimpy-ass alternative ones? It's proof how labels and station owners are both stupid. ROCK ISN'T DEAD! It's the assholes who release it and play it who are killing it.

Let's replace that ukelele with an actual electric guitar, shall we?


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