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Dear Canadian Rock Radio Stations, What Happened to You? – PART 3

Chad Vice

So to review for the previous two blog posts on this topic, here are the radio stations we are discussing:

Energy 1200 (AM)
54 Rock/The Bear (54 AM/106.9 FM)
CHEZ 106 (106.1 FM)
X-FM (101.1 FM)
Boom (99.7 FM)
Kool FM (94.9 FM)

We’ve covered Energy 1200, we’ve covered The Bear, we’ve covered CHEZ 106, and now we move on to the former X-FM.

This was an interesting station when it first premiered, and an interesting time in Rock Radio in this Canadian Capital City of Ottawa, where we had a whopping THREE Rock Radio stations!! CHEZ was going strong as always, playing the good ol’ familiar routine classic rock, The Bear kind of started to adapt, and play a little more modern active rock outside the box (see rap-metal like Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach) and then X-FM just came in like a wrecking ball (yikes!) in 1999 I believe, and just changed the dynamic for the way rock music was presented here in Sleepy Hollow, I mean, Ottawa. Sure it didn’t last, they received complaints because they didn’t censor songs (oh no so sad) among some other business things, and it really wasn’t actually playing any more rare or forgotten Canadian rock tunes from the 80s and 90s, in fact I don’t think they played any because that would not have fit the format at all. So really, still nothing changed, and Canadian acts that were not multi-platinum household names from the 80s were still forgotten after their first initial round of album release/tour came to an end. Can anyone explain the lack of love for some great music?

I want some kind of answer. A quick search of the famous internet finds me two things: nobody is really talking about this subject, and that radio is geared towards advertisers, who aren’t targeting people like Chad Vice (me) who is stuck in the 80s and thus there is no money in branding a radio station with a lower demographic of interest when you can hit the masses hard n’ heavy with Top-40 Pop/R&B, which I will say there are some artists of this genre that I do like, some songs are awesome, and a good song is a good song and I will never be embarrassed to like a song or tell people about it, regardless of the genre. But to face facts, 80s rock/metal and lesser-known (remembered) artists are these days considered a niche crowd and better served via Satellite Radio. So I guess that’s the answer?

Really, in this day and age you can pop in a CD, turn on your iPod, your smartphone, stream or have someone sing to you and you can hear anything that exists in recorded music. I know there are licensing issues, and song availability and other factors involved, but what these blogs I write are lamenting more is the fact that stations USED to play these songs and now don’t do that unless it’s a special weekend or show. Take requests? Not really. Unless you request a song the station was already going to, or regularly plays, you rarely are going to get it. There are some exceptions but in the end, its not really worth the 3 minutes of pure ecstasy to hear Kick Axe “Vices”. Great tune! Now play me some “Metal on Metal” by Anvil!! Haha

With regards to KOOL FM, even though it was playing the “style” of music that today’s Hot Adult-Contemporary plays, albeit the music was better then (early to mid-90s)  you were still getting a good dose of Canadian artists then that are today rarely played, so this was a win for sure. But all good things…This station basically later became Bob-FM 93.9 which also by 2014 shutdown in favor of a Country station; and when I say Country, I mean twangy Pop music. You’ll never hear artists like Alabama, Restless Heart, Travis Tritt, Little Texas and Earl Thomas Conley on the radio in Ottawa again. But that’s getting off topic, and I don’t want to ramble here!

So to conclude this part of the blog, while we all know why some music is not played, thagt only a pre-arranged format and amount of songs are played, why some formats change and why we can’t always request every song ever created, we (meaning I) still do not understand why only a handful of Canadian artists and only their very basic pop hit songs are the ones we hear played exclusively nowadays, and even more puzzling is why artists and songs that USED to be huge are now largely ignored save for some very random and late hour where they will magically be played (Platinum Blonde anyone?).

Get ready for the final instalment piece coming soon, and maybe by then I will have started my own radio station entitled “The Other Hits Hits Station”

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