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Dear Canadian Rock Radio Stations, What Happened to You? – PART 4

Chad Vice

Here is the final part of this exciting doctrine of Canadian radio stations and their lack of playing a more expanded and broader list of great Canadian music; we are down to the bone and if you remember, here are the radio stations that were up for discussion

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 almost covered them all, or maybe all of them have been covered, I’m not quite sure since I like to jump back forth on my rants. So let’s go with Boom 99.7. This has now become one of my go-to radio stations these days for the pop-rock hits of the days gone by, and truth be told, I can sometimes hear, if I listen long and close enough, some semi-forgotten Canadian artists that I mentioned wayyy back in the 1st article. Artists like Platinum Blonde and Alfie Zappacosta have been played, and some songs by Toronto and the Headpins, and of course the awesome Payolas (producer Bob Rock’s former band), even a few songs outside of the obligatory “Eyes of A Stranger”. So all in all, this station isn’t too bad for playing the (now) lesser known tracks big name artists. Remember, my point of these articles was lamenting the fact that Canadian radio seems to be ignoring a wide range of artists who used to have big top-10 hits; I’m not talking about obscure bands who had 1 brief top-40 hit in the mid-80s. I do have some reasonable expectations and I know with the way radio sets itself up, I don’t for one second think these songs will get much regular play. But please, put songs that USED to be massive hits back into regular rotation and give Bryan Adams “Summer of 69” and Rush “Spirit of Radio/Tom Sawyer” a rest for a bit. A long bit. They are classic songs, they deserve a rest. Radio has killed my enthusiasm for ever hearing those songs again, and I promptly skip them if I happen to be listening to the album from where they came

If you understand me here, and if you still have a love for terrestrial radio and grew up on it and found yourself musically educated as a youth just by turning the dial from AM to FM, and if you even remember FM CABLE, which was a service you could subscribe to that would bring all the FM channels in your area to your home clear as a bell, and if you remember buying blank TDK or Maxell cassette tapes by the truckload so you could “tape” your favorite song when it came on the radio, and sitting in front of it for hours and hours just waiting, and always missing the first few bars or words of the song as you scrambled to hit that record button, well this blog post is for you. Lament now, how you no longer hear the songs you used to love that were your gateway to the band and have now been replaced by the same programmed generic playlist with little to almost no DJ involvement whatsoever. Technology is not always better, but it sure can be bigger!

My point is also not meant to single out any one radio station or proclaim any as one better than the other; taste and expectations from a station are all subject.This is just me writing my personal thoughts down and then letting the world see. That’s the gift of the internet after all! it’s completely open to debate and discussion as well as finger pointing and name calling, it’s all good and all in fun. Music is meant to bring out your creativity and passion, I think I have done a little bit of that here in this 4-part series. Did I really need to take 4 parts to explain all my thoughts and feelings? Abso-freaking-lutely.

Things change, and nothing stays the same, and we need it to grow and prosper. Radio stations constantly get new songs to play, they can’t play every song ever recorded, but if you specialize in playing older tunes or hits of days gone by, maybe we can open up the playlist a bit and go back to a broader list and cover more ground. Can we cycle tunes through a little more and give music enthusiasts a reason to want to tune in, because they might actually discover a new song, which will get more interest in the band, which may get people out to a live show and support the music scene where it might not have been supported before. In my opinion, radio could be doing a lot more to help grow or re-introduce people to music and breath a second life. From what I can see, that does not appear to be the agenda of the radio station music directors, who at this point have only to answer to the sponsors and what they dictate as likeable or popular music. “It’s old, no one remembers them, it’s not a hit, don’t play it”. Large long *sigh*

In conclusion, I hope this blog has reached some people and got them thinking, or chuckling and at least kept a spirit of interest in terrestrial radio alive for another generational round. Get a conversation going. Search out new old music. Yes that’s right, new OLD music. It’s out there. You will find it. But in the meantime, just keep bugging your radio station to play it. Because after all, if this was the summer of 1969, you would be hearing a new song, and it would be awesome. Give new tunes a chance to become classics and give older classics a chance to be relevant again.

Now let’s hear some Alanis Morrissette. “Too Hot” anyone??

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