Let’s be real. Most people do not have satellite radio, and most people cannot afford that $150/month rate that satellite radio costs. Knock-offs are interesting, and yes, cheaper, but still equally unaffordable and not always efficient. Thus, those of us who cannot afford this expensive transmission of sound waves, rely on a good old fashioned radio with AM and FM dials and a variety of music, or what’s supposed to be a variety.
With that said, us lovers of radio experience either the change of frequency for a station or stations going under because not a majority of people listen to its format. A consequence of this is that there are too many stations playing the same kind of music.
When I was younger, WLIR (92.7) changed their call letters to WDRE and kept their format of alternative/new wave/progressive rock music. It was also the station to listen to as well for those underground bands. A few years later 92.7 was replaced by yet another Spanish music station. K-ROCK (92.3) played classic rock/heavy metal/alternative music. Recently it was replaced by yet another Top 40 station. WNEW (102.7) also played classic rock but was replaced by you guessed at Top 40 station, but one that’s more on the lighter side–now it’s called Fresh FM. It’s not ‘fresh’. It plays everything that about ten other stations play and just like those stations is constantly repeating playlists. CD 101.9 played cool and smooth jazz. It was replaced by WRXP- The Rock Experience, who is reminiscent of WLIR/WDRE. I am happy to have them on the dial, as I listen to them often, but as I will explain later we now do not have a jazz station.
To my dismay, 96.3 WQXR went public. What does this mean? For 62 years at the same place on your radio dial, WQXR has been broadcasting, and has been owned by the New York Times. Now it’s no longer privately owned. What does that mean for listeners? Well it means a move up the dial to 105.9. What’s the problem? I now get little poofs of static, depending on which way I am driving. When they were at 96.3 I had no problem obtaining a signal on Long Island. Poofs of static are unacceptable when listening to the William Tell Overture! Perhaps, with time, the signal will become stronger, or at least I pray thee so because I enjoy this station.
As you can see I, like many Americans, enjoy a wide variety of music. The problem in the New York Metropolitan area is that variety is becoming less and less apparent. We do not have a jazz station, nor do we have a country station (yes some New Yorkers actually like country music). In order for me to listen to country music in my car I have to turn on 107.3 (Cat Country from Atlantic City, New Jersey), and pray the wind is blowing in the right direction. At home, I can’t get the station. In order for me to listen country at home, I have to turn on GAC or Much Music. For some jazz I am thankful to 90.7 fm (WFUV Fordham University) because they have the Big Broadcast with Rich Conaty on Sundays from 8-12am. Other wise I have to find jazz on the Much Music network.
I am grateful to NPR and WFUV for other reasons. NPR plays “Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me” and “A Prairie Home Companion.” WFUV has “The Big Broadcast with Rich Conaty”, “Echoes” with Jeff DiLiberto, and “World Cafe.” This way I am exposed to different sounds and programs that I enjoy.
In my area of New York we have at least three Spanish stations, and it seems like a zillion Top 40 stations. It’s time for a bit more variety, don’t you think?