The Last Thing the Internet Needs Now

Meth Rock Is the New Alternative?
January 17, 2008, 12:33 pm
Filed under: Media, music | Tags: , , , ,

Via The Lost Ogle and

Want Oklahoma City radio to suck less? Play something besides country music, right-wing hategab, substandard and repetitive sports talk, two different varieties of moldy oldies, maybe one or two urban stations that sound almost exactly alike, and multiple varieties of religious music.

… and, now, as a comment-leaver on (linked above) so eloquently and succinctly described it, “Meth Rock.”

Look, seriously, I think many of us can agree that commercial radio sucks balls (deregulation has something to do with this but don’t make me explain, because I’m tired as hell right now). I myself listen to NPR most of the time if stuck with “terrestrial” radio (and I’m not always near a computer and investing in satellite radio is kind of down on my list of financial priorities behind things like food, shelter, medical bills, other bills, fuel and clothing. In that order).

And so, yeah, the corporation that owns KHBZ-FM thinks all of a sudden that it can bite the tail off a certain kitty (i.e. longtime rock market leader KATT-FM) by playing the same shite they play (FWIW, this format is known as “active rock.” Isn’t all rock “active” when you think about it?). Some industry observers see this as actually a wise move — i.e. KHBZ taking the ratings fight to the Big Mean KittyKATT With the Razor Claws, but in fact is an exercise in futility where the ultimate losers are listeners in Oklahoma City (and all the suburbs) who, depending on tastes, are again denied *other* formats deemed less marketable or whatever other reason researchers want to illustrate with whatever the hell it is they call market research.

And if their research indicates that OKC rock listeners want to hear even more Pantera, Atreyu and Tool, then everybody else be damned.

Until KHBZ’s format change, effective January 14 (following a weekend all-Metallica-all-the-time stunt), its format was, for lack of a better way to put it, alternative rock, which in and of itself could be a misnomer. Is it really “alternative” if its friendly enough for a mega corporation like ClearChannel to put on its air?

Rival corporation Citadel had something resembling a bright idea a few years ago when they launched The Spy, which played a grand mix of contemporary alternative rock (at least “contemporary” a few years ago) with vintage punk and new wave and so forth. Of course, this was too good to last and it became Spanish-language La Indomible. Old farts like me and baby hipsters kids wanting to hear some of what should constitute roots music for them wept.

On the other hand, do those of us with somewhat iconoclastic musical tastes NEED to be served by terrestrial commercial radio? We can hear pretty much what we want on satellite radio, or via the radio streams that come with iTunes (lots to be had when you click on “radio”), or our own CD collections of bands we love that everybody else has never heard of. In which case, I’ve probably wasted a lot of verbiage over nothing — corporate radio sucks. Always has, always will.

But what does OKC’s radio dial tell about Oklahoma City, a metro that’s dying to play with the big boys and raise its profile above the usual and often negative stereotypes that have persisted for generations? I don’t know if that’s really a fair question but I’m going to ask it anyway and I’d like to hear some answers.

And if you don’t want to answer, that’s okay too.