Recently, MTV removed the words ‘music television’ from their logo. Many say this has been a long time coming, since the network has played very little in the way of music videos for the past several years, opting, instead, for reality shows and various awards ceremonies.
This got me thinking about the presence, or lack thereof, of any actual ‘music’ available to commercial audiences today. Even the car radio leaves something to be desired when it comes to musical selection.
Not being one of the thousands who have the means to make the wise choice of switching to satellite radio, I find myself, when the monotony of CDs and digital playlists has become too much to handle, reduced to local radio, in dire hopes of discovering what small bastion of entertainment I’m able to indulge in on my way to work, the grocery store, what have you.
I must confess, I enjoy the variety which commercial and satellite radio are able to provide, and like to be ‘surprised’ when a song I had not expected, or had not heard in some time, comes on.
Sadly, as novel as CDs and digital playlists can be, the fact remains that you will never be ‘surprised’ in this manner, when a certain track comes up for play. Even if your playlist is set to ‘shuffle,’ there will eventually come a time when you can predict what songs will play next.
Sadly, it seems even commercial radio has become bent on going the way of MTV, offering, instead of music, a seemingly endless barrage of ads and mindless DJ chatter. I would even take a radio drama in the style of the 1940s to this drivel!
Now, my radio dial is set staunchly on the local college station. It is true that I sometimes have to put up with a bit of the aforementioned ‘drivel’ or lengthy delays in music play while the young ‘DJ’ searches for the next song.
But, for the most part, this ‘basement radio’ has provided consistent, quality music in a variety I can truly get into.
Another beauty of college stations comes in that the ‘set list,’ if you will, is often times based on the students’ own musical preferences.
That means you could be listening to old-school country music one moment and hardcore punk rock the next. You could drive to work listening to polka and drive back listening to music you never knew existed, from bands with names you could hardly pronounce, let alone remember when you arrive home.
I even love the public service announcements and underwritten ‘ads’ of basement radio. Someone has to ‘pay the bills’ no matter where you are, but at least these breaks offer a bit of knowledge I may not have considered or details on the newest restaurant in town, without repeating a phone number to me seven times in a row, or going on for three minutes about the same message which could have been covered in less than half that time.
Basement radio offers a true passion for music and an excitement which years of pandering to corporate requirements has not yet been able to squash.
In addition, the offerings of this kind of outlet could expand your musical horizons and turn you on (no pun intended) to a ‘brave new world’ of entertainment you may have never experienced.
So the next time you’re in for a bit of a musical change while you’re out on the road, why not ditch the CDs and digital playlists for just one trip and give your local ‘amateur’ DJs a shot?
If enough of us support the little guy, perhaps we can help ensure that true music will never die.
by Peter Gaseoustania; Gaseoustania Tonight