Death Cab for Woody

Thursday, August 17, 2006

CD101 - The Alternative Station? Or just a town with no other alternatives?

Updated: A few interesting comments have made their way onto this topic well after it was posted. I want to bring this up to the top of the list. For the central Ohio readers..How many people have actually heard of WOXY out of Oxford (No..it is not a college radio station)?

Some thoughtless comments being passed on the topic:

"Solution: Move back to Seattle. Sorry dude but CD101 has to pay it's employees, it's not some glorified college station that's bankrolled by NPR. Oh, and you come across as real ass."

That comment was delightful and well thought out.

This comment had some actual thought and knowledge within it on the topic.

CD101 has to play the ratings game (and consequently, the "hits") because their management has opted to live life as a fully-blown commercial radio station operating in a major market. Aside from being independently owned, which is true, they operate in a way not too dissimilar from any corporate station, hence, "has to pay its employees". It's another way of saying 'we wanna play with the big boys & we gotta make some dough to pay for this stuff'.

WOXY was a true mom-and-pop operation that operated on the fringe of the Cincinnati/Dayton markets and chose not to go head-to-head with better funded stations because they couldn't: weak signal, niche format. They kept operating costs low & as a result, they had the leeway to be a lot more left of center. CD101 enjoys no such luxury, by choice.

Don't be fooled by KEXP. They are awash in funds from the University of Washington, Paul Allen (Microsoft) & his Experience Music Project, in addition to having numerous pledge drives & fundraisers. They also have the benefit existing in a left-leaning metro like Seattle where like-minded listeners (and donors) are a lot easier to come by than if they tried to do the same thing in Ohio.

WOXY exists online as WOXY.com & is still operating as an independent operation. Sorry to say that they are hurting for money & may not exist much longer but give them this: they've never sold out & have remained true to the spirit of independent radio.

"Gotta pay their employees" is a fucking copout, btw.


Here is the original post...in all it's glory.

I was in Columbus this past weekend, and am really starting to have some issues with a radio station, namely CD101, which I really enjoyed compared to other local offerings including "The Big Wazzu" and "The Blitz." There is a weekly program called "The Invisible Hits Hour," which is supposedly award-winning and exists to play the best indie and sprinkle in some local flair. I have some real issues with a station that will bring on an EFFING Roadie from a local band that has kind of made it...but is past its prime. That's right. CD101 was not bringing on the band Watershed, but was bringing on one of its roadies named "EJ" or "JC" or whatever, who is now playing some music with a guitar that he found behind a tour bus during Watershed's latest White Castle Parking Lot World Tour. Disclaimer: I like Watershed...they have a few catchy tunes, but if they are the face of Columbus music to outside world then Columbus has no music scene at all. Bands like Fenster and Embassy have come and gone or just left the town, because they know that the music scene in Columbus is like a graveyard.

This is not a rant in snobbery, I have access to one of the best independent radio stations in the world, KEXP Seattle. I listen religiously and basically hear all sorts of music on station that is "listener sponsored." Now, all you Columbus radioheads are out there stating "Well, we dont have anything like that in Columbus." I'm calling "Shenanigans!" CD101 has the ability to be every bit as good as KEXP in Seattle or even WOXY in FREAKIN' Oxford, Ohio of all places, but they are just falling into the same routine as every other radio station in the Columbus area. I am still hearing the Clash every 2 hours on this station. I like "The Clash," and while it was very hip to play them in the 90', there is other music out there that needs to be heard....which isnt being pushed by record execs. For some reason, CD101 is talking a big game of being "independently-owned." Well, that doesnt mean jack shit if you are not doing anything about it. What makes CD101 so special? Is it the fact that they have the "Andyman?" I sure hope not....he is still pretty much playing the same crap he has been playing for years with a few new tracks that every other Alternative Rock DJ across this grand country has been playing for 2-3 months before him. With the amount of Columbus-credibility that Andyman possesses, he should be able to play a local band, not named Watershed, every couple of hours. He should be able to play songs off of albums that are not in normal rotation in every other freakin' city in America (Sorry to single you out Andy, but with the local fame comes the heightened scrutiny..and you are the face/voice of the radio station). Andyman does provide a great philanthropic service to the community with Christmas-time "Andy-manathon," but outside of that he an his offerings to the local or even Ohio music community have been freakin' terrible.


The Andyman: "You're with me, Watershed"


Case in Point:

Bonnaroo 2005

A band by the name of the Heartless Bastards from the Dayton/Cincy-area were slated to play early on Sunday afternoon a one of the lesser stages on the festival. A modest crowd of about 100-200 people showed up to watch this trio. Not a single soul from the CD101 crew came over to see them play and provide some support (either that or they were incognito) even though the Heartless Bastards were considered an up and coming band by the festival publications. The fact that CD101 was pimping themselves as a radio station that supports the local music, yet not being seen the entire festival says a lot.

The Heartless Bastards are a good band, which deserves exposure and gets it in Cincy and Dayton...but not C-Bus. Why? Because CD101 wont play anything that isnt deemed popular by some source like Rolling Stone or Spin...or some source really cool that we've never heard of before.



So what does CD101 really stand for? Over-exploiting an almost monopolized niche market in the Columbus-area, which doesnt possess another alternative (I mean the Blitz is all about playing AC/DC, Staind, and Nickelback every 30 minutes, while the Big Godsmack...err...Wazu isnt mch better). A radio station that was, at one time, very original in its content delivery to the market, but now is, basically, ClearChannel Jr. with Watershed, The Violent Femmes, and The Clash (again...not "the only band that ever mattered"...just the only band that ever mattered to CD101).

The sad part about all of this is that if one of the big conglomerates, like ClearChannel, ever decided to start an Aternative Station, similar to 89X in Windsor/Detroit, it would decimate CD101 in less than a year. Be thankful CD101, you will be able to continue playing The Clash and The Violent Femmes until all of their members are wormfood, because nobody sees Columbus as a viable market for another radio station.

Until CD101 is playing bands (more than one song every other day) such as the following (these are examples...and there are many more that could fall into this category)....people should consider logging onto KEXP or even WOXY to listen to some music that isnt part of a regular rotation.
  • The Shins (if it wasnt for Garden State...James Mercer would never be heard in Columbus.)
  • Band of Horses
  • Optimus Rhyme
  • Grandaddy (They are broken up now...but wouldnt it be cool to hear something besides the Big Room rendition of "Now It's On")
  • Calexico
  • Particle
  • Los Lonely Boys
  • The Decemberists
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • Travis
  • Hayden
  • Iron and Wine
  • The Secret Machines
  • My Morning Jacket (something off an album besides Z)
  • Drive-by Truckers
  • Jurassic 5 (Good Hip Hop...that you will never hear in Columbus)
  • DJ Shadow (Still waiting to hear something off of Private Press)
  • Boards of Canada
  • and many many more.

Labels:

17 Comments:

  • What? The 2nd largest university in North America doesn't have a student-run radio station?

    oh...KBUX...right *cough!*

    --camster

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:06 PM, July 31, 2006  

  • I couldnt even pick up KBUX when i lived in Steeb Hall (right next to the freakin' Union). Dreadful....just dreadful...

    By Blogger Herringbone, at 8:25 AM, August 01, 2006  

  • Solution: Move back to Seattle. Sorry dude but CD101 has to pay it's employees, it's not some glorified college station that's bankrolled by NPR.

    Oh, and you come across as real ass.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:15 AM, August 07, 2006  

  • Andyman, is that you?

    Amusing comment coming from an "anon" poster, but it's ok. CD101 can play just about anything ...I repeat...anything that it wants and the masses of C-bus will follow the Pied Piper into a river of overplayed and underwhelming music. CD101 doesnt have any sponsor problems and is paying its DJs without issues, and will continue to do so.

    However, I doubt that I would strike a nerve unless you have some attachment to the managemnt, djs, or the station itself. Obviously, you are entitled to your opinion, as am I, but at least do a little research on the stations that I have mentioned before spouting off on a topic, you obviously know very little about. Why dont you check out the other radio stations mentioned in the blog post...and maybe practice up on the reading comprehension ( I'm already in Seattle..just pointing out the shortcomings of a station that I used to really really like...doh!!!) before shooting from the hip. WOXY and KEXP are both low budget stations, but for some reason they are able to remain "independent" and not suck like CD101, which has sufficient amounts of money coming into its P&L every month. They have to be taking in some money...otherwise...they would sound more like a ClearChannel station than they already do.

    In regards to coming off as an ass, thanks...I appreciate the compliment and my opinion apparently sparked some emotion by your response. Would appreciate to see a constructive opinion with a little research and maybe some clear thoughts...So...what do you think, Andyman or is this the roadie from Watershed?

    By Blogger Herringbone, at 6:59 PM, August 13, 2006  

  • CD101 has to play the ratings game (and consequently, the "hits") because their management has opted to live life as a fully-blown commercial radio station operating in a major market. Aside from being independently owned, which is true, they operate in a way not too dissimilar from any corporate station, hence, "has to pay its employees". It's another way of saying 'we wanna play with the big boys & we gotta make some dough to pay for this stuff'.

    WOXY was a true mom-and-pop operation that operated on the fringe of the Cincinnati/Dayton markets and chose not to go head-to-head with better funded stations because they couldn't: weak signal, niche format. They kept operating costs low & as a result, they had the leeway to be a lot more left of center. CD101 enjoys no such luxury, by choice.

    Don't be fooled by KEXP. They are awash in funds from the University of Washington, Paul Allen (Microsoft) & his Experience Music Project, in addition to having numerous pledge drives & fundraisers. They also have the benefit existing in a left-leaning metro like Seattle where like-minded listeners (and donors) are a lot easier to come by than if they tried to do the same thing in Ohio.

    WOXY exists online as WOXY.com & is still operating as an independent operation. Sorry to say that they are hurting for money & may not exist much longer but give them this: they've never sold out & have remained true to the spirit of independent radio.

    "Gotta pay their employees" is a fucking copout, btw.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:20 AM, August 16, 2006  

  • Anon...Thanks for the comments.

    I totally agree with you on all of your points. In terms of "doing more with less," WOXY is the king. I know that they have hit some tough times financially, but they haven't sold out in the least bit. I cant fault KEXP for any of the fundage that is put its way. This is a very "left-ish" city and people are willing to donate money...whether they have it or not.

    I would have no problems with CD101 if they didnt play the "independent station" card...They are ClearChannel...no matter what they want to say on the radio for the masses to believe.

    Again, Thanks for the comments.

    By Blogger Herringbone, at 7:38 AM, August 16, 2006  

  • The only time I ever heard KBUX was when I would eat my lunch right outside the studio doors.

    I'm not familiar with much of the music on your list (I don't have time or energy to listen to radio much. Most "new to me" music suggestions come from friends who let me "borrow" discs), but I do enjoy Los Lonely Boys. My wife and I found them while sitting at Farm Aid a few years back.

    I'm a sucker for a killer live show, and if you ever have the chance you need to see them in person.

    By Blogger Drew, at 7:55 AM, August 18, 2006  

  • Drew...Sent you an email.

    Might give another option for finding music that doesnt involve a russian website where you can buy songs for iPod for $0.02 each.

    LLB is a good band. I have listened to them a lot. Just havent seen them live.

    By Blogger Herringbone, at 8:12 AM, August 18, 2006  

  • Brilliant!

    -rolling eyes-

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:31 AM, August 18, 2006  

  • Anon...

    Good to see you came strong this morning...

    Care to add anymore well thought out retorts?

    By Blogger Herringbone, at 8:33 AM, August 18, 2006  

  • I'm sure that KEXP is a great staion, and I log on to WOXY from time to time.

    It's probably our respective reference frames, I'm stuck in Cleveland where we have nothing that comes close to CD101 and I couldn't really care less how they market themselves, it's still the best thing going in Cbus (Do you remeber the Channel Z days?).

    We can get into the "listening over the internet thing", but at that point you can pretty much include every station in the world, something that I don't see the need for.

    I do stand by my assertation that CD101 is in bussiness to make money, and I'm assuming that if playing Sufjan Stevens would bring more listeners, they would play him (or the others you listed). If not, you might want to think about starting up a radio station in Columbus, Ohio.

    I will on the otherhand conceed that that having Watershed's roadie on was pretty bush league.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:45 AM, August 18, 2006  

  • Thanks. I started twitching when I saw the Channel Z reference.

    You are correct about the reference point though. Cleveland doesn't really have anyhting close to CD101. I am not sure why they do not, but it is surprising that CD101 hasnt tried a sister-station up there.

    Understand that I used to really like CD101, until I noticed that there were other bands out there. Yes, CD101 needs to bring in some coin to cover its expenses, but it does not need to put in a rotation to do so. Maybe if they attmepted to mix in some new music with the "mainstream" hits rather than mix in James or one of the two Elvis Costello songs or the three Violent Femmes songs, etc that they generally play this rant could have been avoided (Like anyone at CD101 cares...). There will come a time when KBUX will get some financial backing and more new types of music will put out there for people to hear in Columbus. That will be a sad day for CD101, as large percentage of the OSU population listens to CD101 for their its music. Hell, that is almost all of their listenership. Will it sway CD101? No. Because the students are not CD101's market...25-40 with money to support those sponsors..

    Enough beating of the dead horse.

    Music is Music...unless you are paying $59.50 to see Hillary Duff at the Puyallup Fair in Washington..then that is an ass-raping of epic proportion.

    By Blogger Herringbone, at 8:05 AM, August 21, 2006  

  • KBUX has that whole "we don't have a transmitter or license" problem. The last I knew they were only broadcasting over UNITS. It is sad that we don't have a real radio station and if they ever decide to back it/grow it I'll be all for it

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:45 AM, August 21, 2006  

  • blah blah blah... i'm from C-bus, but i've lived in Vegas for seven years, and trust me, CD101 is better than the vast majority of the stations out there... yeah, they might not be as 'independent' as they used to be, but they're still better than 90% of crap that gets spewed over the airwaves...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:13 PM, August 28, 2006  

  • just thought i'd let you know i moved the football portion of bradshrugged to a new location:
    the12thManchild

    lookin forward to some in-season Big 10 updates. peace.

    By Blogger Brad, at 9:59 PM, August 29, 2006  

  • blah blah blah....I used to live in *insert city here* and CD101 is better than *insert ridiculous percentage here* of all other radio stations out there.

    Sorry buddy...Las Vegas isnt exactly a fertile breeding ground for great music...

    I can only count The Killers and The Crystal Method as band that are worth listening to from that city...music is not a priority in Vegas...and it shows

    By Blogger Herringbone, at 10:27 PM, August 30, 2006  

  • Brad...

    Thanks for the heads up...

    I will update the mighty Blogroll

    By Blogger Herringbone, at 10:28 PM, August 30, 2006  

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