The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

14 February 2008

The radio station from hell

This is the derisive term I use for my iTunes installation at work, which includes about 2500 tracks at the moment. Usually when you walk in, it will be playing something you don't like, hence the description. While inevitably the playlist reflects my highly-dubious sense of aesthetics, it certainly qualifies as eclectic: you will find therein, for instance, two actual 1910 Fruitgum Company tracks, and the entirety of Kind of Blue. I won't, however, argue that this somehow represents "the full spectrum of music," unlike a certain Kansas City radio station:

Even the most casual music fan can't fail to notice that the full spectrum of music — even if we limit ourselves to the rock and roll era; hell, even if we limit ourselves to the post-Beatles/Dylan rock era — would necessarily include not only music from the 70s, 80s, 90s and now but from at least the 60s and probably the 50s, as well.

I don't have a lot of Nineties stuff, but I'm working on it. Of course, you might not really want a "full-spectrum" station:

I'm not sure even I would really want a station to play the FULL spectrum of music, mixing in Mozart, Gregorian chants, and the Barney soundtrack along with the obvious rock staples. Maybe nobody does, really. The type of music we listen to, and the type we make it a point to let others know that we don't listen to, is one of the ways we express our identities to the world, a way we signal to others that we are this kind of person and not (horrors!) that kind. What we usually downplay as merely personal aesthetics always come with loads of political implications. We had to learn to like what we like, after all, and these self-segregating lessons naturally mirror a society already segregated by race and class.

I'm wondering where this leaves me, since those 2500 tracks contain, for instance, lots of R&B and not a whole lot of classical. Not that I have any business pretending to have either erudition or street cred. (Nor, for that matter, do I really want to segue Britten's Simple Symphony into Funkadelic's "Cosmic Slop.")

Still, I wonder what sort of radio show, or podcast, I could whip up out of that odd collection of ingredients, and whether more than one person could stand to listen to it for more than a couple of selections.

Posted at 10:43 AM to Overmodulation


Kind of Blue...one need say no more. You're a class act.

Posted by: Aero at 4:45 PM on 14 February 2008

I'd tune in!

If I used speakers instead of headphones, I think I'd qualify for the Radio Station from Hell designation. 84 hours worth (1,867 tracks) of Western Swing alone, about half of it Bob Wills. As it is, my coworkers just have to put up with toe tapping, finger drumming, and the occasional "Ahhhh-hahhh!" when I lose myself in the music.

Posted by: Michael Bates at 5:45 PM on 14 February 2008

"I'm not sure even I would really want a station to play the FULL spectrum of music, mixing in Mozart, Gregorian chants, and the Barney soundtrack along with the obvious rock staples. Maybe nobody does, really."

KTRU of Rice Univ. in Houston came very close to full-spectrum, typically only excluding tracks you *could* hear somewhere else. When I found it around '89, the first three tracks I heard were klezmer, lo-fi reggae, and a Sousa march, back-to-back-to back. It was my favorite station during my time in that part of the country.

"The type of music we listen to, and the type we make it a point to let others know that we don't listen to, is one of the ways we express our identities to the world, a way we signal to others that we are this kind of person and not (horrors!) that kind."

I guess that's true too. Whatever the style, I'll generally like it less if it's too popular - except for the Eagles and Led Zeppelin.

Posted by: hatless in hattiesburg at 6:26 PM on 14 February 2008

We have a radio station here (Portland, Oregon) that claims "we play everything", but they only have 1500 songs on their playlist. I listen to them sometimes, but like all other stations, they have ads, so I eventually turn it off.

Posted by: Charles Pergiel at 1:18 PM on 15 February 2008

That's about the size of a Jack FM playlist: triple the usual station rotation, but still nothing to write home about. (I'm guessing this is KYCH/Charlie FM.)

Posted by: CGHill at 5:08 PM on 15 February 2008

I'll bet I could listen for a while. Tell us when to tune in!

Posted by: Jason at 10:52 PM on 15 February 2008