Why Classic Rock Radio Sucks

Why Classic Rock Radio Sucks

   As a kid, my source of music was AM Radio, WABC in New York to be particular. They played all the hits. If it was a hit song, it was being played on WABC…. all day long. Top 40 ruled the air waves and my friends and my musical purchases. My musical horizons grew during my later teens, the late 70’s to be specfic. I still listened to the radio like everyone else, but now it was FM, a much freer format… I’d put on of several Rock stations in the Tri State area… my go to was WNEW in New York City. What made WNEW special was they went deep. They played more than the hits. Back then, most FM DJs could play whatever they wanted… personal favorite off a 5 year old Savoy Brown album ? Go for it… a new disc by a long time session guy ?, give it a spin… throw in some Cheech and Chong or vintage George Carlin to keep the listeners on their toes… that was the beauty of FM radio… Free Format. THAT would soon change.

   In just a few short years, every ROCK station across the country, would be playing the same 30 songs over and over and over ….. Rock and Roll Radio was going corporate. As a college intern at my local rock station, I would sit in on my “professor”’s show. He was the overnight guy at the time, he told me how they were getting rid of 75% of their vinyl….the stations program director (does that title even exist anymore), had decided that the station only needed to have Greatest Hits albums. It was over. New music became less frequent… Rock radio had become “Classic” Rock… meaning the same five songs from Led Zeppelin, the same seven songs from The Rolling Stones, the same two songs from Lynyrd Skynyrd, and sometimes the same songs from other great bands, that weren’t even their best songs…  ZZ Top anyone ? 

   As with any successful industry, Rock radio became less concerned with the product, and more concerned with revenue. It would be a few decades later, with the “invention” of streaming music, that the radio industry would realize they screwed up. Their solution was the putrid I “Heart” Radio campaign, but I digress. 

   Led by Pandora, and then more successfully (in my opinion) with Spotify, music streaming services offered consumers of music more choices… ALOT more choices. Listeners were given access to thousands of artists’ entire catalogs (whether or not the artists are compensated fairly is an argument for another day). If you like that Allman Brothers song, you now had the choice to hear similar artists, like Government Mule, The Derek Trucks Band, or Widespread Panic, with just the power of click. Want to listen to just The J. Geils Band for three hours straight ?, just “shuffle” their song list.

   Do you want to be exposed to new up and coming artists in your favorite genre ? There are streaming stations and blogs galore to satisfy that fancy as well. Personally, I love Blues and Blues flavored rock…. I have a whole arsenal of music choices to feed my fix… here are just a few…  SOUNDCLOUD, MIXCLOUD, LITTLE STEVEN’S UNDERGROUND GARAGE, BAND CAMP, REVERB NATION, FEEDBANDS… and then there’s the podcasts…. BLUES UNLIMITED, COLOR RADIO, JUKE IN THE BACK, MIKE KERR’S BLUES NATION, RAVEN and The Blues, THE BLUES KITCHEN, THE BLUZNDABLOOD BLUES RADIO SHOW, and so many more, each packed with icons in that particular musical genre, and up and comers. If that’s not enough, I also highly recommend the Rock and Blues Muse facebook page… 

   If all you want is background music, then pay no heed, but if music fills a void for you then, then dive into the above lists and explore. Having all those music options at your disposal, yet choosing to listen to the radio, is like having Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches everyday, when you could be going to a five star buffet.

The first 5 people to comment on this will be emailed a special 20% off Sales code for the purchase of either my Bohemian Bongo Beach Party art print (any available size), or my BONGO BEACH PARTY tee, any available size both from the MARTYTOONS SHOP. The code is valid for one week only, one time use only and expires on Tuesday, March 26th at 5:00 pm ….

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1 comment

  • Gosh! So true! It is such a trip to consider that one day, even today’s current music will one day be considered “Classic Rock”. I used to love to sit on the floor in my living room as a small kid, and go through my parent’s amazing record collection…..from the 70’s. I used to play with the zipper on the front cover of the stones album….the artwork on some of those albums was amazing, as was the music!

    Mika Harmony

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