But Seriously.

A few months ago, my city got a new FM station. We now have Rock, in addition to Country, Country Rock, Workplace Rock and Christian Rock. Yeah, we're an aural mosaic out here in the Gas City. Anyway, back to the new station, Rock 105. It might be too early to pass judgement yet, but there's no overlooking its latest station identification slogan:

"You know those bands you always see on T-shirts down at the mall? We play those bands! ROCK! 105!"

The funny thing is, I don't what that slogan condemns more harshly: Its own station, for allowing fashion to determine musical tastes, or every other station in the city, for not noticing that no one publicly admits to listening to their station. (Well, except for Kalan Porter.) Regardless, I think that slogan does a marvelous job of summing up exactly what's wrong with the music industry in general.

The situation with CBC Radio 2 demonstrates this as well -- last month, they changed their programming to cut down on the classical music, and introduce more contemporary artists, like Diana Krall, in an effort to capture the youth demographic (For the CBC, that's 39-50). Nothing against Mrs. Krall, but I wasn't surprised to hear the howls of outrage over this decision. People want their CBC to be stuffy, even if they don't listen to it. I think the core of the argument is whether CBC should be a mirror, showing society as it is, or a statue, showing a society they'd prefer to see. The arguments about truth and journalistic integrity (and ratings) tend to favour the mirror. But I think that perhaps radio is best served by the statue approach.

The mirror is for television. You stare into the screen, and it stares back (it's a very tender moment). But radio is a background medium. You do things while you're listening to the radio. Video tells you who you are, because at that moment, you're not doing anything else. That's why it's good for escapism. Audio, on the other hand, enhances what the listener is doing. It's all right to treat the CBC radio as a statue, because more than television, it can actually make its listeners more statuesque. (In the handsome way, I mean -- these accursed metaphors are starting to get the better of me.)

I'll wrap this up now, but I do have to admit one thing about radio: 1985 was awesome. It even had the right idea about fashion statements...


Joe said...

If I do recall correctly, your rock station has the music director that my favourite rock station in Edmonton had. And Phil Collins rocks my socks.

Denton said...

To be perfectly honest, Rock 105 is easily the best thing this city has right now, so we thank the Edmontonians for their sacrifice. But, I'd been thinking about the CBC Radio 2 issue for a few weeks, and hearing that promo spot helped me clarify my thoughts on the matter.

And yes, pre-Disney Phil Collins is a musical powerhouse. "In The Air Tonight" by itself is enough to justify the entire 80s scene.

Karen said...

Phil Collins "No Jacket Required" was the first casette I ever owned.

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.