Monday, November 26, 2012

89.3 The Current's "Time Machine"

I tuned-in scarily, for a lot of 89.3's "Time Machine" marathon weekend, the past 4+ days, and enjoyed some of it, admittedly.

But it of course was not without a handful of flaws/could be much better if they did a few things.

1) If they were forced to avoid playing the same artist more than once, even say just within 5 years.

2) didn't restrict their typical *radio friendly* length to many songs. I was looking at the number of tracks they played in many hours, and it seems to be between 13-18. Given a bit of time of the dj's being on the air, that ends up averaging the song lengths to being around 3 minutes. It almost seems to be more about quantity than quality I suppose.

3) don't play the hits. They play some deep tracks, but why do they have to play so many of the songs KQ and other stations have beaten to death? If you're going to play something off Led Zeppelin IV, avoid "Rock and Roll" and "Black Dog" at all costs.

Those factors aside, in just tuning in and small talk with my girlfriend about it, she suggested I make my own playlist. Which I figure I could do, especially without including artists 89.3 has been playing (just to show how much more than worthy music they don't play, but could).

So I just scanned my rateyourmusic listing for 2005, as 2005 was an incredibly deep year for music. And I came up with a (somewhat incomplete) playlist below

Vedera - The Falling Kind
Greg Herriges - Thirteen / It Plays Me
Bend Sinister - Hell or Shelter 3:52
Karnivool - Themata 5:40
Josh Rouse - Streetlights 4:24
Porcupine Tree - Lazarus 4:18
Margot & the Nuclear So & So's - Skeleton Key 3:25
Klimt 1918 - They Were Wed By the Sea
System of a Down - Old School Hollywood 2:56
dredg - Bug Eyes 4:14
Imogen Heap - Headlock 3:36
Neverending White Lights - The Grace 5:19
Between the Buried and Me - Alaska 3:57
Oceansize - Meredith 5:26

but I'll confess, I tried to include some artists that the songs that might make sense from their album from said year, but for some, the TRACK LENGTH just ends up being 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 minutes long, and thus 89.3 wouldn't give it a chance in hell just based on that shear fact alone. Which leads me to why I often hate making playlists or compilations.

When you have to consider TRACK LENGTH in picking songs for a mix or playlist, it sort of RUINS the whole idea in a lot of ways. Because, the length of a song, if it's really good, should really have very little to no baring on how you feel about it, or if it should even be recommended to someone. Especially if Radio were how radio really should be at its best. And ironically, many of the years their "Time Machine" played music from, came from periods of time when TRACK LENGTH had nothing to do with if it got played on the radio or not. I'm referring to the 60's and 70's, when FREE FORM radio existed, hell, even THRIVED in a lot of ways.

This does go back to a number of reasons why 89.3 bugs the fuck out of me. Because it's not the fact they don't play the music I love, but the fact is THEY COULD play it, BUT CHOOSE NOT TO. And I'm not referring to in the Wee hours of the morning. I'm talking DRIVE TIME, PRIME TIME and MID DAY hours.

If they even could do a special Weekend, or hell, even an Hour or 2 like they do with the "Time Machine" every week, that was intentionally not restricted to TRACK LENGTH, that would be a big step in the right direction for them.

Of course their argument would be along the lines of, well if we play 7-15 minute songs, many of our listeners including members will tune out and not renew their membership. My comment to that is,  if people listening and pledging expect the station to play songs at a certain length specifically, I'm not sure I'd want them to be members anyway. I mean 89.3 is supposed to be about the people, and not corporate ads. More music, less filler radio content. Also, by opening up your playlist format (length), odds are a lot of new listeners would come on board anyway.

At any case, this is another hyperbole that I need to put to bed. But I thought it may be worth sharing.