Muffy Gets Foured
Yay!! Another day off. It's been a busy month, especially with Thunder Over Louisville and Derby, the fabulous holiday season celebrated by lucky Kentuckians and their guests. I experienced Thunder in person for the first time this year, "Muffioky-ing" on the roof of Actor's Theater. The event lasted ten hours, with hundreds of people eating, singing and staring at the sky in anticipation of the short burst of windy fireworks. It was a steady stream of fun. I always thought the show lasted longer - it seemed like just a few riveting minutes, but I was told it was closer to a half hour. I now understand the yearly ritual of Thunder. It's a wholesome, social time. Especially if you have a safe, clear view, and the kids are occupied for hours. If, that is, you choose to bring the kids. And you don't get too drunk And you don't go to jail or get in a traffic fight.
Sometimes I dream (while sleeping) of topics for this column. Really. Last night, however, I dreamt I got four fours. That's poker talk for a good payin' hand. So, today I'd like to introduce a new feature for the Mid City Meddler called, "Muffy Gets Four." Porno it's not, but I'm off to have fun anyway!
Here are some thoughts from this month's guest griper, Jay Gibbs.
Blaming the Big 3
It happened again this morning. Then, it happened again this evening. Then it happened again this morning. Then it happened again and again and.......
It's the same picture. Don't even bother trying to find a radio station, radio airplay sucks. It's hard to find a decent station in Louisville.
Let's give credit where credit is due. You have three choices to make basically, if you listen to the radio in Louisville: Cox Radio, Clear Channel Radio, and RadioOne. How many stations can you tune to that are playing (in no particular order) 4 songs by The Eagles, 4 songs by Bob Seger, 3 songs by Boston, 2 songs by Pink Floyd and 2 songs by Bad Company? We know which 2 stations are competing for the same listeners and they are WQMF and WSFR. A few years ago, one of these stations played 50,000 songs in a row.
Fourteen radio stations in Louisville are owned by the "Big 3," including R&B and country formats. And country fans, you don't hear a whole lot of real bluegrass, do you? Two corporations own and operate more than 400 radio stations each, all over the country. Which got me thinking... If I'm in Indy, Nashville, or Cleveland, the radio programming is the same. Which got me thinking again. Is there a "program department" or a local reporting staff or news editor? No. Not assigned to each station. That's why they merged many of these stations: to maximize profits, you reduce the cost of reporters and staff and allow the stations to be managed by one department for four or six or eight radio stations.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE profits. But not unlike Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, some things need to fall by the wayside. It would seem there has to be a market, especially in R&B, for Toni Braxton and James Ingram. Why can't a station come out of a Marvin Gaye song, go into Terence Trent D'arby, and then Anita Baker followed by some quick local news, some non-crass advertising, back into TLC or a Cars song and into Dream Academy.
Well, a station in Bloomington, Indiana had this very thought a few years back. They would go from KISS, to Oingo Boingo, Cheap Trick into Husker Du into Lynyrd Skynyrd and then some local updates and back into MUSIC! The competition in Indy was losing their audiences hard and fast to this station, so they did the American thing: they bought the station in Bloomington and killed that programming. Think about that for a second.
One station here actually bragged that they were going to have a "hair band" weekend. So I asked the station what defined a hair band and the answer I got was any of "those" bands from the '80's. Do that mean Ted Nugent, Joe Satriani, Motorhead or Van Halen? It was obvious to me that this group of musicians needed to get some airplay, because they all had mega sellers in the '80's. No, these guys weren't "hair-band" enough. Only the "mousse abuse" bands were allowed, mainly because the station didn't have a single one of these other musicians' recordings. Feeling empty and unsatisfied, all I could think was at least the "hair-bands" had clean hair and could play circles around Kurt Cobain. But I like "Smells like Teen Spirit," and I like REM and "Pop Song 89." And I like OZZY.
You know, the U. S. is not homogenized anymore, so why should the radio reflect some one-size-fits-all mode?
It really doesn't matter what station or format you're listening to. I know what I'm going to get when I turn on the radio. Pop. Pop country. Pop jazz. Pop rap. Pop..... wait a minute. What's playing here... WFPK and WFPL? What is this? Some show called "On Second Thought." "Grateful Dead Hour"? "Afropop Worldwide." Hmmm. "Mountain Stage" and " Louisville Forums." This stuff is ..... you decide.
Thank you. Jay.
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