Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Driving Soundtrack

My lack of respect for Buffalo’s radio stations is known far and wide, mostly because of the soapbox that is the Royal Toybox.  (“Royal Soapbox”?  That might be a new segment.)  Anyway, a friend asked me what radio stations I would listen to here in my hometown, if given the opportunity.  


I assume “given the opportunity” doesn’t mean “awarded a governmental grant for the purposes of a social scientific study”, but rather “Lisa asked me to DJ”.  It does happen more often than you’d think, though I’ll usually put in something both of us can enjoy, like Billy Joel, instead of something I know she hates, like the Beta Band.  Lisa has surprised me by how much of “my stuff” she likes, though.  Maybe it’s only because I’ll listen to show tunes with her every so often, but I’ve even heard he sing “that boy needs therapy!” a la The Avalanches.  

End tangent

If you were to get into my Lumina, The Green Weenie, you’d see I have 6 radio pre-sets on FM1.  I don’t really use AM or FM2, since I don’t like talk radio, and there are fewer than 6 stations in Buffalo that warrant their own button.  On FM1, here are the stations I’ve pre-programmed:

  1. 88.7 – Buffalo’s only jazz station, and the home of NPR.  I wish they’d play less cool jazz stuff, the sort of saxophoney thing you might hear in an elevator or at a buffet, and more big band, swing, bluegrass, or even blues that wasn’t performed in the last decade.  But I reiterate: it is Buffalo’s only jazz station.  I’m also an NPR junkie.  Car Talk is funny too, but I’m never listening to the radio when it’s on.  

  2. 91.9 – this is the frequency on which I transmit whatever mix is on my (Lisa’s) iPod.  

  3. 96.9 – I like classic rock, and though “97 rock” is guilty of relying far, far too much on bands like Rush and too little on bands like, say, The Beatles, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt since they’re better than their few alternatives.

  4. 99.9 – Canadian station No. 1: this is the one “easy listening” station you’ll find on my pre-sets, and really only there to fill in a gap.  It will occasionally play stuff I haven’t heard before, and in music, I look for novelty above all else.

  5. 102.1 – Canadian station No. 2: I lucked out with a car whose antenna is just strong enough to pick this station up regularly.  Yeah, they are pretty corporate, but they play stuff like The Trews and Hawksley Workman, which you’d never hear from a station on this side of the Falls.  

  6. 103.3 – such promise, down the tubes.  There was a time when I loved “The Fox”, for being Buffalo’s alternative station, but in recent years they’ve gone dark.  If they aren’t playing Staind, Nickelback, or other modern greaseball groups, in recent years they’ve started playing the greaseball groups of yesteryear.  Do we really need to revive G&R?  This is the genre to which “alternative music” was the alternative, and I mourn the passing of Buffalo’s last true arena for those of us who occasionally don’t want heavy metal, easy listening, gangsta hip hop, R&B, or (shudder) country/western.  

So there you have it.  And before you suggest it, I’m not about to get satellite.  For one thing, I can’t afford it and I don’t think I should have to pay for it anyway.  For another, I like my city to have an identity, and you can’t do that with national coverage.  There are other reasons, but this post is already too long.  

End Royal Soapbox.


Cecilia said...

Get Siruis. After the initial investment it's, like, $12 a month. And, with all the pain Buffalo radio brings you, it'll be worth it. Believe me.

Garvey said...

Meh. Then I couldn't complain.

Peter said...

Sirius my ass. Get XM (more robust, better partnerships, better long-term and short-term prospects, MUCH better equipment options). Trust me on this one. Remember life before/after Rhapsody? Same thing. I swear you will not regret it for a second. In fact, I have an XM receiver collecting dust right now, if you are interested.

Peter said...

Oh, and also -- why shouldn't you have to pay for it? It's a premium entertainment service. And you don't have to listen to ads. Free radio is just an agreement between you and the station: you agree to listen to their crap and ads, they agree to play some music. Satellite is a much better agreement. You agree to pay for the service, and they agree to provide an excellent service.

Anonymous said...


check it out. very cool. and i vote for sirius. why? one word-- STERN.

Scott said...

I also use 91.7 for my 80s music fix, and 107.7 for their amusing, yet feeble attempt at musical snobbery.

Cecilia said...

I like sirius better than XM for the sports, and stern. you can get every hockey game being played in the world. And music. And if you get the newest version (the one I have) you can basically give up your ipod...it's portable stores MP3's and records songs. I'm a little in love with it. Get it. I'm sure you'll find something else to complain about.

Peter said...

The Sirius Portable is NOT A PORTABLE SATELLITE RADIO. It allows to you plug it in to a base at home, then record radio programming, then listen back. There are several portable XM units. They actually are portable satellite radios, meaning you get satellite reception in a portable unit. They are also a fraction of the size of Sirius units. For evidence, check out the newest type, the Pioneer Inno. It's tine, gets satellite reception, and stores MP3s, of course.

I sometimes listen to Sirius in rental cars because that's what is available with the company I usually rent through. Stern just isn't that good anymore. XM has Opie and Anthony, and they are *vastly* better. Really. XM also broadcasts NHL, but since I don't listen to hockey games, I can't tell if you Sirius has more. Look here: http://www.xmradio.com/schedule/sport/get_hockey_schedule.jsp.