Thursday, March 24, 2005


My father was born in 1946, the leading year of what was to become the baby boomer generation. Somehow, as he was growing up, he failed to connect with the songs of the 50's and 60's. Not that he didn't like the Elvis, the Beatles or Motown, but they just didn't quite spark his interest enough.

Then came the 70's and my dad was in heaven. I was born in 1971, and some of my earliest memories with my dad are of us singing together in the car. He loved Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Kansas, Foreigner, Pink Floyd, Supertramp, and the list goes on and on. I definitely got my love of music from my dad. He never even told me that I couldn't really carry a tune that well, he was just happy that I was happy to sing.

I was raised on all those bands, and I still like listening to them. The radio programmers now term that era as "Classic Rock." There were only two stations left on the radio dial in LA that still played those songs, and one of them just changed. It is now called "Jack Radio." I am sure that some marketing guy recovering from a hangover thought that was a cool and hip term. Somehow he must have persuaded his boss, who must have had a worse hangover, that they should use that as their promo.

The premise behind Jack Radio (I feel stupid even typing it) is for the playlist to consist of what the radio world calls "train wrecks." A good example of a train wreck would be "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones followed by "Pictures of You" by the Cure. In other words, two songs that you would probably never link together in any kind of way other than that they are composed of musical notes and are sung. It is apparently meant to evoke memories of our old "mix tapes" that we spent hours and hours recording either from albums or the radio, or both.

I actually kind of like it. Today they played "Dirty White Boy" by Foreigner followed by "Poison Arrow" from ABC today and I knew the entire set of lyrics to both songs. I don't know if this will be the most miserable failure of a concept since radio began, but I am sticking around to enjoy the ride. Surely I can't be alone in being someone who appreciates different genres of music? Or perhaps in a couple weeks two radio execs will be pointing drunken fingers at each other at Skybar. If they would even be allowed in at that point in their failed careers. Better make it the bar in the lobby of a Holiday Inn.

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