The Internet has saved radio
February 22, 2005
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Well, the title is a little misleading, since the internet hasn’t saved the physical radio, just the idea of broadcasting sound to an audience. I rarely use the radio in my car these days since almost all of the stations are owned by one of a handful of mega-corporations who are paid to play the same songs over and over and over again until people give in and decide they like the song because they cannot get it out of their head. When I do listen to the radio, it is typically the local National Public Radio (NPR) station, which in the case of Cleveland is 90.3 WCPN. It is usually a safe bet since it is mostly not music and mostly interesting news. When I want to listen to music on the radio, I’m forced to go to the internet to get anything worth listening to.
Well, in the state of Minnesota, they seem to have found a new twist on public radio. At the end of January, Minnesota Public Radio launched a new station in Minneapolis, 89.3 KCMP, The Current. It is one of only a handful of public radio stations which features non-commerical, non-classical music. They are playing lots of independent, electronic, underground and local artists that there is a definite audience for, yet remain largely unplayed in the vast wasteland that is commercial radio since they do not pay-for-play. I just found out about this station today (thanks to a nice piece on Pitchfork Media, which can be found here) and have been listening to it all evening. Looks like it will be thrown into my curent rotation of internet radio stations, KEXP (Seattle’s version of cool public radio) and 97X WOXY (a long-time alternative internet favorite from my former college town of Oxford, OH, which recently was forced to go internet-only after the owners sold the frequency to a big corporation).
Unfortunately, nothing like this has cropped up in Northeast Ohio….yet. But I’m not exactly holding my breath since Cleveland is not a very open-minded, arts-friendly area. As much as some of us would like to pretend otherwise, it just isn’t so, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. And they wonder why the “brain drain” keeps occuring.