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My cell phone recently died, so I had to replace it. It’s an identical phone but nevertheless won’t connect to my car stereo via Bluetooth. Google tech support was worthless, but if you want to hear me whine about that, you’ll have to visit my Facebook wall from a couple of weeks ago. This is a different rant.
Because I can’t connect to my phone, I’ve had to resort to listening to radio stations for the first time in about 5 years. I’m so used to hearing what I want to hear the moment I want to hear it that I’ve become spoiled. I forgot how bad it is to be at the whims of the deejays and program directors of radio stations. They play what they want, when they want, and with a very limited number of songs. I thought CHR went the way of the dinosaur when “mix” stations came into being, but the old habits (and FCC regulations) die hard.
You Know What Grinds My Gears?
But even that’s not my rant. My rant is this: The changes to the radio stations during those brief five years have been monumental. Nothing is as it was (see notes below), and that was an unexpected jolt as to how old I really am. I expect that phenomenon to rear it’s ugly head when I’m looking back at childhood, but I can’t even go back five years without a total upheaval.
This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this. I left the DC area in May, 1996, to attend law school in Chicago. When I came back at the end of 2000, the restaurants, radio stations, and roads really stuck out as completely different. I actually had difficulty driving around certain areas that were regular destinations for me in the early 90s (and especially those prior to that). I lived in Delaware from 2007-2008, but I frequently came back during that time, so the gradual changes never had an impact.
Don’t misunderstand me. I love change — I always want things mixed up — but this isn’t something that can be ignored. For someone with a fear of aging, it’s probably very difficult.
Some notes for DC area listeners.
WQSR (102.7) claims to “play everything,” and that sticks when it comes to the relative diversity of what they play. However, they still play a small number of different songs during any given week. It’s been two weeks, and all I’ve heard is Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper, Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi, Hot Blooded by Foreigner, Der Kommissar by After the Fire, and Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran. The songs aren’t bad to a 70s/80s guy like me, but it feels like false advertising (even though they probably have a larger playlist). This isn’t much of a change from where they were when they started, but it’s more frustrating now that I’m dependent on them.
One of our mainstays since my childhood, Mix 107.3, nee WRQX, has changed its call letters to WLVW and gone Christian. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s just not for me. With all these changes, I went scrolling through the wavelengths looking for replacements and found tons of new Christian stations where there used to be nothing but static. It seems like a plurality of stations that I can pick up in Northern Virginia are Christian.
At 10:07 am on Labor Day, 101.9 rickrolled me. Thankfully, 94.7 has stayed loyal to me.
Further complicating things are that I live in Northern Virginia, not Maryland, so some of the stations are too far away for me to hear. Losing them in 2000 wasn’t so bad, but now that I need them, their static-filled signal is a tease. I’m looking at you, 98 Rock and 101.9.
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