See, in KC, just about all the radio stations are owned by corporations. It's either Entercom, Susquehanna, or Cumulous, all up and down the radio dial. We have three light-rock stations (two in KC, one in Topeka) that I've stopped listening to, because they all play the same stuff. Five songs by Rod Stewart, six by Billy Joel, ten by Elton John. I'm going, guys, these musicians have had a long and varied history in which they've created tons of good songs. It's not like you have to play "Captain Jack" by Billy Joel, but can you mix it up a little?
Though KYYS, which is owned by Entercom, will have shuffle weekends where they play all kinds of crazy stuff, and I do like that. However, I'm pissed off at Entercom because four years ago they mismanaged the classical station into the ground (fired the staff that I'd been listening to for years and got DJ's that didn't know how to pronounce Ralph Vaughn Williams, for example) and then banished it to the AM dial and replaced it with "The Buzz." I'll give them a buzz. Here are your Arbitron ratings right here, Jerky Breath!
But I digress.
Small-market stations -- radio stations that serve a small area -- are my solace. There was a great one out of Clinton, Mo., that I could sometimes pull in. One night they played "Madman on the Water" by Elton John, "Angry Young Man" by Billy Joel, and "Synchonicity II" by The Police. Damn, what a lineup! I heard they'd also mix up Beach Boy tunes with Motley Crue, which sounded fun. Alas they got bought out by a Christian satellite service, which pretty much put an end to Motley Crue.
My favorite is KNIM out of Maryville. They pretty much play whatever the hell they want. They'll play stuff from the Coverdale/Page album, "Driving the Last Spike" by Genesis, which is like this 9-minute song about a man who works to build a railroad. Once they played "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly, all 20 minutes of it. It started when I got into my truck after work and it brought me into the driveway. Of course they'll play the latest from Three Doors Down and Billy Idol and the Cars. Love 'em.
I'll listen to KKFI from KC when it comes in, too. They're totally independant, I think 83% of their revenue comes from their fund drives, and the rest from grants. They'll hobble along with bad soundboards or malfunctioning CD changers, but they hit you with all kinds of great stuff. Blues, jazz, speed metal, news, and lots of stuff from local musicians. They introduced me to Kelley Hunt, Anthony Gomes, Kurt Elling, and all kinds of neat and fun stuff.
Oh, I keep forgetting -- this station now has streaming audio, so you can see what I'm raving about.
I'm just a radiohead, guys.
On the computer: Retro Red-Eye Express from KKFI (streaming audio)