Jordan Schuman, WBAB Family

Some sad news as we wrap up 2015, and mourn the loss of Peri Appollo’s daughter, Jordan Schuman.  As mentioned in the above Facebook post, Peri was Bob Buchmann’s first morning show co-host.  It’s always sad when we lose a member of the family, whether it be the birth family or radio family.

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Are we in the midst of a rock revolution?

Rock music badges 5
Rock music pins/badges: Beatles, Bowie, Barrett (Photo credit: jovike)

The question I put before you is the subject of this post.  It’s no secret that I enjoy many of the styles and eras of rock music.  Starting in the mid-1980’s, I listened to both 92.7 WLIR (“alternative”) and 102.7 WNEW-FM (“classic rock”).  This was several years before the rise of the alt nation in the 1990s.  Back then, it wasn’t really cool to mix what was then “alternative” and “classic rock” on the same radio station (Beastie Boys and Led Zeppelin? Perish the thought!)  Fast forward to today, and things are a bit different.

In recent months, there have been a few stations in the area that have either brought back or revamped a rock format.

July 17, 2012: “New Rock 101.9” (WRXP-FM) made it’s move to alternative after failing miserably with all-news.  From 2008 to 2011, RXP was starting to make some inroads as a rock station.  Then, in July 2011, they were sold to Merlin Media, and all-news was put in place.  One year later, Merlin brought alternative back to 101.9, and now their ratings have risen as a result.

Songs heard on the first day (as heard on the linked aircheck above): Beastie Boys “No Sleep Til Brooklyn”, Foo Fighters “Walk”, Third Eye Blind “Graduate”, Phoenix “1901”, Of Monsters & Men “Little Talks”, Offspring “Self Esteem”, Black Keys “Tighten Up”, Rage Against The Machine “Guerrilla Radio”, Foster The People “Don’t Stop”, Green Day “Oh Love”, Group Love “Tongue Tied”

August 27, 2012: WRCN shifted to mainstream rock after 10+ years as classic rock.  WRCN has been playing rock music for a long time.  Before they flipped to classic rock in the late 1990s, they were mainstream rock.  Time will tell how they fare with their new direction, which may be tweaked in the months to come.

Songs heard on the first day (as heard on the linked aircheck above): Metallica “Master of Puppets”, Sponge “Plowed”, Guns N’ Roses “You Could Be Mine”

September 14, 2012: 94.3 “The Shark” (WIGX-FM) took a bite out of 94X.  Only weeks after WRCN made its shift, 94.3 went in a similar direction.  Again, time will tell how they fare, and they may do their own tweaking as well.

Songs heard on the first day (as posted by RadioInsight): Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Red Hot Chili Peppers “Give It Away”, Linkin Park “What I’ve Done”, Foo Fighters “My Hero”, Twisted Sister “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, Beastie Boys “Sure Shot”, 3 Doors Down “Kryptonite”, Stone Temple Pilots “Sex Type Thing”, Led Zeppelin “Black Dog”, Cypress Hill “Insane In The Brain”, Pearl Jam “Yellow Ledbetter”, Metallica “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, Live “I Alone”

These stations are not alone in playing new(er) rock music.  102.3 WBAB plays a lot of Boston and Led Zeppelin, but there are some rare occasions when newer music gets featured, such as the new Van Halen from earlier this year (you forgot about that one, didn’t you?).  Stations like 92.9/96.9 WEHM and 90.7 WFUV cannot be forgotten, either, as new music gets does get added to their playlists, including Coldplay, Dave Matthews, and the new Bob Dylan (yes, he’s alive and kicking).

While the format flip of three radio stations isn’t exactly a “rock revolution,” it may be a sign of things to come.  I’ve made reference to Alan Cross’ post about the 13-year music cycle theory before.  I’ll make reference to it again, with what he has to say about the current cycle, which he calls Cycle 5:

By the spring of 2002 […] the Backstreet Boys/N’Sync phenonmenon had grown so big that the backlash was catastrophic. Happy, opitimistic, danceable pop seemed inappropriate in a post-9/11 era. Rock began to once again reassert itself.

[…]

After peaking in the July of 2005 (when it seem that ever single rock band that mattered had a hit record out at the same time), rock once again slowly slipped in strength, losing ground to pop. The era of Bieber and Susan Boyle was ushered in to end off the first decade of the 21st century.

If Cycle 5 began in 2002, then, according to the theory, Cycle 6 should be starting up sometime in 2014. *  We won’t actually know we’re in the new cycle until after the fact, but we can look for signs now.

Black Keys
The Black Keys (Photo credit: Jason Persse)

Let me leave you with what I think may be one of those signs.  In March 2012, The Black Keys performed to sold-out shows in Madison Square Garden.  The Black Keys started out in the early 2000s as an indie band, playing smaller venues and performing as an opening act.  The Madison Square Garden shows are part of their first headlining tour, and those tickets sold out in minutes.  A testament to ticketing technology, or another harbinger of things to come?

* It’s possible that the effects of online file sharing, the decline of CD sales, and/or the rise of iTunes that may sway the cycle plus or minus one year, but let’s use 2014 for now.

I’ve got blisters on my fingers!

Good evening, welcome to Metal Shop!  You’re late!!!

Twisted Sister performing in Manchester, June 2006
Image via Wikipedia

In 1983, Fingers Metal Shop (FMS) made its debut on 102.3 WBAB, Babylon.  It roared on, loud and proud, for 21 years.  Then, in 2004, FMS was no more.

Seven years later, it came back, complete with web site, Facebook, and Twitter presence.

I’m not sure why the show went away in the first place.  Was Fingers tired of the show?  Were the show preparations too time-consuming?  Did grunge have anything to do with it?  I guess that doesn’t matter now.  FMS is back, and the hard rock and metal fans have new/old place to find the music they love.  Nowadays, they don’t have to stay up very late on Sunday nights anymore, since the show starts at 9pm.  No more falling asleep during Monday morning staff meetings!

Just in case that’s not enough loud music for you, there are a few other options.

Friday nights on Q-104.3 (WAXQ, New York), Eddie Trunk hosts Friday Night Rocks at 11pm.  This same show is syndicated elsewhere under the title Eddie Trunk Rocks.  You may also be familiar with Ed’s face/voice on VH1 Classic or SiriusXM’s Boneyard Channel.  Twisted Sister frontman, Dee Snider, hosts the syndicated House of Hair, heard every Saturday night on 103.9 WRCN, Riverhead.  House of Hair focuses on metal/hard rock of the 1980’s and early 1990’s.  You’ll also find other metal shows sprinkled in the schedules of 88.7 WRHU, Hempstead and 90.3 WHPC, Garden City.

Coincidentally, I’ve been trying various metal/hard rock streams via TuneIn, just to see what’s out there.  Hair Metal Radio, like House of Hair, plays mostly 1980s and early 1990s metal, but seemed a bit repetitive when I listened for a couple of hours.  They went back to the KISS catalog several times, and felt more like a jukebox than radio.  KNAC.COM and Pirate Radio 100.3 recall the spirit of their former on air counterparts (105.5 KNAC and 100.3 KQLZ in Los Angeles).  Both sounded more like real radio stations, but Pirate Radio seemed to play more obscure songs than KNAC.

Got all that?  Now show the horns!