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for February 9, 2004

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A Bit Of Byte-Based Listening
by Sean Carolan

News flash (or perhaps just a dim News Glow): There's a dearth of commercial alternative radio here in the NY/NJ area (of the US, for those outside of it.) Alert reader Rob [who is a different Rob entirely from Your Diva, Robin Pastorio Newman] took the time to send us this...

Hey guys - Just thought I'd mention this new(?) station that streams from the LA area on the internet. IT's - and they're really good. Seems like they're playing a decent mix of just about all semi-obscure indie alt-rock - with something slightly familiar thrown in for good measure here and there. So far I've heard the likes of X, Richard Hell, Robert Smith (solo), the Beastie Boys (and not the stuff K-Rock plays ad nauseum), Crystal Method... - definitely worth a listen, and possible mention on Altrok. Ah to only have something like this on the actual RADIO... Enjoy!

We got some mail from a few excited West Coast-ers about Indie 103.1, too; they appear to have started in late December, and as of this writing, they're still DJ-free (if not commercial free.)
Unfortunately, it's a bittersweet victory. They're a Clear Channel station (actually owned by someone else who's leased the commercial time to them, so that they can make money from sales while getting around those pesky ownership rules they're trying to have removed) and it's being programmed cynically to pull share away from legacy alternative station KROQ (the original K-Rock.) As one of my friends put it, "It's like being given a lollipop by one of the stormtroopers who levelled my town, but I'm gonna take that lollipop and run down the street laughing..."
There are, of course, even more options.
If you haven't yet, try WOXY 97X at While they've sold their transmitter and license and their broadcast days are numbered, they've kept their library and name, and appear to plan on continuing their format on the Internet indefinitely. It's an experiment I hope works for them.
Meanwhile, there's BBC Radio 1 at, who have intriguing blocks of programming from John Peel, Zane Lowe and Steve Lamacq - and who archive each show (three a week from Peel and Lowe, and one from Lamacq) for seven days after air, thus providing their own Tivo for you.
Lamacq's pretty even-handed in terms of new music from many genres, while pausing to play, say, Gang Of Four. His section of the Radio 1 site includes a section of op-ed pieces about A&R that, as it turns out, echoes a lot of the sentiment you read here at Altrok. Lowe comes closer to the commercial alternative we have here in the US, and was the source for the previously mentioned show from New York featuring the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Stills (for which, it must be repeated, they were giving away tickets on-air for their New York.)
And Peel is in a class by himself. Punk, Swedish hardcore, Manchester shoegazers, Electro-dub, laptop-pop, Jack White playing Appalachian folk music, etcetera, etcetera. Often it's difficult going, but there's at least five songs you'll hear in any two hour show that you will simply need to purchase immediately. (And that's why we have
Peel himself is affable, unflappable, and charmingly still victim of the occasional record-cued-at-the-wrong-speed (which can be highly entertaining, since he still plays at least one 78 RPM record in each show.) More on this subject can be found in the sweet-eating game featured on the show itself, wherein it is suggested that it should not be a drinking game because there's only so much excess one can stand. There's not a better two hours of coherent eclecticism on air anywhere.
And that, I believe, is enough to keep anyone busy for a while.

©2004 Sean Carolan

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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