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Music Savaged By The Average Beast

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for September 13, 2005

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The Devil Is In Your Radio
by Stiffy Biceptz

ELO? Sure. Bob Seger? Gimme. Journey? Oh baby. If you miss these and other essentially forgotten acts then tune your radio to your local Ben FM. And sign away your soul.
Thatís right, Stiffy Biceptz is standing tall to condemn the Ben FM movement, and its ugly sister Jack FM. This is surely the final sign of the death of radio, although I admit we might have moved into undead territory with this.
For those of you too smart to listen to terrestrial radio but still smart enough to read my column, let me explain what this demon spawn thing called Ben FM is. Itís absolutely nothing. Thatís right, nothing. No live DJís, no theme, no substance, no soul.
The Ben FMís of this world proclaim they are ďRadio without rules, playing anything we feel likeĒ. Apparently ďplaying anything we feel likeĒ doesnít include anything that they havenít ďfelt like playingĒ for the past 35 years. Radio with no rules, huh? Ok, then play the Sex Pistols, or the Dead Kennedys, or the Plasmatics. And donít bleep out the bad words. That would impress me. How about this, play two songs back to back with no station ID between them. Wow! That would be radical.
In fact these zombie stations are highly scripted, utterly and completely programmed stations that play exactly what would be expected from a TOP 40/disco/rock/AC station. The only difference between these stations and traditionally styled stations is they simply mix all the genres up and throw them at your semi-randomly. Without a soul.
I will admit, the first half hour of listening to the Philadelphia Ben FM was mildly entertaining. First, I heard ELO, which seemed at the moment somewhat interesting, perhaps only because I hadnít heard them in 25 years. Then I heard Gunís N Roses, followed by Madonna. I quickly realized all this was was every tired, boilerplate format rolled into one station. With no soul. I will say the only redeeming feature is the cute station IDís by Mr. Peterman. Sadly this means he has now lost his soul.
There is absolutely nothing new or exciting or of value in these Ben FM stations. Every song you hear is a song you might here on another station. But at least those stations, however sorry they may all be, have some human warmth, some style, some soul. In fact the appearance of these stations is a sure sign that the industry has given up, that weíve reached the lowest common denominator, that no further homogenization can occur.
So whatís next? Radio with no music? Now that Iíd listen to.

©2005 Stiffy Biceptz

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


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