On Friday, May 22nd the last bastion of “alternative radio” here in Sacramento shut down. The message left on their former web page said that it was an economic decision which, though a bleak answer, is an understandable one. But this is one of those happenings that I feel is going to set me apart and make me feel further removed from the current generation because of the attachment that I feel to this antiquated medium.
Kids these days, with their iPods, Pandora streaming music and internet radio stations don’t really feel or understand a tangible connection with their local radio stations. All the music they could ever want is constantly at their disposal. There’s no feeling of joy and elation for them when they get to hear that brand new song from their favorite band on the radio for the first time. They’ll get a Myspace message or Twitter about their favorite artist displaying their latest musical offering for public consumption. They’ll rush out to torrent sites or the bands web page and there, before their eager and awaiting ears, they’ll fill their rotting little head space with all of the digital tunes that they could ever want.
When I was heavy into music, in my teens – ( which feels like a sentence that should start with, “When I was your age…” and should be shouted from a front porch swing whilst I shew children off my lawn) – there was a maddening expectation when a local DJ would tease the up coming new single from Nine Inch Nails or Smashing Pumpkins. And let us not forget the frothing at the mouth when that very same, now defunct, KWOD station debuted TEN new tracks from Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness two days before the album dropped. I ran around the house, searching for blank cassettes to thumb into my boom box so that I could be the kid who had bits and pieces of the new Pumpkins album before anyone else.
Even just using that word: cassettes, will instantly separate me from my little brothers demographic because they’ve never owned, used or – very likely – seen one. Cassette singles are as passe a form factor for them as 45s were to my generation.
Hey mister…what’s wrong with your pancakes?
As a teenager I took several, shall we say; “Day Trips” from my high school and tooled on down to San Francisco where we took in the sights and sounds and more importantly radio stations of the big city. Live 105 in the bay was a rare treat back then. They got new music sooner than the Sacramento market and a day ditching school would usually result in at least a dozen new songs that I could lord over my friends heads. Because when I was a teenager “First” wasn’t something you posted on a new article or blog post. The title of First went to the person who actually heard, saw or experienced it before anyone else. And that person was usually king for a day…or until the “First” novelty wore off and someone else saw something newer than your shiny new toy.
Now, if I really wanted to, I could stream Live 105 on my computer at home or 101.9 RXP from New York city. This is still a novelty to me. To the current evolving generation this is standard.
This all brings me back to saying goodbye to KWOD. The kids these days, it doesn’t matter that a local radio station quit playing new music and changed it’s format to play all the songs I heard at school dances. An aside on that fact, real quick, if you’ll indulge me. Having a radio station format turning over to play “All the hits from your youth decade” OFFICIALLY confirms that you’re old.
It also solidifies my dislike of Counting Crows. But that is neither here nor there.
A face made for kissing…with a brick.
KWOD introduced me to a lot of the bands that have been a staple of my tainted youth, my deviant memories and that little piece of nostalgia that sits at the back of your head and harkens for the days when you had little cares, fewer responsibilities and the world sat before you like an oyster waiting to be opened. I spent hours on end listening to the Violent Femmes, Concrete Blonde and Sonic Youth as I watched my walls turn colors. I can’t hear Sponge’s “In A World Of Human Wreckage” to this day without getting nostalgic. They also turned an entire generation on to some local Sacramento bands that went on to become big time national names. Bands like Cake, Far, Papa Roach and the Deftones. They all got their start on Sounds of Sacramento. Another KWOD staple which has shut its doors and, sadly shut out future musical acts that don’t conform to 98 Rock’s Local Licks.
It’s a shame that KWOD shut down because it’s the end of an era for me. It’s another shame that there’s no counterpoint to 98 rock’s constant barrage of eighties hair metal and testosterone driven butt rock. Not that I don’t enjoy a little speed metal now and then, but like everyone else, sometimes I have sensitive moments and really need to hear Muse.
It’s an end of era for my home town. But more than that it’s a changing of the guard and with how little fan fare came from shutting down this corner stone of my less affluent years it’s a sad one.
But then again I’m sure if blogs existed in the early eighties someone would have opined about the end of the eight track tape and the last remnants of Disco.
it ends with a thwack