'If you surf around, you're bound to run into nothing but junk ...'
So, the Isthmus picked up my post on Netflix. That's very nice of them (I wonder how it was picked up?). In the course of looking over the Isthmus' site, I noticed another post title "Dear City of Madison" Ouch. Reading his post first, and his profile second (which included his location), the title of this post came to mind.
Years ago, when both my sister and I were living at home, we'd fight, as siblings under one roof and with only one TV, often do. Her time would be spent surfing around, from one channel to another. As we got older, and we were both able to drive, she took that habit with her to the car and the radio. (Thankfully, I'm older, so I never picked up her horrid habits.)
Anywho, Rad's post reminded me of my sister, and what I told her many times, about surfing through radio stations. At first it was long, but as time passed, and my words had no impact on her, it shortened up. To sum, "If you keep channel surfing, you're bound to keep running into commercials." Id est, you're bound to keep running up against crap. Sure, everyonce in a while you'll hit something good, but your chances of listening to the entire song are slim. Only by picking a station and sticking with it are you truly able to determine whether the station is any good.
In Madison WI, we have a radio station which is an excellent example of this, 105-1 Charlie FM "We play everything". And indeed they do. 70s, 80s, 90s, today. Pop, rock, country, but (other than that one Aerosmith song) no rap that I know of ... Heck, sometimes there's crap that I don't want to listen to, but if you stick around until the end of the song, you'll get something else.
Do we have a lot of country stations? Yeah, yeah we do. But, what do you expect from an area that, although we live in city, we play in the country? I suppose that's one of the things that really separates us from the larger cities - the fact that we can spend a short time in the car and hit a lake or river, or a beautiful park, with trails. Citizens of Madison do not have to sit around their houses, watching TV, or drive from one mall to another, listening to the radio. We've got much more we can do.
Are we missing a great jazz station? Perhaps. I know NPR/WPR plays jazz every once in a while, and perhaps Magic 98 still plays jazz on Sundays? (It's been a long time since I've listened to them.) There's at least a couple UW stations that also play a wide range of music, so I doubt there isn't some jazz play on one of them.
Of course, our stations also move around a lot as well. I think 98.1 and 104.1 are the only stations that haven't changed at least once since I've lived in the Madison area (over 10 years). But we try new things, and we find a station that we like. And we don't listen to one station all the time. I've six presets on my car's radio, and they are all different. There's two that I switch between a lot, but every once in a while I hit one of the others. We like change in Madison, we're progressive.
Another great thing we've got is State St. On the weekend, there are few places as musically rich as State St. There's a great guy near the Capitol who plays one hell of a sax. On the opposite end, bands setup near the University Bookstore, and towards the middle there's a number of places for groups to setup and play. The various Unions, too, house many events. Sitting off the lake, on a hot summer evening, listening to the music ... Heck, concerts on the square. On a good day, head over to Potbellies and listen to the music while you eat. Heck, Madison WI is in a class by it's own.
Rad comments on two stations in his article: The Current (which appears to be MPR - or WPR here in Wisconsin, so we've got that) and Drive 105 (which appears to be alternative, which we've also had, and I'm sure have still). To this, I answer, read the title of this post. One likes a station not based on their first impression, but on the impressions of many hours. You may stop and listen to a station if you stumble upon a song you enjoy, but you don't stay on a station after hearing that one song - it's a number of good songs that keeps bringing you back.
So, spend more time in Madison. Move to a station and stick with it. If you're down in Madison to see Madison-ians, then listen to the stations they listen to. You're bound to run into songs that you don't like, but that's the way it is ... Head downtown, and check out postings. There's bound to be a local group putting on a show that's in line with your tastes.
In short, do our stations suck? Sometimes, sure. But find a large city that doesn't have some, some of the time. Besides, we've got a nice mix of stations, and a beautiful city that ensures we can find something to listen to.
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