Radio Over The Last 20 Years — An Op/Ed Piece from Andy O
The last week or so, I have been thinking a lot about things. One of them has been radio.
I was asked a while back if I would be interested in joining the WFGR staff, and quite honestly, I was only passively interested. I didn’t know much about the station, other than my dear friend Matt worked there, he had nice things to say about the people working there and that it was an environment completely different than what I was used to. Ok, so it worked out that we could make a deal and I would come to work, do the radio show and all the other stuff that went along with it, both good and bad (yes, getting up at 3:30 in the morning is in the column you would imagine it is).
As this last month or so has progressed, I tell ya what, I think it’s absolutely amazing what the West Michigan community has in WFGR. Let me explain. Years ago, about the time I got my start, radio was starting to change. I know this, because the first song I ever played on KLQ was “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette. It was a rock station, but there was still room for that. Then as time went on, it became more targeted on the hard rock. Gone were the days that radio stations tried to have a little something for everyone. Everything became splintered. Be it good or bad, I will leave that up to you, but the mindset became “We need to be the station that rocks the most!” or “We need to be the station that plays the most country” or “We need to be your station that plays nothing but hip hop”, all good ideas, all develop “brand loyalty” or develop their “stationality” (both radio buzzwords) so listeners could identify with them. So, you get what you have heard for the last 20 years or so….it’s all or nothing with these stations, so if you like being immersed in something like that….totally cool.
But, let me ask you this. When you are not listening to that station, what do you listen to? I bet you have a taste for some songs that remind you of a first date…maybe a roller skating party, songs your older siblings listened to and you had to beg to be allowed in their room so you could hear it too, something your mom played a lot, maybe it was in a movie and it stands out to you now because at the time you were attached to that movie, whatever. You are different, you are unique and you like a wider variety that what you hear day in and day out on some station that decided that because a research project said some song wasn’t all that popular, they shouldn’t play it. Well, Hogwash!
I am finding that more and more, almost every song we play on WFGR has all of those effects on me. I remember how I felt, I remember where I heard it first heard it, I remember having the “45 in some cases, heck, CLICK HERE for a personal example of just that kind of story. You know what? It feels really good! I love all the stuff I spent years rocking out too, and I have to admit, I bought into it. I was “the rock guy” for a long time. Not a bad title to have in a blue collar area like West Michigan, trust me.
Now, Just by watching my own personal listening patterns change over the years and knowing that your Ipod or whatever devise you have is probably loaded up with all of those “guilty pleasure” songs. The songs you would ask your mom if you could use the phone to call in and request, the songs you remember the video’s from like you just watched them yesterday, music you have an emotional attachment to, not music that you are being force fed because some out of state research project company told the radio station to play it.
Is WFGR everyone’s cup of tea? Probably not, I get that. But if you are in the ball park of my age being 42, there is truly something great going on at WFGR and I believe wholeheartedly that I just stepped into the best thing on the air in all of West Michigan. I make you this promise too. The music is great, sure, but over the next year you are going to see us grow by leaps and bounds as a true community partner. A station that is excited about people out there who want to make a difference, a station that wants to be at the cool places and a station that you can easily hold a very personal relationship with because where the other guys are worried about their pin point accuracy on what they are up to, well, we are going to be comfortable, relatable and hold a role in your daily life and in our community. I invite you to LISTEN LIVE, save that link…if you have a smart phone get the RADIO PUP APP, it’s free and you can listen anywhere on it. Participate! CLICK HERE to join the Classic VIP for all kinds of news offers, way’s to win stuff etc.
I don’t regret one minute of the time I have spent on the radio so far. I have loved every second of it, and most of all, I LOVE the fact that I have been in one community for my entire career, West Michigan. Now, spending a few weeks on WFGR, I know that I love being a part of it for the reasons I fell in love with that little radio I first got, or the record player I had…..the attachments I formed all those years ago, the memories I have attached to all of this music, rock, disco, pop…whatever.. they are still there…and they feel better now more than ever.
Share your thought’s below, I would love to know what you think