I’ve written a lot of spleen-ish blog posts about radio — you can find most of them on my old radio blog, now an archive: dehype-radio.blogspot.com. I promised in an earlier marconidreams post that I’d start a kind of inventory of radio in my new hometown, Yakima, Washington. And I promised myself I’d try to be more positive and at least impartial in my writing about it. This is harder to do than I thought. For instance, the other day, waiting in the car for my wife to whip through the dollar store, I decided to inventory the Yakima FM dial. Here are my notes, cut and pasted from my good old Palm III:

Yak Radio

First, the non-commercial part of the FM band:

• 88.1 – Christian
• 88.5 – Alternative rock – school station
• 88.9 – Christian
• 89.5 – Christian
• 90.3 – Classical – Northwest Public Radio (NPR)
• 91.1 – Christian – same network as 88.1
• 91.5 – Christian
• 91.9 – Spanish

Now, the commercial stations:
• 92.9 – Country
• 94.5 – Hard rock
• 96.9 – Spanish
• 98.7 – Spanish
• 99.3 – Spanish
• 99.7 – Hiphop
• 100.9 -Oldies
• 104.1 – Country
• 105.7 – Bob FM – a knockoff of “Jack”
• 107.3 – Hiphop

And this is the FM band — the bigtime profitable one that most people listen to. I’m sorry. This list is pathetic. No wonder people are deserting radio — especially people over 49. No wonder satellite radios and subscriptions are selling at all. No wonder NPR stations now even lead the ratings in many places. Now, I may have missed a couple of signals. But this sort of checks with lists of the stations licensed to Yakima, that are based in Yakima, and they’re by far the strongest stations in the market. At least we have about 12 hours of classical music a day from NWPR. Three stations in Spanish must make Yakima’s 30 percent Latino population happy. AM radio around here is talky, as it is everywhere. I’ll add my AM list shortly, and compare it to our nearby major market, Seattle. I hasten to add, the Yakima stations sound O.K., within the limits of corporate radio style — which is to say, boring, predictable and vulnerable to the off switch. I’ve been listening to satellite radio a lot lately. [Edited to add more anger 11/1/07]


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LISTENING: YAKIMA FM RADIO

RADIO GUY GALLERY


hertzsketch1
Heinrich Hertz's experiments proved the existence of electromagnetic radiation. Cycles-per-second, the standard measure of radio wave frequency, was named for him. He died in 1894, at 37. Wikipedia: Hertz

RADIO GUY GALLERY


STERN-3
What do you do with a problem like Howard? After decades of profits and FCC indecency fines as routine budget items, Howard Stern, king of all pottymouth radio guys, followed his enabler Mel Karmazin to Sirius Satellite Radio, leaving CBS to make up a hundred million in revenue (They sold stations) and fill the void for the half of Howard's loyal audience who didn't choose to buy a new radio and pay fifteen bucks a month for a few more, ranker epithets.
Wikipedia: Stern

RADIO GUY GALLERY


PALEY-S
CBS might have become the Cigar Broadcasting System. William S. Paley was the scion of the family business. In 1927, his cigar tycoon dad, Samuel, bought the struggling network of early radio stations from a group of poor schlumps who were trying to – would you believe: sell programming to radio stations! Every syndicator since has had to relearn that this doesn't work. Bill and his dad figured out the right business model -- you sell commercials to advertisers, and give the programs to stations. Got it?
Wikipedia: Paley
zenithfloor

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