Listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED the other day, I came acrossthis story on a new programming format called "Neo FM". Evidently various stations out west have gotten it into their heads that radio could consist of playing lots of songs, and that the DJs could actually talk about music in an informed way. Radical!
I wish the Neo-FM folks luck. I wish my area had such a station. (Actually, the talk of Buffalo these days is the new format at 107.7--now dubbed "The Lake"--which is heavy on the deep cuts and light on the inane patter. Alas, when I listen for any length of time I suspect they're really shooting for the rock version of easy listening... though it's still more appealing than most of what's on commercial radio around here.)
For the record, I also wish the day would come when stations quit calling themselves things like "The Mountain," "The Lake," "The River," and so on. (If they're going for pastoral, they could at least move on to "The Babbling Brook," "The Forest Primeval," "The Dark Night of the Soul," that sort of thing.)
And since radio is my subject du jour, allow me a shout-out to a nice internet station I discovered a few years ago via iTunes: erika.net. They take the notion of freeform to its wackiest extreme while still remaining listenable; a random glance at its endlessly refreshing (in both senses of the word) playlist reveals a string quartet, a bit of Don Cherry, an underplayed New Order track, and a little Tiny Tim.
What appeals to me about both erika.net and the Neo-FM format is that they make radio a source of adventure and discovery (and, dare I say it, education) rather than audio comfort food.
Got some favorite examples of your own? Why not share them here, in the Comments section?