A few years ago a new radio station launched in my neck of the woods that simply called itself Bob. Their hook was that they play anything. A formatless station. I found it a pretty intriguing concept given my ecumenical musical tastes. My MP3 player could most certainly be called formatless. So the station, 96.7 on your FM dial, was granted a place of honor on my car radio presets. Apparently, this is not just a local trend, but a coast-to-coast phenomenon. When I was in Indiana last summer they had a similar station, I think named Steve or something, and I also am aware of one in Southern California called Andre or Alex or whatever. Obviously some big broadcasting conglomerate is pushing this gimmick pretty hard. As gimmicks go, its not a bad one. But then something terrible happened.
Over the past several months, I’ve noticed a distinct decline in the quality of the songs in Bob’s playlist. It seems that recently whenever I “turn my KNOB to Bob” (their catch phrase and call letters, cute) I’m hearing a lot a of really crappy music. Now, I have been known to have an affinity for the bizarre and cheesy–which I am planning a post about next week–and even went so far a couple of years ago to burn a CD called Assorted Cheeses that had some of my fave bad songs on it. It was a big hit amongst my friends. But these tunes that Bob has been spinning are not of the enjoyably bad variety. I mean, how much Hall & Oates can one possibly endure? Or Cameo? Word Up indeed. They seem to have drifted to the late eighties/early nineties era, which, in all of pop music history, may in fact be the barrenest of barren landscapes. Then they throw in the occasional current hit so the can maintain their “we play anything” facade. It just seems unfathomable to me. They claim they play anything, which gives them literally hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of songs from every genre and every decade from which to choose from, and yet they continually choose songs that no one liked when they were new and popular. I don’t get it. On their website they have something called the Station Log where you can see what songs have been played at certain hours over the last few days. Let’s take a look at 10 AM Wednesday:
The Warrior by Scandal? Total Eclipse of the Heart? Oh Sheila by Ready for the World? Steve Miller, Vertical Horizon, Shakira??? Out of the fifteen or so songs that hour maybe three were decent. So much wasted potential.