What’s that sound on my radio?

If you’ve seen any of my iPod Random Ten posts, you know that my musical preferences are a bit hard to classify, and I like it that way – which is one reason I tend to find radio so frustrating. I’m old enough to remember when radio stations weren’t locked into as specific formats as they are now. Granted, the “Top 40” stations frequently did play the same songs every few hours, but there were other stations that could catch you by surprise by playing something you hadn’t heard for a long time, or never expected to hear on the radio at all, because it was buried as Track #4 on Side 2 of that album (you know, back when you had to turn over the tape, or the record, to hear the whole thing).

My iPod car adapter broke earlier this year, so I’ve been sent back to my car radio. Even the “music mix” stations seem to “mix” the same things, they all go to commercials at the same time, and the morning shows rarely bother with music at all. If I want talk instead of music on the way to work, I’ll switch to an AM news station (their traffic reports are reliable, anyway) or Morning Edition on NPR (which at least makes me feel a little smarter) rather than listen to the rants and the call-ins.

But a recent addition to local radio has made me a bit more cheerful, and I’m wondering if I’ve found a station I might stick with for awhile – which of course makes me wonder if they’ll stick around for awhile. And thanks to the wonders of 21st-century technology, almost nothing is strictly local anymore, so you don’t have to be in the LA area to sample 100.3 The Sound. (For the record, I’m just telling you about this because I like it – no one has asked me to promote it in any way.)

The Sound is about simply one thing, it’s about the best “rock” music made to date. Notice the quotes around the word rock, because our definition of rock is a lot broader than most and it knows virtually no time frame. On The Sound you’ll hear everything from the geniuses that gave birth to the seminal rock of the ’60s and ’70s to the ever evolving offspring of that music, including great stuff that came out last year…or even last week.

If we do it right, you’ll find us surprising you every once in a while; sometimes with a great song that you haven’t heard in a long time, or a new song you haven’t heard elsewhere, maybe even sometimes with a song you didn’t think of as “rock”. Our goal is to provide music that’s comfortably hip. To be familiar without being stale, new without being obscure. (It is still commercial radio, after all…)

This is the station’s playlist for twelve hours last Thursday (everything they play is listed on the website, and includes links to iTunes and Wikipedia for each track/artist). It’s a little bit classic rock, a little bit alternative, a little bit of a throwback to the days of “album oriented progressive FM radio” (raise your hand if you actually remember that), a little bit of “new stuff that’s actually pretty good,” the occasional “did they get hold of my iPod?” track and a dash of “where did they find THAT one?” There’s very little repetition unless the song is a new release, and at the end of a set, the deejay (!) will actually announce the list of all the songs that were in it(!!) – but if you miss that, the online playlists are very helpful.

Who’ll Stop The Rain” by CCR
Life, Love And Laughter (Sound Session)” by Donovan Frankenreiter
Yellow Ledbetter” by Pearl Jam
The Stake” by Steve Miller Band 
When The World Is Running Down” by The Police
When You Were Young” by The Killers 
Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard” by Paul Simon 
December” by Collective Soul
Fascination Street” by The Cure
Touch Me” by The Doors
Angels Want To Wear My Red Shoes” by Elvis Costello 
Troublemaker” by Weezer 
Houses Of The Holy” by Led Zeppelin 
Ants Marching” by Dave Matthews Band 
Sowing The Seeds Of Love” by Tears For Fears 
Trashcan” by Delta Spirit
Just What I Needed” by The Cars 
Jackie Brown” by John Mellencamp 
Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen 
Tempted” by Squeeze
Take Back The City” by Snow Patrol 
Castles Made Of Sand” by Jimi Hendrix 
Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day 
Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley 
Who Are You” by The Who 
Disarm” by Smashing Pumpkins 
Shadow Of A Doubt” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 
See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” by B.B. King 
No Woman No Cry” by Bob Marley & The Wailers 
Let It Bleed” by The Rolling Stones
Breaking The Girl” by Red Hot Chili Peppers 
Love Struck Baby” by Stevie Ray Vaughan 
Come On Get Higher” by Matt Nathanson 
Goodbye Stranger” by Supertramp 
Will The Wolf Survive” by Los Lobos 
Can’t Find My Way Home” by Blind Faith 
Violet Hill” by Coldplay
Hunger Strike” by Temple Of The Dog 
“The Resolution” by Jack’s Mannequin 
“Europa” by Santana
“Sunday Papers” by Joe Jackson 
“Stuck In The Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel 
“Shattered (Turn The Car Around)” by O.A.R.
“I Got You” by Split Enz 
“Bittersweet” by Big Head Todd And The Monsters 
“Feelin’ Alright” by Traffic 
“Gold Dust Woman” by Fleetwood Mac 
“Big Me” by Foo Fighters
“Alive And Kicking” by Simple Minds 
“Owner Of A Lonely Heart” by Yes 
“Cover Me” by Bruce Springsteen 
“Jigsaw Falling Into Place” by Radiohead 
“You Lear by Alanis Morissette 
“Sailing Shoes/Hey Julia/Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley” by Robert Palmer 
“Interstate Love Song” by Stone Temple Pilots 
“Walking In Your Footsteps” by The Police 
“Crooked Teeth” by Death Cab For Cutie 
“Let’s Go” by The Cars 
“Shout” by Tears For Fears 
“Break Up The Concrete” by The Pretenders 
“Revolution # 1” by The Beatles
“Lake Of Fire (acoustic)” by Nirvana 
“Walk Of Life” by Dire Straits 
“Say Hey” by Michael Franti & Spearhead 
“Lola” by Kinks 
“Save It For Later” by The English Beat 
“Statesboro Blues” by The Allman Brothers 
“Hello” by Tristan Prettyman 
“Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS 
“Lookin’ Out My Backdoor” by CCR
“Your Woman” by White Town 
“Don’t You Evah” by Spoon
“The Pretender” by Jackson Browne
“Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage 
“People Are People” by Depeche Mode 
“Heart Songs” by Weezer 
“Cocaine (live)” by Eric Clapton 
“Yellow Moon” by Neville Brothers 
“Tonight, Tonight” by Smashing Pumpkins 
“Do Ya” by ELO 
“Supernatural Superserious” by R.E.M. 
“High” by The Cure 
“In The Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett 
“Viva La Vida” by Coldplay 
“Everlong (acoustic)” by Foo Fighters 
“R-O-C-K In The USA by John Mellencamp 
“Heart Won’t Tell A Lie” by Los Lonely Boys
“Bitch” by Rolling Stones 
“Trying To Throw Your Arms” by U2 
“Laid” by James 
“For You” by Manfred Mann 
“Orphans” by Beck 
“Like The Weather” by 10,000 Maniacs
“Everybody’s Got Something To Hide” by The Beatles 
“Gone Gone Gone Done Moved On” by Robert Plant / Allison Krauss 
“Low Rider” by War 
“Champagne Supernova” by Oasis 
“Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads
“Excitable Boy” by Warren Zevon 
“Come As You Are (unplugged)” by Nirvana 
“Sometime Around Midnight” by Airborne Toxic Event
“Middle Of The Road” by The Pretenders 
“Monday Morning” by Fleetwood Mac 
“Babylon” by David Gray 
“Motivation” by Sheryl Crow 
“Heart Of Glass” by Blondie 
“Spirit In The Night” by Bruce Springsteen 
Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam
Evangeline” by Los Lobos 
Love Remains The Same” by Gavin Rossdale 
Heavy Fuel” by Dire Straits 
Plush” by Stone Temple Pilots 
Jean Genie” by David Bowie 
Lost (acoustic)” by Coldplay 
Alison” by Elvis Costello 
Waiting On A Friend” by The Rolling Stones 
There She Goes” by The La’s 
Take Back The City” by Snow Patrol 
Small Town (acoustic)” by John Mellencamp
Over My Head (Cable Car)” by The Fray 
Takin’ It To The Streets” by The Doobie Brothers 
Kiss This Thing Goodbye” by Del Amitri 
Pretty In Pink” by Psychedelic Furs 
Hey Hey What Can I Do” by Led Zeppelin 
“The Sweetest Thing” by U2 
2AM” by Slightly Stoopid 
Stay (Wasting Time)” by Dave Matthews Band 
After Midnight ’88” by Eric Clapton 
Thorn In My Pride” by The Black Crowes 
Believe” by The Bravery 
Karn Evil #9″ by Emerson, Lake & Palmer 
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” by Police 
Behind The Sun” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Dreamer” by Supertramp 
Come Around” by Counting Crows 
Why Can’t I Be You” by The Cure 
Badfish” by Sublime 
Rock & Roll” by Eric Hutchinson 
Good Times Roll” by The Cars 
Cuban Slide” by The Pretenders
Band On The Run” by Paul McCartney and Wings
Saved By Zero” by The Fixx
Troublemaker” by Weezer 
No Rain” by Blind Melon 
Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” by Rolling Stones 
That’s All” by Genesis 
I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz 
The Distance” by Cake 
Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty
Solid Rock” by Dire Straits

They’re not all winners, of course – although you might like some songs that aren’t favorites of mine, and vice versa – and I’ll be curious to see just how much variety there turns out to be after listening for a few weeks or so. But if I ever find them playing Fountains of Wayne, they’ll have my undying affection. In the meantime, I’m cautiously optimistic that I may have found something new and good for one of my car radio’s pre-sets – and then I’ll hope they don’t give it up and go urban-contemporary in six months. Of course, then I guess I could always revisit the iPod-adapter thing…

Do you even listen to the radio any more?

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  1. Anna L – There’s a decent alternative station in Santa Barbara, but I can only pick them up on my car radio closer to home. Jack FM is also one of my go-to’s, but I really hope The Sound sticks around! Glad you’ve already found them too :-)!

  2. You guys have Jack FM too? I was going to say that this station sounds a bit like them, but The Sound (kind of a lame name, but so is Jack) has a better mix. At least as far as I can tell from all the way in Chicago. 🙂 It’s always nice to find a good radio station. There aren’t many out there.

  3. I NEVER listen to the “regular” radio-NEVER. I got a Sirius setup for Christmas two years ago and I LOVE it. I would really like the above station’s songs, it looks a bit like my Playlists, but we don’t get anything like that here!

  4. Mike – No, there aren’t many decent stations around these days, which is why it’s so cool to find one. But I agree that “The Sound” is a bit lacking in imagination :-).

    I think there are actually quite a few cities that have Jack stations. I’ve occasionally picked up the signal from the one in San Diego, and it’s a little different (in a good way) from the one in LA.

    Kori – We’ve kicked satellite radio around but haven’t done anything. We’ve also thought about putting iPod-friendly stereos in our cars. Both options would cost up front, but Sirius would also have the subscription charge…I don’t know. It’s not like we have the spare change right now anyway :-), but either one would be a big improvement.

    Jessica – Yeah, I’m afraid I’d get really spoiled by it too – kind of like I have with my DVR – so it may be best to stay away from it :-).

  5. I love NPR in general, but our local affiliate, not so much. That said, I still listen for news.

    If my 14 year-old is in the car, we’re listening to the local pop station.

    My car has a built in iPod adapter, which I LOVE – it was one of my only requirements when we bought the car – but my husband’s doesn’t and he LOST my iPod adapter. Grrrr.

    That station sounds awesome, Florinda!

  6. Shana – So far, it’s living up to its promise, but it’s still new. We’ve got a 14-year-old too, though, and she probably won’t like it :-).

    My next car is definitely going to be iPod-ready!

  7. I do still listen to the radio, but I admit it’s so much more mellow now because little ears are listening and it’s hard to explain when a kid asks, “Mommy, why does she wish your girlfriend was hot like me?”

    I like to listen to Pandora.com when I’m on-line. You can create your own radio station. It’s very cool.

  8. Karen H – I keep meaning to try Pandora, but streaming audio is blocked at work and I always forget about it when I’m online at home.

    It’s true, you do have to be a little more careful what’s on the car radio when the kids are around :-).

  9. When I got my “new” (used) car, I had to return to listening to the radio, too. It’s dreadful! Some mornings on the way to work I’ve scanned the whole dial and found nary a station actually playing musing, which, for some reason, is what I crave from a radio station (imagine that!). Looks like you found a good station, good for you! I still need a good one to tune in on the radio in NE Pennsylvania, though…. 😉

  10. Megan – Wish I could help, but I don’t know the area too well, and aren’t there mountains around that interfere with more distant signals? (Theoretically, you could pick up New York City stations, I guess, but the geography interferes.)

    If I get truly desperate, my car does still have a CD player, at least.