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Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Radio Online and Off 

I'm trying to finish up editing of everything for the August issue and, since the regional report covers Scandinavia, I'm listening to SPRAYdio's "Chelsea" indie-music channel today. A nice mix of new and old music, with a good percentage of Euro cuts that are new to me — in the past hour I've heard Håkan Hellström, the Smiths, Sigur Rós, the Charlatans, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and the Beatles. U.S. radio really needs some help understanding what musical diversity is all about.

Usually, I tune to NPR in the mornings for the news, but during the day I often switch to MP3s, CDs or an online station. Current faves are Triple J, Couleur 3, Bluegrass Country, and Radio VW, although SPRAYdio is hopping up to the front of the list.

DC has never been a great radio town, at least not during the past dozen years that I've been here, but there used to be a lot more bright spots than there are now. Among the good things that can't be found on the dial here any more are Eddie Gallaher's big band morning show (used to be on WGAY(AM), which long ago switched formats); adventurous programming on WHFS (the station playlist has gotten so tight and the presenters lost any sense of personality about long ago); and afternoon bluegrass (WAMU opted for more NPR news even though WETA is airing the same shows in the same timeslot -- which I guess is fair as WETA added "Morning Edition" to its lineup to compete with WAMU during the a.m. drive).

Bright spots, as few as they are, include jazz on WPFW (the DC Pacifica outlet), "Variety is the Spice of Life" on University of Maryland's WMUC, the Sunday bluegrass and roots music line up on WAMU, and ... well ... not much else.

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