Thursday, July 16, 2009

End of an era...

(Note: Yes, I realize I'm friends with a few WFNX staffers, but I promise this won't bias this post, as I've voiced my gripe with too much RHCP and U2 many times...)

By now, Bostonians have heard of the demise of WBCN. I first heard of this on -- oddly enough -- WFNX, but at first thought it was maybe shenanigans. Sadly, the station is going the way of Kodachrome.

I don't think I've listened to WBCN consistently in years. The last time I listened to more than 3 minutes was when my friend Damon was on in the nerd olympics. We used to listen to Charles Laquidara back in the day (The Biiiiiiiig Mattress!) with Mum. I think my childhood radio listening can be summed up as part Biiiiiiiig Mattress and part Morning Guy Tai. But keep in mind, this was early 80's... and WBCN has been in decline since then.

I am sad for the people who work there who are now without jobs. Because that sucks, no bones about it. And it sucks that another music station in this country is being turned into a sports station essentially, or changing formats to play useless Top 40 which lacks spine and bite. But... who didn't see this one happening eventually?

It's been said before, but WBCN had lost a lot of edge in the last few years. When you play the Foo Fighters and Green Day and Sum 41 every day every hour, and never try to branch out or take creative chances... it gets old and people will walk away. And with loss of ratings goes loss of funds an sponsorship, and so we go.

Granted, I could substitute those artists for RHCP, Coldplay, and U2 and say the same thing about WFNX, but they also are taking chances. Lately, they've been playing newer bands like Grizzly Bear and MGMT along with deep cuts from older bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, the grandfathers who inspired the likes of U2 and Coldplay. And I'm quite sure most people who are fans of Airborne Toxic Event heard of them in part to WFNX's championing of them. I could say the same thing about Silversun Pickups, Shiny Toy Guns, and Gaslight Anthem as well. I don't think WBCN was taking those chances or making those creative choices in the last few years. I get the impression they fell into a rut, found a group of yah doods to listen to them, and went from there.

But that being sad, it makes me sad that an era is passing. While I don't listen to WBCN, I like the idea that they're around, just like I like the idea that Kodachrome is around even though I've been digital for three years. And there's just so much culture and history tied to that station that will be gone. It's a shame, really.

So it's been real, WBCN. I wish you could have been more on top of your game, but it's a rough industry and you weren't willing to run the risks necessary to be great. You'll always be part of the fabric of Boston, much like The Garden.

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