15 February 2010

Turning the FM dial yet again

Anyone from the Birmingham area reading this likely knows that Live 100.5 FM is going off the air. Citadel Communications, in a business move, is changing the station's format from adult alternative music to talk radio in an attempt to gain more listeners.

When news of the change hit facebook, a semi-uprising took place online and I am certain the powers that be at Citadel dread opening their e-mail inboxes these days. It was an impressive display, but despite the best efforts of the station's fans, I'm fairly certain I heard the last human being on the station yesterday when Scott register signed off from his "Reg's Coffeehouse" show.

It's a shame, plain and simple.

My favorite station from the past, K-99, went off the air when I was a teenager, and since then I've paid little attention to the Birmingham airwaves. Until Live 100.5 came on the air. That one station came the closest to bringing back the spirit of that old station, taking chances with music and exposing listeners to new music. It was a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere dominated by Bubbas and raving sports call-in hosts.

Of course, there are the obvious reasons why I'll miss the station. Live 100.5 broadcast good music for grown-ups. Scott Register is a fantastic on-air personality. The station brought bands to Birmingham that normally wouldn't give the town a second glance.

But losing the station reaches me on a deeper level as well. In a world that is so busy all the time, and with so much that people have to do, we all need a little joy and peace in our lives. Good music can help with that, like any other art. The derisiveness and hyperbole of talk radio (right wing radio, at that) doesn't fill that need. It's just more blather. We've got plenty of that already. But Citadel sees a chance to make a better return, so a city that needs all the joy it can get is losing it in favor of Sean Hannity. Sigh.

So, thanks, Live 100.5. You were a good station, and you'll be missed. I hope someone else will pick up your standard. We need it.

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