Ode to ‘Coloradio’

27 Aug

I’m a Luddite when it comes to the music I listen to in my car: Once in a while, I put in a mix CD. But I don’t attach an iPod; I don’t have satellite radio. I listen to whatever the Phoenix radio stations are playing. And, boy, does it get monotonous.
Stubborn me. I guess I keep up this habit because I remain hopeful that all my button-pressing among my six preset stations will yield pleasant tuneful surprises. Yet the ear candy is scarce.
Two road trips to Denver I took over the summer, however, have proven to me that good metropolitan radio stations still exist. Mountain towns, too, offer much more selection of artists and genres than what I endure driving around the Valley.
So here’s my salute to Colorado radio stations. Thanks to so many of you for having digital streaming on the Web that I can listen to from home.
Headphones off to: KBCO – an exemplar of alternative rock for decades now. And I don’t love you just because you’re Boulder-based. Just looking at your playlist for today, I can tell that I wouldn’t need to punch the dial to get away from you if I were making a long drive around Denver-Boulder.
New songs from Sarah McLachlan, Train, Jakob Dylan, Snow Patrol, David Gray, Tom Petty — these are artists I like, yet Phoenix radio gets stuck on their older hits. Hearing new stuff, even if I’m not crazy about it, reinforces why I like these artists in the first place.
The KBCO playlist for the last few hours also includes newer artists that I’m trying to get to know better — Ray Lamontagne, Phoenix, Brandon Flowers, Death Cab for Cutie, Colbie Caillat, Matt Nathanson. Why do my local stations play these great artists so infrequently or just dwell on one hit of theirs? And even if my usual stations are geared to baby boomers, why isn’t there a realization that we don’t need to be stuck in the ‘70s — we want to be hip to the new stuff.
As for KBCO, it included in its alternative rock and pop some oldies-but-goodies that seem to blend with the new stuff or appeal to the same musical sensibilities: Doobie Brothers, Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Semisonic, Foo Fighters, and more. I can handle that.
The only song on the morning playlist I might have skipped would be John Mayer’s “Heartbreak Warfare,” because it’s so overplayed here in Phee-town.
Moving on to other Colorado stations I enjoyed on my trips:
KQMT, The Mountain, out of Denver, which offers a slew of oldies beyond “Stairway to Heaven” and “Aqualung.”
KZYR, The Zephyr, in Vail, currently playing a Sting album cut called “Desert Rose.”
KSNO, serving Snowmass and Aspen, currently playing the Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Grey” — that’s been my theme song on certain days! KSNO plays album cuts by mainstream ‘70s and ‘80s artists, yet fits in occasional new stuff by artists like Citizen Cope and Wilco, according to the “Last 100 Songs Played” list on its website. That’s a nice service, by the way.
KSPN, a similar station that serves Aspen, Glenwood Springs and Rifle. The “Acoustic Cafe” promoted on their website sounds intriguing.
With so much great music out there, either from my college days or more recently, I get annoyed when my local DJs make such a big deal about the song they are about to play — when I’ve heard the song a dozen times! All I’m saying is, give me the “variety” that you promise in your slogans, and I’ll be a happier listener.
Until then, I’m wishing I were driving in Colorado.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: