Alternative radio stations have lost their edge


After a snafu of a year, 2017 was given the expectations of being the messiah. It would rise from the ashes and lift spirits up from their impending doom. Okay, that’s little bit dramatic but a millennial could only dream.

So far, some things have changed for the better. Ryan Lochte’s name has lost some relevance, the Oscars gained a sense of diversity, and Kanye got his head straight – or just slightly tilted.

2017 started off with a bang. People want change and are demanding it, whether it has to do with social justice or boycotting online streaming companies for getting rid of beloved television shows, but there is one bit of change that is long overdue.

Nostalgia was a huge trend in 2016. Film and television were taking full advantage of fandoms and anything that made money 10 years ago. This may have actually worked in regards to the box office and network television, but radio stations have adapted to this mentality and it is overdone.

Music on the radio is intended to create hits and sell records, so understandably the latest Adele or Rihanna single will be heard hundreds of times on multiple platforms.

Pop and hip-hop radio stations are actually following a productive algorithm. Play some new songs, repeat what sells until the target audience has lost interest and then move on. Alternative rock radio stations on the other hand are recycling everything, and it is completely unnecessary.

Just because grunge and ska once made a statement and The Black Keys had one or two decent songs, it doesn’t make them relevant years later.

One could point fingers at trendy stores like Urban Outfitters for making fashion statements out of grimey ‘90s band t-shirts so that now every hip teen is somehow a Nirvana fan again, but the radio is intended to promote new music, not repeat the same three Sublime songs every other hour.  

There is a reason Thom Yorke of Radiohead refused to play “Creep” live; it was overplayed. And yet, still to this day alternative radio stations will play the song as if it was released yesterday.

Nostalgia in entertainment is good in moderation and is only effective once the subject disappears for awhile.

It brings into question whether  these radio stations have a lack of content to work with. It would only make sense to repeat top hits from 20 years ago if the current generation hasn’t produced quality music.

That isn’t the case. There are plenty of artists relevant to the scene who lack local radio play.

For the past few years, indie rock has been the “it” type of music. The type of music Coachella goers and flower-crown wearers listen to.

Local alternative stations can take some advice from satellite radio stations like SiriusXMU. Not everything may be great, but they play a ton of new new music from artists who are relevant.

Are local radio stations really playing music that listeners want to hear or trying to make up for their lack of creativity?

I mean, one can only hear “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden on the radio so many times until they blow a gasket.