Let’s retreat to a well-traveled subject, if not a worn out one. I’m a believer of radio, especially great radio. In the late ’60s, after I had discovered the power and greatness of FM radio, my musical love had expanded exponentially because of the massive exposure to songs and artists. I was unafraid to call FM DJs, who were very accessible in those days by a simple phone call. For that, WXRT was my usual call-in choice. Bobby Skafish eventually became my go-to DJ. Bobby Skafish did more to expand my tastes than any one DJ did.
Over the years, radio changed dramatically. Talk-radio became the godfather of reality TVs, and genre-specific stations, while catering to a specific audience, seemed to create genre-specific fan-bases rather than expand our minds. And while much of this isn’t bad, it does short-change the many of us that still wanted to discover artists. Yes, the internet helps in that way. Yes, “if you like XXXX, then you might like XXXXX” suggestions by on-line radios helped. But all of that is too slow, not enough info.
Radio is STILL where the real power is. But for the fans that like a wider variety, few of them can supply the needed juice to keep us going. There are many splendid college stations that try to provide the style of the long ago FM stations, however, in order to keep some semblance of advertising sanity, they do so in program chunks. There’s a Hip-Hop hour, a jazz hour, and on and on.
Nevertheless, there ARE splendid radio stations out there. For me, and for quite some years now, there is CHIRP-Radio. CHIRP Radio is an internet-based station helmed by excellent DJs that volunteer their time and knowledge for the greater good of music fans. And many of their hour blocks are straight on, across the board genre blends. Blends that mix jazz, rock, folk, classical, new music, old music, blues, and requested tracks. The requested tracks takes a page out of the great FM stations of the old days. You can send an email, use Hangouts (a Google chat feature), or call ‘em up.
But they supply even more fun for their listener base. Annually, CHIRP Radio is responsible for recurring events such as their excellent CHIRP Record Fair (which I’m attending on Saturday), a Record Store Crawl (a full day event with a bus that takes you to all the great Record Stores in Chicago), and other such events. They’re very involved!
CHIRP, which stands for Chicago Independent Radio Project, has put in a request for a transmission license via the FCC in 2013, but is still awaiting the decision. Nevertheless, you can access their station via the internet at www.chirpradio.org.
CHIRP Radio IS my go-to radio station. I spend many hours listening intently to their playlists. Many times, my interests are piqued.
Do you have such a beloved station? If so, let me know, especially if they can be accessed via the internet.
And where do I get one of these CHIRP patches?!