Remember when your local rock station was at every concert you were at? Remember when they used to talk about them on air? Remember when they at least listed the concerts on their website?? What happened? Obviously, there are still good rock stations out there tied into the local music scene, but many more seemingly aren’t even aware of it.
The last time I’ve been to a (non-arena/non-festival) concert that I saw a radio station at was too long ago to even remember. Sure, radio stations have no problem hitching their wagon to big shows coming through their area, but what about smaller bands, smaller shows, and local/unsigned bands? Not only will the local rock station not have a single employee at the show, but they don’t even bother to list the show on their website. That is absolute BS.
It used to be that the local rock station was involved in anything related to rock music in the area. They weren’t just observers, they were part of the scene, and in a big way. The radio station was rock music.
I genuinely miss that, because it created and fostered a community of people with similar tastes, and in a way no Facebook page, website, or anything else can replace. After shows, the radio DJ would be talking to callers on air about the show that just let out, like a sports talk show after a big game. Except every show, no matter how big or small, was the big game. Most times, there would be a live broadcast at the show itself, and they’d be interviewing fans live.
Now though, most rock radio stations are just mindless, faceless corporate entities that don’t care about local shows, because they don’t want to pay an employee to be there, and probably don’t feel there’s enough people to justify their expenses. Some DJs don’t even care about rock music at all, and they’re just there to tell penis jokes, make prank calls, and be a “personality.” Outside of the dozen or so new songs they’re told to play by somebody up the food chain and the same, overplayed 90s mainstays that makes up 99% of the station, they don’t even know other, better music exists. And the shows aren’t listed on their website, because they either don’t know about it or because it might dillute the paid concert/event listings.
So what do we do about this? I know that no serious movement is actually going to spring up, but if we were actually pushing forward with #OccupyFMradio, since radio stations don’t come out to concerts anymore, the first mission would be to take the concert to them. If you’re a local band and your radio station falls into the descriptions above, organize a day where you and the largest group of your fans you can amass meet in front of the radio station, and play an acoustic concert. If you’re a touring musician, plan ahead for a city where you know the radio stations don’t come out, and in the afternoon ahead of your show, tell your fans to meet you at the station and play a show.
I’d love to see even one band do this. If you’re in a band and want to do it, let me know and I’ll help in any way I can regarding local media coverage (if it’s in the DC area I’d like to join in). If you’re a fan and want this done, start hitting up local or touring bands coming to your area, and let them know. If anybody does do it, please document it so that was can post videos, pictures, or stories here.
And if you’re a big radio executive or just somebody with lots of money, and want to start a new rock radio station in the DC area, I’d love to help run it — email me using the contact page.