Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Random Radio

I was driving over to the local liquor store to get my girlfriend a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi and thought about how the pre-programmed radio stations in my car are chaotically set with no apparent logic.  As I like to think of myself as a very organized and orderly person, I had to ask, “What exactly is my radio pre-setting plan?”

So, after I got the Pepsi from the store, I sat in my car for a moment and checked each of my pre-sets, both FM and AM, to see what all was on my radio.

Starting from the left on the first FM band, there is currently the following:

93.1 – Jack FM – classic rock.  This makes sense since I grew up on rock music, and the station plays a healthy potpourri of 70’s and 80’s rock.

95.5 – KLOS – classic rock.  Again, some logic here, although I actually don’t listen to this station very often anymore.  It was one of the mainstays of Los Angeles rock during my teen years along with a few others…does anyone remember KMET 94.7?  But somehow, I find that there isn’t quite the fun mixture that Jack FM offers.  I think I seek a bit more variety in my listening these days.

102.7 – KIIS – pop and current Billboard play list.  It’s very rare that I have this station on.  The reason it inhabits a space is that for about five months, I was working short-sales with a guy in Redondo Beach and I was having to commute from Burbank to his office early mornings.  I had gotten into watching American Idol and so had developed the habit of listening to Ryan Seacrest as one of my radio-jumping alternatives during drive-time.

107.1 KUZZ - This is not a station in LA.  It’s a country station in Bakersfield that I programmed in since I drive through the area frequently and want something to listen to since I’m not paying for XM Radio service at the moment.  As you cross deep into that Tehachapi Range, you lose most of the LA stations, so I need to have something ready for the listening.

97.1 – Amp Radio – top 20.  I input this station after having gotten used to listening to it in my real estate office just to have a new format in the car.  But I soon discovered that the same songs being rotated over and over are not fresh.

105.1 KKGO - Go Country – I listen to the station the most, being a country music consumer.  Just your typical country station playing mostly newer hits with some older gems mixed in.

My second FM band has the same station in all five slots.

87.7 – which here in LA is a sporadically broken signal of Latino music and talk.  This is the station that the radio defaults to when the battery has been disconnected, which means, until tonight, I had completely forgotten that I had a second FM band.  I must automatically flip through it on the way to the AM band.

AM band.  I must disclose here with the full knowledge that I am admitting to some nerdiness that I listen to a lot of AM radio; more than any human being person should.  Again, left to right:

1070 – KNX News Radio.  I continually OD on this station being the news junkie that I am.  Just can’t get enough traffic and weather reports in one hour.  I must know where the latest traffic breaks and round robins are taking place.  If you ever hear, “And Tipster Fred called in to say that there is a stall in the number three lane of the Southbound 5 just past Osborne,” it was probably me.  I have a special affinity for the station since, as a USC student and seeing the first few flames breaking windows on top of the First Interstate building in about 1987, which turned into a huge fire, I was interviewed at length in the field by Diane Thompson.  I still have the tape somewhere.

790 – KABC – I have this programmed in mostly because I like Doug McIntyre’s talk show, which is a mixture of politics, entertainment savvy and acoustic jazz appreciation (they guy is obsessed with Jack Sheldon, which one can understand if you’ve ever heard him play live…genius).  I also like John Phillips’ show in which he displays endless cheesy cynicism for any and every topic.  The other shows on this station are too conservative for me, so I move on.

640 – KFI – I have to have my fix of “Leo the Tech Guy” middays Saturdays and Sundays.  He talks about all of the latest technology having to do with computers, cell phones and camera.  Such fun!!!  Also, late at night if I can’t get to sleep, when Doug McIntyre and Phil Hendrie have signed off, there is always George Noory or Art Bell interviewing the latest conspiracy theorists.  This usually puts me to sleep.

570 – ESPN Radio – I just added this station into my AM band this past week after the Superbowl.  I was relishing hearing how Porter stole Manning’s pass over and over.  Yet, I was not enjoying hearing the overzealous commentators bag on how old The Who looked and sounded during half time show.  But, the good with the bad.

1150 – KTLK – The only reason I know about this station is because Phil Hendrie is on it, and he makes me laugh.  I know I’ve just lost the faith of any intellectual reading this, but I truly believe that this guy is a genius.  The timing in his ability to instantly switch voices and personas in mid-conversational stream is truly amazing to me.  Plus, the people he pretends to have on the air as guests always build up to the sheer preposterous with the utmost artistic crafting by Hendrie.

740 – KCBS San Francisco – Further proof that I am a news junkie.  I have this station in place because when I am in the San Joaquin Valley, I can’t be without a stream of news for long without developing hives.  I am always amazed how the signal “bounce” off of the ionosphere gets to my car radio pretty much in tact from over 300 miles away.

So, with this exercise in my car tonight, it occurred to me that my AM stations are actually pretty well planned in terms of content and usage moving from left to right.  And it's also clear to me that I stack my highest usage stations from left to right in my pre-sets.  However, my FM stations do not show such organization or thought. 

So I suppose I need to write out what FM stations I actually do want to listen to, and then take five minutes one day and pre-set them in a logical fashion.  It may seem petty, but really, with how much one uses their car radio in Los Angeles, one would think that a solid radio pre-setting plan is an essential element of every motorist's driving preparedness.  The radio is our closest friend, especially since cell phone usage is illegal while driving in the great State of California.

So I pledge that this week I will get rid of the crap from my FM band (goodbye KIIS and Amp, your power is being zapped), I will add some public radio, and I will determine a logical pre-set order to them from left to right.  See, if I had just done this tonight, instead of writing about it...  well, I’m not that organized.