Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Kill the Radio

When I first started spending the majority of my time in Memphis, I declared that Memphis had far better radio stations than Nashville. (I don't listen to most country of my own free will.) I don't know if that still true or not, as radio stations do have a tendency to change. But it was true about 3 years ago when 93X actually did play pretty good mix of rock, older, newer, very new. And maybe the D.J.'s were just as bad then -- my feminist consciousness is a work in progress.

I haven't listened to the radio in a number of months. My first forswearing of the radio was two summers ago when that terrible "Hate Me" song -- I think Blue October was the group -- was getting played at least once an hour. It's not that I dislike all music that qualifies as whiny -- I think I was tossing in Depeche Mode's Ultra to replace the radio -- but could we have a little art with whiny? Or at least striking sounds? Subtlety? And if I can't have subtlety, I insist on drums.

Like much misguided popularity, the song faded, I needed a change from my CD collection, and I flipped back on the radio this summer during my treks from Rhodent land to UofM.

And they were running some "girls of summer," super-sexist, derogatory, demeaning, crass contest to get hot pictures of "babes" on their website. Oh, without -- as far as I could tell -- any real effort to ensure that the pictures were posted with the models contest. So, the commercials for that were making me a bit testy, and I killed the radio and rotated back through Soundgarden, Depeche Mode, and the Dresden Dolls.

Last night, I flipped on the radio. Yes, 93X. Mistake. It was 9:50 or so, whenever they play a local band. And, I promptly remembered why I gave up the radio in the first place. First, the opening clip was something about local rock and "all the skanks that go with it." Uhuh . . . nice, great, that's right. Let's make sure to preserve the connection between rock and roll and misogyny. Then they played a local artist who happens to be female. Hey, that's kind of cool -- not too many women making it big in rock. Granted, she won't be making it big in rock, but it would have been fun music at a club. And then, the D.J. started talking about how cool it was to get an album from a girl rocker and encouraging other women local groups or solo artist to send in their music. I begin to think -- hey, he could just temporarily redeem his little self!

Nope, soon enough he had wrapped back around to how hot girl rockers are and they're prettier to look at that guys in rock and some other nonsense. Because, first and foremost, you had better be sexy if you are a chick looking to get into rock and roll.

Murr . . . need feminist D.J.'s. I can take a certain level of sexism and misogyny in my music -- particularly classic rock. But overt sexism in the chatter -- not so much.

Off to see if there are other rock stations in Memphis that might leave me feeling less murderous.

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