by Liz Miller
Yesterday, Wednesday, May 23, St. Louis radio station WSGX 100.3 FM switched formats from '90s music mecca "GenX Radio" to "The Brew," a classic rock station. The last song for the Generation X-aimed audience was Blind Melon's "No Rain" followed by jarring transition song "I Wanna Rock" by Twisted Sister to inaugurate the station's new direction.
And there it is. One minute it was here, the next it was gone. Like a thief in the night, the station so subtly and smoothly stole away that I didn't realize it was missing until the following day's morning commute. "Who was listening to KSHE 95 FM in my car?" I wondered aloud to no one but myself this morning -- because it's normal to talk to yourself if you're a self-involved Gen-X kid. So what if my age technically makes me a 'Millennial" -- I reject that nonsense because I can't accept Z107.7 FM as my generation's sound. I can accept Blind Melon. And the Beastie Boys, the Cure, Guns N' Roses, Ying Yang Twins, Fiona Apple, Prince, Harvey Danger, Salt-N-Pepa, Nine Inch Nails. To put it another way, one that honors my fellow Echo Boomers: If I could afford Sirius XM satellite radio it would be permanently playing "'90s on 9."
To be clear, it's not that the music played on "The Brew" is more offensive than that teeming from Z107.7 FM or Y98.1 FM, it's just that it's more of the same. This morning the station played "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" by AC/DC, "Blaze Of Glory" by Jon Bon Jovi and "Hold The Line" by Toto. I'm not mad atcha, "The Brew," for playing those songs or music by those bands. I'm annoyed because that's why KSHE 95 FM, KHITS 96 FM and, to a lesser extent, KLOU103.3 FM, exist. What's more, "GenX Radio" launched in December 2010, making its lifespan less than two years. Even by radio standards that seems far too short a stint to give the sound of an entire generation.
In lamenting the loss of "GenX Radio" to friends it became clear that I might be alone in my sadness. "That's what my iPhone is for," said one friend. "I don't listen to commercials when I listen to music. It's 2012," contributed another. Yeah, I get it. I'm really tired of hearing about I Heart Radio, too. It's not that I can't access that music through other mediums, it's just that I'm disappointed in the beguiling classic rock saturation of every "oldies" station. Isn't there already a perilously low variety of music riding St. Louis airwaves without another station spinning Van Hagar cuts? Perhaps I'm revealing my youth here, but if AC/DC is now considered classic rock, how far off are we from the same being said of the Smashing Pumpkins? Apparently we're not there quite yet. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to pour out a "Brass Monkey" in memory of our fallen FM friend while listening to Jagged Little Pill.