Cleaning up the nation

A remarkable thing happened at precisely 7:47 p.m. yesterday, as I was driving home from work and "tuning in the shine on the light night dial."

A local radio station played Elvis Costello‘s indictment of the sterile radio industry, "Radio Radio." You may have noted previously that I have a certain affinity for this song, as I do for the work of Declan MacManus in general.

Anyway, it was a bit of a milestone. The new WXRY, 99.3 — first recommended to me by one of my children — is doing a very creditable job of living up to its stated mission as an "independent alternative station," to "make radio special again." The management says it believes that the following principles "are essential for a great radio station:"

  • Intelligent presentation, passion and respect for the music
  • No limits on the number of songs we play
  • Support local music
  • Treat listeners with respect
  • Intense community involvement
  • The courage to be different
  • Avoid the trap of playing the same songs 7 or 8 times a day

That’s from the Web site. On the air, it also promotes itself as a station that doesn’t run "adult entertainment" ads that send you lunging for the dial when you have your kids in the car with you.

I like that. I don’t like the fact that sometimes it’s a little hard to get the station without static, and I can’t say I like everything they play, but it’s worth checking out — you know, for when you’re driving in the car and it’s not safe to be reading the newspaper.

7 thoughts on “Cleaning up the nation

  1. Brad Warthen

    Well, it’s not safe for everybody. It you’ve got the right stuff, you can probably handle it. And if you’re a seven-day home subscriber (as everyone should be), you probably have the right stuff.

    I’m just worried about those slackers who just buy the paper occasionally. They just don’t get enough practice reading the paper and driving at the same time to do it safely.

  2. Brad Warthen

    Hey, all you kids at home: I was JOKING just then. Of course you shouldn’t drive and read at the same time. You should just spend all the REST of your time reading the paper. Then you’ll grow up smart and strong.

  3. Gary

    I might have stayed in South Carolina had I known Columbia would get a radio station to play old Elvis Costello tunes!

  4. Bill

    If you haven’t purchased it already,I’d recommend the new Costello video collection-granted,most of the videos are awful,but the sound is great-I just turn off the tv and listen while I read the paper.
    Hint-although it’s very under the radar,the best cd released this year is “The Beautiful”
    by Triptych Myth-and although it isn’t rock,it’s as groundbreaking now as Costello was then.

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