The State of Detroit Radio

Time to experiment with a new feature on the site: the Local Scene, in which I’ll chronicle popular songs in the metro Detroit area based on their popularity on local radio stations. This way, you will have a gauge as to what kind of music metro Detroit is listening to.

Detroit is the ninth-largest radio market in the US, not including Canadian listeners in Windsor, so it’s definitely worthwhile to take a look at what this crazy city is tuning in to.

One last note: all of these lists are sorted in order of airtime (highest to lowest), but I might not include all songs on the top songs list

Top songs of 89X (Alternative Rock, CIMX, 88.7FM):

  • Incubus – “Anna Molly” (#1)
  • +44 – “When Your Heart Stops Beating” (#2)
  • Breaking Benjamin – “The Diary of Jane”
  • My Chemical Romance – “Welcome to the Black Parade” (#8)
  • The Kooks – “Naive” (#16)
  • Fall Out Boy – “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s An Arms Race” (#17)

Commentary on 89X: I can’t believe that songs like “Welcome to the Black Parade,” and “This Ain’t A Scene…” are still in rotation. Yes, Fall Out Boy’s latest dance-rock-alt-emo-scene-mishmash-garbage single just came out this year, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that it’s a dance-rock-alt-emo-scene-mishmash-garbage single. And MyChem’s latest song is simply played much too much, especially on this station. Further, where are The Decemberists? The Shins? CIMX really needs to shape up.

Top songs of 101 The WRIF (Rock, WRIF, 101.1FM)

  • Audioslave – “Original Fire” (#2)
  • Stone Sour – “Through Glass” (#4)
  • Hinder – “Lips of an Angel” (#6)
  • Nickleback – “Rockstar” (#8)
  • Godsmack – “Speak” (#15)
  • Nirvana – “In Bloom” (#22)
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Storm in a Teacup” (#26)
  • 30 Seconds To Mars – “The Kill” (#27)

Commentary on 101 The WRIF: I printed so many songs because it really shows the hit-and-miss nature of the station: at times, it can be great with excellent variety within a single genre – “The Kill,” “In Bloom,” “Original Fire,” and “Storm In A Teacup” are all excellent examples of modern rock. However there are other songs with which are, in my opinion, terrible, including “Through Glass,” and “Rockstar.” At that, I’d like to take the time to apologize for printing the name “Nickleback,” on this website, and also to note that this station has great potential (much more than 89X, which may have run its course already). The WRIF is also launching RIFF2, a new HD radio station first launched online.

Channel 955 (Top-40, WKQI, 95.5FM)

  • Beyonce – “Irreplaceable” (#1)
  • Akon – “I Wanna Love You” (#3)
  • Fergie – “Fergalicious” (#4)
  • Akon – “Smack That” (#6)

If you’ve kept up with my blog for any significant amount of time, you know that I’m an addict of any kind of rock music whatsoever (I still maintain that Stone Sour and Nickleback are not rock, but some other, unidentifiable genre). You can probably also figure out my opinion on Top-40 music these days. If you haven’t, I’ll put it simply – the vast majority of pop music today is barely to be considered music at all. The lyrics are demeaning and supportive of stereotypes; the role of the musician has been diluted and the role of the “vocalist” has been inflated. Also, Channel 955 is a Clear Channel site and reeks of corporate presence. But then again, it is a Top-40 station. I suppose that if I had to make a more valid claim against the station, I would say that it is filled with commercials and the same songs, played over and over and over again. (End of rant).

I really wanted to chronicle one of the best Detroit radio stations today: 93.9 The River (Variety, [station symbol unknown], 93.9 FM), but they don’t have a list of the songs they play most. This is quite indicative of a variety station, and that is exactly what The River is. However unlike most variety stations, the music is comprised of non-pop hits and little-known gems (from Johnny Cash to CCR to Mobile) from the ’60s to the modern era. The River is quite unlike 963DVD (Variety, WDVD, 96.3 FM), which plays mostly pop and soft-rock songs that are not little gems or well-known hits. Rather, they are mainly songs played on soft rock stations, like 96.3.

Well, that’s the state of Modern Detroit Radio at the moment, if you’re reading this sentence, I can only say that you’ve read too far.


One response to “The State of Detroit Radio

  1. Interesting post, but with the advent of iPod compatible cars (or accessories that make it so) I listen to a lot less radio now.

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