It’s Not You, It’s Me. No, Actually It Is You

02Apr17

It’s not you it’s me.

I’ve changed. I’ve grown as a person and this is just not working for me anymore.

We’re on two different paths right now.

Maybe we can just keep it casual – not like a regular thing.

I’m going to have to start listening to something else.

Boston radio, I’m moving on to audiobooks.

You know how things change in such incremental ways over time? So slowly, that you might not notice? Like a child who gets taller every day, but it’s only when you’ve not seen that child for a while that you realize he’s a full two inches taller than before.

That’s how I feel about Boston radio. The changes have been so slow, so incremental, that I didn’t notice what rubbish I have been listening too until I stepped back and took a break.

For two years, I had a daily 2-to-3 hour commute. When I started, I promised myself I’d make good use of the time. I’ve always enjoyed audiobooks, so I decided to invest that time in listening to books that I’d probably never have time to actually read. For two years, I averaged 30+ books a year in the car.  $_32

Now, I have a more normal commute and I can’t stand what I’m hearing. I took a break, stepped back from Boston radio and its like a pre-teen’s growth spurt, but backwards.

I’ve had three go-to stations on my radio presets for decades. WRKO – talk radio, WEEI – sports talk, and WXRV – the River (my source for new music).

WRKO

When I think back to the heyday of WRKO – with Clapprood and Whitley, Gene Burns and Gerry Williams I am appalled at the dribble that is broadcast today. It’s been a long decline – ’RKO lost their news staff about ten years ago and they went to a traffic reporting service instead of having their own people. On-air hosts left and were replaced by people who were less talented or just cast in the wrong roles. Then, those people left and were replaced with even less talented or even worse fits than the folks they replaced.

WRKO’s last big star was Howie Carr. From his days as a guest on the Jerry Williams show – the Governors, to his man-on-the-street interviews “Hi Cap’n,”  to his legendary death pool, I have always found him funny and entertaining. Now, I can’t even listen to him anymore – it’s like going to a Donald Trump rally every single day.

The long decline of talk radio has hit bottom. It’s so disappointing.

WEEI

I’ve been listening to WEEI since they were at 590am. I listened through the change to 850am. I was there, in the car when they gave a play-by-play of Nancy Kerrigan’s Olympic skating performance (Really, Dale Arnold doing figure skating play-by-play over the radio). The Quality Hang with Steve Buckley was appointment listening on weekend mornings as long as it lasted. I suffered through The Big Show shouting matches that sounded a lot like the platform at the Park Street Station at rush hour. I remember fist-pumping the news of Eddie Andelman’s departure from the station.

(BTW: Eddie Andelman was a guy who looked down on every other person he ever met. He always seemed to think he was the smartest guy in the room. He hated when people would talk to him at the station. When I worked at Entercom (2000-2003) I used to give Eddie a big, bright and cheerful “Hello Eddie!” every time I saw him, just to force him to grunt an acknowledgement of another human being).

Dennis & Callahan eventually inherited the morning show. I never cared for the show – I never cared for the hosts. I have never met two people who were more full of themselves than John Dennis and Gerry Callahan. I knew it from my own interactions with them (Ugh) and it came across loud and clear on the air. Now that Dennis has shot his way off the station, the show has morphed into a calamity of inside jokes, bickering, trash-talking the competition pile of stinking dung I can not stomach anymore – not even for short stretches (Like when WBZ is airing commercials).

WXRV – The River

I’de be willing to bet most River listeners can’t remember the call sign of their favorite station. They just call it The River. This is my go-to station for music. I love what they play. I love the unpredictability of the playlist – although I think its a lot more predictable now than it was, say ten years ago.

What I can’t stand is Dana Marshall in the mornings. Okay, I can’t stand her on Sunday mornings or even when she did mid-days. It’s her voice. Have you ever met someone who is working sooooo hard to sound nice and kind and sweet that it comes across as an off-brand of artificial sweetener? It’s not just that it sound like Sweet ’n Low, but it sounds like the off-brand in the pink packets some restaurants hope you will mistake as the real thing. i.e. Fake artificial sweetener.

That’s Dana. I’ve been listening to her for a long time – on-and-off as she’s moved from DJ to program director/DJ, then off the air for a long time, and now back again.  I just can’t take the fake artificial sweetener anymore.

Last week, I started listening to audiobooks again. I’ve already finished one and am hunting for my next book. It’s just a better listening experience than my old standby radio stations.

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