Why is alternative rock radio so unlistenable as of late?

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joshmacde85
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Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:23 am

Why is alternative rock radio so unlistenable as of late?

Post by joshmacde85 » Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:25 am

For context, I live in the southeastern US, and I’ve primarily got one station to listen to alternative rock. Aside from the odd 90’s or 00’s classic, their library is geared toward new alternative, and they play more from bands like DREAMERS, the Revivalists, and the Interrupters. I’ve made a few great discoveries from this type of stuff (namely Bob Moses), but overall a huge portion of it is just god-awful. I’ve pretty much had the same experience listening to alt stations anywhere else in the country too.

So why not have a station that plays actual great established alternative stuff? Something built around U2, Radiohead, the Cure, Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Incubus, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, blink-182, etc...there’s more than enough material to gear it around bands like that and mix in newer acts when they truly make music good enough to stand alongside the greats. I’m not even sure what the current target audience is (I like alternative, I like top 40, theoretically I should like this), but there’s no way they wouldn’t do better the way I was saying, right?

pdalterego
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:52 pm

Re: Why is alternative rock radio so unlistenable as of late?

Post by pdalterego » Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:57 am

Check out indie617.com.

bvfish
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:00 pm

Re: Why is alternative rock radio so unlistenable as of late?

Post by bvfish » Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:44 pm

I couldn't agree more! Generation X is becoming the decision makers as far as advertising $$$ goes & we grew up on alternative music!

wormrock106
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Joined: Tue May 12, 2020 8:38 am

Re: Why is alternative rock radio so unlistenable as of late?

Post by wormrock106 » Thu Jan 07, 2021 9:34 am

Because alternative rock isn't ROCK at all anymore.

zinger7
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:00 am

Re: Why is alternative rock radio so unlistenable as of late?

Post by zinger7 » Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:38 am

These bands you mentioned U2, The Cure, Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Incubus, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, blink-182 are Core Artists for Rock/Classic Rock not Alternative. Period

radioxus
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Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:50 am

Re: Why is alternative rock radio so unlistenable as of late?

Post by radioxus » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:26 am

It's a fairly simple explanation.

The format as a whole is under a transition, because rock guitar stylings that were commonplace 20 or 30 years ago (in more than just alternative music) have certainly been getting phased out over the past ten years.

Modern musicians prefer computer-driven sequencing, synthesizers, all those sorts of toys, and it definitely modifies the audio landscape.

Some have theorized that Alternative and Top 40 will just undergo some sort of merger down the line. In a sense, it's already happening - note how many of the biggest Alternative hits end up on Top 40 radio - currently, as this is written, All Time Low's "Monsters" scaled the heights of Alternative in summer and fall 2020 only to start scaling Top 40 here in 2021.

Alternative is in a midlife crisis and PDs do not know exactly how to handle it. So, the end result is "Jack on acid".

sfvarholy
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Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:10 am

Re: Why is alternative rock radio so unlistenable as of late?

Post by sfvarholy » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:35 pm

1. Corporate radio programmers burn the hell out of all the grunge in the format. 20+ years of the same Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden tracks will do that.
2. What was the core artists of alternative such as R.E.M., STP, Pearl Jam and the like now research as appealing mostly to people that also like Classic Rock.
3. Because of point 2, the new music does not appeal to the same people.
4. You either choose to have the newer alternative (genre) music or you choose the grunge sound, because doing both is going to appeal to fewer people.

15 years ago, our core artists were R.E.M., U2, Pearl Jam, etc. We almost play none of them now. At some point, you either grow old and gold with your audience or you follow what is happening in music now and play what the next generation of alternative fans likes - facetatt alt and all.

jackrocks
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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:59 pm

Re: Why is alternative rock radio so unlistenable as of late?

Post by jackrocks » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:24 pm

I know one of the problems of Alternative radio is depth of their library and being afraid of the obvious classics like U2, R.E.M., the Cure, Pearl Jam, etc. A LOT of the new alternative artists sound like they were recorded with the same engineer with pro tools and really unlistenable. Check out kaoifm.com and tell me what you think.

arlington80
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Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:02 pm

Re: Why is alternative rock radio so unlistenable as of late?

Post by arlington80 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:01 pm

I actually like music by the Killers, Cage the Elephant and to a lesser extent Missio. Some of the other artists are hit-or-miss with me, such as Sir Sly and Glass Animals.

Sirius XM First Wave (channel 33) plays some of the artists you mention, like the Cure.

jkaplan
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Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:39 am

Re: Why is alternative rock radio so unlistenable as of late?

Post by jkaplan » Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:40 pm

What I'm wondering is what happened to "Pop-Rock"? I realize this is maybe out of scope of the original question, but it seems to me that the Pop-Rock genre (which appears to have no home right now, except maybe Triple A) has way more crossover potential than Hard Rock or the "Alternative Rock", which has become at this point almost indie pop.

Perfect example of this is the song "Friend or Foe" from Fastball in 2019. This is a catchy hit song with no outlet whatsoever.

It's unclear to me why Hard Rock stays alive on the basis of about 10 bands (that you either love or hate); where as Pop Rock would have a much wider appeal.

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