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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Radio 92.3: Catch it while you can

Odds are by the end of this post, 92.3 FM will change its format or rebrand itself another three times, but stick with me here. And with any luck, 92.3 will stick with what they've got going right now.

92.3 went through its latest makeover in early December, dumping its K-ROCK moniker in favor of "Radio 92.3." It's the fourth identity for the station since Memorial Day 2001. Wikipedia has a nice chronology of 92.3's ongoing identity crisis.

The most noticeable change in this overhaul is that all the DJs have been dumped in favor of a few pre-recorded bumpers. I'm not for people losing their jobs, but I've heard about this happening in other markets. And if it's the only way to keep a station with mediocre ratings like 92.3 afloat, you probably shouldn't hold out hope for a return of Rachel Steele and Bull. Even Clear Channel is slashing jobs, so don't be surprised if this is the way of the future for a number of other area stations. One tip for 92: If you don't have a DJ, you can at least stick in more song IDs, especially on new tracks. I can only listen to Generic Promo Guy's lame quips so many times.

The biggest plus with Radio 92.3? The short-lived attempt to be a poor man's WMMS seems to be done, with less Motley Crue, Ozzy and the like. I know there's a market for that genre, but MMS does it better, and once the Buzzard's short-lived all-day-talk format fizzled last year, the writing was on the wall for 92.

The 92 playlist has expanded and gravitated back towards its alternative rock roots, like the good old days of 107.9 The End.

There is still room to improve (and a lot more bands that fit the new mold). Give me more of The Shins, Our Lady Peace, Modest Mouse and the Tragically Hip. Don't be afraid to sneak in a song by The Postal Service or The Pixies once in a while. Stop bludgeoning me over the head with The Killers.

92.3 is on the right track, and with any luck, CBS Radio will have some patience and let the station build some momentum before pulling the plug again.

And if all else fails, here's a very, very nice alternative station (see what I did there?).

Despite another nondescript name like Radio 92.3 (seriously, does anybody want an identity anymore?), FM 96 (located at 95.9 FM) is a brilliant station based out of London, Ontario. On most days, it comes in crystal-clear in The News-Herald coverage area. Nice wide playlist, good DJs and fun Canadian accents. Makes me want to go buy a car from Probart Maaaazda, grab a Steam Whistle Pilsner at the Honest Lawyer and catch a show at the John Labatt Centre. Good times all around, eh!

- Tom Valentino


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