Alternative Radio is dying. It died a while ago, but had a zombie resurrection of sorts a few years back, but the moment its cheeks started achieving some semblance of "rosy", the economy drove a stake through its heart.
So why is that? You're an alternative rock fan (we suppose - either that, or you like reading blogs that have no earthly connection to the life you lead...which is a possibility, we suppose, but we really do suspect you like alternative radio.) You've seen station after station slip away, and might even have mustered up some concern when the lamest and most watered-down of "alternative" stations finally (that's New York's K-Rock) went Top-40.
But the question is this:
What are you doing to keep it alive? Actively? Right now?
The scanario that keeps playing out is:
- Listeners powerlessly rail against the powers that be for robbing them of their favorite station, but sooner or later get on with their lives.
But wouldn't it be better, dear listener, if you took the time - while the station was still alive - to do all the things that you can to help the station stay alive? There's still some alternative stations struggling to make their way in the universe...
I'll give you an example, and a recent disappointment: Altrok Radio. Thousands of people checked out this site during the run-up to the Melody Bar Reunion, which is reasonable - it's likely that tens of thousands made The Melody Bar their erstwhile home during its long run from 1982 to 2000, and hundreds actually got out and went to the reunion itself. (By the way, we're pretty sure Matt's still on his way.)
But afterwards? Pfft. Everyone went away.
Apparently, people who went to the Melody to fill a gap in their lives, musically speaking, got that gap filled already and don't need it filled anymore. Which is all well and good - that's what the Melody did for me, but I might be in the minority, and a lack of listeners doesn't make it any easier to keep Altrok Radio afloat.
Let me explain how Altrok Radio stays afloat: it stays afloat when I can be cajoled into thinking there's enough people out there that think it's worth a damn.
Unfortunately, with very few exceptions, the only people who I stumble over in significant numbers these days are the people who have bands to promote - and they really don't care what I'm playing, as long as I start playing them (and even then I don't ever see my numbers go up because of it. Here's a handy tip for promoters: I can generally tell when you're posing as a fan of a band I never heard of. And when you do that sort of thing using the shout-out box on our station page at Live365, it makes me really want to not ever bother finding anything more about you. I've got links for that - don't use the shout-out box, m'kay? I'm seriously considering starting a Top 40 station just to verify that you're not paying attention to the music I'm playing. Anyway, I have to deal with that a lot, and it clogs up the flow of goodwill that actually serves as the station's life blood.
If listenership numbers went through the roof? That would probably amplify that aforementioned flow of goodwill...but it's not happening.
I've got some money, and some time, to devote to doing this stuff, partly because I'm geeky enough to put this much work into programming my own listening, so why not make it available to other people? But that's something I'd do for myself only for a certain amount of time, until some other shiny object caught my attention. To keep it going for as long as I have - and to keep it going further - requires a level of focus and dedication that occasionally gives way to other things that may require some attention (you know, family, home, job, stuff like that.)
But then I notice things about my listenership that confuse me. There's some folks down in Texas, for instance, that really like the station - more than there are in New Jersey, in fact. That's weird (though not unwelcome) but I wonder what I'm doing that's so right for Texas, but so wrong for anywhere else.
I guess what it comes down to is that I know there's so much more I could do to make the station better than it is now, but every time I've tried to do anything to push the station more, it doesn't grow...so why bother? Why not just keep doing the same thing all the time? (It seems to work for Top-40...) Does anyone in the US, in numbers big enough to justify the outlay, care about finding alternative rock that's new and exciting?
I'm running out of options, but one that comes to mind is you
. I hope you're somewhere where there's other folks who like what you like - for the sake of your sanity, at any rate. If not that, hopefully you've found other kindred souls online whose taste in music parallels yours.
What I want you to do is tell people we're here - because, basically, I've run out of ideas on how best to do that, and I'm hoping that, maybe, you have some.
Let me know. And tune in, please. There's a new playlist today. There's one every day, generally speaking.
Do what you can.