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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Music To Hear When You Listen ANYWHERE

We just added a bunch of great new tracks (which new tracks? That would be telling. Actually, the list's on the computer at home; hope to get it posted tonight.)

We've also updated our Daily Retro playlists, which should be starting up any second now (Monday-Friday, 11:30am-1:30pm Eastern...)

...and if you have an iPhone and haven't gone to the iTunes App Store for the Live365 app, go do that. Now. Because with it, you can listen to Altrok Radio ANYWHERE. (As long as you've got a 3G connection, anyway...and iPod Touch owners can listen as long as they're inside a WiFi cloud. Certain Blackberries can get it to; check for details.)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Altrok Radio: Now Available Everywhere.

...if you have an iPhone, or an iPod Touch with a WiFi connection. The free Live365 application, now available through the iTunes App Store, will let you drill right through to Altrok Radio, and tune in.

This, right here, is a HUGE thing. With an iPhone, you can tune to Altrok on your commute...anywhere you can get a 3G signal or a WiFi connection.

Now all you have to listen. Don't be shy.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dogs Die In Hot Cars, Make New Noises

I suppose the title is a bit "eats shoots and leaves" but you get the picture.

The far above-average band Dogs Die In Hot Cars, after apparently calling it quits in 2007, have been quietly working on a new project, and it's about to bear fruit.

The project, "Dogs Die In Hot Cars is making Pop Nonsense", invites all comers to listen to their song demos, download isolated tracks and mix them up any way you'd please, adding whatever you'd like (if you're so inclined.) Perhaps it wasn't all that quiet an effort in general, but from my cloistered perspective it was; I've only just found out about it, and the project will close May 1, with submissions due by then. The band will then go back into the studio and integrate whatever ideas stuck with them. 50% of the royalties will be shared with chosen contributors.

The thing is, most of the demos are already genius; I'll be playing one of them, "Pop Nonsense" (a title track of sorts I suppose) on tonight's show (10pm Eastern at 90.5 The Night), alongside other pretty great new and classic tracks. You can click through that link above to get a copy of the demo, or just catch the show tonight and let it wash over you involuntarily. Or do both, I'd be fine with that, too...

Monday, April 20, 2009

There Are Six Hosts (Kovacs On The Tonight Show)

Over the past few years, The Tonight Show has become a better way to get exposure for your up-and-coming indie band than radio play - somehow, in the time between the "everyone gets backed up by Doc Severinsen" days (Morrissey notwithstanding) and the present day, radio became far more conservative than NBC's 50-plus year old institution. (Steve Allen would not approve, of course - he thought anything more populist than Jazz was an aberration.)

With Conan O'Brien taking over the reins from Jay Leno in a bloodless coup, they've seen fit to put up a "Tonight Show Experience" site celebrating the lineage of hosts for the show over the past fifty-plus years. The site's been up for a while (since it still says it's celebrating fifty years) but with its recent update to include O'Brien, the all-seeing eye of Internet fandom has noticed something missing. Mark Evanier goes into some detail over at his blog, but the gist of the matter is that there's one person - fully given control over the show for two nights a week while Steverino prepped his prime-time show - who's been completely forgotten.

Which, if we were talking about someone who failed utterly in making a mark on history, would be reasonable, but it turns out the host in question is Ernie Kovacs, who is pretty much legendary in our eyes here at Altrok. (And for a more direct link, Kovacs did routines set to the music of Esquivel!, who has worked with Combustible Edison, who we play here at Altrok...and they also like a nice cocktail. Bonus!)

Well, a little controversy never hurt from a publicity standpoint, we suppose, so we echo The Ernie Kovacs Blog's clarion call to go and add your voice to the Tonight Show Experience message board at and let 'em know they should put all the hosts up (even if they just photoshop in Kovacs looking over Steve's shoulder.) If anything, it'd get their kiester in gear trying to find some clips of that permutation of the show; so far, they've only been able to locate about a half-hour of Kovacs' Tonight Show stint, but perhaps if we turn the volume up, it'll be more likely to reach the ears of some itinerant kinescope collector who hasn't had a reason to YouTube his collection...'till now.

And, if you've read this far, you've probably got the time to tune into Altrok Radio today...we might even be playing some Combustible Edison.

New Playlist Today. New Retro Today.

We go Retro at 11:30am Eastern for two hours, and we play the best in challenging new music and Alternative classics the rest of the day.

This is but a humble reminder.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A News-Related Tangent, Triggered...

Every time I stumble across a sidelong mention, somewhere on these here internet connection-type thingies, of Linda Ellerbee or Lloyd Dobyns, (two people who, it's safe to say, rarely get mentioned on Indie/Alternative music blogs) I think of NBC News Overnight...which inevitably brings me to this appreciation of said show. There's a decent Wikipedia article on the subject as well - which, inevitably, links to the aforementioned appreciation, as well as a YouTube video of parts of its final broadcast.

It wasn't representative of how good news broadcasting was then, or how bad it is now. It was representative of how good news reporting could always have been and can still be, but generally wasn't (and isn't.)

(Though I suspect Countdown and Maddow may owe it a little something. Then again, for irreverent news, one can go way back to 1975, and the 17 Update Early In The Morning with Bill Tush. Tina Seldin and Rex the Wonder Dog.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let's Talk About You. What Have You Done For Us Lately?

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 like station.
  • Station goes away.
  • Listeners powerlessly rail against the powers that be for robbing them of their favorite station, but sooner or later get on with their lives.
  • Lather, rinse, repeat.
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 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.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Altrok Radio Music Update #229

Firstly, the important stuff:

Altrok Radio is at

Please remember to tune in whenever you can - every hour you listen turns into more visibility for the station; we show up higher in search listings, and such like that. And if you'd like to help us keep the stream running, check out the advertisers if they appeal to you; your interest actually helps fund us.

And in the interest of keeping you interested...well, you *do* know about our daily retro feature, right? No? Well...


WEEKDAYS, 11:30a-1:30p EASTERN

Now then, we've got songs to let you know about.

This week, our Grinders (the stuff we play heavily) include music from:

- Depeche Mode
- We Have Band
- White Lies
- Passion Pit
- Morrissey
- The Wombats

Plus we've got newly-added music:

- Brakes - Hey Hey
- Doves - Kingdom Of Rust
- Gaslight Anthem - Great Expectations
- Glad Hearts - West Fast Enough
- Handsome Furs - I'm Confused
- Hockey - Too Fake
- Kid British - She Will Leave
- Lowline - Gun In My Side
- The National - So Far Around The Bend
- Noisettes - Don't Upset The Rhythm
- The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Young Adult Friction
- The Rifles - Romeo And Julie
- St. Vincent - The Strangers
- The Ting Tings - We Walk
- Voxtrot - Trepanation Party
- The Wrens - Pulled Fences (Live)

Our Newly-Added Classics:

- Bjork - Isobel
- The Church - Almost With You
- Elvis Costello - Radio Radio
- Heaven 17 - Temptation
- The Pressure Boys - Tina Goes To The Supermarket
- The Replacements - Color Me Impressed
- The Stranglers - No More Heroes
- Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
- Ultravox - Sleepwalk

And don't forget the R/SYN Underground night, every Saturday at the Corner Tavern in New Brunswick, where Drew and IronMike keep you dancing with the most advanced playlist this side of the Atlantic (and where, occasionally, yours truly might show up and spin a coupla tracks...ya never know.)

For those who didn't forget about the Melody Bar Reunion (or even if you did) we'll air all the music that played on Satruday, March 21, all day long. Do I really need to say more about that, hm?

- Sean Carolan
Altrok Radio
On your computer now at
On the radio Fridays at 10pm, at 90.5 The Night

Thursday, April 02, 2009

All Points West 2009 - The Lineup

Sure, this is being posted all over the place, but for completeness' sake:

Please Look At Our Advertisers (Or The Website Gets It)
Congratulations, you've found the hidden text.
Welcome to, also available at and Here's where the remaining listeners of several fine radio stations have retreated, regrouped, and built a replacement strong enough to stand on its own. It builds on the independent legacy of New Jersey's FM106.3, New York's WPIX and WLIR, Oklahoma's 105.3 The Spy, the pre-buyout mindset of KROQ, WBCN and WHFS and of every other alternative station that was destroyed at a moment's notice - not because they weren't making money, but because there was bigger money to be found elsewhere.
We've stood by as truly independent alternative rock radio died. Sure, something called "alternative" took its place, but we know for sure that anything that "tests well" with soccer moms just ain't alternative. (Even if some of us happen to be soccer moms.) So we've taken matters into our own hands.
This really is independent alternative rock radio, visible here at and audible at our web radio station. It has the classic music that fired our passions back in the day - or that we maybe only heard about from our elders - but it's mostly made of the new music that does precisely the same for us now. We're paying attention to scenes all over the world, watching the energy build, and waiting to see what it creates. Wherever it happens, we'll make sure you can hear about it here. We've been slowly building all this since 2001, and now that you've noticed us, we're glad you're here.
Of course, it's only here because you want it to be here, and it can only stay if you help it along - especially by checking out our advertisers (they support us) and by listening (the more that listen, the more visible we are.) Please use the "feedback" link above to let us know whether it works for you, and what you want it to be as the future unfolds. (And if you need help hearing it, let us know that, too.)