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Friday, May 13, 2011

Altrok Radio FM Showcase - On Now, Or Anytime

You can listen at 90.5 The Night right now, or at your leisure, launch the players below. Either way, enjoy...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Music 5/10/2011: Beasties, Weekend, Danger Mouse/Luppi, More

Here's the new music we're adding this week - be sure to tell the kids! (Some videos are included behind the links)

An Horse - Trains And Tracks - Walls
Beastie Boys - Lee Majors Come Again - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
Bell X1 - 4 Minute Mile - Bloodless Coup
Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi - Problem Queen (Featuring Norah Jones) - Rome
Dead Snares - The Age of Fear - Speak the Language
Dropkick Murphys - Sunday Hardcore Matinee - Going Out In Style
Eastern Conference Champions - Hurricane - Speak-ahh
Gypsyblood - In Our Blood - Cold In The Guestway
Hungry Kids Of Hungary - Wristwatch - Escapades
Living Things - The Stupor (Radio Edit) - Malocchio Mixtape
Mazes - Surf & Turf - Surf & Turf [Single]
Quincy Mumford - Rally - Speak
Oh No Oh My - Walking Into Me - People Problems
Okkervil River - The Valley - I Am Very Far
Plain Jane Automobile - You Were Only A Song (Radio Edit) - Your Tomorrow
Saint Motel - Puzzle Pieces - Puzzle Pieces EP [Promo Only]
Weekend - End Times - End Times [Single]

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Couldn't Happen To A Nicer Bunch Of Guys

Press Communications owns Thunder Country 106.3/106.5, formerly Hit 106, formerly G-Rock, formerly G106.3, formerly FM106.3. Since it's FM106.3 that served as my old stomping grounds (and informs my music selection these days at Altrok 90.5 HD2) you might have suspected that I watch their antics with some amusement.

It seems Clear Channel (the nationwide radio-station-owning behemoth) has popped a 99-watt "translator" atop the Empire State Building and is "translating" the HD2 signal from WLTW-HD2 (format to be determined) on the 106.3 frequency. Not that Thunder Country has much of a signal in New York City, it does have one south of there - or had one, anyway, until the translator went on the air.

I'm actually kind of against this. There really shouldn't be a translator on 106.3 in NYC, so close to the 106.3 in Eatontown, NJ that Thunder Country calls home. However, I don't see any reason why I can't take this opportunity to cook up a batch of popcorn and be entertained by their wriggling. Here's their listener plea...
"To our Loyal Thunder 106 Listeners! We are aware that many of our listeners in the Counties of Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson as well as Staten Island, Brooklyn, Long Island and Lower Manhattan are experiencing interference with our Thunder 106.3 signal.

We have become aware that a New York radio station is sending out a signal that is on the same106.3 FM frequency. We have already contacted the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) about the interference and are making every attempt to have the interference stopped immediately. In the meantime we could use your help.

Please fill out the form below and provide your information to us. By doing so we will be able to advise the FCC on how and where this interference is affecting YOU, our LOYAL LISTENER."
Aheh. It's the "Loyal Listener" thing that gets ya right here, don't it? It's as though they care!

To be fair, the country format has certainly gained traction for them, which is good, because they couldn't run an alternative rock station to save their life, and they did even worse running a Hit Music station. How do you blow that?

Actually, that part's easy: launch your Hit format in a market that has lots of other options for hit music, and then completely alienate the young-but-plugged-in audience your former alternative format had by blaming them for your problems. If they're in the car when a radio is being tuned, they'll go out of their way to recommend anything but your station.

So Press, I feel for ya, I really do.

But at the same time, CRY MOAR.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Hear That? It's The Crunch. Will There Be A Crash?

To set the scene, a couple of factoids should be reported:

  • Having gone completely belly-up, Atlantic Broadcasting's assets in South Jersey (several AM & FM radio stations whose profitability was consumed by alleged mismanagement and fraud) has been bought at auction by an Atlantic City businessman who assembled a coalition of buyers that wanted to keep the stations local. Total purchase price was just upwards of $4 million.
  • Having neatly sliced their most successful station's listenership in half by choosing political sides, Millennium Radio is reportedly selling its assets (including WJLK, former home of the HD2 signal for Shore Alternative) as well.

What connects these events? Greed, mostly. Grabbing hands in the early part of the decade looked at radio as a guaranteed money mill, without once considering that radio might have competition. That competition is thought to be the personal music player, represented most publicly by the iPod and its progeny.

This conventional wisdom is, at worst, wrong, and at best, an excuse for poor performance. The problem is that in competing against its perceived competition by trying to become more iPod-like, radio has become more automated and less personal - because, as it turns out, a less personal station is much cheaper to run, too. (Trust me, I know, though I'm doing it more out of necessity than desire, but it might be helpful to know that Altrok 90.5 HD2 is, by design, on a personalization upswing, not a downturn. I hope.)

Commercial radio is basically in the middle of a lengthy hara-kiri session. It's shedding every semblance of what makes it appealing in its quest to compete directly with iPods. And it'll lose that battle, because if it comes down to a "battle of the iPods"... well, on a real iPod, the listener has picked all the music. Advantage iPod.

How long can commercial radio be run solely by those for whom money trumps utility. Without utility, radio is nothing. Someone, eventually, will get that clue...and they will make money.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Last Couple Of Hours On Altrok 90.5 HD2

I could tell you what new bands we've added, but then you'd think all we play are new bands.

I could tell you the classic artists we play, but then you'd think we're all about nostalgia.

So I'll just tell you what we played in the last three hours. It's not getting replayed in this order ever again (unless by some slim chance it did, and the odds of that are about the same as the odds of drowning in the Sahara.)

Thus, without further adieu, here's the last three hours at Altrok 90.5 HD2...

The Damnwells - Death Defier
Echo & The Bunnymen - People Are Strange
Explosions in the Sky - Trembling Hands
TV on the Radio - Will Do
Doves - Sky Starts Falling
Gorillaz - Revolving Doors
Radiohead - Creep
Hot Hot Heat - Talk to Me, Dance With Me
Wolf Gang - Lions In Cages
Peter Bjorn and John - Dig A Little Deeper
The Church - The Unguarded Moment
Fleet Foxes - Grown Ocean
The Frames - Underglass
The Killers - Mr. Brightside
Beach Fossils - What a Pleasure
Smoosh - Rock Song
Oingo Boingo - Goodbye-Goodbye
I'm from Barcelona - Always Spring
The Rockin' Bricks - Foreign Girl
Eastern Conference Champions - Bull In The Wild
Hello Echo - The Comng Days
Flashguns - Bells At Midnight
Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks
The Sound - Counting the Days
Depeche Mode - Dream On (radio edit)
Erland and the Carnival - So Tired In The Morning
Adele - Lovesong
Love - A House Is Not a Motel
The Antlers - Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out
Foals - Cassius
Green Day - Letterbomb [EFC]
The Raveonettes - Ignite
Vincent Vincent & The Villains - I'm Alive
Graham Parker - Local Girls
Buzzcocks - What Do I Get
Crystal Stilts - Shake the Shackles
Parts & Labor - Rest
The Fiery Furnaces - Tropical Iceland [Single Version]
We Became Actors - I Feel Like This Summer Is Gonna Be One Long Hold Steady Song
Eat - Fatman [EFC]
Arctic Monkeys - When The Sun Goes Down [EFC]
Maritime - It's Casual
Gosepl Claws - I Can, I Will
The Jim Carroll Band - People Who Died
Obits - I Want Results
Fischerspooner - Cloud
The Cure - Maybe Someday (album ver)
The Thousand Pities - Count My Summer Down
The Vandelles - Swell to heaven
U2 - A Sort Of Homecoming

So whatcha think? Unfortunately, you've missed this tracklist, but don't worry - something just as compelling will be coming up as soon as you tune in.

Monday, May 02, 2011

This Is A Music Blog, But.

Osama Bin Laden is dead, as a result of a successful strike in the early morning hours yesterday. Congratulations to everyone, from the folks who gave the orders to the folks who (quite literally) executed them.

Firstly, the Navy SEALs that did the job. I'm okay with the fact I'll never be that awesome.

Secondly, the intelligence community that noticed something weird about the fortifications around a rather nice mansion compound, owned by a couple of guys with no visible source of income. That's a tiny needle in a big haystack so, again, well done.

Finally, President Barack Obama, a Commander-In-Chief who demanded solid information, and executed on it when the time was right. He was ridiculed during his campaign by his opponents when he said he'd do exactly this, but it couldn't have done it any other way.

Are we in the clear? No. Bin Laden represented a poisonous philosophy that suggested that the only way to counter western influence was through terrorist action. The Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions proved there is another way, but it remains to be seen whether the twisted interpretation of resistance Bin Laden espoused will continue to be embraced, or if it will wither and die.

But it's a victory and a closure that was long overdue, and that is what is being celebrated. This is not a celebration of a death; surrender was an option that was apparently offered, and rejected. It is a celebration of that closure and a dedication to the continued marginalization of the philosophies that created the tragedies that required that closure in the first place. Celebration is a natural reaction, and that's as it should be.
Please Look At Our Advertisers (Or The Website Gets It)
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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.)