Alternative Radio? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Alternative Radio!

Another Rant in A-Minor by P. Freako

Co-op Radio By now we all have heard that the CRTC has turned down an application by Telemedia Communications Inc. for a modern rock/alternative radio station in Vancouver. Originally, the debate seemed to be over whether or not the market could bear such a format -- heaven forbid there actually be any competition in the marketplace! More recently, the dust having settled, the rejection seems to have been on the strength (or lack thereof) of the application itself. It's all speculation and, since I haven't seen the application, I won't venture down that road. The only group that truly knows is the CRTC.

Now, Paul Sullivan, vice-president of editorial services for Telemedia Communications Inc., has said that they might reapply in the future. Might reapply in the future?!? Christ, if you want this station, you go full bore crazy and do what needs to be done to accomplish it! You don't shrug your shoulders and say maybe.

Does Vancouver even want an alternative radio station? Sure it does, but Vancouver isn't ready for one, and I didn't think I'd ever find myself saying this, but I don't think we need one.

CBC RealTime Personally, I'm not ready to turn over to the mainstream airwaves the cool stuff I hear in the clubs and pick up from cool record stores. I mean, are we willing to subject the music that we hold to be our own to advertisers and record companies who pressure music directors at Christmas to push their alternative product? Guess what, it becomes mainstream and the next generation is calling us sellouts just like we're calling the generation before us.

CITR This city has not supported its alternative music scene enough to fully support an alternative commercial radio station. We've still got a lot of grass work roots to do. I don't see the clubs full when local bands are playing, and I don't wait in long lines at Scratch Records, but I do see band posters constantly covered up by other bands' posters. What is that? Hey, we should be in competition for each other to bring the whole scene forward instead of competing against each other to hold it back. That's the way we build the resistance to mainstream rock: we do it ourselves and we do it together.

No corporation can do it for us. I can count the number of commercial alternative stations in Canada on one hand and still have enough fingers to give you the three finger rock salute. Instead of complaining about the lack of alternative stations, maybe we should develop a stronger sense of our own musical communities.

CJSF What is alternative anyway? Is it hardcore, is it experimental? Who cares. Alternative is what you listen to that makes you feel like its your own - it can be anything. So we have to turn our alterna-souls inward and, instead of saying, "well, I listen to C-FOX, because there's nothing else on," we have to turn off that crappy station and tune into one of the number of stations doing something truly alternative. Listen to and support Co-op Radio (102.7FM), CJSF (93.9FM), CITR (101.9FM) and RealTime on CBC (105.7FM) - work to make them stronger through your input!

These stations and programs are small, but in their essence they are meeting places for those who don't want to walk down the middle of the road. Hold these meeting places special and make them your own, appreciate them and build a music community from this circle. A community in which we can take control of our own musical destiny instead of letting some Buick salesman feed us their corporate radio exhaust.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on August 23, 1996

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