Monday, December 22, 2014
When are we going to do something about FM radio?
America has an amazing amount of incredible music, some even recorded before the 20th Century. But only occasionally do we hear a smattering of '20s and '30s jazz, vintage country & western, hillbilly, blues and folk recordings, and usually only at odd hours on non-commercial radio stations. Instead of providing its listeners with the rich tradition of American music (and other great music from around the world) FM radio permeates the airwaves with absolute rubbish.
As a truck driver I am constantly scanning the FM dial as I travel the country over the roads, far and wide. I have come to detect that music is roughly being corralled into genres of horribleness on the radio dial.
Toward the top of the dial you’ll find top-forty schmaltz. What comes out of the speakers is some sort of cacophony of music-like sound, played by bands with names unknown to anyone much over 25 who play as if music has no past. It is fluff, built on nothing faintly solid. Listening for any length of time to this bitsy drivel makes me worry for future generations.
Next in line are a few “classic rock” stations. Instead of playing “the music of my (baby-boomer) life” we are treated to endless iterations of Eagles, Fleetwood Mac songs and the like. You are lucky to hear an occasional Beatles or Rolling Stone song (but always the same ones, never their more obscure and creative and interesting tunes). I guess the “classic” age of rock was the 70s and 80s. But as far as I’m concerned the most classic year for rock was 1967 – or any rock ‘n’ roll or doo-wop or (real) rhythm and blues from the 1950s through the early psychedelic era and up until about 1972.
As you continue down the dial you’ll hear heavy metal, hard-driving, worn-out guitar riff-raff junk. Especially when I hear the hideous screaming that accompanies this headachy noise (that stands-in for lyrics) I sometimes think this stuff comes directly from the depths of hell, appreciated mostly by soldier-robots who have delighted in mindless killing out and about the Middle East, or by tow truck-driving grundoons who just plain hate to think about much of anything.
Around the middle of the dial are the “new country” stations. Here the listener is treated to the latest from representatives of the dumbed-down idiocracy, bleating in puerile-sounding glissandos, oft times rap-like, but with an affected country twang. I’d vote this genre as the most tasteless and degenerative. Its lyrics are banal and offensive to the ear. They have zero musicality. One gets the feeling that these tunes are contracted for by some factory that pumps this gruel for witless twits to mouth for deluded masses with bad eating habits whose brain cells have been misfiring since they began to teethe.
Sprinkled in the middle of the dial is the equally no-talent black, hip-hop stuff that hardly qualifies as music. This recorded, repetitive ignorance is more like a virus that implants mind parasites guaranteed to leech the goodness from the soul. There is also another brand of black music to be found around mid-to-low dial that is a caricature of earlier, real soul singers. These no-voice pretenders just swoon in a mock “black style”. The music has no originality, let alone any true, heartfelt authenticity capable of stirring the soul of even a chipmunk.
Besides the burgeoning Spanish-speaking stations, as we continue down the dial we inevitably encounter what is termed “National Public Radio.” In fact, this is the voice of your nanny government disguised as caring and concerned, complete with reasonable-sounding poseurs who are paid to spout the latest propaganda. It is a sugar-coated version of events from the perspective of those who stage-manage the actions of Empire, and who also control the media. You’ll probably be best off if you accept the opposite of what is being preached here. The same goes for the BBC. True, (unlike NPR) the Brits broadcast for an audience on a higher level than a four-year old. So they are more intelligent in their delivery. And with their oh-so-authoritative British accents they offer up more believable hodge-podge of news and interviews. But be not fooled – it is more of the mind control of Empire coming at you. (This becomes especially noticeable when you hear a pompous, Brit Interviewer talking in a strident and hectoring manner to some “more indigenous” interviewee – who may even happen to be a deputy head of state.)
Also on the lower end of the dial are the preachers, most with Southern accents, pandering to the audience with such terms as “family radio” and “Bible-based theology”. It seems mostly Baptist, but there is also Catholic radio to be had. I sometimes listen to their Bible stories and their moralizing. I used to enjoy listening to gospel music, occasionally, but there’s not a whole lot of that left. Instead there is this something else going on – I cannot fathom the value of recently minted, so-called “Christian music” with its cloying and saccharin vibes and “Godly” (or should it be “goodly”?) sentiments.
Other than NPR, the BBC and the preachers, there is very little, if any, talk to be had on FM radio anymore. Mostly it comes in the form of morning radio shows, like the Bob and Mike show or Lisa and John in the morning – jackasses all, spewing their trash talk and mindlessly guffawing about nothing. One can occasionally tune in the deluded branch of the right wing, like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Mark Levin. The role of these dupes is to fire up the audience anxiety level and give the impression that We the People know what’s going on. It’s a game of blame shifting, usually to the puppets in Congress, instead of exposing their paymasters and handlers. This type of invective is noteworthy for what it leaves out in the overall calculus of corruption and deceit.
And so, as a purveyor of the FM dial I have come to some conclusions. Nanny government controls the otherwise freely accessible FM dial stations (recently known as music and talk radio). Commercial interests advertise their products here – even the latest TV shows and internet social media feeds are hawked on FM now. Disc jockeys and radio announcers are not allowed much discretion in analysis and presentation. It seems that Clear Channel (or its successor) runs the whole show now, together with the FCC. There seems to be a big suspicion and fear of real music and authentic, public discussions of issues. I’ve heard that real jazz (not the imitation, easy-listening variety) arouses the anarchist soul – and of course discussion kindles thinking (an anachronism no longer wanted or tolerated by our would-be, globo-masters). But I think there's really something more demonic going on than the mere political; I think the government wants to keep the populace who listen to FM radio in a state of demoralization or “vibrational deprivation,” for lack of a better term. All I know is that there is some asinine desire by those who think of themselves as our controllers to deprive us of our rich musical legacy - those vibrations that soothe, educate, and please. Why?
When are we going to do something about FM radio?