But of course we know why. Buffalo radio is terrible, and a whole universe of music is not featured on our local airwaves other than occasionally on 91.3 (which in many regards is a true local resource whether it wants to be or not). 97 Rock is a true case study in unfulfilled potential; for the most part they play decent bands but it's always the same songs instead of going deep. Maybe their research says otherwise but I'd like to think that local music fans wouldn't mind occasionally hearing Zepp's "Tangerine" or late 70's Bowie. 103.3 The Edge however is for the most part rubbish, holding tightly onto nu-metal at all costs. Local music fans of course have turned to the Internet and yes, while indie music sites and music blogs are the "new" radio, there's still nothing quite like local radio, including buffaBLOG and buffaBLOG Radio, which while being the best of both worlds (a local site and weekly show with an eye on it's locale as well as the world at large) doesn't have the 24 hour presence that radio has. Satellite radio is all well and good, but there's no sense of locality or community to plug into and connect with, and that's what local radio still has, whether that's old fashioned or not.
The other night I did something I never do and that's dvr the Channel 7 11 PM News because they were doing a segment on whether this year's Thursday at the Harbor was a success and I was curious to see what the local media and general public made of this year's installment. The verdict of course was that it was a success, which wasn't surprising, but I was in particular impressed by the sense of optimism folks at the Matt Nathanson show had about the city in general, chilling out and watching free music, with one chap even stating that "it felt like the future of Buffalo," a sentiment I am totally down with. Sometimes it feels like Buffalo rock fans are moving in two separate grooves, with one group strictly classic rock- the 97 Rock / Artpark crowd, while another is all about the indie (the nu-metal and heavy metal folks are doing their own thing). The thing is, there's a lot of crossover potential there, something you see in the crowds at Thursday At The Harbor when new bands and indie acts are on the bill. Is that "the future of Buffalo" glimpsed occasionally at Thursday At The Square? A city with curious and intelligent music fans open to new music as well as the old, willing to support a burgeoning indie music scene along with the folks doing it now with the support of the out of town college kids? Considering that support could be the difference between a two thirds full Town Ballroom for Yeasayer in early August when school is out for summer and a sell out, as well as providing additional demand and impetus for advance ticket sales in a city notorious for walk up ticket buying the night of a show, I definitely think it could well be the future of this city. And wouldn't it be great if it was?
Now, I'm entirely willing to concede that a cool radio station in Buffalo is abject wishful thinking on my part, and I''m sure there's more than a few readers thinking "radio? Get with it old man," and there's something to that, considering the seismic paradigm shifts that have rocked the music industry over the last decade. Indeed, the music landscape has changed tremendously, with the rise of the Internet as a primary tool for finding music as well as distributing it, the collapse of MTV as an actual music channel, and the simultaneous meltdown of the major record labels and rise of indie labels; the previous structures have either become outmoded or no longer exist, while the new structures replacing them are either still in the process of evolving or exist as solitary pursuits in cyberspace (not there's anything wrong with that). Radio however is still chugging along, primarily because at it's best it's a community touchstone that also provides a sense of identity and a place for people to plug in to and check out what people are listening to in their area. A "cool" radio station in Buffalo might be ludicrously fanciful thinking, but damn, I think it's what we need as our music scene is evolves and grows into something potentially fantastic for our region.
"The future of our city" indeed.
WBNY... now's the time. In the meantime, I recommend religiously consuming buffaBLOG Radio, a true local resource. Listen to it more than once a week. Learn it. Love it. Live it.