On rock radio

I’m a radio guy. Always have been. I founded my high school’s radio station; I was an FCC-licensed DJ my first week of freshman year of college; I flip stations incessantly in the car before switching to streaming or recorded music.

I’m also primarily a rock guy, which has made for a somewhat depressing situation for awhile, as New York hasn’t had a proper rock radio station in six years, since 101.9 WRXP turned into WFAN’s FM simulcast. So I was elated to find out that 92.3—which was a rock station for many years during its Howard Stern era—flipped formats in November after being sold, and became an alternative-rock station.

But what’s been great about Alt 92.3 is *how* they’re doing alternative. Alt 92.3 is alternative but not just rock. They’re mixing it up, which is a delight: no one needs a succession of post-Nirvana grunge acts. Music has evolved past that. Instead, they touch on hip-hop, EDM and college-radio favorites.

Alt 92.3 is also not afraid to go pop. Would I consider Imagine Dragons to be alternative? Not specifically, but their music adds variety, and keeps the other listeners in my car happy. The station is playing Childish Gambino as I type this.

They mix in new and old, and it works. It’s not too old; NYC already has WCBS-FM for “oldies” (which tragically now includes music from my high school years) and Q104.3 for “classic rock” (which has ossified rather spectacularly). But their ’90s rock selections fit in great.

What do the Red Hot Chili Peppers and St. Vincent have in common? Not much, except they both make great music, and now they can both be found on the same radio station in New York. It reminds me of Los Angeles’ KROQ in its heyday—interesting, exciting, serendipitous, fun.

This is the kind of radio station I want. After years of relying almost exclusively on Sirius XM and iTunes for music, I’m tuning into 92.3 FM daily. I hope and pray that as Alt 92.3 matures they maintain this approach. Keep it up.

(Some of these thoughts are also on Twitter.)