While making my 20-25 minute commute to school while I was driving in high school oh so long ago (97-99), I had very limited choices that pleased me on the radio dial. It basically was either Sarah & Vinnie on Alice @ 97.3 for mostly talk and some adult contemporary or Sean & Jeff on KWOD. I always preferred the latter because there was always a good balance of chat and radio DJ hijinks and acutual music. Live 105 was another option for a short while... I didn't care for Johnny Steele, I just wanted to hear the music there. Then Live 105 picked up Howard Stern and alas, the station dropped from my preferred commute listening list.
For several years, I've depended on KWOD to play some kick ass music, as I drive through Contra Costa, where the signal from Sacramento can peek its way through. Now on to what I was listening to on my drive to and from Turlock...
I immediately noticed that there were no DJs... this was during the commute hours, so I figured this was a recent change. Then I heard the program director announce himself as the PD for every single station voice over and station ID. Odd... After that, I realized that all the hard rock was gone and all I was listening to was mellow rock. I like mellow rock, don't get me wrong, but I like variety coming from a radio station.
I looked up the website and checked out some news articles and found out what had happened. The owners of KWOD decided to fire all of its current on air staff at the end of March and transition over to this Jack-like format that's apparently becoming so popular. The station's new target demographic is the 23-40 year old Gen X'ers. I guess I would fall in that demographic, but seriously, I don't really know what to make of this new format.
As I said before, I like what they're playing. However if I were to be driving, only listening to this station, I might end up falling asleep behind the wheel. An article from Billboard's Radio Monitor says that the station has eliminated most hard-edged material from Tool, Disturbed, Papa Roach (who is from Vacaville, in the Sacramento market), Godsmack and others in favor for a wider variety of adult-friendly musical genres, encompassing Alanis Morissette, Dave Matthews Band, Tori Amos, The Police, Jack Johnson, REM, John Mayer, and other. But that hard-edged material mixed in with the others is what makes a radio station kick ass... YOU'VE GOT VARIETY! Now, KWOD's lost that variety :(
So now, I'm going to say that my favorite radio station in the Bay will have to be low powered KVHS - 90.5 The Edge, which broadcasts out of Clayton Valley HS. Yeah, since they're a high school station, all they play instead of commercials are cheezy ass PSAs and station image spots with movie sound bites, but they're the last remaning station that has some variety left in them!
And for the record, anytime I'm down in So Cal, I never tune out of KROQ. This is by far my most favorite radio station out there.