Love 105? Hate it!

I was driving home yesterday and flipped on my usual first choice in FM radio, Drive 105. It\’s an alternative station that isn\’t the best station, but here in the Twin Cities FM radio pretty much sucks.

At any rate, they were playing a song from Offspring, which I thought was pretty odd. Their staples are new music like Kings of Leon and plenty of old REM. So I flipped up through my stations, and hit 93.7 (93X)… and they were playing the same song. So I started flipping back and forth and they were playing the same song at almost the exact same point. How odd. Anyway, I don\’t really care for the Offspring, so I moved on.

This morning before heading off to work Chelle turned the radio on for our puppies, and as I was running out the door I thought \”what the hell is that crap?\” It was some crappy doo-wop music. I wondered if we had accidentally changed the station, but I was late and didn\’t think any more about it.

Then I read this.

Good god… Drive 105 has become Love 105.

I love the first paragraph of the article where it says: two years of hip competition from the Current (89.3 FM). The \”Current\” may be my least favorite non-country FM radio station EVER. The crap they play is unbelievable. You might hear a vaguely country song, followed by a traditional Spanish folk song, followed by a band that couldn\’t even get a gig at the Terminal Bar. If you like The Current, I would love to hear why. For me it is a station for those who take music way too seriously and feel that if you don\’t own CDs from at least a dozen different genres of music you must be a philistine. The term \”hipster doofus\” comes to mind.

This isn\’t the first time I\’ve lamented a change in radio stations. But at least Drive 105 was a source where you could hear old REM and U2 songs. You could hear some of the new music that is too edgy for Cities 97, but isn\’t loud enough for 93X. This might be the death knell for FM radio in the cities. There is nothing left for me. But before I swear off FM radio for good, let\’s see what is out there.

88.5 KBEM– Minneapolis (Hennepin) MN US.. student/jazz (Minneapolis Public Schools)
I\’m not a huge jazz fan. I am a fan of their traffic reports however. But I can get traffic quicker and easier on my phone than waiting for a 15 minute jazz piece to wrap up. Outta sight man!

88.7 WRFW NPR/WPR Ideas Network – River Falls (Pierce) WI US.. public, news/talk, college (Univ.-Wisconsin at River Falls)
At a whopping 3 kilowatts of power, I don\’t think I can actually get this station in on my radio, which is fine. I don\’t need crappy Wisconsin public radio. They pale in comparison to Minnesota Public Radio!

89.3 KCMP NPR The Current (MPR) – Northfield (Rice) MN US.. public/adult alternative
I\’ve already addressed the \”Current\”. Bring this station up to a classical music fan and enjoy the show as they rant about the demise of WCAL. This link may best sum up why the Current sucks and why it is no \”competition\” to Drive 105.

89.9 KMOJ – Minneapolis (Hennepin) MN US.. college
I am neither urban, nor contemporary. BTW, I love how \”urban\” is code for \”black\”. One, when did this happen; and two, when did it become accepted?

90.3 KFAI – Minneapolis (Hennepin) MN US.. community
I think this paragraph from the wikipedia entry says it all: The station\’s programming is highly eclectic and uses block programming, so that, for example, one might find a country music program followed by an hour of news about LGBT issues, or a reggae program followed by an hour of spoken word readings or an hour of Hmong programming. Although programs almost always occupy the same blocks from week to week, programs often have little or nothing to do with what precedes or follows them, and the station prides itself on being a \”different radio station every hour\”. Some listeners deride the station for the same reason.

90.7 K214DF K-Love – Golden Valley (Hennepin) MN US.. contemporary Christian
The 10 watt signal means that I have never come across this station…and I live about 3 miles from Golden Valley!

91.1 KNOW NPR MPR – Minneapolis (Hennepin) MN US.. public/news
Yes, MORE MPR! I\’m not looking for news while I\’m driving. There\’s enough bad news from Iraq in the paper and on TV, I don\’t need to hear it while I\’m driving as well; and it seems that is ALL they talk about on this station.

91.5 K218DK|r.WJRF-89.5 The Refuge – Bloomington (Hennepin) MN US.. contemporary Christian
Refuge Radio? More contemporary Christian? Even at 990 watts I have never come across this station. Don\’t plan on stopping by any time soon.

91.7 WMCN – Saint Paul (Ramsey) MN US.. college/alternative/jazz (Macalester Coll.)
Macalester College? Oy… while college radio station so play decent music from time to time, the 8 watt signal, and their infrequent broadcast schedule (they are done for the summer) don\’t make them a viable option for my FM presets.

91.9 K220EG|r.WJRF-89.5 The Refuge – Bloomington (Hennepin) MN US.. contemporary Christian
Wow, they\’ve got two signals! Twice as many stations I need to avoid.

92.5 KQRS – Golden Valley (Hennepin) MN US.. classic rock
Whenever I want to hear some Seeger or Doobie Brothers, I know where to go.

93.3 W227BF K-Love – Shoreview (Ramsey) MN US.. contemporary Christian
I suppose with only a 10 watt signal, K-Love needed another broadcast station to bring the music of Jesus to the east Metro

93.7 KXXR 93X – Minneapolis (Hennepin) MN US.. active rock
I like that description of \”active rock\”. The only place I\’m going to hear Metallica… and they play it often. With the occasional song from Disturbed or System Of A Down to break it up a bit.

94.5 KSTP KS95 – Saint Paul (Ramsey) MN US.. hot ac
I\’m not sure what that \”hot ac\” is supposed to mean… but if it means \”all the Matchbox 20 you could ever ask for\” then it is an accurate description.

95.3 KNOF – Saint Paul (Ramsey) MN US.. religious
Slightly different Christian station…more old school: primarily broadcasts a mix of fifteen and thirty minute pre-recorded teaching ministry programs as well as several segments of southern gospel music.

95.7 WPCA-LP – Amery (Polk) WI US.. community
They may want to consider upping their internet presence a bit. Although it\’s a hard hill to climb when WPCA brings up 93,600 hits on Google about the World Professional Chuckwagon Association.

95.9 WLKX Spirit FM – Forest Lake (Washington) MN US.. contemporary Christian
Wow, there really are a lot of Christian stations out there… I\’m very glad I don\’t come across them. This one even has a broadcast signal of 3 kilowatts! Praise Jesus!

96.3 KTTB B96 – Glencoe (McLeod) MN US.. CHR-rhythmic
I didn\’t know what \”CHR-rhythmic\” meant, but that\’s why God invented wikipedia. B96 plays a lot of rap and some R&B. It\’s best described as the station you put on when you have strippers over for a bachelor party… not that I would know from experience or anything… let\’s just move on.

97.1 KTCZ Cities 97 – Minneapolis (Hennepin) MN US.. adult alternative
\”Quality music from then and now.\” But mostly then. If I described KS95 as \”all the Matchbox 20 you could ask for\” then I might describe Cities 97 as \”all the Natalie Merchant you could ask for\”. Funny, I just went out to the site, the last 6 songs they played: Jonny Lang, Anna Nalick (who?), Tracy Chapman, Five for Fighting, U2, and Natalie Merchant. That\’s about right for them. About 1 out of 3 songs are something I would actually listen to.

98.5 KTIS – Minneapolis (Hennepin) MN US.. contemporary Christian (Northwestern Coll.)
The powerhouse of Christian radio with a 100 kilowatt signal. Today\’s Verse? Psalm 19:7 – The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. (NLT)

99.5 KSJN NPR MPR – Minneapolis (Hennepin) MN US.. public/classical
The classical arm of MPR. Derided by fans of WCAL for playing too much Beethoven.

100.3 KTLK – Minneapolis (Hennepin) MN US.. news/talk
Clear Channel\’s new FM talk station. KFAN on AM is still better. Less Dittoheads.

101.3 KDWB – Richfield (Hennepin) MN US.. CHR-pop
Hip Hop all day all night. Maybe some crummy Simpson song (Jessica or Ashley) mixed in.

102.1 KEEY K102 – Saint Paul (Ramsey) MN US.. country
Country… \’nuff said. Actually, I\’m shocked there aren\’t more country music stations.

102.9 WLTE Lite FM – Minneapolis (Hennepin) MN US.. soft ac
Just a bit peppier than elevator music. Typical set list would be Celine Dion, Elton John, and Michael Buble.

104.1 KZJK Jack FM – Saint Louis Park (Hennepin) MN US.. adult hits
Adult hits? Makes it sound like porn. Jack FM is one of those stations that is run completely by computer. The kind that the DJs on other stations bitch about. But maybe instead of music snobs picking the play lists, it just might work to just play stuff that is popular regardless of decade or genre. Seems to be working for the various Jack FM stations around the country. I don\’t mind a DJ, but I do mind a DJ who tries to preach to me what \”good music\” is.

106.1 KLCI Bob 106.1 – Elk River (Sherburne) MN US.. country
How could I forget about Bob FM! I knew we had to have more than one country station.

106.3 WEVR – River Falls (Pierce) WI US.. soft ac
Another Wisconsin radio station that should consider looking into this thing called \”the internet\”. I\’m not sure how these Wisconsin radio stations ended up in my list of Twin Cities stations, but I suppose if you live in Woodbury you probably pick up more music from Wisconsin than Minnesota. Either way, at 6 kilowatts, I don\’t think I\’ll be picking this station up.

— 106.5 KDXL – Saint Louis Park (Hennepin) MN US.. student/alt.//SHARE (M-F 8A-430P) (Saint Louis Park HS)
If there is anything worse than bad college radio… it\’s any sort of high school radio.

106.5 KUOM|on AM Radio K – Minneapolis (Hennepin) MN US.. alt.//SHARE (M-F 430P-8A+Wkends) (Univ.of Minnesota)
The famed \”Radio K\”. I didn\’t know they shared their frequency with SLP HS. While Radio K has a good rep, its 8 watt signal doesn\’t bode well for me picking it up on a regular basis, let alone picking it up clearly.

106.7 K294AM|r.KFAI-90.3 – West Saint Paul (Ramsey) MN US.. community
Same as 90.3 above. Again, with weaker signals they tend to put a couple stations to cover the cities.

107.1 WFMP FM 107 – Coon Rapids (Anoka) MN US.. talk
Apparently this station is for women. There is only one guy in the lineup of hosts, and the front page talks about: \”Get Real Girls is all about making real life real good\”, \”America’s favorite pastime is not baseball. It’s shopping.\”, \”Join The Polichicks every Sunday from noon to 2pm. Followed by Good Enough Moms, Sundays 2pm to 4pm and Katie K9, Sundays 4pm to 6pm.\” I\’m not looking down my nose at this station, I\’m just saying that I\’m probably not their target demographic.

107.9 KQQL Kool 108 – Anoka (Anoka) MN US.. oldies
Kool 108 can always be counted on for broadcasting Christmas music 24/7 from Thanksgiving until New Year\’s; which is the only time I tune them in. I remember when \”Oldies\” meant music from the 50s. Now it\’s 70s and 80s. It\’s also the place to find Kasey Kasem and the \”American Top 40\”.

And that\’s it. For a metropolitan area that boasts 2+ million people, you would think we would have more radio stations.

So I might find FM refuge in Jack FM, Cities 97, and the occasional 93X. I haven\’t given up completely, but I think I\’ll find myself on AM radio more and more in the future.

I was going to close this article with an example of what a great radio station is, and what we\’ve been missing in the Cities since Rev 105 went off the air. Out in DC there was a radio station (WHFS) that played the right mix of top 40, alternative, rock, and a tidge of pop. Basically, if it was popular and not rap/R&B/Britney Spears they played it. But maybe their story explains why stations like Drive 105 can\’t even make it in a market with no one else playing that mix of music. Maybe this is the curse of Generation X. Being one of the smallest generations our preferences are squeezed out between the Baby Boomers and Generation Y (both much more numerous than us). All I can say is prepare for the long winter of the Doobie Brothers and Ashley Simpson dominating the FM airwaves.







13 responses to “Love 105? Hate it!”

  1. sparklegirl Avatar

    I agree, wadE – – the FM music scene here is so sad. During seven years of living in Minnesota, I never got excited about a single station. Oh, I was moderately content to flip through five or so stations (of which Drive was one), but it was just to see who happened to be playing something decent at that moment. Seemed like that was the best one could hope for, which is why I’ve turned more and more often to the iPod + FM transmitter in the car.

    The sadder truth (at least in my experience) is that places where you should be able to expect great FM music don’t always come through. You’d think Atlanta in the late 90s would have had more than one decent FM station, but no. The best FM radio I’ve ever heard was when I was living in Orlando (yeah, I know – – ick). In those days, 104.1 was a talk station all week long, but from Friday night to early Monday, they played an awesome alternative-ish mix of music that perfectly balanced consistency of style with unpredictability of song choice. It was heaven, and it always made me so sad on Mondays when it ended. But even a few days a week of good FM was infinitely better than the choices I’ve had in other cities since then.

  2. Brian Scott Avatar

    Wow. Hipster doofus might actually be a good description for me, since I’m certainly not a hipster, but I’ve always wanted to be. And, as was my father before me, I am 100% doofus.
    Anyway, the Current is my radio of choice. I think it’s wonderfully eclectic, tries honestly to highlight local artists and it is filled with good, interesting music. All this without endless commercials. I don’t see any downside.
    That said, I almost never listen to it. If I’m in my car, I’m listening to podcasts. At church I’m listening either to or my ipod on shuffle. At home I’m listening to CDs. 89.3 only enters in when the others aren’t available – maybe once a week or so. But it’s the only FM station I’ll listen to.
    Except if I’m feeling guilty – then I’ll listen to KTIS for penance.

  3. wadE Avatar

    I’m glad you came out of the closet. I wouldn’t consider you a hipster doofus. My tastes lean fairly mainstream, and I think you would agree that 89.3 is anything but mainstream. You describe it accurately, eclectic, focus on local artists, but I might quibble with the “good” part when you say “good, interesting music.” 🙂
    I’m not against local artists, but I liked how 105 used to highlight a local artist’s song about once every couple of hours… with that low frequency you heard the best of the best the local scene had. With 89.3 you hear just about everything… some good, some not so good.
    Here’s what I’m looking for, a station that plays a mix between this and this, with a good chunk of 80s and 90s “alternative” music (U2, REM, Pearl Jam, etc.) mixed in.

  4. monkey Avatar

    88.5: dug it. Low-budget charm, not always the greatest jazz, but… good.

    89.3: I’ll spare you the rant. You may have heard it before. The one show I liked on RadioK was Mark Wheat on Saturday afternoons. He moved to the Current in the evenings, and that’s what I liked on them. Otherwise… not so much. I’ll echo the skepticism of “good”.

  5. blondebombchelle Avatar

    ‘sniff, Long Live HFS

  6. Jimmy Avatar

    I guess the only choice is sattelite radio. I never really liked listening to DJ’s anyhow. Jack FM needs to hit a top hit at least once in a while.

  7. radio-geek Avatar

    yeah, i’ve been tuning into AM talk radio. it’s a whole lot better, has interesting topics, and i don’t have to put up with more oldies on “love 105.”

    I don’t like the Current myself. Something about how the DJ’s try too hard in a snobbish way to be cool. They are cool in their own way…if they shut up and played whatever odd band they are playing!

    AM radio…its the place to be. And at least the Twins are on.

  8. anderswa Avatar

    i used to be an MPR guy every morning on the way into work. and, somehow, i just lost my taste for it. i even try it from time to time and can’t do it for more than a couple of minutes. not sure what changed: me, it, or politics. probably a combination of the three.

    so, yes, it’s all about the a.m. radio for the morning and afternoon drives. it has its downsides, but it’s better than anything on the FM dial.

  9. Jerry Avatar

    While I hate the new “Love 105,” I loved your essay. God, did you nail it in describing not only the loss of a vital local resource, but your insightful and entertaining comments regarding the gunk that passes for FM programming in this market were absolutely choice.

    “The Current” reminds me of an awful party I attended where the host, demonstrating his new randomizing CD player, populated it with dance tunes, Mozart, and Patsy Cline – and then pushed “play.” Each is well and good in themselves if you have eclectic tastes as I have – but you’d no sooner mix them in the same session, than a dessert host would swirl layers of liver pate’, lime jello, and chocolate pudding into a parfait glass.

  10. fmwasteland Avatar

    I was sorry to hear that 105 went off the air considering it was the only show in town. It has been many years since the Twin Cities had a true alternative music station 105 lacked the freshness that it needed to survive, you can only listen to the same 2 Violent Femmes songs over and over again. The program dept did not do their homework regarding the vast new music that is out there. I agree that the Current showcases new and local talent, but some of it is pretty difficult to latch onto unless you know and are familiar with the artists you can get lost. I do like the honest effort they put forth. I cannot say the same for 105 at times the music droned on and on, we are hungry and yet we starve for something they think we dont need. 1 final comment, the endless commercials were to much to bear. A station ID between each song is not commercial free just a marketing trick to eat up air time…..we are not that stupid. I hope someone in that ivory tower is listening and reading these comments. So long 105 I will miss you because there is nothing better except my I-pod

  11. Grandma Avatar

    Hey, I’m 53 years old and I LOVED Rev 105, and I loved Drive 105 too.

    I have three stations I would listen to, KVSC from St. Cloud, 105 and lately the Current.

    I’ve always liked alternative music, used to live in Chicago and there used to be a great station there, WXRT. That station also went WAY downhill now. Just a “how many times can they play OLD Who now station”.

    Okay so maybe I may not like everysingle song on the Current or KV, but most of the time, I’ve heard a band that gets more famous first on them!

    How many parents can hear a CD in their son’s car and say “OH hey you have the Voodo Glow Skulls? I didn’t know you liked them?” And the sons are pleasantly surprised that I knew the song and the band from KVSC!

    I’m not into the heavier stuff on 93X. I was SO depressed when I heard the crap coming out of the radio, too, when I put on 105.3 and heard the pap. I couldn’t believe it.

    And here I used to brag to others that at least here in MN we had several alternative stations, one of them commercial. Not any more.

  12. Eric Avatar

    I will not BS…..this love 105 crap is HORRIBLE!!!!! Bring back the Drive….and the “Radio Slave”……I will boycott this love 105 shit, and I promise they will NOT last!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Sornie Avatar

    The loss of Drive seems to be having quite an effect of alot of people. I miss them to the point that I have only listened to about an hour of FM radio since last Monday and I have a 30 minute commute. If you love Drive, take action. The links are all over my blog.

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