Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Eagle Has Landed. With a Thud.

The Boss there at TheCompanyIWorkFor meets with an advertising guy every once in a while. He works for the communications network that owns several of the radio stations here in town.

Last time he called, I threw in a suggestion. "When he comes in, could you please ask him for me why The Eagle sucks so much?" She declined.

The Eagle is the "Freedom Rock" radio station in our town. And possibly in your town, too. See, that's the first thing about The Eagle. It's one of those generic, never mention the call letters, never say anything about a town, never get too personal, stations. I have a feeling The Eagle is an office somewhere in Middle America with one machine in it, and a tape loop spouting out its stuff around the globe.

And you know, in the days of huge-market radio and internet radio, I don't consider that any great sin. It's just not "my thing."

There is a sin, though. Oh, there's a sin.

The thing about The Eagle is that it sucks. (As mentioned above.) And for a while, I thought I knew why, but then I started to get itchy and hinky and wonder about it.

I mean, on the surface, it's as plain as the nose on one's face. The Eagle sucks because it has three decades of music to glean from (the 60s, 70s, and 80s), and they play the same damn songs over and over again until you want to puke.

I mean, I'm telling you. Think about those three decades of music, and the gold in there. And yet, in the couple of years I've been listening to The Eagle, with gritted teeth and a very hard grip on my steering wheel, I've heard the same songs over and over.

"Flirtin' With Disaster." "Comfortably Numb." "Baba O'Reilly." (and "Who Are You," for that matter.) "Rag Doll," by Aerosmith. I mean, they have three decades of Aerosmith and play "Rag Doll" three times a week? "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Fat Bottomed Girls." Over, and over, and over.

But then, there are songs that are like "Number One With a Bullet" at The Eagle. I swear to The Holy Lord Himself they play "Behind Blue Eyes" every single fucking day. They play "Aqualung" so much I now know the words to it, for which I think I have hefty right for a lawsuit. Hell, they once played "Aqualung" at 2:00, then 3:50 on the same day! We always hear "Life in the Fast Lane," which is by the Eagles, and they also play other Eagles songs, I guess because we're supposed to equate the Eagles with The Eagle.

I swear to you, the Dear Nephew plays in a Southern Rock band, and is proud to do so, and on the night I saw them they did more songs in one night than The Eagle plays in a month.

Now, I've mentioned it here before, for many years in my driving life in both Podmobiles, the NPR station out of Roanoke was my only radio. I liked the music, and I liked All Things Considered.

Then two things happened. One odd, and one horrible. I started absolutely hating to listen to news, especially political news, and my NPR buddy Sethie passed away.

And though another buddy took over for Sethie, and some of the stuff he plays is good, it's just, well, it's not Seth. And there's no gentle, low voice anymore. And so I go to The Eagle more and more.

And roll my eyes over and over again.

But then something else has been happening. Lately, I'm not rolling my eyes, I'm getting angry.

When I hit the button for The Eagle and they're playing "Behind Blue Eyes," I curse a string of oaths that would make sailors blush.

Tuesday night I had to run a few errands after work that entailed going to the far end of town and back. And during the trip home, I hit The Eagle and they were playing one of their "go-tos." I think it was "Can't You See," by the Marshall Tucker Band.

And all of a sudden, I had an epiphany. I know why The Eagle sucks!

See, with extremely few exceptions (I mean, one day they played Bowie's "Suffragette City" and I screamed and pumped my fist - and never heard it again), The Eagle has a rotating stable of about 30 songs they play over and over, some more than others. So it's basically a Top 30 radio station.

And there are Top 30 radio stations out there right now, polluting the airwaves of Our Great Land.

But the difference is - with the other Top 30 radio stations, you have 30 songs. And they're probably crap, but I don't like today's pop music.


However, with other Top 30 stations, you know that soon enough, those current Top 30 songs are going to die out, and 30 new songs are going to be released, and you're going to have a changing of the guards. Sure, the new 30 songs on the charts may well be crap too, but there might be one good one in there.

There's always hope.

With The Eagle, there is no hope.

They have 30 songs they've been playing since I've been listening, and they play oldies, so nothing new's ever going to come out. Until Kingdom Come, these are the 30 Golden Songs.

And let's be honest, some of those songs are not crap, just like in today. Hey, sometimes it's fun to speed down the highway to "Flirtin' With Disaster," or try and harmonize with Queen. It's just that that's all there is. They refuse to change it up.

I have a buddy, Sal, who does an internet radio show once a week. He has about the same time frame to work from, and sure, he's not a "Freedom Rock" guy, he's a "These Three Decades" guy, but, man. He plays such a wide spectrum of stuff from our past, sometimes it blows my mind. And often makes sing. And always makes me smile.

Sal, why don't you do a hostile takeover of The Eagle?