About Me

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I'm a life-long New Englander, father of 4 challenging kids (I know: I'm supposed to say "wonderful", but while that'd be true, technically speaking, it'd also be misleading), and fortunate husband to my favorite wife of more than 20 years. I've got over 20 years experience breaking things as a test engineer, quality engineer, reliability engineer, and most recently (and most enjoyably) a Product Safety / EMC Compliance Engineer. In the photo, I'm on the left.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tiny, Little Playlists

So for a while now I've wondered why it is that radio stations seem to severely limit the songs that they play.

That is, by listening to the radio, you would think that Elton John wrote only four or five songs. Why don't they play more (or any) of the other songs?

Jethro Tull is one of my favorite bands, but listen to the radio, and you'll hear Aqualung (Ian Anderson's LEAST favorite song, so I heard him say in an interview), Locomotive Breath, the occasional Bouree or Thick as a Brick. Meanwhile, the best album that Jethro Tull produced (in my opinion) is The Broadsword and the Beast...I have never, ever heard one track from that album on the radio. My next favorite is Minstrel in the Gallery; once, years ago, I heard a track from that on the radio. Dot Com: nothing on the radio. Songs from the Wood? Nope. Just the three or four standards.

Do the radio stations have to cut an individual check to an artist for each song they play? Are they hell bent on driving me nuts? And if they are, how did they know that this is the way to do it? What crazy, malicious bugger decides which songs to use for this nefarious scheme?

What brings this to mind just now is that there's a LOT of Christmas music on the radio. Why the hell is it that I hear Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" about a dozen times every day (which means that after the third note I jab the button to change the channel on my radio a dozen times a day...she's historically easy on the eyes, but hard on the ears), but I so rarely hear the few Mannheim Steamroller songs that they'll play (but that are pretty awesome...I am going to see what other seasonal songs they've made)?

Have you heard Straight no Chaser's "12 Days of Christmas"? It's awesome; one of the best Christmas songs I've ever heard. Listen here (see what I figured out how to do all by myself...I only *look* stupid):

I've heard this on the radio twice this season.

So I'd like to become a bit less ignorant: can anyone tell me why radio stations won't play more songs of any given artist? Why is it that I never hear "Behind Blue Eyes" as played by Roger Daltrey  in cahoots with the Chieftains?


  1. This is something that I have complained about for years. It seems that so many radio stations have just 50 songs that they play over and over and over. Then I found WXPN, which is University of Pennsylvania Public Radio that is broadcast to many area both in and out of the states. I love singer/songwriter music and they have introduced me to many new artists that in the beginning get little to no play on pop stations, but a year later are all the rage, i.e. Mumford and Sons, Ray LaMontagne. If you like contemporaty rock, they have it, if you like jazz, they have it, if you like folk, they have it, if you like great bands, they have it. This station is never boring and has so many various types of music to please everyone. Everyday at noon they invite an artist/band to play an hour's set at their World Cafe. If you can get this station at your location, try it out. I can assure you that they have more than 50 songs on their playlist. If you cannot get it on your radio, you can stream it through your computer.

  2. The few times that I get to myself (and they are rate) the last thing I want is a radio yammering away in the background. Silence...I crave silence. I don't have a mp3 player or ipod or whatever folks are listening to these days. We have a radio/tape/cd player thingee and if it gets used once a year it's doing well. In the car I want to concentrate on my driving so again, no radio. Why are people so afraid of silence I wonder?

  3. I am with my babyjohn/Delores on the delights of silence. HOWEVER, I loved that clip. Thank you so much.

  4. Silence is indeed golden; it's one of my favorite things, silence. But you're right in that it seems that more folks seem to need to have some kind of noise in the air as opposed to not, and too often it's inane gibber-jabber.

  5. We have a community radio station and when it's on the air it's fabulous. I can't listen to music radio anymore. We have a top-40 station and a "classic" rock station (if you can call 80s hair bands with a Beatles tune here and there "classic") to choose from and they just don't do it. Nobody plays Progrock, which is my thing. I'm grateful for my collection and youtube. Ian Anderson and Greg Lake are playing a Christmas benefit next weekend. Wish I was in the UK!

  6. As far as I can remember from my DJ days, you're right about royalty rights. It used to be that radio stations purchase X amount of money for the right to play individual songs X hundred number of times. Not sure what the system is now.

  7. I have to agree, I posted once about how WZLX (The local classic rock station in these parts) only plays The friggin doors, the friggin who, Van friggin hallen and AC/DC... None of whom I care much for in the least...

    I've posted a lot about Music over the last couple years, if you're interested (or even if you're not) here's the link for the label search results.

    There's some in there you'd like, I think... A few you won't, I'd wager.

  8. You can't tell by looking at it, but in my comment above, the whole sentence "Here's the link for the label search results" IS a link...

  9. Thanks, guys. It's good to be told that I'm right. Being that I'm married, that doesn't happen very often. :)

    I'll poke around in your music archive, Matt.