Sunday, August 25, 2013

Listening to an important public service announcement

I'm Sisyphus T. Cog, and I'm here to talk to you today about perhaps the most important ecological issue facing The Hot Place --- and indeed, most places --- at this time. No, it is not the importance of water conservation or too many things catching randomly on fire; it is the all important issue of conserving diversity.

Did you know that global warming is putting our radio ecosystems increasingly at risk? It's true. At one time you could scan the radio waves and hear the happy frolicking of a variety of bands, singers, and other musical acts. Now, however, consolidation and a corporate monoculture of genetically-engineered pop stars (sometimes called "Frankensingers") has nearly wiped out radio diversity and local radio populations, leaving a weakened ecosystem that is vulnerable to these Frankensingers and the few remnant mutant 60s bands that lurk, like catfish or prehistoric crocodiles, at the bottom of the airwaves. In some areas this has progressed to the point where the Stones' "Brown Sugar" can be heard 4 times in a single day on a single station just on casual car trips, and in others Catastrophic Pop-Song Die-Off has left the radio hives empty of every living thing except "Baby I'm a Want You" and Def Leppard's "Foolin'."

Tragic indeed.

And the crisis is not even limited to my immediate environs! Investigation of the nearby city where a state college is reveals similar mass extinctions, with the college radio reduced to simply playing the same reggae song on continuous loop! (Alternately, it might just be a really long jam session that hasn't finished yet.) The radio station catering to the state college students, bizarrely, only plays Five or Six Grunge Songs from the 90s You Didn't Particularly Like The First Time, the more majestic radio fauna from that era having been overfished nearly into oblivion.

Similarly, migratory pop songs, suffering under habitat loss and the difficulties of travel in a harsher climate, have also been affected. In response to the harsh conditions, Mexican ranchera music clumped together, first into herds, and then into super-herds that eventually fused into a single organism more capable of making the arduous 1,000 mile trek. This super-organism, "MiCorazonTeQuieroLosDoloresQueMuerto," has absorbed every single note ever played in ranchera music, and it uses the fat stores built up around these notes to sustain itself throughout the migration (I believe there is one migration preserve left, somewhere around the redwoods).

The loss of radio biodiversity has also warped the very style and functioning of the few contemporary bands lumbering about the airwaves, as only the "mimic" bands that camouflage themselves as one of the inedible iron-hide holdouts from a previous era manage to thrive. Even the number of notes being used and the melodic variety within the songs has dwindled, as once-verdant plains of instruments are reduced to ash and dessication.

And while I have only begum my research on the topic of digital diversity, my early investigations into Pandora are yielding similar disheartening results.

So, please, educate yourself further on this all-important topic, call your senator, give to your local conservation chapter, and consider burning your local radio station down.

If we're lucky, the charring often encourages new regrowth.


Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Heard that!

Susan said...

And in some places (gasp!) you may barely pick up public radio.

Shane in Utah said...

Salt Lake City is lucky to have KRCL, a community radio station whose musical offerings range from pretty good to awesome. But a few years ago their management did a marketing focus group (no doubt made up of people who would never, ever consider donating to a community radio station no matter how much they liked the music), who concluded that what the station needed was more "classic rock." So now even KRCL plays too much of the Stones and Zeppelin. But the rest of the fare is very welcome in the face of the great desert of commercial radio. (We do have three different NPR stations in northern Utah, though.)

At one time I might have considered satellite radio, but now that too has devolved into an unpalatable mush. Good things there's the internet, though that doesn't help in the car...

Dr. Koshary said...

This move appears to have reinvigorated your prose style. Keep up the fancy-pants jeremiads and desert poetry!