Monday, October 06, 2008


I just love it when traditional radio outlets defy the odds and attempt to make a statement. Such a station is 98.1 The River (Asheville, NC). Just announced is that the Asheville Radio Group is launching 98.1 The River effective last Wednesday, Oct. 1, and promises to provide area listeners with an eclectic mix of tunes. A recent press release for the station suggests that listeners want “a radio boutique ... without silly DJs and mainstream radio hype.” A rundown of the big-name acts you can expect to hear includes the Dave Matthews Band, Sara Bareilles, My Morning Jacket, Amos Lee, G. Love & Special Sauce, Bob Marley, REM, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello and Jack Johnson. While the potential offerings aren’t college-radio cutting-edge, they are a departure from the typical pop radio of traditional Top-40 shows. There are also plans for local-centric specialty programming on the River. General Manager Bob Bolak says it will probably be along the lines of “Local Licks” on the Mountain, but with singer/songwriters and other artists in the genres represented by the River. Local musicians will be able to suggest their bands through the station’s Web site. The station is set to launch with 10,000 songs in a row — uninterrupted. If you do the math it works out to about a month’s worth of music. During that time, listeners are invited to send their comments, criticisms and suggestions to I’d like to see more stations around the country bail out on the corporate bigwigs and their so-called song research statistics and just play the stuff that people already have on their iPods (just cause we can’t hear it on the radio). Kudos to 98.1 for having the guts to do this. Let’s hope it become the new norm.

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