Monday, June 13, 2005

Love That Bob (radio, that is)

I am hooked the new on 92.1fm "Bob" radio station in Sacramento. Bill told me about the new Jack and Bob radio formats a few weeks ago and I listened with half an ear, "uh-uh...sounds good...oh really?" that sort of thing.

Then I found Bob at 92.1fm in Sacramento and I love that Bob. I'm also probably in the distinct minority of people my age in loving the 1950s Love That Bob tv show in reruns. I had a huge crush on Bob Cummings. Later I had a huge crush on Bob Crane from Hogan's Heroes and he turned out to be a pervert.

I like the name Bob because my children routinely call me Bob--it started with them having a cold and pronouncing "Mom" "Bob" and then it became a way of singling me out in a crowd of people all of whom have the name "Mom"--they call "Bob!" and somehow it cuts through the noise and gets my attention. I'm supposed to say "yes, Bob" or they get all bent out of shape and have to yell my name again, a process that can get exhausting. Needless to say, they love the concept, if not the actual music, of Bob radio and basically assume the station is named after me.

So these are the two new hip formats: Jack and Bob. Jack format plays hits from the 60s, 70s, 80, and 90's but they have to have been in the top 40. Bob plays those and also adds new songs from today and tunes that were not huge hits (but not many). Google Bob or Jack radio and the name of your city to find out in your area.

The key is that it is across genres and has these kinds of jarring transitions, known as "trainwrecks" in the DJ community. Like you'll go directly from Lively Up Yourself by Bob Marley to Hot Blooded by Foreigner and you'll like it.

The format is widely considered to have been iPod-inspired in the sense that the popularity of the "shuffle" setting on iPod (where you randomly hear songs from your entire music catalogue) has let commercial radio stations know that there is a market for that kind of wierd jarring transition.

On my iPod (yes, Bill recently gave me one for my birthday) it can be especially jarring. You could go from a broadway show tune to hip hop to a lecture from a buddhist nun (I'd like to see that make it onto mainstream radio). And yet, even something that wierd is taking hold in the popular imagination. In a related move, KPIG radio, long considered to be of interest only to people with freestanding bathtubs filled with baby marijuana plants, announced this week that it is expanding from Santa Cruz into the San Francisco bay area. KPIG is basically Bob radio that slept on a friend's couch last night and doesn't remember where he parked his car, but he's a smart friend and he brought books and cleans up after himself. It is sweet, edgy, funny, and real.

Bob radio is slicker, infinitely more self-conscious, packaged and commercial. In the end, I think Bob radio is for those of us who like to think of ourselves as hip but really just want to listen to tunes that are familiar, but not too familiar. KPIG is for people who really know music and really appreciate lost cuts. I'm a little more Bob, while my sweetheart, Bill, is a little more KPIG grown-up, married and with his own bed.


Jen said...

Bob Radio is in danger - :(

103.9 was bought out - and there's a vote to save their station - if the vote goes through, they will take over Bob...:( Unfortunately, without a dj or a website I can find to stand up for themselves, it seems Bob may be a goner in sac - I'm sooooo ticked!!!

Anonymous said...
you can go there and vote on which station should be on 92.1. go vote and save bob!

Anonymous said...

I think 92.1fm should stay on the radio at least i know the songs bob plays its better than the stuff that the kids now days listen to