Alternative Radio in California
Alternative Rock is leading the way among major genres of music, especially in the U.S., and more specifically on the West Coast and California. With bands pumping out the hits and fans lining up to buy their new releases, one can only anticipate future growth and strength from this truly innovative form of music. Alternative radio stations like KITS in San Francisco (105.3) and KROQ in Los Angeles (106.7) have long been the best choices for alternative music fans and anyone looking to hear great, cutting edge music.
Alternative Rock really took off as a style with bands like Simple Minds, R.E.M., Tears for Fears, the Psychedelic Furs, Midnight Oil, and other 80s and early 90s groups. Back then it was called “Modern Rock” and although the label has changed it is still basically the same type of music. Modern Rock was the musical answer to the long hair, stadium rock glam bands of the 80s. Fans of Modern Rock did not really know this, they just hated that whole pretentious scene and wanted something different, an “alternative” if you will. A whole new generation was ready for rock that made you think a little and was different than the same old, same old that had run into a rut and never got out.
Alternative radio is very big now and could have been even more popular had Satellite Radio proven successful. When Sat Radio began several years ago, hopes were high that it would eventually replace public, or Free Radio, but in the end that never happened. Though Satellite Radio still survives, it does not have the number of subscribers that they expected to pick up when Sirius signed up shock-jock talk radio star Howard Stern around five years ago. People just were not ready to fork out money to hear Stern scream obscenities that would have been bleeped on regular Free Radio. Sirius and rival XM merged last year but sales are still stagnant and it does not look like they will improve any time soon.
Satellite Radio promised tons of stations dedicated exclusively to different genres, including Alternative Rock. This form of Alternative Radio, had it been a hit, would have increased the exposure for Alternative Rock music and all the different kinds of sub-genres like Adult Alternative, Folk Alternative, etc. Unfortunately, Satellite Radio has yet to catch on and most experts think that at this point, after all of the marketing and millions of dollars spent, there is no real chance that the medium will grow very much.
Still, proponents and subscribers swear by it and continue to buy stock. Perhaps the pundits will be proven wrong and we will see the advent of a new wave of Satellite Radio subscribers but the best bet is that some other form of alternative radio or medium will come along and re-invent the way that people listen to music. It has happened several times already when CDs replaced records and more recently when iPods replaced CD players. Who knows what the future will bring?