Thursday, July 14, 2011

WRXP 101.9 Signs Off Today

And that's it. The three year saga of RXP comes to an end today. Despite my rantings, complaints, etc, etc, I'm a little sad. In fact, I'm very sad. What could have been? It's more than just the station itself. It's radio. This was rock n roll radio's last stand on terrestrial airwaves. It's really all over and it's been over since the Internet took shape into what it is today.

WFMU, KEXP, WFUV, KCRW, the Current in Minneapolis, and other stations are keeping the spirit alive but what's the best way to hear these stations? The internet. Streaming or podcasting. The last of the rock n roll personalities who teach and share music, instead of just playing the music, can be found on at these stations. And when the day comes that terrestrial rock radio is finished forever everywhere (and that day is coming, in fact all of terrestrial radio may be gone in the coming couple of decades, save for a right wing talk network, a disco/hip hop/dance network, and maybe a suburban white boy/girl downer arena rock network which doesn't count as rock n roll).

My complaining about RXP was pointless because this was inevitable. The future of my music listening is as it has been. On my own time. But when RXP was good, at the beginning, it reminded me of why my first media love is radio. The power of the voice and the ability to shape a narrative around anything, including rock n roll. This is why I'm a Public Radio man above all, but those first 18 months or so of WRXP (along with Little Steven's Underground Garage syndicated on 104.3) really sewed the seeds of my now hap-hazard weekly "radio" show. And where is my haphazard "radio" show? On the internet of course.

They're playing "Fell in Love with the Girl" by the White Stripes right now...this is what it was all about.

A brief word on the personalities: Rich Russo's "Anything, Anything" was great. A WFMU show on the big dial. It was great to hear Matt Pinfield again. He gave out tickets to see the Dirtbombs. He really did. Paul Cavalconte was so deceptively cool, such sublime taste when he controlled his playlist, he still kept the original mantle of RXP alive when he was on. Brian Schock, the original curator of the station, his vision and idea was so fantastical, it was like he came up with the station JUST FOR ME.

And finally there was Steve Craig. The friend of the punks. The man who played The Damned. Who played his friend Mike Ness and Social Distortion. The man who introduced me to Split Endz. Wheel of Ramones! The man who most personified the kind of rock that SHOULD be played in these last throes of rock n roll radio. Above all, he was the guy who introduced me to a song called "Alex Chilton" by a band called the Replacements. For that reason alone, I thank him and wish him all the best. Rock n roll, and Rock n roll radio is not really a place that has heroes (except Joey Ramone), but damned if Steve and these folks didn't give it their best shot in this ridiculous little slice of life.

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