Sunday, April 06, 2008

Only one reason to leave

I went to the Maine Mall today with my mom for some birthday shopping. Having read Beth's recent post about melting in all points south, I thought to bring my camera along to document it for myself. It's true: there is way less snow in South Portland than there is up here.

But that is not what would get me to leave this beautiful, small town valley. The only thing that would get me to move, baring a major catastrophe that vaults us into spaces of which we can't conceive, is a decent radio station. I can cope with WCLZ, but it's not perfect-- a little too much Steely Dan to really call it mine. CYY just got too screamy about 7 years ago, and JBQ is too teeny-bopper. I end up rotating through these 3 stations, time determining who plays lead: JBQ for my morning commute (yea, I know, work with me here), CLZ afternoons, and CYY as a random hope for something good.

Now many of you out there must be wondering why I don't just plug in my iPod and call it a gig? My iPod is great for walks and moving wood, but to me, a car needs a radio. I like the unexpected joy that comes from hearing a song I didn't know I wanted to hear, or the thrill of identifying a new song by a favorite artist. I like learning who has a new release and who is coming to town. I am a child of the 80s, and I like my radio. I'll put in a CD when all options just plain suck, but I like to roll the musical dice most of the time.

And so today, my heart skipped a beat when, in Auburn, I randomly checked 92.1, the "Mt. Rialto Radio" of my youth turned into a NH based satellite of FNX out of Boston. It was coming in, loud and clear! Normally I have to be past USM before I can listen in, but the gods were with me today. So as I drove out of the snow and into the musical promised land, I realized that the weather does not bother me-- it was cool to see the difference 75 miles makes in melting, but cool in a science experiment sort of way-- but a really good radio station-- not just a passable one, but a really, awe-inspiringly good one-- would be really nice. And since I'm too old to travel to some club 150 miles away on a random Tuesday night just to see Cowboy Mouth or someone equally as exciting, living in a real radio area would mean maybe I could make it if it was only a 50 mile drive.

I know that leaving town just for a radio station is pretty silly; you'll all notice I have happily been a River Valley citizen for 16 years, and if I was going to relocate based on music, I'd be already gone. But when I fantasize about retirement, and where we might end up, radio waves influence me way more than their liquid counterparts.


Weather Boy said...

You had your Mt. Rialto radio, and those of us a little farther north had TOS when it was good. It was so good that in 1987 (I think), when they changed to the classic rock format, from the beloved Alt/Prog, there was a funeral procession in Skowhegan. It was at that point that WUMF became the focus of my college life.
Maybe we can drive around to shows in our NEW DOLPHIN CAMPER (yeah, let's not jinx it), you can sleep while I drive...

SJ said...

It is wonderful to know that there is someone else out there on the roads around the River Valley doing the same radio station hopping that I am doing!