I know I’m not the only one who’s noticed that radio sucks lately. Salon has done several fine pieces on Clear Channel’s bully tactics. But for those of you who listen to the rock/alternative stations: have you noticed a distinct lack of women lately? I’m not talking about the DJs; I don’t care about their prattle. (Unless it’s Roxanne. Then I’d rather claw my eyes out than listen to her; now that she’s been shuffled over to the new top 40 station, I don’t have to.) I’m talking about the music itself. In the last three or four months—maybe longer—I’ve heard exactly two groups with female singers on our local station: Garbage (heard once every 3-4 weeks, either “Stupid Girl” or “Special”) and Joydrop (once, “Beautiful Like You”). We have one alternative station left in town, and its site is down for reconstruction, so I’ll borrow the playlist of a similar station in San Antonio for my example. It looks more or less identical to what I’ve been hearing on the local station. Do you see any women listed there? I don’t, and I Googled the bands I didn’t recognize.
What is up with the proliferation of angsty tenors? Are women not hard-core enough for this genre in the opinion of the almighty monopoly? Does anyone else think the women would have grounds, should they get together and file a discrimination suit?
I’ve been listening to Radio Paradise a lot lately. When it veers off into the truly weird (about once every couple of days), I revert to my mp3s, which have just been augmented by a new shipment from BMG. On my personal jukebox, Rosey is the current favorite (she sounds like a cross between Fiona Apple and Natalie Merchant, and at times Norah Jones), followed by Beth Orton. “Six Underground” is a daily necessity. Anything from the Sliding Doors or Buffy soundtracks get preferential treatment, and Tori Amos, Poe, Sarah McLachlan, Loreena McKennitt, Garbage, Dido, Abra Moore, the Cranberries (old stuff), Fiona Apple, and Velvet Chain are on constant rotation. The only men who get played with any regularity are Dirty Vegas, Stone Temple Pilots, and some older ‘n dirt REM. (Links go to fan sites when those are better than the official ones.)
Part of my problem here is that my preferences aren’t limited to one of the major radio genres. (Despite some of the acts I’ve listed, it isn’t top 40. Have you seen the crap those stations play?) Another part is that I live in the relative backwoods. But I’m certain I could find some new bands to like if only the alternative stations would get the hell off this testosterone trip they are unquestionably on.