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LISTENING SESSION: 94.9fm

6:00: Our listening session kicks off about a third of the way into "Take Me Out" by Franz Ferdinand. You know, past the intro gearshift. Ah, FM radio. It's like hanging out with that friend of yours with an mp3 library of only 500 songs. My friend Danny was like that in college. Some of his staples include Whitney Houston's "My Love Is Your Love," Radiohead's "I Might Be Wrong," and at least three different Ja Rule songs.

6:02: "We don't sound like any other station in Southern California. Musically diverse radio for San Diego -- a Lincoln Financial station." Quite the claims. It segues into the Queens of the Stone Age's "Go with the Flow," which I think came on around the same time as "Take Me Out." If FM 94.9 was trying to be a nostalgia gap-closing classic rock station, I think they'd be doing okay. As to the claim of not sounding like any other station, somehow I get the impression that that is an unverifiable claim. If you are bickering with the other local rock station by slashing artists from your playlist because they are playing the other station's concert, wouldn't that lead the readers of the station's mission statement to assume that your station sounds similar to the other station?

6:05: Radiohead, "High and Dry," an instantaneous transition into this song. Haven't had a commercial yet, which is nice. This Radiohead song is played too much, but as far as I'm concerned, they could replace all of the "Karma Police" plays with it, and it wouldn't be too much. I think I was in seventh grade when this song came out. I remember seeing the video for it once or twice, but I don't remember it getting a lot of radio play. It probably is the radio equivalent of an Office Space effect, ignored in its time but regarded as a classic and seemingly omnipresent after a few years have passed.

6:08: The FM 94.9 mission statement is an entertaining read. "#8 -- Deeper Tracks -- We will play more than just the hit singles from albums, both old and new" doesn't seem to be in effect yet. We've had three hits in a row. If only the 94.9 softball team could get that lucky! Zing!

6:09: This is Tom DeLonge from Angels and Airwaves. "You're listening to my favorite [bleep]ing station, FM 94.9, where it's about the [bleep]ing music." Now they're going to play an Angels and Airwaves song, which, from what I've heard, are very long. That bleeping out of the swear words may have gotten me banned from listening to this station when I was younger. I still remember the talk my mom had with me after my two-year-old brother turned on the radio in my bedroom, which was set to WAVA, and started dancing to Salt n' Pepa's "Let's Talk About Sex." I was forced to "take a break" from that station for a while. If only it could have been "What a Man"; things might have turned out very differently.

6:12: This band is the new project of the lead guy from blink-182. I came to San Diego after blink had made the big time, but I'm guessing that a good number of music fans found their rise to prominence on the national music scene an infuriating prospect. I saw them twice at festivals. Their stage banter reminded me of Terrence and Phillip on South Park. Realizing that they made the same dick jokes at every show was sobering.

6:14: Extended Edge-esque delay-effect guitar fadeout on this song. They have expanded their musical horizons indeed.

6:15: Ah, an announcer! They're taking a break, but when they come back we've got "Piggy," "a Zero," and a "Bombtrack." And, what's this? Traffic is forthcoming! But for now, a Kaiser Permanente ad. Kaiser Permanente "lets doctors be doctors." You know what happens when we do that? Your doctors become even better doctors!

6:16: Ad for Malibu rum with guys using fake, borderline-offensive Jamaican accents reenacting scenes from island life. Going to the shrimp shack, drinking rum. They sound a step away from singing "Zip-a-Dee Doo-Dah," mon.

6:17: Verizon V Cast phone commercial, featuring songs from Yellowcard and the Subways. I wonder if that ad was pitched as having the feature that people might hear these songs playing while flipping channels, and they stop on the station thinking it was playing the song they'd excerpted. I bet it was. Screw those ad executives.

6:18: VW ad featuring a fake German accent. Don't know who thinks those things are good ideas.

6:19: One more commercial, but we're back! Liza with traffic. My old boss would say that one of the reasons she didn't want satellite radio was because she liked traffic and weather. Never mind that XM has an entire station devoted to San Diego traffic and weather; we have SigAlert, which, if you've ever lived in a state without it, seems like God's gift to drivers. The "absence of local channels" is a selling point that indicates desperation in the case of whoever is pushing it -- the cable companies vs. DirecTV or terrestrial radio vs. satellite. In any case, it was one of the first features added, making the pathetic argument obsolete.

6:21: The Cure's "Boys Don't Cry" is playing. I always thought the Cure was gloomy. Doesn't sound too gloomy to me. Doesn't sound too good either, but whatever.

6:22: I guess the "Piggy" he referenced was the Nine Inch Nails song from The Downward Spiral. I guess this qualifies as a deep track off the album. I would have preferred "Ruiner," but I haven't heard that song in, like, seven years and bet I would hate it now. It seemed as if Nine Inch Nails was on a cushy path to success with the whole depressed-teenager demographic in the palm of their hand, but they seemed to have botched it. How'd that happen? Was it the long waits in between albums? The unwillingness to go to the embarrassing lengths of Marilyn Manson? The song title "Starfuckers, Inc."?

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