Friday, January 14, 2005

Death of a Station

"Although radio insiders have discussed the likelihood of WHFS changing formats for many months, the switch came as a shock to former employees and fans who grew up listening to the radio station that, since the late 1960s, had gained a reputation as the place to go for new music. Radio stations often switch formats and often without promoting the change in advance. "

WHFS radio essentially taught me what good music is . I listened through the mid-seventies, and it remains for me the gold-standard defining the term "quality radio station.". The article mentions more mainstream groups like The Who, but that's not what I remember. WHFS introduced me to the likes of Ry Cooder, David Bromberg, Tom Waits,Randy Newman and John Prine, to mention just a few. Each DJ brought his own announcing style to the mike and, more important, his own musical tastes. Whether it was Jerry Garcia or Little Feat, musicians would drop by when they were in town, play a little, and rap with the jocks. It was a revelation to me. When the internet revolution came to Taichung, one of the first things I did was look up HFS. Needless to say, it was unrecognizable. Now it's changing to a Spanish format. Things change. I read a Post article not long ago that said one in seven people in the Washington,D.C. area were born abroad. Good. I'm not there, but it sounds like a lot of good energy coming in. And,honestly, that seems a lot less sad to me than their playing the stuff they've played the last decade.
For those interested, the closest thing I've found to the spirit of the old WHFS is Austin's KGSR.