While traditional, terrestrial music radio does many things right – and I am one of its biggest proponents – there continues to exist a gaping hole that I would love to see filled one day: The playing of new music by pop/art rock superstar artists and groups of the past. Let me provide a couple of examples.
From the 70s until well into the late 80s, Peter Gabriel, one of the founders of art rock legend Genesis ruled the airwaves. From rock and pop to alternative and adult contemporary songs such as “In Your Eyes” and “Digging in the Dirt” were everywhere. Rocket ahead 20 years. You’ll still hear his classic slower songs on female oriented A/C stations while “oldie but goodies” such as “Sledgehammer” still make the occasional appearance on rock and classic rock stations. So, what’s the problem? Read on.
Earlier this year, Gabriel released a new CD of remakes titled, “Scratch My Back.” I learned of its release and also sampled it online before making the purchase as traditional radio ignored it. Ditto Steve Miller’s newer “Bingo” – only his first release of new tunes in some 17 years. And, I could go on and on – from Tears for Fears (who have released numerous CDs since their 80s/90s heyday to the Finn Brothers (remember Crowded House), Kansas and others (only, you’d never know it).
Somewhere down the line, radio programmers decided that the over 30 crowd doesn’t care about/consume new music – at least, evidently when it comes to particular artists. Rock radio will play Rolling Stones old and new but totally ignore post 80s Paul McCartney. Hey, enjoy the latest from Aerosmith but don’t bother listening to the radio for fresh material from Asia (because it simply is not played).
It is an unfortunate bias with a foundation in shortsighted elitism that deprives millions of fans from hearing new offerings from many a favorite artist from their younger years. And, when you can’t hear it on the radio, you’re forced instead to other (online) options – from Pandora to Last.fm to iTunes.
In town, Classic Rock station WCSX, at one time, was playing new music by such artists using the “disclaimer”: It doesn’t have to be old to be a classic. Hear, hear (and, note to radio programmers: We’d like to).