As a young twenty-something living in Chicagoland in the early 90’s, I was connected vicariously to the Chicago music scene through my friends and roommates whose bands played shows in just about every bar in the city. Many of us supported our friends by trekking into the city on most weekends, especially when they played the bigger and/or more popular venues like the Aragon Ballroom, Double Door and Metro. And I can remember the two radio stations that supported local music – Q101 and WXRT. Q101 even put out a compilation cd that featured my friends’ band, and to this day I listen to WXRT online. A bit older now with a family and now living in Dayton, I’m not at all connected to the music scene here and don’t get out much (though I’m proud to say I know Drexel Dave). But I’m aware that there is a local music scene here and I would like more of an opportunity to hear it.
Living in Dayton since 2001, I have long since figured out that the radio scene here is as generic as they come. The ultimate in generic radio would be Fly92.9 – a Jack FM format that is completely automated with no DJ’s (though I am told they have one). And absolutely no commercial radio station plays or promotes local music – not a single one. Anybody that listens to local commercial radio in Dayton would probably have no clue as to just how many original bands call Dayton home.
I make the commercial distinction because we do in fact have one station that does promote local talent – that would be WYSO 91.3, the public radio station out of Yellow Springs. DMM’s own Juliet Fromholt hosts the weekly Kaleidoscope on Wednesday evenings, which showcases local bands and features live performances. Rev Cool’s Around The Fringe show on Friday nights is an eclectic mix that includes promotion of the local scene. And Niki Dakota’s Excursions offers listeners music across the music spectrum every weekday. In a different genre, WDPR 88.1 (another public radio station and DMM media partner) plays classical music and promotes the local scene when it comes to the Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Ballet, etc.
While WYSO is the one station I listen to on a regular basis, their music offerings are limited to certain days and/or hours of the day. What do you think about local radio? Is Dayton doomed to a future with no original commercial radio play or local music promotion? Do you think that a local Internet radio station that focused on the local scene could have legs? What say you?
(for a complete listing of Dayton radio stations, check out our Dayton Media page)