Thursday, June 01, 2006

Jane Says They're Throwing HFS Under the Bridge

From the J. Freedom Du Lac music chat on The Washington Post's site, from Wednesday, 5-31-2006 available here

I'm a fan of JFDL's columns in the Post, but his chats really crack me up. He's pretty much a hoot. He also posed a great question - if you could program radio for a day, what band or artist would you ban from your airwaves?

Of course, current singer-songwriter/critics' target James Blunt, bubble-gum pop princesses who grew up to be barefoot and preggers, and the artist formerly known as vital, Rod Stewart, got plenty of vitrol. However, one surprising band, the sort of White Stripes-esque critical darlings of their era, Jane's Addiction made the list. All courtesy of my old haunt, WHFS...

Radio King for a Day: Jane's Addiction, no question. I don't need to hear anything about "been caught stealing" ever again in my entire life. This is probably a Rob Tim problem, as WHFS used to play that song (in many different remixes) every single day, and WRNR, where RT now works, plays it frequently too.

J. Freedom du Lac: Rob, you've been called out.

Radio King for a Day nailed it. WHFS played this song, conservatively speaking, about 25 times a day when it first came out, and then roughly5 times a day in the year following. It achieved "recurring" status at that point, which earned it about 3 to 7 spins a week in the years that followed.

Even though WHFS is now a 1/2 rock, 1/2 talk station, they still play this song damned near every day. Now that Rob Timm is over at WRNR, that station plays far too much Jane's Addiction, too. However, the correct person to blame is Bob Waugh...he's the old music director/APD at WHFS and I think he has similar duties at WRNR.

HFS: They killed "Jane Says" too. They played the original everyday and it only got worse when that damn steel drum Tahitian version came out.

J. Freedom du Lac: Hey, easy there - some of my best friends are steel drummers.

This song was overplayed when it came out. The steel drum version did not help things.

Here's the thing - it's not a horrible song. Now, Perry Farrell's voice can be hit-or-miss, but he's just whiny enough in this song. The problem is that WHFS played this song AT THE WORST TIME POSSIBLE - dead smack in the middle of the morning show. Morning radio is supposed to be light, peppy, wake-yer-ass-up kind of stuff. Playing a six-minute whiny tropical dirge does NOT wake people up...and it also dragged the air talent's energy level down to near sloth-like levels. WHFS used to do it guaranteed once a week; WRNR is following suit.

God bless new methods of getting music to people, `cause it seems radio ain't got a damned clue.

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