Things I Learned Listening to Commercial Radio in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois

My trusty car Viktor is equipped with a radio/tape deck and one of those doohickeys that you plug into your cigarette lighter so you can play your iPod through your radio.

Well. That’s the theory anyway. Last week I pulled the entire cigarette lighter out while trying to unplug my phone charger, and I haven’t been able to fix it. And many weeks before that the eject button on the tape deck fell off, and so the tape that was in there got stuck. This left me with two options to listen to on my trip this weekend:

  1. U2’s Rattle and Hum
  2. the radio

Now, I love revisiting 1988 as much as the next girl with a crush on the long-haired Bono of that era, but I have discovered that it is, in fact, possible to tire of “Pride (In the Name of Love).” That left the radio. There are about three public radio stations I can pick up between here and my grandmother’s house. They were all playing Fresh Air. In succession.

That left commercial radio, about which I have the following observations.

  • The song “Band on the Run” is far, far more popular than it should be, even if Paul McCartney is playing in Chicago this weekend.
  • There are many more songs than I thought that have only one lyric.
  • Astoundingly, I have not yet tired of listening to “American Pie.”
  • While good country music exists, none of it is played on the radio.
  • Everyone seems to like the minute length of their music blocks to match their radio frequency. I wonder if the higher frequencies get less money from advertisers, or if they just make their advertising blocks longer.
  • Soundgarden is now classic rock. And not like early Soundgarden. Like “Black Hole Sun” Soundgarden.
  • Rush is the most popular progressive rock band according to some poll or other. Jethro Tull comes in third. I heard “Thick as a Brick” twice, and that was okay.
  • Someday Billy Joel will die and we will all be subject to more renditions of “Piano Man” than anyone has ever heard in a bar. Or should have to.

Note to self, upon preview: fix your damn theme so the bullet points look nicer!

1 comment

  1. While I am willing to grant that Rush is prog rock, I somehow doubt that their “prog” period is what makes them so popular. One might even argue that they are proto-nerdrock.