Monday, January 12, 2009

The Loft lets me down

I have never seen anything positive come from a buy-out or a merger. One (eventually) killed my job, one killed the King of Beers, and now one has reduced my favorite radio station to a pale shadow of its former self. I am just not happy.

Many years back, my brother-in-law gave me an XM radio for Christmas. Very quickly I stumbled upon the Loft. It was acoustic-ish, but not folk, it played deep album tracks from my old '70's favorites (Fogelberg, Browne, Zevon, Mitchell, Young, etc) and from then newer artists (Ryan Adams, Jayhawks, Son Volt, Wilco, Rocky Votolato, Ben Harper, EastMountainSouth, John Gorka, Casey Chambers, Michael Penn, Ray Lamontagne, Gomez, and so much more). Talk was minimal except for Pete Fornatale's Mixed Bag Radio and a few special features/events and the Loft Sessions provided tasty live treats on a regular basis. There was a special vibe that flowed throughout the day. Mike Marone started off the wake up sets easy, then the shows would build from there, cresting in the afternoon/evening drive, then settling down for the night shift. They kept it eclectic, you did not really hear "the hits"; they would dig three and four tracks into a new release and really give you a feel for the record. I listened to The Loft daily. Turned my friends onto it, many bought into the XM thing after listening in my truck. Hearing those non-hit tracks resulted in CD purchases. By all accounts, their programming and marketing was succeeding..... until now.

Things weren't so bad right after the merger of XM & Sirius. A new DJ. A new show. But then the programming of the old shows began to change. More songs being repeated. More "hit" songs. More "hit" artists. Good luck hearing anything from Jackson Browne that couldn't be heard on regular FM radio, let alone Dan Fogelberg, Steve Goodman or Harry Nilsson. I don't know what the edict was that went out, and I'm sure there's a gag order that goes along with it, but now The Loft is gentrified, homogenized and politicized. It changed the vibe, it changed the flow, it changed The Loft. I'm sure glad the CD player in my truck still works, coz The Loft is letting me down.

ed. 1/13...... Did Mike Marone read this last night? After weeks of disappointment, and abandoning the wake up sets for my own tunes, I was in a rush to get out the door this morning and forgot the CD, so I turned the radio on. Much to my delight, my morning drive consisted of:
Dan Fogelberg "Someone's Been Telling You Stories", Warren Zevon "Johnny Strikes Up The Band", 10cc "Dreadlock Holiday" and Jenny Lewis "Carpetbagger". Maybe there's hope for them yet. Thanks, Mike.

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

I felt the same way and hung in there as long as I could be eventually canceled my XM subscription. The Loft was my main station (probably 80-90% of my listening time) and my backup stations were all either canceled or ruined.

There was something special about a radio station that could play Warren Zevon and Luka Bloom and Lucinda Williams and Matt Nathanson and Dar Williams and Bell X1 and so many more and do it brilliantly. I knew it wouldn't last, but I still miss those days!