We Want the Airwaves

The Eagle Has Landed

Rocks Off only listens to Houston rock radio in small doses, but when we do it's usually of the classic variety. When our usual diet of AM talk radio veers into the right-wing ditch and becomes annoying instead of amusing, we pretty much shuffle between Country Legends 97.1 or the 93.7 the Arrow.

On June 1, Houston's other classic rock station, 107.5 FM (KGLK), turned into an Arrow clone. Previously K-HITS, "the best of the '60s and '70s," it was rechristened the Eagle, "Houston's Classic Hits." Anchoring the "new" stations morning show are Dean & Rog, who were fired from the Arrow earlier in the spring to make way for Walton & Johnson.

For those in the dark, the Walton & Johnson show is a weird schizophrenic nightmare, anchored by a gay dude from Montrose (how clever) and a random redneck. Assorted other racial stereotypes show up from time to time. Even stranger is that these voices all come from one man. Kind of makes us long for the days of D&R, who come off more like your older pothead uncle rather than a pirate broadcast coming from the basement at Rusk State Hospital.

Since the Eagle came on the scene, it seems all it's been doing is championing how many commercials it's not playing, as if that makes up for being an exact carbon copy of the Arrow. It's kind of like saying it doesn't have enough listener allegiance yet for advertisers to throw money at the station.

It's shrewd as hell, though. The Eagle snapped up Dean & Rog, and in the process Xeroxed their old team's playlist. What was good about the Arrow is that it was possible to hear weird cuts - at least for Clear Channel radio - like Lou Reed and The Clash. We'll still tune in for the Arrow's "Classic CD at Midnight" and of course Little Steven's Underground Garage every Sunday night.

As for the Eagle, one can only hear so much Billy Joel and the Eagles until those songs become as innocuous as traffic reports and "cash for gold" commercials. Its playlist mimics that of the Arrow so much now that there is really nothing differentiating the two, except that thanks to the Eagle's sub-par ad-sales staff, you can hear more of the same every hour.

Somewhere along the line, "oldies" radio shifted. When we were young, that format meant that we could get schooled on doo-wop, girl groups, Nuggets-style garage, and classic baby-makin' soul music. We can only surmise that the folks those formats catered to have aged to the point where their consumer dollar isn't sought after anymore. Boomers of all ages - those born between 1946 and 1964 - however, want their Journey and Foreigner more than we can imagine, and love spending money.

In essence, the word "oldies" means nothing anymore. It's merely a catch-all term now for the music that advertisers have decided middle-aged people will listen to, and not truly "classic" music.

It's going to be a strange day indeed when we crank up the Arrow or the Eagle in the morning on the way to the salt mines and find Kurt Cobain or Fred Durst screaming back at us.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty