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The Daily Wildcat

Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tucson killed the radio star

There you are, boldly perched in the driver’s seat of your fly PT Cruiser, zooming down Speedway Boulevard with cool etched in your essence. You are nearing the fine culinary establishment of Wendy’s when you are accosted by a circle of red, and forced to dramatically decrease the speed of your roll. As the horrible disembodied voice (the most pretentious robotic presence since C-3PO) begins to tell you that the “”walk sign is on,”” a group of girls pulls up next to you. While your visual component is exponentially splendid, an audio accompaniment would really show these females how awesome you truly are. You punch the volume up, roll down the windows, reach for the knob, and then … Tucson radio. The girls drive away (running a red light apparently), because you just assaulted them with 500 decibels of blaring Mariachi music, or, if you’re luckier, one of Creed’s greatest hits. I’ve traveled the world and been to many exotic locales, but I’ve never found a worse radio selection than here in Tucson.

Sure, it hits most of the basic staples of radio-land. You have your Christian station, classical, angry heavy metal, country and rock. On paper, it’s a very thorough grouping of channels, sure to satisfy every subculture. However, off the paper and in your eardrums, it is an abysmal failure of musical programming. While I’m sure it’s a massive boon for Sirius Radio salesmen based in Tucson, for everyone else, it’s a massive waste of airspace that could be used for better purposes, like government mind control.

First we have the Christian channel. This is actually the best station of the whole bunch, which is your first sign of trouble. With absolutely no ill will toward the good Christian people (a little bit toward the question-askers on campus), your music is famously atrocious, and even you know it. God himself gets jealous of the Dark Prince from time to time; the devil gets to rock out to Ozzy and the likes, while He has to jam on the same four major chords and redundant lyrics. However, the station has impressive variety for its inherent musical handicap, and the DJs are always nice and upbeat.

It’s all downhill after that. Except for brief moments of scheduled brilliance (Friday night techno), the usual lineup leads you to scramble from channel to channel looking for quality, until you eventually settle for the least of all evils. The Lady Gaga/Ke$ha coalition has secretly purchased 93.7, and their monopolistic hive-mind has decreed that no other music shall be played, under threat of cruel and probably extremely unusual punishment. At least when I want to hear “”Tik Tok”” I always know where it is, the amazing equivalent of having an iPod with two songs on it.

Let’s say I’m not in the mood for a drunk sociopathic diva though. Where can I avert my acoustic gaze? Almost nowhere. I could seek solace in the musical stylings of the classical music channel, which truthfully does transform a trip to 7-Eleven into a magnificent epic opus worthy of Valhalla. Still, I don’t get any current pop culture points, and sometimes I would rather trivialize a mundane shopping trip than grandiose-ize it.

What I yearn for is a hip, current, alternative, quality music station. I want to catch beats that make me want to dance, or sympathize with the world, or just transcend time and space and collapse into the all-surrounding womb of the music multi-verse. Simple stuff like that. However, after the aforementioned stations have been rejected, I am left with two choices: mindless filler rock and mariachi music.

Mindless filler rock is a phenomenon that pervades most “”alternate”” music rock stations in Tucson. It is not classic enough to be classic rock, and it’s not nearly dynamic enough to be good music. It is airspace occupying beats and chords; it is Hinder, Nickelback, 30 Seconds to Mars. It’s music that doesn’t explore new horizons, rise above simple concepts, or feature anything more interesting than a “”grungy”” singer with long hair crooning about love, drugs or both. Having to sit through 10 of these in order to get to anything of worth negates the entire station.

This, of course, then leaves us with one option: mariachi music. Learn to love it, or this is going to be a very long stay in T-town.  

— Johnny McKay is the multimedia editor for the Daily Wildcat. He can be reached at

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