Friday, May 25, 2007

FREE FM IS DEAD!

Long live K-Rock!
www.923freefm.com redirects to http://www.923krock.com/ and even the cache has been wiped so as to fully stalinize the aborted format. The first song played upon the return of WXRK K-rock was "All apologies" by Nirvana, right after Tom Chiusano apologised personally to the denizens of New York.

Free FM wasn't a flop entirely, it actually created some really high quality talk programs that I expect will persist elsewhere under other brands. But it's genus was in the departure of the greatest and most popular DJ in the history of radio. Howard Stern (whatever you may think of him) is to Radio as Elvis is to Rock n' Roll.

Stern was driven out of terrestrial radio by the FCC. The battle became so personal that Stern called KGO-AM to argue with then chairman Michael Powell during what was otherwise a civil and pithy (if not dull) interview. So Stern left for satillite. He was syndicated on hundreds of radio stations and then the carpet was pulled out. Infinity panicked, killed the active rock, alternative rock and rock formatted stations that bookended his daily program. Most of them became Free FM after Stern signed off.

The transition was a grotesquely long audio montage of TV and movie samples, manipulated music, static, Lawrence Fishburn mumbling about being imprisoned and Donald Trump joking with David Letterman about lesbians. The production effort was pretty impressive, but it stands value-wise as the total opposite of what WUBA did just last week. The entire WFNY montage went on FOR OVER SEVEN HOURS without repeating! I've got the audio but nowhere to put a solid hour... I've got a sample here with Tom's contrition speech.

(I'm trying Files.ww.com we'll see how that goes)