Thursday, June 13, 2013

Kerrang! Radio is Dead. Long live Kerrang! Radio

Jonny Doom raising cash for kids money with Rock aerobics.
So the bad news has recently been announced that tomorrow Kerrang radio's owners Bauer media (no relation to the Harlem shake) are closing Kerrang!'s Lionel street studio and replacing the 105.2 frequency with the currently DAB only station, Planet Rock. For a casual on looker this may seem all well and good, after all Kerrang! will still broadcast as a radio station via DAB, Digital TV and mobile devices.
And at least there will still be one major rock station broadcasting in the Midlands, the problem though is that Kerrang! radio is probably the only rock station in the country that caters for a younger demographic, Planet rock is aimed more at an older target audience and will prefer to play classic rock as opposed to the variety played on Kerrang! radio.
I should probably explain that about 5 years ago (when I was still in my emo phase) my dad bought a new cd player that for the first time allowed us access to DAB stations. Planet Rock was one of the first stations we got into and for a brief period became a part of our lives. While at first it was a great novelty being able to hear Metallica songs first thing in the morning we quickly got a bit bored of it. Apart from Alice Coopers brilliant (now defunct) breakfast show, none of the presenters had the charisma or personality of K! jockeys such as Johnny Doom, Loz and Keith or the late great Stuart Cable (I still miss his Saturday breakfast show, RIP).
What also worries me is that Kerrang! radio has provided a huge amount of attention to young, emerging artists over the years. Whether it be inviting bands to play at club nights, airing, unsigned music or having a Single of the week Kerrang! at the very least did their bit to support new talent. Not to mention the huge amount of charity work Kerrang! did in its 9 years on the air.
I have no idea how Kerrang! will fare as a DAB station, but sadly with the Lionel street station closed Birmingham will have lost one of its very few non-regional stations*. There will be job losses and I don't know how many people will be able to jump ship to the new k! or the new Planet Rock. This is bad news for Birmingham in general.
However the future may be bright, a few years back my favourite station BBC 6 Music was set to sink without a trace. I discovered this amazing station after my house gained digital TV through the switch-over. I think many more people may have done too, as the station is now bigger than ever. Given the choice though, despite having listened to Kerrang! since its inception, I'd still prefer to listen to 6. Now that DAB is becoming a bigger format Kerrang! may well carry on being a successful station (now broadcasting from London). An official statement reads that "The change to Kerrang! will allow the station to come directly in to line with the artists featured in Kerrang! magazine". Which is good news if your a fan of emo bollocks, but less good for Indie kids like me who tuned in for those glorious occasions when they played The Strokes.
I still feel though that on the FM airwaves Kerrang! was the best alternative station and had a variety of music barely found on other airwaves, a lot of bands may now have lost major airplay because of this.

What annoys me most of all is that Bauer have won the war before the first battle, those of us who liked Kerrang! in its rightful place on 105.2 FM have had no say in this.

There is an open group on facebook called 'Hands off our kerrang! radio' but it seems too little to late to me.

To say goodbye to the station that I've enjoyed since those days in 2004 when they regularly played Eminem and Gwen Stefani songs (yes, really) allow me to quote a vaguely appropriate a line from 'The Boat that Rocked'

"To all our listeners, this is what I have to say - God bless you all. And as for you bastards in charge, don't dream it's over. Years will come, years will go, and politicians will do fuck all to make the world a better place. But all over the world, young men and young women will always dream dreams and put those dreams into song. Nothing important dies tonight, just a few ugly guys on a crappy ship. The only sadness tonight is that, in future years, there'll be so many fantastic songs that it will not be our privilege to play. But, believe you me, they will still be written, they will still be sung and they will be the wonder of the world"

*by which i mean not broadcast just for Birmingham such as stations like BRMB 

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