I forgot my iPod the other day, and I had the pleasure of realizing all over again why it was such a desperately necessary purchase. Since I didn't have any CDs with me, I was forced to listen to the horror that is local radio in upstate New York.
You have your choice around here -- on the talk radio side of the house, you have your right-wing AM or left-wing FM -- WGY or NPR. On the music side, you have your basic classic rock, country or alternative. That's pretty much it.
I couldn't take hearing another ad for Gold Bond Medicated Powder sandwiched in between Don Weeks laughing at his own jokes, or Paul Harvey telling me the rest of the story, so I skipped WGY.
I couldn't take another touchy-feely broadcast about the ecosystem or the plight of women in Afghanistan delivered by a smug, blatantly homosexual professor with a PhD, so I skipped NPR. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, but really -- is everyone on NPR gay?)
That took care of the talkie side.
Since I'm not a big country music fan, and you can only listen to Boston's "More than a Feeling" so many times in your life before you want to hunt down and kill Tom Scholz, I opted for the local "alternative" station. My only other choice was silence, and when I'm driving to work at 5 a.m. I need something besides my own thoughts to keep me from driving into a bridge abutment in my sleep.
As a result of overdosing on Matchbox 20, Maroon 5, Hoobastank and Three Doors Down on that drive to work, I've pretty much confirmed that I hate all radio. Ever since Clear Channel borged all the independents around here, the dial has been shit. Before CC took over, the two independent stations would play music that would at least keep you interested. You could listen for 6 hours and not hear the same song twice. You might have even heard a new song you liked by a band you didn't know. But now....it's unbearable.
It's not really even the fact that they play the same 20 songs over and over again that makes me want to claw the radio from the dashboard with my bare hands and heave it through the windshield -- it's the insanely stupid local commercials that play every 15 minutes. Seriously, they are so bad I have to fight a constant urge to bash my forehead against the steering wheel until the airbag lets go.
How many times can you possibly rewrite the words to the Beach Boys song, "Help Me Rhonda?"
Let me tell you. Approximately five thousand, three hundred and fifteen times, and counting.
The latest incarnation is for a local car dealership that is instructing me to "Buy a Honda - Buy, buy a Honda."
Fuck No, I say directly to the radio. I would not buy, buy a Honda from you if you were the last automotive dealership on the face of this green earth, and riding a horse to work was my only alternative.
I have no idea what it is about the Beach Boys that attracts these marketing mental midgets. Their songs are like magnets for the unimaginative. Quick templates for second-rate ad agencies.
If I were Brian Wilson, I'd probably be pissed off to the point of spending all my free time traveling around the country suing shitbag car dealerships into individual smoking holes.
It's like someone stealing a priceless antique from you and then slapping a nice coat of lime-green latex paint on it.
Surfin' USA, Barbara Ann, California Girls, Good Vibrations, Little deuce Coupe --they have all been used and abused more times than I can count. To add insult to injury, most of the time it's by some local bar band who can't even play a decent cover of Proud Mary. Four part harmonies are right out, but does that stop them? Hell, no. They sound like a bunch of rabid coyotes in heat, and for the life of me I can't understand why the client actually gives the go-ahead to that off-key shit.
I've decided that If I hear another lame commercial for a local business set to a Beach Boys tune, I'm going to call them up, pretend to be Brian Wilson and threaten to lawyer them upside the head unless they stop fucking with my music.
And riddle me this, Batman: Why does the announcer feel the need to scream the ad copy at the top of his lungs like he is chained face-down on a stainless steel table while someone is shoving a red hot poker up his ass? I can only assume it's supposed to convey EXCITEMENT AND URGENCY!! So ACT NOW!
Well ya know what? It's not working. Not on me, at least. Not even when you repeat it three times at top volume. That little trick just makes me write your company name down and tell all my friends to avoid you like an STD.
On the off chance someone reading this is contemplating paying for a local radio spot, let me share a few things with you that also do not work:
1. Two or more people who can't read a script without sounding like a slow first-grader reading 'Fun with Dick and Jane.' Find someone with at least a high school education. As a quick spot check, ask them to say the word "Mountain." If it somehow ends up with the letter "t" being silent, find someone else. You know who you are, Eastern Mouw-in Sports.
2. Two or more people like those in #1 above, who try to make it sound like something sexual is going on in order to get your attention. Ditto for those who use every double-entendre ever thought up in the history of the english language during a single, 60-second spot. I have yet to hear an honest-to-god sexy female voiceover on a local radio spot. (Note to all female voice talent of the Capital District: The key to actually sounding sexy is to not sound like a drunken slut with an IQ of 40 who is trying to sound sexy.)
3. Owner/Operators who insist on doing their own commercials when they have obvious and annoying speech impediments. Yeah, I'm talking to you Justin Resnick, self-proclaimed Mattress King. I would sleep on a splintered, wooden pallet covered in tick-infested straw before I would buy a mattress from your bald-headed, pajama-clad, lisping, annoying ass.
OK, my iPod is finally charged. I'm outta here.
Jeez, I'm starting to sound just like Scott.