Thursday, May 16, 2019
Among the radio stations I listen to in my car during my commute to and fro with the library is The Current, 89.3 FM. The Current is a public radio station that plays, mostly, contemporary, largely alternative music, in as much as that's a genre, which it is. It is a pretty good station. Let's see, how can I put it? Maybe a fifth of the time when I put it on they are playing something I really like or am interested enough in, and that can go up to a third of the time if they're really on a roll and I'm in the mood.
But right now they are having their Spring Membership Drive. And, even with all the begging, they have become the greatest music radio station I have ever encountered.
Over the course of the drive they are playing the 893 greatest songs of the 2000's, all according to listener votes. 893 songs.
Do I like a third of them?
No, not a fifth, and not a third.
I am, at a minimum, loving half of them, and I am at the very least interested in the other half. When I turn on The Current this week I have almost always just missed a great song that I would have loved, but it doesn't matter because a fascinating song, or one I adore, is probably playing right now, or is just about to.
I've heard tons of music I know and love; Cat Power, Cloud Cult, Beck. But I've also heard things almost as good by people I barely know; Cage the Elephant, Japandroid, Grizzly Bear.
So what is this? A well paid professional staff comes up with playlists and carefully handpicks songs to play, but a bunch of random music listeners simply vote, and they come up with something significantly better.
What is this amazing voting thing? How does it work?
What if we tried running a country using it?