The Clock Radio Conundrum

[I have a feeling that this guest blog from Susan Andrews will resonate with many on a Monday morning. – AC]

I enjoyed listening to your show on tunes played in space to awake sleeping astronauts.  And I bet most people do like to be awakened by music.  The strident buzz of the alarm on a built-in clock radio, like mine, is usually quite nasty at any volume.

However, I do want to be able to wake up. Now I am a technopeasant, so I don’t have any kind of device that I can program to wake me with music of my own choice, which would probably be either The Kongos’ ‘Come With Me Now’, which would probably get a girl boner going, or the more subtle opening bars to Arcade Fire’s ‘Reflektor’.  Both songs could probably rouse me without too much stress.

So I’ve tried various radio stations, but I don’t enjoy getting jolted awake by Van Halen’s ‘JUMP!’, or the Gunners’ “Welcome to the Jungle’ (‘You’re gonna diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieee’)…yeah, just what you want to hear upon waking.  Or the puke-inducing ‘Are you gonna be my girl?’ by Jet, or the soundalike song, ‘Short skirt long jacket’ by Cake.

And gawd ferbid I ever be awakened by the not-so-dulcet voice of Gwen Stefani.  I might throw myself out the window.  Good thing my bedroom has only a skylight.

Nor do I want to hear the narcolepsy-inducing Led Zep classic, ‘Stairway to Heaven’, at 7 am.  There ought to be a law against that.

Nor do I really want to hear perky morning-radio show host chatter or the ever-predictable string of ads followed by a station I.D.; I’ve worked in radio; I know that stuff is important and both drive times are big income earners for stations.  Still, there’s plenty of time to absorb all that during morning coffee and email check, as you listen to the morning news and traffic situation as it pertains to you.  All fine in their own time, but 7am, just as I’m starting to swim to the surface of consciousness…really?

So.  When I have to set the alarm, what radio station do I set it to?

I set it to that magical band between stations.

In other words, static.

A nice, steady, predictable ‘SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH’ is what I prefer to wake up to.  Volume up, volume down, it makes no difference to my ears.  It helps wake me and ease me back to consciousness without having suicidal thoughts at the sound of some blonde bimbo screeching about being ‘just a gurrrrrl/In the wurrrrld’ playing ad nauseum for the rest of my life.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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