This week’s question comes from a discussion I had with a radio fan who was wondering why Q107/Toronto–formerly a pure classic rock station–now plays bands like Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, and Pearl Jam. In the city, that music was once the exclusive domain of brother station 102.1 the Edge.
“Why is Q now playing alternative music?” they asked.
Good question. But are they?
A lot of today’s alt-rock fans grew up on and still love the music of the 90s, including grunge, punk like Green Day and The Offspring, and early period Foo Fighters. But check the calendar. Much of those great songs came out 25 and 30 years ago. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” came out on August 27, 1991. Pearl Jam’s Ten album is just as old. We can add classic albums by Soundgarden, REM, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a ton of others to that list.
Today’s 22-years-old today still into music that old would like 1991’s 22-year-old in 1991 being pre-Beatles rock’n’roll. Can you imagine a young twenty-something being into Percy Faith’s “Theme from a Summer Place?“
There’s no question that 90s-era alternative was awesome. Amazing. Brilliant. Beyond excellent. But is it time for today’s alt-rock stations to move on and wean themselves and their audiences away from music that is now firmly in “classic” territory? Time to focus on the NOW and not the past?
Consider that when classic rock radio first appeared in the late 80s, it focused on everything back to the Beatles’ explosion in 1964. Adjust the numbers and early Pearl Jam fits that same playlist template?
Or is this music so good and so important it should this music be part of the alternative world forever? Could it be that age is just a number?
Here are your choices. Where do you land on this topic?