Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Buzz still does it for me after all these years

Not too many things, and even fewer people, have been able to keep me happy for years on end. But Buzz 103.1 here in Palm Beach County has been doing it for me since I was about 13 years old, and some of you are able to do the math and figure out that's been a nice, long while.

Back in the day, the station was barely better than those underground and student-run stations you could only pull in while driving in a certain part of town, down a particular street, with your left turn signal on and all your windows down. For whatever reason, that's the only way you could get the signal, and it was all right by you because the music - and the attitude with which it was presented - was well worth it.

The station brought the best acts to town, often in the form of multi-act shows, and always at a price that even we broke-but-music-nutty adolescents could afford. The shows were the kind you'd beg your parents to drive you and a carload of friends to, the kind whose flyers sported those three priceless words, "All Ages Show." Yesss! The kind of shows you'd vividly remember later in life, say in your twenties, when, really, everything about music feels the same - your passion for finding great new bands, the excitement when you do, how it takes you away from all the shite and makes it all OK for a few glorious moments, its all-encompassing effect on your life.

The Buzz still organizes those shows, still plays that new music from bands that are signed with labels big and small and indie. The best is Sunday nights when they play tunes from those still-unsigned bands from right here in South Florida, the guys you can actually go see play at the local pub next weekend if you like what you hear.

Anyway, back to why the station still does it for me after all these years and all the changes made to its ownership, on-air staff, etc. Yeah, there's another rock station here. It plays the stuff that's found on the charts, and sometimes that's OK. (Hey, it's definitely better than the ever-present booty music, endless easy listening stations, and French Creole chat piped in from the islands.)
~ But, it never fails that what that station calls a "new" song is something I heard on The Buzz months ago.
~ Not to mention that The Buzz frequently throws in what they call "recycled" music (tunes from the 80s and 90s that we long-time listeners who are now well out of high school still love to hear once in a while).
~ And if I listen to that other station for a few hours at a time, I can start to count how many times I hear the same song over and over and over again.
~ The Buzz will ease you out your hangover with lighter tunes on Sunday mornings, and another night will help you decide whether to buy a new album by playing it on the air in its entirety.
~ Plus, this summer alone they've planned a slew of concerts: Flyleaf with Skillet and Dropping Daylight, Sister Hazel, Fiction Plane with The Police, Morrissey, 311 with Matisyahu and The English Beat, Candlebox, Reel Big Fish with Less Than Jake, Marilyn Manson with Slayer, The Projekt Revolution Tour, The Family Values Tour, Incubus with The Bravery, Ozzfest, G. Love & Special Sauce with Slightly Stoopid...
~ For me, at this time in my cubicle-restrained life, the best thing the station offers is live streaming online. I can plug my earbuds into the Mac and ignore my team while I crank out my work. Yay! In fact, I'm doing that right now at home -- the last few songs have been Say This Sooner by The Almost, Two Sisters by Fiction Plane, New Year's Day by U2, Supermassive Black Hole by Muse and Jambi by Tool.

Anyway, I could go on and on, and I won't. But I felt it necessary to profess my (truly) undying love for the radio station with which I've grown up, the station that has not sold out nor kicked me to the curb simply because my age no longer starts with a 1.

Thank you, music gods (and CBS Radio). To show my respects, I'll go lay flowers in front of the shrine on which I've placed my 311 tickets... 20 days 'til the show. Woo hoo! :)

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