Josh and I have never been huge pop music fans–me less so than him. I still get into the car after he’s had it for the day and have to reset the radio sometimes ;-). We both love such an eclectic variety of music that it’s hard to be satisfied with the same top 40 club-thumping songs or whatever. When it comes to what is most freely available on FM radio, we generally like to switch around between classic rock, soft rock hits (from all decades), semi-obscure musical theatre, and classical music . . . and a nice smattering of Celtic Woman . . . whatever they are. When he’s not around, I also indulge in some country, which he still finds unpalatable as of yet; and he has his occasional secret pop habit. For the most part, we don’t fight over the dial (or the Pandora controls) since we both enjoy quite a breadth of genres.
One evening in the weeks past, we were driving on our way to a date night. We felt that, even though we were far from the world of contemporary pop at an arena rock station, all of the songs were beginning to sound the same.
“Wouldn’t it be great,” I mused, “if there were a radio station that played all songs we had never heard of before
. . . and they were all awesome?”
It was only minutes later that scanning the airwaves landed us on 89.7 FM. A song called “Fantasy” was playing. We were intrigued because it sounded like early Michael Jackson, but was a song neither of us had heard before. We bebopped along while Josh SoundHounded it and were amazed to find that the song was from 2013 and therefore definitely not by Michael Jackson. It was a hit from indie musician Breakbot . . . who looks like Jesus.
When the DJ came on moments later, we found that we were listening to WITR 89.7, The Pulse of Music–everything from the most famous names in indie music to the completely unknown pair of brothers who recorded a demo in their basement. We were hooked. Indie! Why hadn’t we thought of it before? A little investigation revealed to our delight that WITR was actually the radio station broadcast out of Rochester Institute of Technology, the college right down the road from us here in our home city. How great to get a chance to support local entrepreneurship and local talent!
This station is the very embodiment of variety and ingenuity. Not only is their standard indie fare to die for (grunge, electronica, folk and more;) they also boast a ridiculous number of specialty programs such as songs by Rochester-based artists, old-fashioned blues, heavy metal, classic rock, house music, contemporary Christian music, Latina music, and even a reggae show where the DJ speaks in the Jamaican language of Patois the entire time!
I know not all of you want to go to the trouble of having to listen to a non-local station online, but WITR exemplifies the use of modern music as an art and not just as a pop culture ploy. The artists they play aren’t made by crowds of screaming fans as much as by pure creativity. If anything, listen to their tunes for a half hour or so, jot down the names of some artists you like the sound of, and then create Pandora station to listen to whenever you need a little inspiration.