Radio in Vancouver
I doubt there is much disagreement among Vancouverites that the local commercial radio stations are a pile of total crap. However, this year we got a couple new stations and one of them has been real gem in what is the tailings pit of local radio ga-ga. The Peak FM.
Radio in Vancouver has, historically, been a pretty little more than a disappointing collection of terrible stations with boring DJs playing largely the same top40 on repeat or some other crap. Sure, sometimes I’ll tune into CITR (the University station) if they had a decent program on (but eclectic doesn’t always mean “good”). The CBC can also be good if there is something interesting on. Generally, if I’m in the car, I spend my time flipping between stations praying a decent song might be on something. More often than not I found myself changing the station just because they were playing some seriously god-awful crap that I just couldn’t listen to (cough Nickleback cough).
For some time now I have relied on internet music services and stations when I want to hear new music and bands including the excellent CBC Radio 3 podcasts and Last.fm. If you have never heard of either of those I highly recommend checking them out. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option if I’m in the car (unless you have Sirius, in which case you can get Radio 3).
Recently Vancouver got two new stations. The one everyone heard about was Virgin Vancouver. Initially I was kind of excited for this. I actually enjoyed Virgin UK via their internet stream (even if they tended to have a pretty repetitive playlist). Despite my initial optimism, Virgin Vancouver has turned out to be easily _the worst radio station Vancouver has ever had. This is a significant achievement really, in Vancouver _worst radio station is a highly coveted title. However, this story still has a happy ending for me. In what was a pretty quiet start-up with very little fan-fare for a radio station the Pattison media group started a new station called The Peak (100.5 Mhz).
It was a completely new format for Radio in vancouver, playing indie music and local bands along with what is, generally speaking, a pretty decent playlist of other music. Just a sample of some of the bands I’ve heard on the peak so far: I’ve heard Mother Mother, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Kaiser Chiefs, Stars, Puscifer, Smiths, Dudes, Regina Spektor, etc., etc., etc.
Sure they play a few bands I honestly don’t care for: Snow Patrol, Coldplay, MGMT and a few others, but it is a much smaller list. So far I’ve actually been able to listen to it for hours without wanting to duct tape my radio to a hand grenade. Ok, so maybe the bar for radio success in Vancouver isn’t set very high, but still I have to say I’ve been pretty satisfied with the peak so far. It’s definitely worth a listen.