Cultural Watchdog

Sleep Well Tonight--Our Boy Is On Duty.

By Tom Danehy

THERE'S A NEW radio station in town and it's destined to be the greatest in Tucson history, if only it can solve a couple nagging problems. Like, for instance, its signal is weaker than a vegan tug-of-war team.

The new station is at 106.3 on the FM dial. Its format: Urban adult, which, translated from radiospeak, means soul music for geezers. This is heaven. Earth, Wind and Fire, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin--24 hours a day.

Danehy Until last week, the only good thing about going to Phoenix was its 105.9 FM station, with a similar format. According to radio trade magazines, it's the fastest-growing format in the country. Former KRQ morning guy Mike Elliott has even had success with the format on the station he now owns in Maine!

"Play that funky music, a-yuh..."

I remember when KHIT (107.5 FM) came on the air with its '70s format. I thought it might be interesting, until I found out that its playlist was whiter than Nicole Kidman's butt in that really creepy trailer for Eyes Wide Shut.

I called to remind them there had been lots of great soul music in the '70s. The voice on the other end of the line said (I swear!), "We don't play disco."

What about Al Green? Stevie Wonder? Curtis Mayfield?

"We don't play that kind of music."

So you won't play any music by any black people?

"We play some Santana."

Wow, do you how long it's been since I've come across someone who lumps blacks and Hispanics into one group? That by itself was worth the phone call and the aggravation.

Anyway, seeing as how I want this new format to succeed in a large way, I'm offering my free advice to the station's owners and/or managers. If I had a silk shirt, some gold chains, and a business card identifying myself as a radio consultant, I could charge you guys five grand for this:

  • Beef up that signal, and soon. Do you know how frustrating it is to be driving around, singing along with "What's Goin' On?" only to go under some power lines and all of a sudden be singing along with static and then voices from another station bleeding over onto your signal?

    Marvin and I were like brothers back when. We were impossible to tell apart, except for the fact that he was black, tall, handsome and outrageously talented. I mean, it's lucky his dad didn't shoot me. So when I'm in a groove, I want to be able to crank that sucker up without having to worry that static is going to fry my stock, came-with-the-car, $4 Honda speakers.

    I understand you're trying to get a new location for your antenna, but the going is slow. Well, it sounds like the one you have now is in Show Low, behind the Arby's. Hey, I've got an idea. When you talk to the FCC people, pretend you're with the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee. Heck, they bribed everybody else.

    And when you get your new antenna, don't point it at the southside. That's racist. White people on the northside need soul, too. Perhaps more than anybody else.

  • You've already got Jim Bednarek as your music guy. Let him do his job. Don't waste your money (and our patience) on some consulting dork in New York City. And Jim, don't be conservative here. Take some chances. If you play Smokey, don't make it the predictable "Tears of a Clown." Go with "Ooh Baby Baby" or "Mickey's Monkey." Throw in "Superfly" and "Livin' For The City." Maybe head on up into the '80s with some funky Prince stuff.

    Keep us guessing. Jump around. (Oh no, I don't mean play "Jump Around." Irish rap has such a limited following.)

  • Give it time to catch on. I'm doing my part, but do you know how long it's going to take me to stop 600,000 people on the street and tell them about your station?

SABINO HIGH SCHOOL football coach Jeff Scurran called a press conference to announce that he's not retiring this year. And, amazingly, the media showed up to cover it.

Actually, I'm kinda surprised he didn't retire. I thought he'd go out on a 4A state championship and not have to face the 5A competition. My guess is that he's loading up with transfers to try to make a run at breaking Amphi's five-year (and 16 out of the last 21) hold on the 5A-South crown. A surgical strike (on Sabino's field) while all the pieces are in place.

During the press conference, Scurran bemoaned the state of the facilities at TUSD's richest school. Apparently he's longing to coach at one of the football factories springing up all over Phoenix.

He mentioned the sorry state of Sabino's weight room. Well, I have a suggestion. Next time you hold one of those $50,000 fund-raiser golf tournaments, instead of sending the team to Hawaii for a game, buy some fluorescent lights for the weight room.

I'M GLAD THE new WB (Channel 58) is on the air, but will somebody please start advertising on the station? I watch The Rockford Files every afternoon and I get 48 minutes of Jim and 12 minutes of promos of what's on WB tonight. I've grown to hate the Fresh Prince, along with his Friends, his Nanny, Grace, and most of all, Roseanne, whom I've hated all along.

I actually find myself longing for a real commercial. Plumbing, Szechuan Omei restaurant, feminine hygiene products. I don't care. Just don't do the Szechuan Omei one during Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. Even my stomach couldn't take that. TW

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