There's a new(-ish) radio station in town here, WRXP - New York's Rock Experience, that has single-handedly renewed my interest in the art of radio programming. In fact, I've resisted more than once the urge just to post a set of 5 or 6 songs in a row they've played just to comment on how nicely done it was.
They do most of the things I like, such as not relying on big artists' crutch hits (they play a bunch of Zeppelin but I've yet to hear "Stairway to Heaven," tonight they played The Beatles' "Old Brown Shoe"), playing two songs in a row without even a dry sweeper in between (love that), and playing a palatable mix of good old stuff and decently cool new stuff. Forget that this is what every station says it does. RXP has actually been doing it. For example, they've been playing new My Morning Jacket and Rogue Wave, and they nearly made me crash my car the other night when they played Steve Forbert (mp3), who I haven't heard on the radio since...well since I programmed a station myself.
They've also invested in some talent, which I guess is ok. Matt Pinfield, despite an impressive and enviable CV, still feels the need to tell me during every one of his breaks that he'll be with me for about 42 minutes. This is the kind of shit that jocks do when they're brand new to the field (he's not) or when they're completely phoning it in (ahem). And his cheese-grater voice sounds totally forced. But really, it's fine.
What drives me fucking crazy, and honestly what I wouldn't have expected from a station that's otherwise programmed so brilliantly, is that just like every other station in the universe, I seem to hear a track from Licensed to Ill EVERY SINGLE TIME I listen for more than a few minutes. Who still wants to hear that so often?
Early Beastie Boys material must test extremely well, but on a well programmed station, it does nothing slap me right out of whatever groove a station has me in. It's just not cool anymore. It's like a throbbing growth on the face of rock radio that everyone politely ignores. Stop the madness.
If you're going to play the Beastie Boys (and really, I'd rather you just let them be), at least play "Sabotage."