31 May 2006

WRNO: Rockin' The River and Shaking the Lake

The Day the (commercially repetitive) Music Dies

Starting June 1st, 2006 Metairieans, Chalmettians, Kennerites, and Westwegoans will not hear something that they have heard on the airwaves since 1980: ZEBRA. That's right, WRNO is throwing in the classic rock towel and dressing itself in a bitter conservative talk radio jump suit. This will leave the greater New Orleans area without a big media classic rock station that constantly regurgitates generic Aerosmith rock (as well as some actual rock classics that have had so much play time that even the Clear Channel execs are saying "Fuck, not Another Brick in The Wall!".

Well, at least the Clear Channel brain trust were smart enough to replace the lone classic rock station in New Orleans with something that has no competitors. Oh wait, Rush Limbaugh and that other nutjob Michael Savage are already on other stations. Although, since Clear Channel's subsidiary Premiere Radio Networks syndicates Rush Limbaugh, I'm sure there wont be a conflict with Sean Hannity on WRNO.

According to Dick Lewis, New Orleans-based regional vice president of Clear Channel: "the switch is a child of the storm." What a fucking load of shit! Dick hardened his stance and said, "In order to be truly important to the city, we needed a news-talk component..." Bullshit. Since when has Clear $hannel ever given a shit about any particular city? Oh and I suppose Sean Hannity is truly important to the citizens of New Orleans. Fucking joke. Thanks, Dick.

I can't say that I'm real upset about the loss of WRNO. I hardly listen to it anymore. But it is and always was a landmark for New Orleans radio. I grew up with it listening to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Rush, and yes even Zebra. And although I'm constantly now listenting to either NPR or WWOZ, every now and then I need to drift back to 99.5 and get my classic rock fix. I'll listen to it for while and then realize that they just repeated a song they played 20 minutes earlier. That's when I go back to WWOZ.

UPDATE: A former DJ of WRNO has some audio aircheck samples from the 1970s and 1980s. Hey, you can buy the new "two footstomping albums" of BTO and The New York Dolls for $3.99 (tapes for $4.99) at Fat City Records on Severn Avenue. Fat City in 1974: WOW.

UPDATE 2, 14 June 2006: WRNO is still on the air, albeit Clear Channel-fied, in a classic rock format. Is 1 July 2006 the real D-DAY?

TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, WRNO, Clear Channel, Commercial Radio


At May 31, 2006 10:45 PM, Blogger JP said...

I grew up on 99.5 WRNO, of course I always thought the acronym should stand for "WE ROCK NEW ORLEANS"..

Just posted photos (yes, another photo album of post Katrina pics..) from my weekend visit, very moving to see the place up close again.

At June 01, 2006 7:03 AM, Blogger Mr. Clio said...

I wanted to to a post about this, and you strike just the right tone, bra. It's gonna be freaky not to have a home for Van Halen at 99.5. It also bothers me that they're replacing it with talk of the sort that I'm not going to enjoy.

At June 01, 2006 7:04 AM, Blogger Mr. Clio said...

But at least Michael in Da Mawnin is still goin' strong.

At June 01, 2006 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it so sucks that there isn't a home for rock in nola. either classic or alternative. i miss 106.7. we have enough *more* than enough [1 would be more than enough to me :)] country stations here. and enough talk radio from all perspectives, wwl, 1350, & 690.

i guess the radio gods figuring that nobody under 30 is here in the city. i'm almost 50, so i remember fondly wrno when they were cutting edge.

i'm tellin ya, nola is going to look radically different after reconstruction. we're finally going to be moved in line with the rest of the south lost to the republicans and the dominionist nutjobs.

At June 02, 2006 11:27 AM, Blogger Nabil said...

I'm so mad at Clear Channel I could just spit. WRNO, while long second to NPR and WWOZ now that I'm pushing 40, was always the station to get to at 3 AM coming home from Frenchman St. It's reliable, and it's the only place you could Zebra reliably every other night. It was the first station I would tune into driving in from Biloxi, Hammond, LaPlace, etc. Clear Channel has long been evil, but it just got personal. Ugh.

At June 09, 2006 6:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

June 9 and it is still on. I'm hoping that they've come to their senses and are leaving this station alone. At 40 yeah I still listen to it. It's the only decent music being played. We don't need no stinkin talk radio!

At June 15, 2006 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess the anti-capitalist shit head that wrote this article forgot to mention the fact that conservative talk radio is the most popular that it has ever been and that nobody cares to listen to the liberal alternative. Now, with this said i dont want to see the rock of New Orleans go, but maybe another rock station can pick up on this and replace them.

As far as Michael Savage goes, try listening to him one day. If you dont like his straight talk and honesty about issues then you my friend are a huge pussy!


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