Monday, October 9

X102.9 is Jacksonville's Alternative, Kinda -- And Now It's 106.5

I have to admit I listen to X102.9 in Jacksonville. The station goes out of its way to claim to be alternative. I like that. I listened to true alternative stations in Milwaukee and Kansas City, so I was hoping for a little more of that. X102.9 is kinda like those stations, but not quite. I knew this for sure when one of my son's fellow fourth-graders said this when we gave him a ride: "102nine; I love that station."

In Milwaukee, it was 88Nine. Before that, I listened to 91.7 WMSE, but that was a little too far out there, with things like the Hmong Hour on Sunday mornings. I think both are more alternative and local than 102.9 (now 106.5), anyhow.

In KC, it was The Bridge, 90.9. In fact, my experience with low numbers led me to scour the lower range of the FM dial for an alternative station in JAX. I couldn't find anything but CCM there, though, so I went higher. Usually, once you hit 93, it's all Top 40 whatever: hip hop, country, oldies, etc. Most stuff lower than 90 is NPR or talk radio. Sorry, I'm not an NPR guy.I guess the move in late 2017 to the absolute end of the FM band was a result of alternative fans not being able to find the channel in Top 40 station territory.

That's why I was excited about 102.9. I still am, a little bit. However, after listening for a couple weeks for hours as I moved in, I realized the alternative music, instead of being local artists, was Red Hot Chili Peppers. I liked RHCP, but that was in the 90s. Once a week is probably enough to relive those glory days, not a few times per day. There was one point when I heard Alien Ant Farm's version of "Smooth Criminal" three days in a row. Yes, I liked it back in 2001, downloading it from Napster, but I'd rather hear some local artist once in a while. Sure, I just turned up a Nirvana song, but is Nirvana really alternative at this point?

Perhaps there are no local artists in Jacksonville. Maybe they all sing Christian or Country or rap music. I'm not sure, and I'm not sure where to look. Contact me if you do know. Yes, I understand that Local and Alternative are different, but I liked the formula of radio stations that played some alternative stuff along with some local artists. Sure, there were some misses with the hits, but I was listening to cutting-edge stuff.

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