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The New London Day - February 7th, 1986Reproduced below is an article that was published in The New London Day, a local newspaper in New London County, CT.
This Band Doesn't Fit The Format
by Steve Slosberg
(Originally published in The New London Day 2/7/86)I called "RI 104" in Westerly, the region's most popular FM rock station, to ask whether they play the music of The Reducers, the region's most popular rock band.
The station manager immediately put me on hold. A woman came on. The following, pretty much intact in content and tempo, was what she had to say:
"Hi. How are ya'? Great to talk with ya'.
"I consult radio stations. I consult stations all over the country.
"Got any questions or any complaints, you can talk to me.
"Do we play The Reducers? Do we play local groups?
"We like to add four or five new songs a week. But the question is 'Does it fit the sound of the stations?
"We don't play any screaming stuff and we don't play any wimpy mello-Jello. We've been tryin' to appeal to the 18 to 34 age group, danceable Top 40.
"I think the feel of this station is very up energy, the station has a real neat energy to it.
"I don't want to get into a bind about playing local groups. You know, just because here's a local band, let's play it. It wouldn't be good for us or the band.
"If the song fits the station, then I'd say sure, I'd like to give it meaningful rotation. I'd say let's get behind a good local band.
"Do we play The Reducers? I don't know. I came here three days ago."
They don't play The Reducers. I found that out later.
Once upon a time, and not too long ago, the station would have. It stood out in its openness to a variety of music, and to some of the local groups making it.
The radio station used to be what's called progressive, which, for lack of a better term, meant not bound by ratings anxiety.
But RI 104, or WERI-FM, as it's formally know, has gone consultant. It's programming, despite the "very up energy," is much the ubiquitous Top 40 format. The woman, who said she was at the station for the week, will move on to consult another station run by the same format.
The Reducers as well as other local rock bands have to rely on WCNI, the FM station at Connecticut College, for air time. WCNI reception range and budget are tiny compared to RI 104's; its programming, by comparison - well, there is no comparison. WCNI is the best music station we have.
The Reducers, a New London-based band, have just released their third album and are also included on a new record featuring a number of local bands. They have an avid following and they could be played on RI 104 without rupturing the format.
Their music is basic, hard-driving rock. Most lyrics are safe enough. The music is as "danceable"as anything the station plays and many of the songs, including the title cuts "Let's Go" and "Cruise to Nowhere" off their second and third albums respectively, have sufficient commercial appeal. They're a good band.
The group says that among the 800 or so copies of their new album they sent to stations across the country as a promotion, there was one for RI 104. They also sent a copy of their second album there. But a programmer said yesterday he's never seen copies of the band's music at the stations. He also said the station is happy to play local groups - if the music fits the format.
Listen up already.
You don't have to be afraid of the Reducers, who are receiving flattering reviews in other markets and from critics for such papers as The Boston Globe and the Village Voice.
There's good music, right here, nicely packaged, ready to go.
The college radio station does what it can. The commercial stations might listen less to transient consultants and keep their ears closer to the ground.
The Reducers, for one, deserve meaningful rotation.
Copyright 1986 by The New London Day
NOTE: - WERI-FM (RI 104) is no longer on the air. A new station, WWRX-FM (WRX 103.7), took their place on the radio dial a number of years ago. Also, I'd like to thank Steve Slosberg who went out of his way to find this column for me. -McD-
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