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Rate the Rock!

Well, it's been ages since we've updated this section of the site, so how about a new feature called "Rate the Rock"? The purpose of this section is quite simple: I listen to a rock station - satellite or terrestrial - for an hour. Every song they play that hour gets a rating:

1 - 100% pure butt rock
2 - not butt rock, but not great, either
3 - average
4 - awesome
5 - beyond awesome

So far, here's the current standings, and the date we reviewed each station:

3.59 - WJZJ Traverse City Alternative "95-5 The Zone" (8.2.09)
3.50 - WPTQ Bowling Green, KY AOR "103.7 The Point" (12.26.09)
3.42 - WOUF Traverse City, MI AOR "99.3 The Wolf" (re-reviewed 3.22.10)
3.40 - Octane Sirius/XM Active Rock (re-reviewed 3.22.10)
3.40 - WRIF Detroit Active Rock "101 WRIF - The Riff" (7.26.09)
3.39 - WGRD Grand Rapids, MI Alternative "97-9 GRD" (7.26.09)
3.32 - WGFM Cheboygan/WJZJ Traverse City, MI Rock "Real Rock 105/95-5" (6.12.11)
3.27 - The Boneyard Sirius/XM Classic Hard Rock (7.26.09)
3.27 - CIMX Windsor/Detroit, MI Alternative "89X" (7.26.09)
3.08 - WGFN Traverse City, MI Classic Rock "The Bear) (8.2.09)
3.00 - WSUE Sault Ste. Marie, MI AOR "Rock 101.3"(7.19.09)
2.91 - WMAX Grand Rapids, MI Alternative "Radio X 9-6-1" (7.26.09)
2.66 - WKLT Traverse City, MI Classic-heavy AOR "97.5/98.9 KLT-The Rock Station" (re-reviewed 3.22.10)
Red = station no longer in existence

In order of date reviewed, here's the info on each station:


WGFM/WJZJ "Real Rock 105 and 95-5" Cheboygan/Traverse City, MI
Mainstream Rock
Owner: Northern Star Broadcasting
Average Rating: 3.32
The Dilly-O: On the last review of the station (see below), they had made the transition from Modern Rock The Zone to Real Rock 105/95-5. They describe the station as a hybrid of classic and new rock, but there's still a ton of room for improvement.
Playlist: Recorded on 6.12.11 from 1-2 a.m., complete with artist and title:
4 - Beastie Boys "So Wha'cha Want"
4.5 - Foo Fighters "Rope"
4 - Alice in Chains "Them Bones"
3.5 - Saving Abel "Miss America"
2.5 - Nickelback "Something in Your Mouth"
4 - Metallica - "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
4.5 - Tool "Stinkfist"
2 - Finger Eleven "The One Thing"
2 - Red Jumpsuit Apparatus "Face Down"
4 - Smashing Pumpkins "1979"
1.5 - Chickenfoot "Oh Yeah"
3.5 - Live "Selling the Drama"
3.5 - Five Finger Death Punch "The Bleeding" (acoustic)
3 - Guns 'N Roses "Live and Let Die"
Synopisis: Well, at least they improved somewhat since my last review. A lot of the cheesy butt rock is gone, but there's still a lot of holes to fill. As a matter of fact, I'll give them credit for the fact for the posted hour above, not one song on that playlist was recorded before I was born (which, mind you was 1981). However, I've noticed a lot of crappy classic rock is played in other hours, such as bands like ZZ Top and the overplayed Aerosmith - a band that has lost way too much credibility thanks to Steven Tyler being on American Idol) - alongside Blackfoot's annoying "Train, Train" (sans the beginning harmonia solo).

What's sad is that there was only two currents played this entire hour - "Rope" and "Miss America". Real Rock seems to do a tragic job of keep up with new music; hell, I don't even see Disturbed's "Warrior" anywhere on their playlist. But yet, there's a lot of songs I wouldn't mind eliminating from their rotation, namely the retarded "Oh Yeah". Plus the fact that two depressing pieces of emo shit - "The One Thing" and "Face Down" - are on the playlist is laughable. Christ, I've also seen Oasis - a band that should only stay on alternative radio - in rotation as well.

Oh, and the acoustic version of "The Bleeding" ain't bad, but why not play the original? I would have given that a 5.

Point is, I think if I were Cartman, I'd shitcan the geezer and emo shit and take a good, hard look at WGRD and Banana 101.5's playlists. Those two stations are both the #1 rock stations in their respective towns while Real Rock (supposedly) is still getting creamed by KLT in the ratings. Gee, I think I know why.

But at least most of the time, if I was up north, I'd still listen to Real Rock a helluva lot more than KLT (which I can't review since they no longer stream online thanks to their el cheapo GM).


WJZJ "Real Rock 105 and 95-5" Traverse City/Cheboygan, MI
Format: Mainstream Rock
Owner: Northern Star Broadcasting
Average Rating: 3.21
The Dilly-O: Last Fall, after 11 years of playing some sort of Alternative Rock format as "The Zone", Northern Star Broadcasting killed the station off and replaced it with a mostly-locally-programmed album rock format known as "Real Rock 105 and 95-5". The station is a simulcast with WGFM 105.1 Cheboygan, which abandoned Classic Rock-formatted "The Bear", which is still on 98.1 Traverse City, 107.1 Cadillac and 97.9 Newberry. The good news for Zone fans is that many of the station's core artists - such as KoRn, Nine Inch Nails, Linkin Park and Slipknot - survived the transition and the station still spikes in an indie number from time-to-time. Heck, they now play Pantera on a daily basis! However, the bad news is that you now have to sit through Boston, Def Leppard, The Rolling Stones and (AARGH!) Styx to get to them.
Playlist: Recorded on 3.16.10 from 1-2 a.m., complete with rating, artist and title:
3 - Motley Crue "Girls Girls Girls"
1 - Creed "Higher"
2 - Joe Walsh "Life's Been Good"
3.5 - Shinedown "If You Only Knew"
4 - Spacehog "In the Meantime"
3 - Bush "Comedown" (edited version)
3.5 - Staind "It's Been A While" (edited)
3 - Ratt "Round and Round"
4.5 - Alice in Chains "Got Me Wrong"
3.5 - Saving Abel "Addicted"
3 - Led Zeppelin "Immigrant Song"
3.5 - Franz Ferdinand "Take Me Out"
4 - Pantera "Cemetery Gates" (edited)
3.5 - Tantric "Breakdown"
Synopsis: Sadly, one of the cardinal rules of radio is that if a radio station is better than that of satellite radio, it must do something to cause one to buy a satellite radio. Tragically, that's the case of Real Rock 105 and 95-5. Like many - if not, most - AORs, the station plays very few currents and usually waits some time to add new music (they didn't even start playing Godsmack's "Cryin' Like a Bitch" until about four weeks after it was released to most other rock stations. Even worse, the station seems to play Creed and Nickelback every five minutes. I love how the promos claim that the station is free from butt rock, but it's a total lie. If I ran this station, the station would be current-intensive, plus I would eliminate most of the pre-1990 crap. But hey, I like their Sunday night metal show!

WKLT "97-5/98-9 KLT-The Rock Station" Traverse City/Petoskey, MI
Format: AOR with an extremely hard classic lean
Owner: Northern Broadcast
Average Rating: 2.66
The Dilly-O: Last time around, I rated KLT during their ill-fated Saturday night comedy show, where they played crappy classic rock mixed in with crappy Ellen DeGeneres stand-up routines from 1985. Thankfully, they got rid of that and now they have a jock on Saturday nights (Madison... Wow, talk about ripping something off from Sirius). However, the station still blows.
Playlist: Recorded on 3.17.10 from 12-1 a.m., complete with rating, artist and title:
1 - Toto "Hold the Line"
2.5 - Bad Company "Bad Company"
3 - Talking Heads "Life During Wartime"
3 - CCR "Bad Moon Rising"
3 - Bob Segar "Gets Ya Pumpin'"
3 - Yes "I've Seen All Good People"
3 - Tom Petty "I Won't Back Down"
3.5 - Kid Rock "Cowboy"
3 - Rolling Stones "I Can't Get No Satisfaction"
1 - Journey "Any Way You Want It"
3.5 - Guns 'N Roses "Paradise City"
2.5 - Triumph "Lay It On the Line"
Synopsis: Well, at least they played more music this hour than the last time I listened to them! Plus, they DID play a current (well, kinda) that hour: Segar's "Gets Ya Pumpin'" is part of his recently-released collection of unreleased tracks (the song was recorded in 1977, FTR). However, it's a sin to call yourself "The Rock Station" and play a steaming pile of AC crap like Toto's "Hold the Line" at the top of the hour. If I bought KLT and the rest of the Northern Broadcast clan, I'd realize that the majority of KLT's listeners will be 60 and older pretty damn soon and *gradually* add in more currents and eliminate most of the geezer rock. Just a thought...

WOUF "99.3 The Wolf" Frankfort/Traverse City, MI
Format: Mainstream Rock
Owner: Fort Bend Broadcasting
Average Rating: 3.42
The Dilly-O: With the death of The Zone, could this be true that the best rock station up north is The Wolf? Well, their rating did go up slightly from last time...
Playlist: Recorded on 3.18.10 from 1-2 a.m., complete with rating, artist and title:
4 - Godsmack "Whatever"
4 - AC/DC "What You Do For Money Honey"
4 - Green Day "Know Your Enemy"
3.5 - Led Zeppelin "Whole Lotta Love"
4 - Red Hot Chili Peppers "Scar Tissue"
3.5 - Hinder "Get Stoned"
3 - Rolling Stones "Gimme Shelter"
3.5 Stone Temple Pilots "Interstate Love Song"
4 - Metallica "Welcome Home"
3 - Nickelback "How You Remind Me"
3 - Skid Row "I Remember You"
3 - Black Crowes "Twice As Hard"
2 - Ted Nugent "Fred Bear"
Synopsis:As you can tell by the station's rating (and since The Bear doesn't stream online, we'll go with the review I gave 'em the last time I was up north), they're the better of the three AORs in northern Michigan. The station plays a lot of good 90's material and doesn't play a lot of butt rock often. However, the station is hindered by its rimshot signal which fades east of Traverse City plus the fact that they don't play a lot of currents, if any. Not to mention, their webstream doesn't always work. If the station were more-current-intensive, their rating could go much higher.

Format: Active Rock
Owner: Sirius/XM satellite radio
Average Rating: 3.40
The Dilly-O: Well, if you don't want to sit through 1980's hair metal and want true real rock, then get a Sirius and listen to Octane, which is the satellite service's Active Rock channel. Unlike what seems to be ALL of northern Michigan rock radio, they do audience tests to determine what gets played or not. So, is Octane better than The Wolf? Well...
Playlist: Recorded on 3.21.10 from 7-8 p.m., complete with rating, artist and title:
3.5 Puddle of Mudd "Famous"
4 - Disturbed "Indestructible"
1 - Flyleaf "Chasm"
4.5 Deftones "Change"
3 - Tantric "Coming Undone"
1.5 - P.O.D. "Goodbye For Now"
2 - RED "Death of Me"
3.5 - Skindred "Trouble"
4 - Audioslave "Like A Stone
4 - Lacuna Coil "I Won't Tell You"
5 - Clutch "Careful With That Mic..."
4 - Hollywood Undead "Undead"
3.5 - Hurt "Fighting Tao"
4 - Linkin Park "Crawling"
3.5 - Fuel "Sunburn"
Synopsis:Well, the local radio station owners can breathe a sigh of relief since Octane's not perfect, either. Lots of stiffs in their playlist, and in this particular hour, too much (barf) Christian rock. It's sad that they got rid of their Christian rock channel since a majority of that crap ended up on Octane (as you can tell by my negative rating of Flyleaf, I'm no fan of a band whose lead singer sounds like she swallowed the semen of 12 different peni before hitting the mic). However, 1) I'm impressed that there's a station that plays a ton of 2000's rock and 2) they do play a great deal of 90's stuff, but there's also Lithium for that. But hey! I guess the real winner (for now) is The Wolf out of Traverse City, and (gasp!) the rock station out of Bowling Green, KY.


WPTQ "103.7 The Point" Cave City/Bowling Green, KY
Format: Mainstream Rock
Owner: Newberry Broadcasting
Average Rating: 3.50
The Dilly-O: When my Dad moved to the Bowling Green area in 2000, WPTQ was pretty much a Classic Rock/AAA hybrid, but has since evolved into more of a true rock station. Every other station in the area's Country, so this station is a relief to those who crave rock, but are without either an MP3 player or Sirius/XM. However, they carry the Bob and Tom morning show. The Point's main rock rival in the market's Classic Rock WDNS "D93", which is also locally owned and operated by the town's Daily News newspaper alongside Bowling Green's home of Rush 'n Hannity, WKCT 930. However, I didn't get a chance to review D93, but maybe next time....
Playlist: Recorded on 12.26.09 from 3-4 a.m., complete with rating, artist and title:
3.5 - Buckcherry "Crazy Bitch" (should be a 4, but edited for radio)
3.5 - Ozzy Osbourne "No More Tears" (station played short version, another 4)
3.5 - Nazareth "Hair of the Dog"
4.5 - Alice in Chains "Check My Brain"
4 - Jimi Hendrix "The Wind Cries Mary"
2 - Skillet "Monster"
3.5 - Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here"
4.5 - Godsmack "Whiskey Hangover" (once again, edited for radio)
3 - Police "Roxanne"
4 - Green Day "Longview"
3.5 - Blue Oyster Cult "Don't Fear the Reaper" (the edited version)
2 - Grand Funk Railroad "I'm Your Captain" (all 10 minutes)
4 - Adelita's Way "Invincible"
Synopsis: Despite the fact that they play a lot of edited crap (FCC, I know), I think this station's damn good for a mostly small hick town like Bowling Green. Most of the station's classic rock choices aren't too bad; as a matter of fact, I'll betcha the Grand Funk's for all the Michigan expatriates who've moved there, lol. Now, we need to train a certain "Rock Station" up in Traverse City how to sound like them...


WGFN 98.1 Traverse City/WCKC 107.1 Cadillac (also partially simulcast on WGFM 105.1 Cheboygan and WIHC 97.9 Sault Ste. Marie) "The Bear" northern Michigan
Format: Classic Rock
Owner: Northern Star Broadcasting
Average Rating: 3.08
The Dilly-O: In 1989, longtime northern Michigan radio personality Del Reynolds purchased Cheboygan Top 40 station WQLZ 105.1 and flipped it to northern Michigan's first all-Classic Rock station, WGFN - Gold FM. The station was a success from the get-go, and eventually, the station added on additional signals, covering all of northern Michigan. Reynolds sold his stations in 1998 to Northern Star, who renamed the station The Bear and added on the successful Bob and Tom show. The station surpassed long-time #2 ratings stalwart WKLT in the Arbitrons for the first time ever. However, thanks to Bob and Tom toning down their show because of Janet Jackson's nip-slip, plus the station adding in several 80's new wave pop tunes from A Flock of Seagulls and Duran Duran, The Bear crashed to #10 in the ratings. Now, the station is back to pure Classic Rock, and the ratings are back up as of Fall 08.
Playlist: Recorded on 8.2.09 from 3-4 a.m., complete with rating, artist and title:
2.5 - Aerosmith "Mama Kin"
3 - Alice Cooper "I'm Eighteen" (the station airs his nightly radio show)
2 - Heart "Magic Man"
3.5 - Tom Petty "Mary Jane's Last Dance"
3.5 - AC/DC "Rock 'n Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"
4 - Jimi Hendrix "Are You Experienced"
3.5 - Judas Priest "You've Got Another Thing Coming"
2.5 - George Thorogood "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer"
4 - Pink Floyd "Brain Damage/Eclipse"
3 - Badfinger "No Matter What"
4 - Rush "Subdivisions"
1.5 - Boston "Smokin'"
3 - Scorpions "The Zoo"
Synopsis: Unlike KLT, The Bear's music selections are quite wide, spanning the early years of classic rock and beyond. Plus, it appears that I chose a good hour to listen since the closest thing to butt rock came from Boston, but since it was a song about weed, I'll add a .5 for extra credit. If I were programming the station, I would add more harder tracks like Boneyard to keep the station listenable.


WJZJ "95-5 The Zone" Traverse City, MI
Format: Alternative Rock
Owner: Northern Star Broadcasting
Average Rating: 3.59
The Dilly-O: The year was 1998 and Alternative Rock's popularity was at its peak. Sadly, there were no stations in town playing the latest and greatest in rock at the time, bands such as KoRn, Tool and Rage Against the Machine were all homeless. It was that year that Calibre Communications - the precursor to Northern Star Broadcasting - replaced faltering Smooth Jazzer "Coast FM" with The Zone, a triple-caster (also on WLJZ 94.5 Mackinaw City and WAVC 93.9 in Mio, now all Country stations) that, well, didn't make things better. True, it was an alternative to the overplayed Classic Rock and CHR stations, but it created a whole new problem: the station wasn't a Modern Rock, but a Modern Pop station, ODing on Goo Goo Dolls, Barenaked Ladies and everything Lillith Fair. The station's ratings were an abortion. Then, the station got a new PD in 2000, and finally, The Zone started rockin'. The ratings improved, but the ad dollars were skeptical. 93.9 Mio flipped to Country and 94.5 eventually followed due to lack of profits. In 2006, the station's airstaff - save for Stern clone Cartman - were all canned or reassigned and the station - now demoted to just 95.5 Traverse City - signed on with Waitt Radio Networks' "Alternative Now" format. All the station's jocks and music were fed from a control center in Omaha. Because of this, ratings have fallen a little, but The Zone is still mid-pack in the ratings.
Playlist: Recorded on 8.2.09 from 2-3 a.m., complete with rating, artist and title:
3.5 - Stone Temple Pilots "Interstate Love Song"
4 - Seether "Careless Whisper"
4 - The Dead Weather "Treat Me Like Your Mother"
4 - Rancid "Time Bomb"
3.5 - Franz Ferdinand "No You Girls"
3.5 - 311 "You Wouldn't Believe"
4 - Silversun Pickups "Panic Switch"
3.5 - Apocolyptica "I Don't Care"
4 - Billy Boy on Poison "On My Way"
3 - Keane "Is It Any Wonder"
3 - Foo Fighters "Let It Die"
4 - Pearl Jam "The Fixer"
2.5 - Shiny Toy Guns "Rainy Monday"
4 - Breaking Benjamin "Breath"
3.5 - Live "Selling the Drama"
3.5 - Muse "Supermassive Black Hole"
3.5 - Mobile "The Killer"
Synopsis: You've gotta be shitting me. The Zone's BETTER than Octane?!? Then again, I listened at 2 a.m. in the morning when they weren't airing local commercials, either (neither was The Bear). There was a lot of new music and bands I've never even heard of before. However, many of these bands appeal to the college crowd, which may turn off a lot of rock fans in Traverse City. As for the playlist, let's not forget that The Zone's not programmed locally, but by some guy in Omaha named "Polychronopolis", who has been in Alternative radio for years. The outsourced playlists give The Zone an unfair advantage over the locally-programmed stations in the area.


WOUF "99.3 The Wolf" Traverse City, MI
Format: Mainstream Rock
Owner: Fort Bend Broadcasting
Average Rating: 3.36
The Dilly-O: For more than 30 years, the 99.3 slot had been home to WBNZ, a locally-focused, yet satellite-fed AC station serving Frankfort and Benzonia Counties. That was until July 2009 when owner Roy Henderson moved WBNZ to 92.3 and 99.3 was re-born as The Wolf. Many, like myself were predicting that Henderson would start a rock station in the region, especially since he helped create WKLT in the 1970's. So far, The Wolf is off to a dashing start.
Playlist: Recorded on 8.1.09 from 2-3 a.m., complete with rating, artist and title:
3 - Bush "Comedown" (would be a 3.5 if it wasn't the radio edit)
1.5 - Billy Squier "The Stroke"
4.5 - Slipknot "Dead Memories"
3.5 - Skid Row "I Remember You"
3 - Limp Bizkit "Re-Arranged"
4 - Disturbed "Just Stop"
4 - Pink Floyd "Brain Damage/Eclipse"
3 - Pearl Jam "Better Man"
2.5 - Def Leppard "Love Bites"
3 - Staind "It's Been Awhile"
3.5 - AC/DC "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"
4 - Stone Temple Pilots "Wicked Garden"
3 - Motley Crue "Girls, Girls, Girls"
4.5 - Black Sabbath "Sweet Leaf"
Synopsis: Many in the radio biz could care less about Henderson, but goddamn can he run a rock station better-programmed that the dolts at KLT. I've listened in other hours, too, and they play a LOT of stuff KLT would never touch with a 100-yard pole like KoRn, Godsmack, Nine Inch Nails and more. True, they do play a great deal of Classic Rock, but they lay off the butt rock. However, 1) they could play more currents, 2) they could play more Rage Against the Machine, Tool and Slipknot and 3) their signal's not the greatest in the world, I think this station has the potential to take listeners away from the other three rock stations in town and make some kind of dent in the ratings.



The Boneyard
Format: Hard Classic Rock
Owner: Sirius/XM
Average Rating: 3.27
The Dilly-O: This channel was started by XM in 2001, but after their merger with Sirius, it relaunched on January 15, 2009 as a replacement for their Buzzsaw channel which practically played the same music.
Playlist: Recorded on 7.26.09 from 3-4 a.m., complete with rating, artist and title:
3 - Aerosmith "Big Ten Inch Record"
2.5 - Foghat "Fool For the City"
2.5 - Scorpions "Still Loving You"
4 - Cult "Wild Flower"
4 - Iron Maiden "Wasted Years"
3 - Guns 'n Roses "Think About You"
4.5 - Black Sabbath "Paranoid"
2 - Godz "Gotta Keep a Runnin'"
3.5 - Metallica "Whiskey in the Jar"
3.5 - Motley Crue "Ten Seconds to Love"
2.5 - Def Leppard "Wasted"
4 - Rush "Free Will"
3.5 - Judas Priest "You've Got Another Thing Comin'"
Synopsis: To be quite honest, I thought that I was going to give this station a 3 rating at best, but maybe I just chose a good hour to listen to the station. To this 28-year-old, a 3.27 is quite impressive for a Classic Rocker! Hell, the closest song to butt rock that hour, Foghat's "Fool For the City", got trumped by The Godz' sole hit "Gotta Keep a Runnin'" from 1978. It's too bad that a certain "rock station" from Traverse City can't take a hint from those guys.


CIMX "89X" Windsor/Detroit
Format: Alternative Rock
Owner: CTV GlobeMedia
Average Rating: 3.27
The Dilly-O: CIMX signed on in 1967 as CKWW-FM, playing Easy Listening music. In 1970, the station became AOR as CJOM, which had a 20-year run although they had spells of playing new wave and CHR. In 1990, the station became CIMX "The Mix", playing AC. However, night jock Greg St. James decided that the station should have a nighttime alternative rock show, and it was so well-received that in 1991, the station went Alt-Rock 24/7 as 89X. Despite being one of the longest-running Alternative Rock stations in the country and outliving the likes of Planet 96.3 and The Edge @ 105dot1, their ratings aren't the best. Many reasons include their left-band dial position, their friendliness towards emo rock and the fact that they HAVE to play a certain amount of Canadian content because they're licensed by the Canadian government.
Playlist: Recorded on 7.26.09 from 5-6 p.m., complete with rating, artist and title:
2 - Our Lady Peace "All You Did Was Save My Life"
3.5 - Soundgarden "Fell On Black Days"
4.5 - Blur "Song 2"
3 - Incubus "Dig"
4 - Nirvana "Heart-Shaped Box"
1.5 - Richy Nix "In My Head"
4 - Puddle of Mudd "Control"
3 - Offspring "Gone Away"
5 - Slipknot "Duality"
4 - Cage the Elephant "Ain't No Rest For the Wicked"
3.5 - Metallica "Enter Sandman"
3 - Killers "When You Were Young"
1.5 - All-American Rejects "Gives You Hell"
Synopsis: Despite a few lame-o pop tunes (BTW, that Richy Nix tune may/may not grow on me, but who knows), this station ain't half-bad. I kinda wish they'd stop playing the poppy crap, but that's alternative rock 4 ya...


WGRD "97-9 GRD" Grand Rapids, MI
Format: Modern Rock
Owner: Regent
Average Rating: 3.39
The Dilly-O: WGRD is one of the most-legendary radio stations in Grand Rapids, with roots going back to the 1950's. The call letters originally stood for "Grand Rapids Daytimer" since it was first used on 1410 AM, originally a sunrise-to-sunset operation. The station had been Top 40 since 1959, but since they were losing big-time ratings to other CHRs in the area in the early 70's, they purchased what was then WXTO 97.9 from Aquinas College. WGRD was a successful AM/FM combo for years, even with several #1 books in the 80's. However, they were losing big-time shares to WSNX in the early 90's, so they flipped to Alternative in 1994. Over the years, GRD has edged up their sound and even added a successful morning show, Free Beer and Hot Wings. With the demise of WKLQ, they are now the #2 station in the market as of July 2009.
Playlist: Recorded on 7.26.09 from 2-3 a.m., complete with rating, artist and title:
4 - Saliva "Click Click Boom"
3.5 - Marilyn Manson "Armageddon" (I'd give it a 4 if it were the uncensored version)
3.5 - Hollywood Undead "Young"
3 - Pearl Jam "Daughter"
4 - Slipknot "Sulfur"
4 - Smashing Pumpkins "Rocket"
2 - Our Lady Peace "All You Did Was Save My Life"
3 - Bush "Little Things"
4 - Shinedown "Sound of Madness"
3 - Creed "Torn"
3.5 - Offspring "Half-Truism"
4 - Halestorm "I Get Off"
1.5 - Hinder "Lips of an Angel"
4.5 - Beastie Boys "Sabotage"
Synopsis: GRD truly ain't a bad station at all; as a matter of fact, what it needs is real competition. I hope when Radio X meets its maker, they won't wuss up, but who knows...


WMAX "Radio X 9-6-1" Grand Rapids, MI
Format: indie-leaning Alternative Rock
Owner: Clear Channel
Average Rating: 2.91
The Dilly-O: After years of failed formats at 96.1 including two shots of Hot AC and the "we play everything" format, Clear Channel debuted Radio X February 4th 2008. Its greatest ratings success came just recently after the demise of WKLQ (now WBBL-FM). However, it was recently announced that WMAX will be flipping to ESPN sports talk radio in August. Unlike the hugely successful WGRD, Radio X is more-geared towards the indie/new wave/Meanwhile Bar crowd. However, it never garnered over a 2 share in its existence, and we know why.
Playlist: Recorded on 7.26.09 from 1-2 a.m., complete with rating, artist and title:
3 - Barenaked Ladies "Brian Wilson"
3.5 - Weezer "Pork and Beans"
3.5 - Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated"
2 - Dave Matthews Band "Funny the Way it is"
3 - Tonic "You Wanted More"
3 - Morrissey "Hairdresser on Fire"
3.5 - Beck "Devil's Haircut"
3.5 - Green Day "Wake Me Up When September Ends"
3 - Stone Temple Pilots "Interstate Love Song"
1.5 - Matchbox 20 "Bright Lights"
4 - Cage the Elephant "Ain't No Rest For the Wicked"
3.5 - Cake "Never There"
2 - Hooters "And We Danced"
2 - Paul Westerberg "Love Untold"
1.5 - Paramore "CrushCrushCrush"
4 - Street Sweeper Social Club "100 Little Curses"
3 - Airbourne Toxic Event "Wishing Well"
Synopsis: No wonder why this station sucks in the ratings... LOTS of stiffs! Plus, their signal ain't that great, either thanks to their short-spacing with 95.7 W-Lite. I wasn't TOO shocked that there were a whopping 17 songs that hour, especially with the lack of commercials. Then again, when your station doesn't have that many listeners, who wants to advertise on your station, anyway?


WRIF "101 WRIF - The Riff" Detroit, MI
Format: Active Rock
Owner: Greater Media
Average Rating: 3.40
The Dilly-O: The Riff is highly-regarded as one of the best rock stations in America. The station was originally WXYZ-FM from its 1948 sign-on until 1971 when it became WRIF, named for a guitar riff. In recent years, the station has been through some massive changes, such as the fiasco involving their morning show Drew and Mike and Mike's short-lived departure from the show. Also, the departures of Doug Podell, who became the Director of Rock Programming for Greater Media Detroit and Arthur Penhallow, who had been with The Riff's predecessor, WXYZ-FM since 1970. The station now has some fresh, new blood from new PD John Gallengher and MD Suzy Cole, who was a Grand Rapids radio mainstay for years. Despite the new blood and increasing of current spins, the station still plays a great deal of music from classic artists including Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Rush.
Playlist: Recorded on 7.26.09 from 4-5 p.m., complete with rating, artist and title:
3 - Saving Abel "Drowning (Face Down)"
3.5 - Led Zeppelin "Living Loving Maid/She's Just a Woman"
3 - Days of the New "Touch, Peel and Stand"
3 - Guns 'N Roses "Welcome to the Jungle"
4 - Cavo "Champagne"
4.5 - Alice in Chains "Got Me Wrong"
2 - U2 "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
4 - Veer Union "Seasons"
3.5 - AC/DC "Rock 'N Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"
3.5 - Soundgarden "Fell on Black Days"
Synopsis: Like I said, new blood has helped the playlist a lot, but "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"? Excuse me? On an Active Rock station? Sorry, it belongs on maybe 94.7 WCSX or 96-3 WDVD. Other than that, I'm shocked that this station - as of this writing - is 2nd behind Sirius's Octane. Way to go, Riff!


Format: Active Rock
Owner: Sirius/XM satellite radio
Average Rating: 3.47
The Dilly-O: Octane is Sirius/XM's home for new hard rock. It started as a Modern Rocker but gradually flipped to full-blown Active Rock because of Sirius tagging on Alt Nation. Octane's core artists include Metallica, Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, Slipknot and Tool.
Playlist: Recorded on 7.18.09 from 11 p.m. to 12 midnight, complete with rating, artist and title:
3.5 - Foo Fighters "My Hero"
4 - Slipknot "Sulfur"
4.5 - Sick Puppies "You're Going Down"
4 - Taproot "Poem"
3.5 - Sevendust "Inside"
3.5 - Evans Blue "The Pursuit"
1.5 - Silvertide "Blue Jeans"
2 - Since October "Guilty"
4 - Bullet For My Valentine - "Scream, Aim and Fire"
4 - Eve to Adam - "Gift"
4 - Breaking Benjamin - "The Diary of Jane"
2 - Hinder - "Up All Night"
4.5 - Hellyeah - "You Wouldn't Know"
3 - Royal Bliss - "We Did Nothing Wrong"
4.5 - Tool "Stinkfist"
3 - Deepfield "Into the Flood"
Synopsis: Overall, Octane's playlist may trump over other rock stations because they're commercial-free and uncensored. True, this playlist does have a few stinkers and duds, but overall, Octane is a station definitely not afraid to kick major ass. Although personally, I'd add more familiar 90's cuts to the mix and get rid of most of the Christian crap and duds like "Into the Flood" and "Blue Jeans". Then again, rock fans are getting for what they're paying for.


Oh, Lord, we're up to...
WKLT "97-5/98-9 KLT-The Rock Station" Traverse City/Petoskey
Format: AOR with an extremely hard classic lean
Owner: Northern Broadcast
Average Rating: 2.44
The Dilly-O: In many cities and towns, young people would usually have a radio station they looked up to. I lived in the Traverse City area, and sadly, throughout most of the 90's, this was the only station in town that played ANY new rock. Thankfully, the station finally got some much-needed competition in the late 90's with Northern Star's Modern Rocker 95.5 The Zone and Classic Rock 98.1 The Bear. But, thanks to the fact that KLT has what neither Bear nor Zone has, and that's a strong signal in the Traverse City area, KLT is still the dominant rock station in the area. The station is programmed by Terri Ray, who knew nothing about rock music until coming to KLT fresh out of Specs Howard in 1984 thanks to her Baptist parents. Sadly, her lack of training in rock, plus the fact that the station is owned by folks from Minot, ND have left this station appealing to the white trash on US 131 between Alba and Fife Lake.
Playlist: Recorded 7.18.09 9-10 p.m., during their highly-pathetic "Rock 'N Roll Comedy Club":
2 - Tom Petty "Breakdown"
4 - Ozzy Osbourne "Crazy Train"
1 - Foreigner "Feels Like the First Time"
3 - Motley Crue "Smokin' in the Boys Room"
2.5 - Def Leppard "Bringin' on the Heartbreak"
2 - Grand Funk "We're An American Band"
3 - Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody"
3.5 - Collective Soul "December"
1 - 38 Special "Rockin' Into the Night"
Synopsis: If you love butt rock, KLT is your station. After all, the average song from this hour of music is from 1980. Sadly, this pathetic heap of shit is #2 in the ratings. Even worse, they air a syndicated show - The Tour Bus - on Sunday nights 11p-2a that airs better music than this shit and it used to air Saturday nights. Instead, KLT spends their Saturday nights airing lame 20-year-old comedy bits that are quite dated. And meanwhile, WSUE airs a much-better hair music show.

Honestly, if I owned Northern Broadcast - which is run by a bunch of Pepsi bottlers from North Dakota - I'd move all this shitty butt rock over to 94.3/92.5 The Fox and maybe make KLT a WRIF-esque AOR. And yes, I'd move Terri Ray to The Fox, too.


WSUE "Rock 101" Sault Ste. Marie, MI
Format: AOR
Owner: Sovereign Communications
Average Rating: 3.00
The Dilly-O: WSUE has been the Soo's main rock station for about 20 years. Prior to its current format, they played Country and AC. This station was known as "101 FM" for years until new owner Bill Curtis took over the station some years ago. A former consultant, Curtis felt that the Soo could use a better-sounding rock station, so he added more new and recent rock to the playlist. The result is a great-sounding station, especially for an AOR.
Playlist: Recorded on 7.19.09 4-5 a.m. complete with rating, artist and title:
4 - AC/DC "Hells Bells"
4 - Cracker "Low"
2 - Joe Walsh "Life's Been Good"
4 - Shinedown "Sound of Madness"
3 - Guns 'N Roses "Welcome to the Jungle"
3 - Three Days Grace "Never Too Late"
2 - Scorpions "Rock You Like a Hurricane"
3 - Bush "Little Things"
3 - Led Zeppelin "Immigrant Song"
1 - Creed "My Sacrifice"
4 - Pearl Jam "Black"
3 - Van Halen "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love"
Synopsis: Despite its average rating, WSUE is a helluva better station than KLT (see below). It's a shame that people in Traverse City - outside of the internet - can't get this station because it'll put the Crock station to shame. True, WSUE only played one current that hour, but IMO, they're on par - maybe even better - than most other AORs.





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