Carbondale alternative radio? Blahh.

By Gus Bode

…And welcome back to “It’s your McCall.” Hope everyone had a rockin’

Labor Day weekend. This week’s topic:Carbondale alternative radio and how much it sucks the lead paint off the old walls in my house.

I just rolled in from our good buddy to the north, Champaign/Urbana, where I heard something that blew me away unlike anything I’ve heard before in Carbondale:a college rock station that is actually legitimate.


Kicking the FM dial over to 107.1, I expected the similar mind-numbing slop that clogs up the Carbondale airwaves. Much to my surprise, there, on the stereo of my Buick, was real college rock!

Sonic Youth?! Holy bleeping explicative! Wilco?! You never hear this on the radio in Southern Illinois.

Formerly known as “The Planet”, 107.1 is now known as WPGU, the Illini Media-owned student radio station that has also changed its format. They’ve kissed goodbye to Godsmack songs every 15 minutes and said hello to Indie and his wingman, college rock.

I listened faithfully all weekend. Any time I was in the Buick, 107.1 was blaring. I even went as far as requesting a song late Saturday night. The DJ never got around to playing it; he was preoccupied spinning tracks for four girls claiming to be in a dormitory shower.

One of the best things about the station is the presence of real live college student DJs. I’ve become all too friendly with the local radio personalities, Mr. And Mrs. Trying-To-Be-Hip, when I’d actually rather listen to someone my age. Let’s hear some real college voices.

A lot of the banter on the station was lame, but at least they spoke the language of the college student, and most importantly, played the music the listeners wanted to hear.

As I drove back, I turned on a certain alternative radio station located in Southern Illinois. Call it research.


The first song was a brand new one from the band Linkin Park. (It’s amazing how someone can take one song and turn it into 15 number one hits.) If I hear one more Linkin Park song on the radio, I’m going to puke all over my laptop.

The radio stations down here are about as dead as Sarah Jessica Parker’s career. Gap commercials? Can anyone say “Unemployed In The City?”

There are two types of alternative radio stations in Carbondale:one that pours out corporate play lists, and one that makes fun of them for it. Neither alternative format does very well.

So what do we do to right this wrong Saluki nation? How can we get some quality stuff on local radio stations?

First of all, we can call the stations up and demand to hear songs that don’t fit into the constraints of their play lists.

Because the large conglomerate stations won’t budge, we could always help out WIDB. If you don’t know, WIDB is the student-run radio station located in the Student Center. Listen while you wait to use one of the Student Center’s many ATMs or check out the webpage at

Until these aforementioned radio stations decide to update their formats, we as college students are without a true voice on the airwaves.

If you’ll excuse me, I have to turn off the radio in my room before another Linkin Park song comes on.

I don’t think the warranty on my computer covers puke.