Observant radio listeners may have noticed a change a few weeks ago when "The Planet" 94.3 switched formats and became Knoxville's "extreme" rock station. Personally, the Zip-ster didn't really notice a change, other than the hypnotic new promo spots that incessantly repeat the word extreme, but Shane Cox, the station's program director, was able to clear things up a bit.
"We focus on the harder edge of alternative," says Cox.
Cox went on to say that this new format revolves around such acts as Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Metallica, and the ever-spooky Marilyn Manson. Granola-type artists like the Goo-Goo Dolls, Tori Amos, and Sarah McLachlan are now verboten on this new extreme playlist. In Cox's opinion, male and female listeners just didn't want to deal with each others' music and that 94.3 chose to serve the male market based on the charted success of artists like Manson and Korn.
"The Lilith-lovers are floating in radio wastelandno one is servicing them in the market," responded Cox, when asked about the plight of the 18-34 female radio listener. "They're probably doing what they were doing beforelistening to tapes." (Grrls, please send all cards and letters to Mr. Cox, care of 94.3)
But, the question still remains, why does Knoxville need this new "extreme" format? Isn't that niche already being filled? Not according to Cox: "Nobody has just come in and rocked this town. No one station was being true to people who just want to rock."
"Can't you hear the difference?" replied Cox when prodded about 98.7 "The X", the station that is, perhaps, 94.3's closest competition. "We have no Led Zeppelin, no Sheryl Crow, and no Pink Floyd."
The staffers over at "The X," however, don't seem to be quaking in their alt.rock boots with the creation of this new extreme radio beastie, which appears to be designed solely to eat into their market share. "Imitation," says PD Tim Sheehan, "is the sincerest form of flattery."
I received a very polite fax a few weeks ago that asked about the state of the new V-Roys' album. Unfortunately, I was unable to comment at the time, since I couldn't discover what in the heck was up either. It seems that some feuding between Steve Earle, Warner Brothers, the V-Roys, and, maybe, even the Pope had kept this CD tied up in some long abandoned warehouse somewhere, slowly rotting away and keeping the music from the legion of V-Roys fans.
But Scott Miller his own self announced at the Smoky Mountain Jam two weekends ago that All About Town would be released on Oct. 6. And, lo and behold, there was a copy stuck in my mailbox a few days later. After a brief fit of weeping and thanking the gods above, I popped it on my handy boombox. And it was good. A full review will be right in these very pages next week, written by our very own Jack Neely, the V-Roys' number one fan.
Zippy "I'm Number Two" McDuff