The Ongoing Saga of the Classic Rock Commuter War (Final!)


20 déc. 2006, 14h16m

The vehicle I've been commuting to work in came to a spectacular end over the weekend, and I'm now in a car with a broken cassette player. Meaning that the cassette adapter I use for my iPod Shuffle is now useless, leaving me to rely on the radio for my evening drive entertainment.

Now normally I would listen to Akron's WAPS-FM - a nice AAA (Adult Album Alternative) station that actually plays lots of stuff I listen to and is responsible for introducing me to David Gray, Guster, and The Dandy Warhols). Unfortunately, they "upgraded" their signal a while back ago, and the change actually makes it harder for me to pick them up (I was in their fringe area anyway).

This puts me at the mercy of local radio. But rather than do that, I've taken to toggling between two regional powerhouse Classic Rock stations: Cleveland's WNCX (98.5) and Youngstown's Y-103 (WYFM, 102.9).

Last night I got the bright idea to document which songs I choose over others to see which station catches my ear more, given that this is not really where my tastes lie (one look at my charts should tell you that).

My hypothesis is that I will lean toward Y-103. They dig really deep into the classic rock catalogue - I heard The Wizard a few months ago, and I hadn't heard that one in more than 30 years! Also, WNCX has an annoying habit of running their commercials in what seems like 10 minute blocks, timed just so I'm at the peak of my commute. They're fond of saying "We're in the middle of a long stretch of rock and roll" - I think they should have a header that uses the phrase "a long stretch of commercials" to reassure us that the music will eventually return.

I should also note that both of these stations run all request "Afternoon Traffic Jams" during my commute time.

That said, let the war of music I don't generally listen to begin - and continue until I get an FM transmitter for my iPod...

(The calls of the winning radio station will be in bold.)


Y-103: Ballroom Blitz
WNCX: Refugee
Comment: Y'town's deep catalog prevails. The novelty song over the warhorse.

Y-103: On The Hunt
WNCX: Hey You
Comment: Semi-prog carries the round.

Y-103: We're Not Gonna Take It
WNCX: Layla
Comment: Eric over the novelty band.

Y-103: I'm Bad I'm Nationwide
WNCX: Commercial Break
Comment: A break for Y'town as ZZ Top would have lost out to just about anyone else.

Y-103: Crossfire
WNCX: Wheel in the Sky
Comment: A no brainer.

Day One Score: Y-103 - 3; WNCX - 2


Y-103: Bat Out of Hell
WNCX: Two Tickets to Paradise
Comment: I have a soft spot in my head for the Eddie Money song.

Y-103: Don't Let Him Go
WNCX: Working Man (First Half)
Comment: A tie. Hate both. Kept toggling back and forth, hoping for relief. If it'd been Tom Sawyer, the Canadians might have won.

Y-103: Commercial Break
WNCX: Working Man (Second Half)
Comment: That's right. Sometimes I'd rather listen to commercials.

Y-103: Commercial Break
WNCX: Harlem Shuffle
Comment: Mick and Keef win by default.

Y-103: Enter Sandman
WNCX: Lola
Comment: I'm not a Metallica fan, but I love the documentary Some Kind of Monster - so I made an uncharacteristic choice.

Y-103: Gimme Shelter
WNCX: Commercial Break
Comment: A lucky break for 'NCX - it's hard to counter-program against my all-time favorite Rolling Stones song.

Y-103: Once Bitten Twice Shy
WNCX: Commercial Break
Comment: So far the adverts are running 1-1-1.

Y-103: Commercial Break
WNCX: Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Comment: I've heard lots of versions of this song, but never this one.

Day Two Score: Y-103 - 3; WNCX - 4; Ties - 1
Cumulative Score: Y-103 - 6; WNCX - 6; Ties - 1


Y-103: House of the Rising Sun
WNCX: Fooling Yourself
Comment: Not so much that I'm an Animals fan as that I don't like Styx.

Y-103: I'm a Man
WNCX: Smoke on the Water
Comment: It's been years since I've heard the Chicago; months since the Deep Purple.

Y-103: Commercial Break
WNCX: Edge of Seventeen
Comment: At least one of the commercials used Rock the Casbah as background music.

Y-103: Winds of Change
WNCX: I Shot The Sheriff
Comment: Subject matter carried this round: the fall of communism versus a poor, oppressed pot farmer.

Y-103: Can't You See
WNCX: La Grange
Comment: The MTB song could have withstood much fiercer competition than this.

Y-103: (a midtempo rocker about Christmas being a time for laughter and tears that could have been by Aerosmith, but I'm not sure)
WNCX: Commercial Break
Comment: Hey, 'tis the season.

Day Three Score: Y-103 - 6; WNCX - 0; Ties: 0
Cumulative Score:: Y-103 - 12; WNCX - 6; Ties - 1


Y-103: Hair of the Dog
WNCX: Ordinary Average Guy
Comment: Outside of The James Gang or Rocky Mountain Way, Joe Walsh is a silly bore.

Y-103: Cuts Like a Knife
WNCX: Don't Do Me Like That
Comment: Leaned toward Petty out of nostalgia.

Y-103:(a song I think is called Play Guitar that sounded like J Geils Band)
WNCX: Woman From Tokyo
Comment: Could have gone either way - the guitar song is always fun, but my 2nd favorite Deep Purple song carried the round.

Y-103: Commercial Break
WNCX: (I Know) I'm Losing You
Comment: Remember when Rod Stewart rocked? Could've withstood stronger competition.

Y-103: Cold as Ice
WNCX: Sympathy for the Devil (first half)
Comment: Speaking of silly and stupid...

Y-103: Who'll Stop the Rain
WNCX: Sympathy for the Devil (second half)
Comment: Yeah, I listened to CCR instead. The question is, would I have listened to ZZ Top? Depends on which song, I guess.

Y-103: Slow An' Easy
WNCX: Thunder Road
Comment: If I'd known it was Whitesnake, I probably would have listened to The Boss. Honest.

Day Four Score: Y-103 - 4:; WNCX - 3; Ties: 0
Cumulative Score: Y-103 - 16:; WNCX - 9

I was going to let this run for five installments, but my FM transmitter arrived today and I'm ending the fight early. My hypothesis is correct - Youngstown's Y-103 prevails with their deeper back catalog of classic rock. I declare them the winner. A rematch may be in order... but I don't think it'll be anytime soon.


  • dianashamilton

    What a callback on some of these songs, Joe- fun contest log! You just inspired me to put Moving Pictures in my hear pile here. Too bad Cygnus X-1 from Farewell to Kings is not streamable here too- if I had a nickel for all the times I played that, Xanadu, 2112 and certain others as a youngster (my poor college roommates). WRNR 1013.1 Annapolis is the only commercial station worth listening to around here (esp since the demise of WHFS), and I'm right at the edge of their range up in Baltimore area- depends where I drive around my town, if I can hear it or not. I was also introduced to David Gray and Dandy Warhols through them! They used to have an online stream but must've dropped it, too bad.

    21 déc. 2006, 13h30m
  • Scoobarama

    Diana, you reminded me of seeing Rush for the first time in college on their tour supporting Hemispheres. They played Cygnus X-1 straight thru, parts 1&2 back to back with an accompanying film over the long instrumental jam. I attended the show with my college roomate and lets just say that due to the ummm... herbal medication we had enjoyed, that accompanying film (with the X-1 rocketship finally orbiting the brain from the Hemispheres cover) changed my whole relationship with Rush. I think Cheech & Chong said it best - it was like playing Black Sabbath backwards at 78: I saw God (figuratively speaking of course!). Anyways, thanks for the great memories.

    20 jan. 2007, 17h46m
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