Alternative rock will no longer have a permanent place on Chicago airwaves. I have been listening to Q101 since it was an adult contemporary station and Murphy in the Morning was roaming the radio in a straightjacket.
While in high school something strange started to happen. The music that I was buying at places like Wind Records, J.R.'s Music Shop and Record Town slowly invaded the station. I was treated to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More, among countless others. I could spend more time on other pursuits, rather then on mix tapes of my favorite then-current songs. Alternative had hit the industry and it hit hard.
For the next nineteen years, I took for granted that there would always be an outlet for alternative music on my radio dial. I can't even begin to tally up the countless hours in the car listening to Q101.
I discovered Zoltar while working overnights and developed a deep appreciation for industrial music. Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM and others seeped into my brain while listening to the 'Brother From Another Planet'. Zoltar played the obligatory popular industrial music, but found plenty of time to devote to B sides and deep tracks. Already a lover of album cuts, hearing this stuff on the radio just pushed my tastes in broader directions.
I strayed a bit when the morning shift would turn over to obnoxious talking heads, but always found my way back when the music returned. When the station went into its shuffle mode, I had finally found a station that struck the perfect balance of older alternative that I grew up with and new music that was in a similar vein.
I didn't have my car tuned to Q101, but it was always my first stop when I roamed the dial. Usually when the dial hit 101.1, I ended up staying there for awhile. There was almost always something decent on.
Now, there will be one less station to turn to. One less alternative to all the other stations that sound the same. Another part of my youth will wither away and I will seek out a replacement for my broken iPod car tuner. I will be forced to put on my own shuffle instead of relying on an old standby. I will be guaranteed songs that I like this way, but it won't be the same.
To all the numerous on-air staff and all the people working behind the scenes to make Chicago radio a little cooler, thank you. It was one hell of a ride and I'll always have fond memories. And that 1995 Jamboree lineup was awesome, despite the rain.