Defending The Buzz: Does 94.5 FM Really Suck That Bad?

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What with Creed reuniting, BuzzFest coming up in a couple of weeks and, hell, maybe even the swine-flu scare - As in: What's worse than coming down with swine flu? A Houston radio that only tunes in 94.5 FM - Rocks Off sure has been thinking a lot about The Buzz lately. Probably too much.

I mean, it's a radio station, which in an age when people stream Pandora on their iPhones - to say nothing of car stereos with iPod plug-in ports - makes it almost as big a media dinosaur as the printed page. The station's advertising sales staff would no doubt agree.

Somebody must like it, though. The most recent Arbitron ratings had The Buzz at No. 3, which, in a market of 5 million people, ain't too shabby. So Rocks Off decided to put The Buzz under the microscope to determine two things: if it truly deserves to be the designated whipping boy of everyone who doesn't think the new Seether song totally shreds, and if that familiar old gripe, "Radio is so much better in other cities," really holds any water.


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We chose one hour at random Wednesday - 2 to 3 p.m. - and consulted the song log for The Buzz on yes.com. (This can keep you occupied for hours.) Then we repeated the process for the modern-rock stations in eight other cities, including Dallas, Austin and national modern-rock bellweathers KROQ (L.A.) and Q101 (Chicago). Then we consulted the most recent Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart as a sort of control. Here's what we found.

Houston

The Buzz

KTBZ, 94.5 FM

Owner: Clear Channel Communications

1. Bush, "Comedown"

2. Foo Fighters, "The Pretender"

3. Blind Melon, "No Rain"

4. Three Days Grace, "Animal I Have Become"

5. Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Aeroplane"

6. Anberlin, "Feel Good Drag"

7. Smashing Pumpkins, "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"

8. Nickelback, "How You Remind Me"

9. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, "You Better Pray"

10. The Cure, "Lovesong"

11. Buckcherry, "Crazy Bitch"

Austin

101X

KROX, 101.5 FM

Owner: Emmis Communications

1. The Airborne Toxic Event, "Sometime Around Midnight"

2. Stone Temple Pilots, "Wicked Garden"

3. Depeche Mode, "Wrong"

4. Jane's Addiction, "Been Caught Stealing"

5. Spoon, "I Turn My Camera On"

6. Blue October, "Dirt Room"

7. Sublime, "April 29, 1992 (Miami)"

8. Tool, "The Pot"

9. Ramones, "I Wanna Be Sedated"

10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Zero"

11. Jet, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"

12. Nine Inch Nails, "Down In It"

Chicago

Q101

WKQX, 101.1 FM

Owner: Emmis Communications

1. Rage Against the Machine, "Bulls on Parade"

2. Depeche Mode, "Wrong"

3. Sublime, "April 29, 1992 (Miami)"

4. Apocalyptica, "I Don't Care"

5. The Breeders, "Cannonball"

6. Beastie Boys, "Paul Revere"

7. Anberlin, "Feel Good Drag"

8. Soundgarden, "Spoonman"

9. Crystal Method w/Filter, "(Can't You) Trip Like I Do"

10. Nine Inch Nails, "The Perfect Drug"

11. Cage the Elephant, "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked"

Dallas

The Edge

KDGE, 102.1 FM

Owner: Clear Channel Communications

1. AFI, "Miss Murder"

2. Blue October, "Dirt Room"

3. Offspring, "Gone Away"

4. Linkin Park, "Crawling"

5. Green Day, "Basket Case"

6. The Killers, "Mr. Brightside"

7. Rise Against, "Audience of One"

8. Rage Against the Machine, "No Shelter"

9. Blink-182, "Stay Together for the Kids"

10. Anberlin, "Feel Good Drag"

11. Weezer, "Undone - The Sweater Song"

12. Audioslave, "Show Me How to Live"

Los Angeles

The World Famous

KROQ, 106.7 FM

Owner: CBS Radio

1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Zero"

2. Incubus, "Love Hurts"

3. Violent Femmes, "Blister in the Sun"

4. Gorillaz, "Feel Good Inc."

5. Foo Fighters, "The Pretender"

6. Kings of Leon, "Sex on Fire"

7. White Lies, "To Lose My Life"

8. Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Californication"

9. Jane's Addiction, "Been Caught Stealing"

10. Coldplay, "Viva La Vida"

Nashville

The Buzz

WBUZ, 102.9 FM

Owner: Cromwell Radio Group

1. Stone Temple Pilots, "Wicked Garden"

2. Kid Rock, "Cowboy"

3. Van Halen, "Everybody Wants Some!!"

4. Saving Abel, "Drowning (Face Down)"

5. Def Leppard, "Bringing on the Heartbreak"

6. Theory of a Deadman, "Face Down"

7. Pearl Jam, "Corduroy"

8. Green Day, "Brain Stew/Jaded"

9. Papa Roach, "Lifeline"

10. AC/DC, "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)"

New Orleans

The Rock of New Orleans

KYRK, 104.1 FM

Owner: Clear Channel Communications

1. Pearl Jam, "Alive"

2. Blind Melon, "No Rain"

3. The Killers, "Mr. Brightside"

4. Offspring, "The Kids Aren't Alright"

5. Disturbed, "Indestructible"

6. All-American Rejects, "Move Along"

7. R.E.M., "Losing My Religion"

8. Foo Fighters, "Let It Die"

9. Saliva, "Always"

10. Nickelback, "Rock Star"

Phoenix

The Edge

KEDJ, 103.9 FM

Owner: Rivera Broadcast Group

1. Apocalyptica, "I Don't Care"

2. Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Californication"

3. 311, "Hey You"

4. Green Day, "American Idiot"

5. Kings of Leon, "Use Somebody"

6. Smashing Pumpkins, "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"

7. Offspring, "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid"

8. Incubus, "Black Heart Inertia"

9. Nine Inch Nails, "Hurt"

10. Rise Against, "Audience of One"

11. Weezer, "Beverly Hills"

12. Empire of the Sun, "Walking on a Dream"

St. Louis

The Point

KPNT, 105.7 FM

Owner: Emmis Communications

1. Seether, "Careless Whisper"

2. Limp Bizkit, "Take a Look Around"

3. Velvet Revolver, "She Builds Quick Machines"

4. Soundgarden, "Black Hole Sun"

5. Linkin Park, "Given Up"

6. Green Day, "She"

7. Slipknot, "Dead Memories"

8. House of Pain, "Jump Around"

9. Three Days Grace, "I Hate Everything About You"

10. Live, "Lakini's Juice"

Billboard's Hot Modern Rock Tracks

Week of April 20-26

1. Anberlin, "Feel Good Drag"

2. Kings of Leon, "Use Somebody"

3. Papa Roach, "Lifeline"

4. Rise Against, "Audience of One"

5. Seether, "Careless Whisper"

6. 311, "Hey You"

7. Silversun Pickups, "Panic Switch"

8. Green Day, "Know Your Enemy"

9. Blue October, "Dirt Room"

10. Incubus, "Black Heart Inertia"

11. MGMT, "Kids"

12. The Airborne Toxic Event, "Sometime Around Midnight"

13. Shinedown, "Second Chance"

14. Kings of Leon, "Sex on Fire"

15. Pearl Jam, "Brother"

16. Depeche Mode, "Wrong"

17. Cage the Elephant, "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked"

18. Incubus, "Love Hurts"

19. Apocalyptica, "I Don't Care"

20. U2, "Magnificient"

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Notes:
It seems like Rocks Off picked the worst possible hour to sample - with only one currently charting track and loads of hoary alt-rock and mook-metal, Houston's "New Rock Alternative" comes off as pretty awful indeed. However, browsing the rest of the afternoon, we found most of the Billboard Top 20 in there, as well as cooler classic-alt cuts like Beck's "Loser," Cake's "I Will Survive" - no doubt because the band is playing Verizon Wednesday night - and even Faith No More's "We Care a Lot." And happily, the station only played Creed once all afternoon.

Although it didn't show up in the sample hour, The Buzz's overall ratio of new cuts to recurrents was comparable to the other stations, about two or three an hour. Obviously, the station is nowhere near as progressive as its counterparts in Austin or L.A., so don't expect to hear the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, White Lies or Spoon on The Buzz, well, ever. We'd be willing to bet they throw "Been Caught Stealing" on every once in a while, though.

And anyone who thinks Houston is some sort of alt-radio backwater ought to take another look at the lists from New Orleans, St. Louis and (especially) Nashville. We're certainly no worse than they are. So give The Buzz a break, if only a small one.



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4 comments
tangoprime
tangoprime

If I have to hear "Use Somebody" one more f'ing time, I'm going to turn my wrx into a freaking bridge abutmont.  They fooled me when I first moved here from Baltimore and were playing Metallica, and I thought it would be a decent replacement for bmore's 98 rock, but then when the new album wasn't hot anymore, I started having to hear crap 20/7 (with 4 hours of 'Use Somebody' per day)

Hurricaneike
Hurricaneike

No the buzz really is bad, I think the djs must be traped inside a time warp. Because they keep playing 90s music. ack....

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