96Wave is Dead, Long Live 96Wave.

I can’t say when I reached 96Wave conciousness but it has been a part of my life and many Charlestonians and South Carolinias for that matter for some time. How many bands have gotten their chance with 96Wave? Who remembers reggae on Sunday nights? FreeFall Jam? Yes, I was in before Wavefest, BEFORE Wavefest. I can still remember when Hootie & the Blowfish and Big Head Todd & the Monsters were performing at FreeFall Jam in 1994. Both were competing to be the main draw and the next big thing. Now Big Head Todd has had some success but not like Hootie. I stil remember the commercial. How many stickers have been given out and what percentage of those are plastered to cars on Folly Beach?

So it finally happened. I turn on the radio tonight it is set to 96.1 and I hear a song that has no place on this station, I Touch Myself. I figured it was a DJ having some late night fun. No. It was over. I am now dialed in to the new
96.1 Chuch fm. I felt like a friend had just taken himself out. What sucks is I had just seen him that morning and on the way home from work and he seemed ok Why?

I guess I should have seen the signs, they were all there in retrospect. It has been a declining year for the station. I don’t know why when they have always had a real character and culture associated with them not like your cheesy 95SX sellouts. The first big blunder I remember was when they fired Adam, The Critic and Storm from the morning show years back. I remember it being the best and when it was gone it was irreplacable. We then got stuck with Howard Stern. Some people really like Howard Stern and he will say anything to make you forget the local guys he replaced. I did not forget. Many years later a crazy thing happened Critic was back and it seemed to be to save the station from a slump. Not only that but a new morning show was aired Storm and Kenny. Again I felt they rose to the top of the morning shows much like Adam and The Critic had before them. Again though management at 96Wave felt that ratings were not high enoubh and in April of 2006 they were abruptly taken off the air. I miss you “Traffic Fairy” you always let me know which way to go to work. Critic had a great afternoon show at this time featuring a whole cast of characters such as Evil Lou and out next president The Southern Avenger. I loved listening to Critic on the way home and hearing what the Southern Avenger was speaking out about. You need to check out his commentary, just listen. Things had started going downhill a few weeks before the Storm and Kenny firings. The station had changed their music format from the strict “alternative” and local to a much wider range, so would say they were too bold. It gets worse.

The Critic didn’t last long after they attempted him filling in the morning slot. His show was all about happy hour and his friends being at the bar. You wanted to come home and be listening to this, even if you had no friends you thought you were at the bar with them. Well the show didn’t make it and we got the semi-nationally syndicated Free Beer and Hot Wings. Now at first I refused to listen and I yelled about it wherever I went but I couldn’t find anything else to listen to. I couldn’t listen to 95SX Two Girls and a Guy. I just couldn’t do it, they make me wish I could close my ears and stop hearing.

So here we are in the downward spiral, if I would have been paying attention I could have seen them as death throws. Tonight I feel much much older as all I am left with are memories, there are no more good times coming. I miss you 96Wave, what else can I say? I wanted you here forever, I will miss your music and local commentary as I go to and from work. No longer will I go to the beach and hear about the bikinifest you are doing at the Windjammer. How will I know what great local acts are headlining our terrific venues? That is why I do not listen to sattelite radio, I want to listen locally, I want to do things locally. In your quest to keep listeners from running off to satellite radio with their wide-ranging playlists you have pushed away your core audience who loved you dearly. Goodbye 96Wave.

96Wave is Dead, Long live THE WAVE, WAVF Hannahan, Charleston.