Alt-Rock Revolution in Orlando?

X107.3 Orlando’s Alt-Rock Revolution

Their countdown billboards were sprinkled through the area, and we heard their attention grabbing gimmick featuring The Beatles “Revolution” before the station kicked off.  But, is the arrival of Orlando’s new Alt-Rock station X107.3 truly revolutionary? And if so, a revolution worth getting behind?

The station kicked off on noon, June 19th, promising 10,000 consecutive songs without a commercial. Based on my rough estimates, that will take us through July 13th. To be honest, there is a paid sponsor during this time, but in any case, that’s a hell of a  long time without commercials. Enjoy it!

In our travels lately, including The American Authors show at Red, Hot and Boom this weekend, we’ve caught up with a bunch  of folks to capture their initial impressions of Orlando’s new radio offering. Truthfully, the response has not been overwhelmingly positive, and when you visit the station’s Facebook page, you see a lot of similar thoughts. There are still reception issues, but there’s also angst over the playlist.

During the preview, the station plays the same songs over and over (and over) again.  If this is indeed a sign of things to come, this is an incredibly tight and predictable setlist.  If you weren’t sick of Lorde, Bastille, Imagine Dragons and Black Keys, or at least of their biggest recent releases, that might change quickly.

“You say you got a real solution. Well, you know. We’d all love to see the plan”

So, is what we are hearing now the ultimate plan? It’s hard to know for sure, but I suspect the preview is a sign of things to come. The station is a new offering from Cox Communications, they’re a large national radio outfit that continues to grow in Florida. They have two other Alt-Rock offerings in our coverage area, X1029 in Jacksonville and 97X in Tampa. Those stations offer minimal local flavor, sparse DJ interactions and an automated web widget that lets the listeners “take over” the station by selecting from a pre-chosen list of songs. My guess, is that’s the “revolution.”

“Well, you know. You’d better free your mind instead”

I can hear it now, “So, you are saying they’re going to have a small playlist, play just the hits, and basically have us interact with a PC. That sucks right?” Nope – I wouldn’t make that leap at all.  Orlando has exactly one good rock music station; WJRR’s 101.5, but they don’t play this kind of Alt-Rock, rather a more gritty Active Rock.  Redundant as you may think the playlist is, it’s still another choice on the dial, and an option that will offer up and introduce us to excellent new Alt-Rock.  I spend a lot of time listening to Alt-Nation on Sirius XM, and the music on X107.3 is similar, while still offering a few different tracks.  Perfect? Nope, but far better than anything else in Orlando for Alt-Rock today.

I’m pretty sure that X1029 still offers a feature on local Jacksonville Alt-Rock, if their sister station at X107.3 offers the same for Orlando, that’s great news for the many local bands toiling across Central Florida.

Jacksonville and Tampa also have excellent Alt-Rock festivals and the aforementioned Cox stations in those markets play huge roles. Jacksonville’s Welcome To Rockville and Big Ticket Festival are plastered with X1029 presence, and Tampa’s Next Big Thing and Coastline Festivals are similarly sponsored by 97X.  If Orlando reaps similar benefits with a festival or two of our own, it’s nothing but goodness for our legions of Alt-Rock fans.

Check out a few reviews to see the possibilities: The Big Ticket Festival  |  The Coastline Festival

Over the past few years, I’ve interviewed touring Alt-Rock bands and heard them refer to the dearth of outlets for their music in Orlando.  With the arrival of X107.3, this will help change that perception. That’s good for those of us who love live Alt-Rock music! Check out the websites for X1029 and you’ll see a long list of acoustic sessions with bands that were just breaking through at the time. Again, if we see this in Orlando, we’ll be lucky fans. Check out the list here: X1029 Acoustic Sessions 

So, it’s probably not going to be the perfect station for every Orlando Alt-rocker, but this should still be music to our ears. Keep listening, and let’s give this station a chance. If they are successful, we’ll all be happy. I’m excited for this Revolution and anxious to watch X107.3 help grow Orlando’s Alt-Rock universe. And, you can help us grow our Central Florida community of Rock music fans by Following and Liking Us.

Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright. Alright, alright

 Rock On!

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