Ones of the biggest complaints about listening to traditional radio is having to hear the same handful of songs an inordinate number of times. That's presumably why the local ALT 103.7 is giving listeners a chance to choose what plays on the station.
Starting Jan. 29, Dallas-Fort Worth's self-proclaimed "new alternative" is soliciting listener feedback through a new campaign it's calling "ctrl+ALT+del" -- emphasis on the "alt," obviously. Essentially how it works is when fans hear a song they like, they're encouraged to text "like" to 96750. Hear one you loathe? Text "dislike" to the same number. In theory, this will dictate which tunes stay on rotation and which ones are removed.
According to a statement, tracks that receive a "ridiculous number" of dislikes will be immediately pulled. "We aren't even going to wait until they end to yank them off the radio!" says the station. (GuideLive has inquired as to exactly how many dislikes is "ridiculous.")
For an indie music fan like myself, the lineup has been a mostly enjoyable mix of artists with wide public appeal, but less mainstream exposure than top 40 stations. Think bands like Tegan and Sara, Bishop Briggs, and Moon Taxi played alongside beloved rock bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters, much like you might hear on KXT (91.7 FM), NPR's local music affiliate.
Unlike KXT, however, ALT 103.7 still has commercials and still plays certain songs on repeat excessively. In the three or so hours I listened this morning, I heard "Up All Night" by Beck three times, which was enough for me text in a prompt "dislike." This from the girl who deemed Beck's Colors as one of her favorite albums of 2017.
In that same amount of time, I did not hear a song "yanked" off the air.
Preliminary reviews on the radio station's Facebook page have been mixed: Some listeners appreciated the interactivity while others complained about having to text and drive on their commute. Time will tell if this experiment actually leads to a worthwhile programming roadmap for the station or if it generates nothing more than a lot of worthless text messages. And yes, messaging and data rates may apply.