Finding a new favorite radio station

Radio is a major part of many people’s lives, and I’ve come to realize that for many people, radio helps pass the day. Radio doesn’t help my day pass, but it does help me get the day started and has an effect on the kind of day I have.

For the first two years I lived in Bloomington, I listened to Rich Anton in the mornings on WTTS-FM, 92.3. I grew attached to this disembodied voice: he woke me weekday mornings with music, a tidbit of news and the weather forecast — including details about Bloomington.

Ultimately, what astounded me about Anton is how attached I grew to the voice. I’ve never met the man, and he was only involved in my life for two years; yet when he took the occasional morning off, my days were noticeably worse. The different voice on the dial was jarring — and the new voices didn’t necessarily do the same things in the same order.

I knew I was not going to do well when Anton announced last summer he was leaving the radio station. It was, for the first few weeks, as bad as I feared. I used to set my alarm so the first thing I heard was the news and weather, followed by music that would jar me out of bed and into the shower. After Anton left, it was anybody’s guess what voice would come across the radio waves and what time those voices would announce information.

That was until Jill Savage arrived. Savage was stability, but unfortunately the wrong kind of stability. Her voice was there every morning, at roughly the same time, providing information. But around that time I started to notice changes — subtle changes it took me a while to notice.

A radio station that used to serve both Bloomington and Indianapolis is no more, for WTTS now appears intent upon serving only Indianapolis. Although the studios are still located in Bloomington, there’s no more Bloomington weather and fewer Bloomington commercials. When they do appear, they sound out of place.

I’ll admit Savage is probably not to blame for these changes, but one thing is sure. It is no longer my radio station; it is merely a radio station, a spot on the dial that I now flip past. I can no longer listen to WTTS in the morning. I had to find a new radio station to call my own.

In Bloomington, this is no easy feat. Those of us not addicted to country music have a few sparse choices: B97, public radio and the Firehouse. I’ve had a few experiences with B97, and I listen to it every once in a while — such as when the Hoosiers are playing and I can’t be home to watch. National Public Radio has excellent national and local news, but it plays more classical music than should be allowed.

That left me with the Firehouse — WFHB — community radio. Community radio in Bloomington is truly special. The voices might not be consistent from day to day, and the music might not be consistent from hour to hour, but it is genuine and real. The people are local, doing radio for fun, and it shows through in their work and dedication. And they are local; this distinction is important to me, as I like to support local businesses and my community.

Although my old radio station still broadcasts from Bloomington, it might as well be in Indy for all the local news that gets attention. On B97, I know some of the voices are local, but much of it is satellite radio with some disembodied voice sitting in a room 2,000 miles away.

I miss Rich Anton. But for now, I have made a new selection from the radio menu, and I hope Bloomington’s community radio becomes an involved part of my life. The station volunteers will know they have been successful when I call with my pledge of support the next time they hold a fundraiser.

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