Sarah Aschenbrenner/the Gauntlet

X is for X-treme!!! For now...

Publication YearIssue Date 

On New Year's Eve, the newest radio station in town, X92.9, hosted a bash at Mac Hall on the University of Calgary campus. The party doubled as a kick-off for the radio station and a free all-ages concert featuring Hot Hot Heat. X92.9 labels itself as the new rock alternative and is placing itself to compete for listeners with the current reigning rock station, CJAY92. Though X92's marketing campaign and sloganeering intentionally places it as an alternative to what's currently offered in the Calgary radio market, there isn't really much difference between it and the stations it's trying to distance itself from.

The new rock songs X92 plays are essentially the same as CJAY92, with a few different Canadian artists thrown in to appease CanCon regulations laid down by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommuncations Commission. Where CJAY92 will likely play Nickleback ad nauseum, X92 will replace it with Metric or Billy Talent. Amusingly, one of the principles X92 was founded upon is the hatred audiences have developed for Nickleback after being force- fed their sub-par frat rock for so long--the radio station glowingly showcases its "No Nickleback" guarantee. X92 now risks audiences developing the same hatred for Billy Talent and Metric, two bands who--despite being played much less than Nickleback--are about as mediocre as the boys from Hannah. Sure, Metric is catchy, but so was Nickleback two albums in, before everyone started hearing them umpteen times a day.

As laughable as their "No Nickleback" guarantee is, X92's willingness to play the Tragically Hip is worse. Though there's nothing wrong with the Hip, if a station truly wanted to distance itself from every other stop on the dial, avoiding Gord and friends would be a good way to do it. Even Q107, the "classic" rock station, play the Hip's mostly '90S-based singles.

X92's selection has been a welcome change from the fare offered on CJAY92 but part of the station's initial attraction is based on its currently low percentage of commercials. If the station is to survive, that will change and presumably, so will its alternative content. If a radio-station sustaining population really wanted to hear the hits that X plays and CJAY doesn't, they probably would've called in to CJAY and requested them already.

The viability of three straight-up rock stations in a city with a population of one million is questionable, especially with satellite radio, CDs and iPods cutting into the audience. Those who were discouraged by the offerings on CJAY and X are likely to turn away once X starts the heavy commercial rotation typical of mainstream stations, returning to what they were listening to before to get their 'alternative' fix.

Tom Waits had it right when he accepted the Grammy for best alternative album. "Alternative to what?" he asked. "Silence?" The label 'alternative' is ridiculous when it comes to music, as it is completely perspective-based. Everything is an alternative to something else. x, as a radio station based on being an alternative, really offers much less than that. Though it does have a different rotation of singles, it plays by the same radio rules, overplaying mediocre Canadian songs to the point of nausea. Though currently a welcome change, there's no guarantee it'll actually last. New is exciting, but that initial excitement usually fades. In Calgary's market, and in a world where, overall, radio listenership is falling, the chance of X making a mark for very long is highly unlikely.




We listen to this station at work for more than 8 hours a day and it's worth more than the person who wrote this review gave it credit for

Hanna the town does not have an h at the end.

If you want to call yourself an opinion columnist you best not use absolute terms like 'as mediocre as'. Opinion is subjective and my opinion is actually that Metric and Billy Talent are good musicians, as are the Dudes and Hot Little Rocket, and the other bands that X92.9 plays that other radio stations may not give a chance to.

I hope I'm not alone in being thankful for some local music on a local radio station.

I do enjoy this radio station for now. They play a lot of Three Day's Grace and that sucks pretty hard. There are a lot of Canadian bands with new sounds.

To those who attack the validity of the article look again at what is being said. X calls itself the alternative to all the other shitty stations in Calgary. However at the end of the day it is still commercial radio. Not matter how much you like Billy Talent or Metric I doubt you will still be big fans when they being shoved down your throat every day for months and months on end. Remember Sk8terboi or How you remind me?

The neat thing about opinions articles is that they're inherently subjective, so you don't have to qualify your /opinions/ within them! That would be passive voice!

Hooray for learning!

Cjay sucks because it plays ancient rock music only old ppl listen to, or ppl who are trying to seem cool and in the know by saying they love metallica. Does cjay play smashing pumpkins? what about muse.. or oasis? cjay only caters to those trying to seem all hardcore. basically, x 92.9 plays the stuff cjay is too scared to play, and avoids playing overrated crap like nickleback or fall out boy (the hilary duffs of rock).

'Cause DUUUUDE! OASIS IS XXXTREEME AND BRAND SPANKING NEW!!!!!!!!!111onehundredeleven1!

Do you even listen to X92 or CJ, Annie? X92 played Fall Out Boy plenty when "It's not a scene, it's an arms race" came out, and CJ plays Oasis and Smashing Pumpkins occasionally.