So what is next for commercial radio now that so many of us have abandoned it? Besides the few dedicated music heads that crank out quality specialty programming, commercial radio is in the toilet. When you can simply plug in your iPod and listen to exactly what you want to, when you want to, it pretty much makes music driven radio obsolete.
In an attempt to revive the dying, uncreative rubbish that is terrestrial radio, music guru George Gimarc came up with a new idea: Radio SASS. For many people in the music and radio biz, Gimarc is an icon. His career kicked off at KNTU back in '77 with his show The Rock & Roll Alternative, one of the first new wave/punk programs in North America. He eventually helped launch KDGE in Dallas, one of the very first commercial alternative stations in the country. During the days he was at the helm, I can remember hearing brand new music from artists ranging from The Pixies to the Mock Turtles. Those were great days.
His latest brainchild is a brand new radio format called Radio SASS. The format's official site describes the Short Attention Span System as this: "Short Attention Span System takes the playlist and musically condenses songs to their essence. Through time compression, you get the memorable heart of each song, with an average length of aproximately two minutes with NO self indulgent guitar solos, NO long intros, NO repetition of choruses again and again."
So how do they shorten the songs? The site answers that question with this: "Radio SASS starts out with the memorable beginning, followed by the best verses, best chorus and then wraps it up just as you remember. SASS offers a system of music edited by musicians, making the edits invisible. Just hear for yourself how satisfying this new sound is. Most listeners don't even notice that the songs are short, only that the station really moves."
Don't even think about copying his idea, as this sucker is the world's first patented radio format. Is Radio SASS what we need to return our interest to the FM dial? Radio for the ADD generation is an interesting idea, but will music purists and die-hard fans tolerate the shortening of songs? Judge for yourself by listening to two hours of sample SASS on their official website.