I fear the day the music might die in Chicago.
As a car commuter, I’m often flipping between the 12 saved station’s allotted to me on my car’s radio. There’s a pattern to the flipping, starting on XRT (because who doesn’t want to wake up to Lin Bremer in the morning!), moving onto the new 104.3, then oldies on 94.3 (though the definition of oldie is getting a little broad in my opinion) and the other three stations on my first six saved spots.
It’s when we hit FM2 that I’ve recently lost some options. Side two contains 97.1, 97.3, 105.9, 101.1, 101.9 and 102.3 (which you can’t actually get in the city). Two of these stations, within days of each other, became news-only stations. 101.9 and 105.9 (though not in its final iteration) were staples of my childhood. Without Q101, how would I have worked out my teen-age angst?
I listen to the news in the morning—in bed, when I’m in the midst of waking up. But in my car, stuck by a train or traffic, I want the mindless noise of music so I can sing along and get the cobwebs out of my head.
More than that, however, it’s the childhood memories I feel got zapped out of the air when those stations became news-only. In my mind, I see the window box around my bedroom window, covered with Q101 stickers (stuck on with tape so as not to irritate my mother when they refused to unstick from the wallpaper).
But I should also take some of the blame for the station’s demise on myself, as I had become an XRT girl by the time I moved back in the late ‘90s, and I only tuned to 101.1 when it didn’t have a commercial and was playing a decent song. Isn’t it always the little decisions you make in life that cause the nostalgia to kick in?
To my knowledge, no new music stations have been added to the FM world, so for now, numbers 8 and 9 on the radio remain there taunting me, and like a person with dementia, I tune in only to feel sad all over again.