Coup d’Etat – Listeners take over FM94/9 this weekend

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Ed. Note: Our Editor Marc Choquette will be a guest on FM94/9’s Coup d’Etat tonight at 2 a.m., where he will play ten great songs and discuss the Entertainer. He will desperately be trying to stay awake, as should you!

We are lucky to have some great radio stations in San Diego. After living in L.A. for four years and witnessing the terrestrial demise of Indie 103.1, which was pretty much the only tolerable and unique station in the area, flipping through the dial in San Diego was a godsend.

One of my personal favorites in the area is FM94/9 (no offense to our friend Andrew at 91x, which is another great station). They play a great mix of music that you normally don’t hear on other rock stations (or all of terrestrial radio for that matter). You’ll hear every age of rock represented since the late 60s: classic rock, grunge, new wave, punk, electronic, surf rock, etc. etc. etc.

The station reminds me of WBRU, a prominent alt-rock station in Providence, R.I. run by Brown University students that I practically grew up with. Although ‘BRU isn’t what it used to be music-wise, I always appreciated stations that tried to buck the trend and not play what was dictated to them by corporate and the Billboard charts (see “ClearChannel“).

FM94/9 - It's About the MusicOne of the great things about FM94/9, aside from their incredibly diverse playlist (I heard the long, lost song “Popular” by Nada Surf the other day), is their outside-the-box thinking with regard to their shows and promotions. From their “Random Shuffle Weekends” where they set their gigantic library to ‘shuffle play’ and give the DJs the weekend off, to the seductive, salacious, ethereal “Big Sonic Chill” every night, the team at 94/9 has certainly come up with some great ideas over the past few years.

This weekend it continues with the “Coup d’Etat” – something I don’t believe any radio station in history has attempted (you can try and prove me wrong in the comments). Here’s how it works: A few weeks before the Coup d’Etat arrives, radio station “Insiders” are invited to submit a ten-song playlist for the Coup d’Etat. Program Director Garett and Promotions Coordinator Norm (and probably some interns) shuffle through the thousands of entries (it reached almost 10,000 this go around) and pick 50 or so listeners who will have an hour time slot at some point over the weekend to go into the studio, talk about themselves and the music they picked, while the ten songs the listener picked are played over the course of the hour. When the hour is up, a new listener comes in, and so on.

Of course, having to fit 50 people in over the course of two days can make things difficult. Some get blessed with great time slots (like Dan of Allied Gardens, who goes on for the drive home this evening at 5 p.m.) and some get screwed (like Alex of National City, who goes on at 4 a.m. Saturday morning).

I was one of the lucky ones chosen to participate. I get the last call shift tonight at 2 a.m. (or technically Saturday morning, I suppose) so for all the barflies getting out in PB and Downtown tonight, make sure you turn the dial to 94.9 FM and crank it cause you’ll be hearing some real jams. Not sure how I’ll be able to stay up for this shift, so if you’re reading and have anything you can *offer,* be sure to leave a comment.

I can’t wait for the evening and my first radio gig since my days as a DJ on Malibu’s KWVS. Thanks 94/9 for your innovation, diversity and personality. Keep up the good work!


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