Tuning in: South Bend
Scene | Wednesday, September 16, 2009
In a world of iTunes, personalized online music stations and YouTube, radio stations have become somewhat dated. When a music listener can choose his or her own songs, why tune into a station that makes those decisions for you and interrupts with annoying commercials? But for those who still enjoy listening to DJs talk, or those who are just too lazy to make their own musical decisions, South Bend offers a wide variety of stations.
South Bend offers a spectrum of stations for those who enjoy listening to good ol’ rock and roll. 95.3 WAOR claims to be the first “classic rock” station in the country, since at its outset, it aimed to bring listeners “album-oriented rock,” rather than just the most popular songs. They have strayed from this ideal now, but still offer a wide variety of rock from the 60s, 70s, 80s and even some 90s groups such as Metallica and Nirvana.
For those who prefer newer hard rock, 103.9 The Bear is the station for you. Besides broadcasting the popular comedy duo Bob and Tom in the morning, The Bear balances recently released rock with music spanning the past decade, along with a few classic hard rock songs from artists like Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper.
97.7 WZOW is a balance between these other two stations. It started as an almost purely classic rock station, but has now moved to a station that plays almost equal parts new rock and classic rock.
The pop station of choice for South Bend listeners is U93, which can be heard at 92.9 FM. U93 is a basic top-40 station which plays that most popular hits of the current week, and they play those songs over and over again. Recently, however, U93 has made some changes, including offering a rap-free work day and fewer commercials, both of which have been replaced by some occasional 90s pop music sprinkled in with the current hits.
Rap/Hip-Hop/R & B
South Bend offers two rap/hip-hop stations for those who prefer that type of music. Power 95.7 tends to play more popular, top-40 rap and steers clear of slower-paced hip-hip and R&B music. It tends to play music that is currently popular, rather than older, classic rap.
WSMK 99.1 prides itself on playing contemporary rhythm and blues and expands its horizons outside of the top-40 rap played on 95.7. WSMK also plays older rap, hip-hop and R & B along with the contemporary songs.
The two country stations in South Bend are conveniently located near each other on the dial, which allows for easy switching between the two. Both Cat Country 99.9 and B100 100.7 play similar music, combining modern, popular country songs with older, classic country tunes. Cat Country extends its reach slightly further back, unlike B100, which claims to offer “today’s best and most country.”
If none of these sound appealing, South Bend does offer other options that may be more appealing. Sunny 101.5 offers music for “the 80s, 90s and today.” Sunny’s music tends to be adult contemporary and older popular music. Most people will recognize most of the songs played on 101.5.
102.3 The Steam is very similar to Sunny 101.5, though its selection is more limited. They tend to play songs on a more strict rotation than most radio stations, so the same song could be heard ten times in a week and then not again for a year.
Oldies 94.3, as its name suggests, plays the popular songs from the 50s, 60s and 70s. It is the best station of its kind in South Bend, and also happens to be the only South Bend station to consistently play The Beatles.
South Bend also has its own ESPN radio station, 1620 AM. 1620 features popular ESPN shows such as Mike and Mike in the Morning, the Herd with Colin Cowherd, and the Scott Van Pelt show. The sports talk on 1620 is up to typical ESPN standards, but does play commercials often, which takes away from its appeal.