Day 9 — Not the way I remember the 90s!

Bootcamp moved along again today — we spent the day in the 90’s. I have to confess that music wasn’t my highest priority during the 90’s; Jeff was born on February 1, 1990, and, as everyone says, having a child will change your life.

We never stopped listening to classical music, but we did play a lot of other music, espcially during the first half of the decade. Raffi was popular for a short time, but Jeff outgrew him quickly (whew). We watched a lot of Sesame Street, which brought along some fun music (I still like “Put Down The Ducky”, in fact). But the favorite in our household was Sharon, Lois, and Bram. We discovered them one day on Nickelodeon — eventually, we had many tapes of the Elephant Show. Like Sesame Street, the show had enough subtle humor for adults to enjoy (though it was aimed squarely at pre-schooler), and the music was enjoyable even if your age was in double digits. We even went to Great America to see them live.

But once Jeff started school, he outgrew Sharon, Lois, and Bram. And there wasn’t a replacement; instead, we went back to listening to classical music.

But while we weren’t looking, the Bay Area had lost one of its two classical stations. KKHI/95.7 was sold to Westinghouse Broadcasting in 1994; Westinghouse immediately changed its format to all-news. But it wasn’t a respectable all-news station like KCBS/740 — instead, it focussed its attention on the hot story of the day, the OJ Trial. All OJ, all the time — just what I didn’t need.

So I started listening to KDFC/102.1. When we first moved to the Bay Area, KDFC was a very sedate station; it played all classical music (as it still does today), but there were no live announcers. Instead, it was all automated; each piece was introduced by a very quiet announcement giving the composer, title, year, and performer. And the commercials were few, far between, and equally quiet — in particular, there was no music on the commercials. So it was a great place for music, but in a boring way.

That changed over the years, especially after KDFC was sold to Bonneville International. Announcers (many of them refugees from KKHI) came on board, the commercial load increased, and the days of screening the commercials so they were in keeping with the music ended.

But it was the only game in town for classical music, so we kept listening.

In the meantime, the popular music of the 90’s kept going without us. Nirvana, Beastie Boys, Vanilla Ice, Ricky Martin, Bon Jovi…I heard of them all without hearing them.

And now that I’ve spent a while listening to 90’s on 9, I can say that I don’t think I missed a lot. I heard a couple of pleasant tunes during the short time I was able to listen this afternoon (about 1pm Pacific), but there was a lot of other music I didn’t like. It also didn’t seem to be a great choice to use as background, especially during a conference call, so I turned it off and resolved to tune in again at home.

Which I did; the mix of music seems to be a little different than it was this afternoon — significantly harder-edged, and I can’t say I’ve heard any songs that I’d want to hear again.

So it’s back to XM Pops for the rest of the evening — Diane and Jeff will be relieved, too.