Thursday, October 04, 2012

There's a kind of Lush

I take my radio very seriously. I can't remember a time when I didn't listen to the radio. The fact that it's free makes it just inherently democratic. And everyone I know listens to the radio.

But this doesn't mean that all radio is created equal. In the words of George Orwell, some are more equal than others. I like my radio station to play good music, minimize the incessant and inane chatter that passes off as entertainment, and have as few ads as possible (although enough to keep it afloat, I suppose...) Oh, and I hope it isn't too much to ask that it also be clever and funny. And when I say clever, I don't mean serious; just a radio station with presenters who don't treat listeners as a vacuous, mindless mass. I don't want to hear rivaling jostling voices talk about the merits of dehydrated beer or bantering co-hosts debate whether falling down in slippery public toilets is really funny. Just play decent music and talk to each other (and by extension, me) as intelligent, thinking individuals. With a sense of humor. Is that too much to ask?

Thank god for Lush 99.5 FM. I chanced upon them while channel surfing the car radio in exasperation a couple of days after we bought our car and I haven't listened to anything else since. They play AMAZING music- Glen Hansard, M83, The Radio Dept,, Chairlift, Grimes, Nina Simone, and so much wonderfully more. My grouse with the other English music radio stations in Singapore is that they all sound homogenous. No matter how much they claim to target different audience (teens, working adults, women, etc), they all seem to play the same generic music. They could swap station addresses and I wouldn't be able to tell them apart. And don't get me started on the DJs- in the words of our friend, Tym, listening to some of the insipid rambling makes her want to stab her eardrums out.

Which is why I love Lush so much. Apart from the fact that they promise to air no more than two commercials back to back, I could listen to their DJs all day (and would if not for the fact that they actually don't talk much and just allow the music to speak for itself...) Joe Augustin and Petrina Kow are hilarious in the morning. They make me laugh at least once every morning, like today when Joe likened a predicted worldwide shortage of diapers (after an explosion at a Japanese chemical plant) to someone bombing all the True Blood factories around the world. I'm glad no one else was in the car with me- I think the cars going at 70km/h next to me could have heard me guffaw... The two of them have wonderful rapport and an uncanny ability to put a clever (and often funny-- note, not silly) spin on current happenings in Singapore and around the world.

Lush's roster of DJs and the creative team also reads like the who's who of the Singapore radio I grew up with- people like Dahlia Z, Georgina Chang, and Chris Ho, whose show on Lush, Clubscape, incidentally, was the only radio show in Singapore to be nominated at the recent International Radio Festival.

There's apparently some radio ratings survey going around and it seems Lush isn't doing too great relative to the other more popular and aggressively marketed music stations. I'm not sure how much the survival of the radio station is dependent on this survey or if there's some other way radio listenership is measured. But for the sake of preserving interesting and entertaining radio in Singapore, please listen in to Lush and keep it going. Hopefully you'll fall in love with it as immediately as I did.

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