I know I speak for the masses in Toronto when I say that the radio culture has been going downhill there for years. When I first moved back to the GTA from the U.K. in 2005, there were still a few options: 93.5 was still old school hip hop and rap; 99.9 had a decent mix of new music and older classics; 104.5 hadn’t gone completely mainstream yet. However, by the time I left in 2010, most radio stations had become a melting pot of pop music, played on repeat. Often times I would switch stations, only to hear the same refrain from the same song. The only station I will really miss is 102.1, and even then, they go a little extreme-screamy-grunge sometimes, which I can only handle in small doses.
It was difficult to leave the amazing land of BBC Radio One in England, and with apologies to the CBC, nothing in Canada ever really compared to that experience. Until now.
I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous moving here, as my first summer was littered with bad radio and scrolling through a lot of static, but then someone mentioned “The Peak” and I remembered the rogue, relatively little-known station with lots of potential, which had emerged at the end of last summer.
In the past year that station has found its identity and its audience, and my days of switching stations are over. It’s such a refreshing change to sit back and relax while driving, instead of fumbling with dials or changing songs on your IPod. Their tagline is “World Class Rock” and they play a mix of the soundtrack from my high school life (which happened in the mid to late 90s when alternative/rock music was at an all-time high), and new music that is both well-known and less-known, introducing new and local artists who are pumping out organic sound and powerful lyrics.
Today I enjoyed Beck’s “Girl”, Pearl Jam’s “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”, “The High Road” by Broken Bells, “Cigarette” by Jeremy Fisher, “Ready to Start” by Arcade Fire, and the new single “Radioactive” by Kings of Leon. More seasoned bands like Sublime, The Kinks, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers, and U2 also appeared on their playlist today. Sigh. I think I’m in love.
The Peak can be found at 100.5 FM, or for those who are outside the Vancouver area, you can stream the music on the web at http://www.thepeak.fm/