Rejuvenating Radio and Classic Rock Can Only Be Done By Storytelling

Sunil Singh
3 min readAug 6, 2023

I am 59. I stopped listening to radio for music when a Toronto station called Q107 pulled the plug on its highly popular Psychedelic Sundays with the DJ Andy Frost on May 27, 2018, my 54th birthday. While naturally a whole day of listening to the best music of 1965 to 1975 was great, what made it even greater was the infectious and enthusiastic voice of Andy Frost. The show lasted 33 years, roughly three years longer than the period of music that was so affectionately attended to and curated from.

Radio, inevitably, lost its license to inform and present new music when the internet and social media connected almost twenty years ago. Everything became democratized. Information, which used to flow vertically, was now flowing horizontally — faster and fiercer.

Three decades ago, I needed the help of radio — which wasn’t exactly dialed into the musical underground(except for college stations) — and independent newspapers to find out about new music and upcoming shows.

If the internet was around back then, I highly doubt I would have missed Nirvana coming to town in 1990 and Kyuss in 1992 — two bands that spawned the Gen X genres of grunge(I hate that word) and stoner rock(not too much better). Grunge is dead. Stoner rock is the biggest sub genre of rock and roll today. That’s a story for another day…

Up until Sunday, July 30, I had not missed radio one bit. Its general format has a delta between it and the current rock scene that dwarfs whatever it was three decades ago. I came back — thousands did — because one of my generation’s greatest storyteller of the classic rock era is back.

That would be the inimitable and incomparable Jeff Woods, same age as me, and long time veteran of music and radio. What has been generally missing from radio in the realm of classic rock are the stories, the nuggets of rare trivia, and the binding voice to connect it all.

Classic rock, without an informative voice that has the knowledge/story bank to interject something like the actual total of shows The Beatles played at the legendary Cavern club in Liverpool — 292 — can easily be relegated to jukebox memories. Worse, it can be affixed to the disparaging label of “Dad Rock”.

However, with Jeff Woods back on radio at 94.9 FM, steering the majestic vessel of classic rock with authority through all its waters and tributaries, a golden generation of music feels awakened and alive — once again.

Don’t waste your time with something like Sirius XM, which is a sterile partitioning of music to a point of bands/artists having their own channels. When there is a Thin Lizzy channel, I might pop in. Until then, you can have your bazillion choices of music — sans any DJ with comforting narratives and memorable stories.

Do yourself a favour and tune in every Sunday to hear a great mix of songs that range anything from familiar staples of FM radio to deeper cuts of classic rock’s bests albums. And, of course, hear them all spliced with the best storytelling voice in radio — Jeff Woods.

--

--