Saturday, January 5, 2013

Jersey music memories (WHTG edition)

Matt Pinfield's appearance last night on Portlandia brought back memories of the old WHTG, 106.3, perhaps the greatest alternative music radio station of all time.

Man, did I love 106.3 back in the early 1990s, when I lived in central New Jersey. It was the only station on my radio dial for years. They aired what would probably be referred to as "free-form" alternative rock -- whatever the DJs felt like playing, they played. You never knew what was coming next, and all of it was good. My musical tastes still skew back to what I heard in those glory days.

Pinfield was just one of the DJs at WHTG (this was before he moved to MTV, of course). I'm sure if I dug around I could find and remember many of the other DJ names, but I loved 'em all, even the ones that sounded like amateurs, which many of them were. Heck, I almost got a chance to spin there. I applied for a job in 1991 and the managers said yes, but the salary was so low it would have been like paying them for the right to work there.

Alas, WHTG is no more. They changed ownership and formats around the same time I moved further north, out of their broadcast range, playing more hits and less alternative music. Their format has shifted a few more times since then, and now they are apparently known as "Thunder 106" and play only country music. What a loss.

Portlandia always starts with their theme song "The Dream of the Nineties is Alive in Portland." For me, that dream includes the music I heard on WHTG. Maybe I'll hear it again one day.

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