New radio station launches Wednesday

Asheville Radio Group (the umbrella over stations like Classic Hits 96.5 WOXL, 1310 AM Big Wise Sports Radio and 105.9 The Mountain) has just announced a new station. 98.1 The River launches Wednesday, Oct. 1, and promises to provide area listeners with an eclectic mix of tunes.

A press release for the format-bucking station suggests that listeners want “a radio boutique … without silly DJs and mainstream radio hype.” A rundown of the big-name acts includes Dave Matthews Band, Bob Marley, REM, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello and Jack Johnson. While the offerings aren’t college-radio cutting-edge, they are a departure from the Ryan Seacrest-touted pop radio of traditional Top-40 shows.

“The River’s playlist isn’t shaped by big corporate record labels,” the release says. Under-the-radar offerings include Sara Bareilles, My Morning Jacket, Ingrid Michaelson, Amos Lee and G. Love & Special Sauce — a mix that could have been culled from recent Asheville-based Pollstar results.

There are also plans for local-centric speciality programming on the River. General Manager Bob Bolak says it will probably be along the lines of “Local Licks” on the Mountain, but with singer/songwriters and other artists in the genres represented by the River. Local musicians will be able to suggest their bands through the station’s Web site.

First things first: The station is set to launch with 10,000 songs in a row — uninterrupted. The math on that works out to about a month’s worth of music. During that time, listeners are invited to send their comments, criticisms and suggestions to

— Alli Marshall, A&E reporter

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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One thought on “New radio station launches Wednesday

  1. tatuaje

    Wow…people still listen to the radio? That’s so cool…radio’s the new vinyl….you heard it here first…

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