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 email@example.com.
— Alli Marshall, A&E reporter