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What was that song on the radio?

Radio stations have played music for nearly 100 years. While the radio stations themselves hope that you will listen to the music and then listen to the commercials aired by the radio station, the music publishing companies hope that you will listen to the music and then go out and buy it.

But what if you don’t know what song you just heard?

Back in the day, if your favorite deejay neglected to mention that he just played “Love Child” by the Supremes, then you’d have to continue to listen to the radio station to hear the song again. Or you might go to your friends and ask them what that “love wild” song was that you heard on the radio.

Nowadays, if the deejay neglects to mention the name of a song, there are other ways you can figure it out.

Perhaps you have one of those newer car radios that allows the display of textual information about the broadcast. In many (not all) cases, the radio station displays the name of the song and the artist on the radio itself.

If the radio station displays some other text instead (“Your Hit Leader!!!”), or if you don’t have such a fancy-dancy radio, perhaps you can go to your favorite search engine and type in some of the lyrics.

But if you can’t make out the lyrics, there’s one other avenue – the radio station’s website itself. Radio stations didn’t have websites back in the 1970s or in the 1920s, so you couldn’t really go online and view all of the songs that they just played. Perhaps you could write a letter to the radio station and ask, “What was that song that you played at 12:32 pm on November 5, 1962?” But I don’t know if you would get a response.

Last week I spent the day in San Diego, and occupied part of my afternoon by driving around in the warm southern California weather and listening to the radio station 91X. Now a couple of words about 91X – people who lived in Los Angeles about 10-15 years ago would probably compare 91X to the Los Angeles radio station KROQ. Both play “alternative” music. Both have hired deejays with accents.

However, it should be noted that 91X is technically not a San Diego radio station, since its transmitter is located across the border in Mexico. Because of this, it has to comply with Mexican broadcasting laws. During the afternoon that I was listening to 91X, at least half of the commercials were public service announcements from Mexican government entities informing people that the government could not compel you to vote for any particular political party. Oddly enough, these commercials were all in the English language. Either Tijuana is losing its Spanish-language heritage, or the Mexican government is hoping that most Mexicans won’t hear these commercials.

But back to my drive. So I was driving around, listening to 91X, and I heard this song that I hadn’t ever heard before. If the deejay announced the name of the song/artist, I didn’t hear it. I was driving a 20th century car, so I didn’t have the fancy-dancy radio. The only lyric that I caught was the word “paradise,” which could be Green Day or Meat Loaf or just about anyone.

So what did I do? Several hours later, when I was back home in Ontario, I fired up my computer and found 91X’s on air playlist. I scrolled back a few hours and found a song from Coldplay called “Paradise.” The song had been #1 in the UK several months ago, and had charted elsewhere (including the United States) several months ago, but I seem to have missed all of that brouhaha. I am not trendy.

Here’s the official video of the song, if you’re interested. (If you read the Empoprise-MU page on Google+, you know that I’ve already said that the video is kind of a mix of Bob Dylan and the Banana Splits, but in retrospect I guess I should have been able to identify it as a Coldplay song.)

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One thought on “What was that song on the radio?

  1. pete on said:

    hi, you probably know this already…but you can add shazam to your smart phone and press “go” while the song is playing. it will record a bit of the song and then show you what song it is, who the artist is etc. You have to have a smart phone though. This will hopefully be more hwlpful if you are out at dinner or clothes shopping when a song plays. Hope this helps.
    Pete in San Diego

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