RIP Q101

As Chicago’s Alternative leaves the airwaves, fans mourn it and their own passing youth, and discuss the future of how we relate to music and the people who bring it to us.

I grew up in a place that had no college radio; that had one “modern” “rock” station that was as bad then as those things are everywhere now; no better place to buy music than the mall; and no tour stops of note besides medium-sized-arena country acts and what’s left of Lynyrd Skynyrd. So by the time I got to Chicago I had been so ill-treated by the FM dial that I didn’t trust the airwaves enough to give them a second chance (save for WFMT, which did provide a respite from the Canadian Brass programming of my youth).

Nonetheless—or perhaps as a result—I’m moved by the reactions to the last days of Q101, like an only child listening to someone talk about their siblings.

The one thing you have to read is by Stephanie Kuehnert, author of Ballads of Suburbia and I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone: “Q101 was the first thing that Chicago gave me that felt like mine.” (Hey, I was just listening to the Lemonheads’ cover of Mrs. Robinson the other day.)

More dispassionate: Marah Eakin of the AV Club, Tankboy of Chicagoist. Robert Feder previews what’s next, which is nothing concrete (which is a bit exciting). One angle to consider: Internet leaks killed the radio stars.

And then there’s Twitter:

(The consensus on Twitter seems to be that @ElectraQ101, Chicago’s 2008 pick for Best Radio DJ, is extremely deserving of a job somewhere.)

As for the station itself, it’s headed towards the inevitable: the Web, and at some point, a book. While you’re waiting to see what happens to it in other media, my recommendation for modern what-used-to-be-rock-but-that’s-an-increasingly-useless-term* is CHIRP Radio, which is probably as close to what the future looks like as exists right now.

*I’m available for branding consultation.

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