New Jack Swing

OK, I admit it, I love the new Jack 93.1 radio station. I know we’ve discussed the format change here at b.la, but now that it’s been a month, I think it’s time to weigh in on the new Jack. Before you Arrow fans yell at me and ask me to sign your petition, hear me out.

Here are the reasons Jack beats the shit out of Arrow:

1. We don’t ever need to hear The Steve Miller Band again in our lifetimes. None of us on earth do. We’ve heard all the songs infinity times. Same goes double for CCR.

2. LA radio sucked for a long time. It’s about time someone played The Cure, bookended by Huey Lewis and Cinderella.

3. DJ’s can be okay (Jim Ladd), but what do they REALLY provide us except for an interruption between songs? There may come a time when I miss hearing a DJ stealing a headline off of FARK two days after it’s relevant, but until then, I’m not missing the DJ’s.

4. All the ads at once make it easy for me to switch to 103.1 for a set amount of time and then come back when they’re over. (Unfortunately, the ads on 103.1 are often on at the same time. Bastards.)

5. The only thing Arrow used to have going for it in the mornings was that it DIDN’T have an annoying as all hell morning radio show. Arrow jumped the shark when they capitulated and hired “Morning DJs.” Ugh.

6. I already have all ten songs that Arrow used to play on my iPod.

7. Classic Rock will not attract new listeners, and therefore will not give horrible, embarrassing Top 40 stations any competition. Maybe a new, better radio format like this will actually force the Top 40 stations to suck less.

8. “Jack FM” is a better name than “The Arrow.” (just barely)

I think I must be their target audience, because I like almost every single song they play. As I was listening tonight (on a quest to find a 24-hour DVD store in Manhattan Beach…don’t ask), I wondered how a format change affects the employees of a radio station. Surely they all knew it was coming, but I imagine there was some sort of bitterness…especially from the DJ’s who suddenly found themselves unemployed. That definitely sucks.

The only thing I don’t like about JACK is the snarkiness in the interstitials. I don’t want my radio station to be arrogant. I just want to hear Bon Jovi followed by The Cranberries followed by Evelyn “Champagne” King. Throw in Joey Scarbury’s theme from “The Greatest American Hero” and you’ll have a listener for life.

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20 Replies to “New Jack Swing”

  1. Shane, I think you nailed it. I gave up on Arrow when they got rid of Uncle Joe in the mornings about a year ago. With the new format, I don’t think I’ve switched from 93.1 since tuning into it shortly after its debut. Their huge shuffled-up playlist consistently makes me gasp in “no way!” amazement. Now, like you mentioned, they just need to get rid of those snarky “You don’t know Jack” bridges. Great post!

  2. I’m an admirer of Jack, but to become greater still, they should play a few non-rock/non-pop songs. Maybe a rock instrumental every now and then, like Walk Don’t Run by the Ventures or Riviera Paradiso by Stevie Ray Vaughn. Maybe a jazz standard every now and then, like My Favorite Things by John Coltrane or Ruby My Dear by Thelonious Monk. Maybe older Top 40 songs, like When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano by The Ink Spots or I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm by Billy Holiday.

    just an idea,

    Stu Mark
    Redondo Beach, CA

  3. Sorry guys, gotta disagree with you here. Jack sounds too much like a cross between KBIG and Arrow to me. The station promises a wide range of music and prides itself on “trainwrecks” between wildly different songs, but I don’t hear it. The playlist is very narrow — and sticks to tracks we’ve heard a 100 times before, on radio, no less. There aren’t many “wow” moments, when you hear a song you haven’t heard in years. It’s not delivering on the promise of more ecelctic JACK stations in other markets.

  4. I love it too, something new to listen to. And I agree I like just about every song they play. Wouldn’t mind if they got a bit “harder”, but I like it just fine.

    Too bad their website is way lame: 931jackfm dot com. We should all send them email (jack at 931jackfm dot com) and ask for a web stream…

    P.S. I must say I can handle any amount of Jim Ladd and/or CCR. I’ve had enough of The Who for my lifetime, though.

  5. I have to admit, I kind of like it, too. I mean, I heard Cinderella followed by the Bangles or some such the other day. The station sounds like the kind of mixes I make, except I usually throw in some NWA at some point. But, yeah. It and the soon-to-be-truly Indie are my two most-used stations in my car now.

  6. Mike says the playlist at Jack is narrow??? Perhaps Jack is as he states, and not as eclectic as similar formats in other markets, but it’s damn near the most interesting mix of music I’ve heard since KSCA, and with far broader and deeper a playlist than KBIG and Arrow combined. In the weeks that I’ve been listening I’ve only heard one song repeated twice, and that was Nick Gilder’s “Hot Child in the City,” something I hadn’t heard on radio since the mid-80s (maybe for good reason, but still). For corn’s sake if Sweet’s “Love is Like Oxygen” followed by Oingo Boingo’s “Only A Lad followed by Steve Miller’s “Jungle Love” isn’t eclectic (trainwreck or not) then I gotta get me a dictionary and get reacquainted with the definition.

  7. FYI, Jack FM is (or, at least, appears to be) a franchise thing. I live in Salt Lake City, and a few months ago, one of our stations changed it’s name to “Jack FM” as well. No DJ’s, commercial blocks, same mix of Classic Rock and Retro 80’s.

  8. Ugh, I’m not a fan of jack. I understand their ecleticity but I like my music organized. I want the ability to change my music to my moods – if I need fuel my road rage and follow the guy who cut me off, I want to hear a nice flow of Hendrix, Ac/DC and Zeppelin. I don’t want Journey or Air Supply thrown in there. Its hard to look angry and wave your fist at someone if “all out of love” is blaring from the speakers.

  9. I enjoy Jack 93.1 as well. Thier playlist seems to revolve around Billboards Top 100 of the 70’s 80’s and 90’s. Hitting every spectrum of music type. I can’t change the darn thing. If I don’t care for a song, I must hurry and put the tuner back before it is over. I know I will like the next 10. Where else can you hear Guns ‘n’ Roses followed by Funky Cold Medina?
    p.s. I agree…..we can do without the D.J.’s

  10. You mention being tired of Steve Miller, and yet I’ve heard him two out of three times I’ve tried listening to Jack. It’s like “Classic Rock AND bunch of songs you’ve tried to forget!”

  11. Jack had it right in the buffer about iTunes. Jack is the playlist on our iPods and iTunes that we NEVER set to “Share.” They play Ratt, and we like it, even if we dare not share that dark secret with even our significant others. Jack understands.

  12. I like Jack as well — but there will never be any new music on there, which is sort of a bummer. I’d like it if they threw in some new stuff once in a while. It sounds exactly like how radio used to be in the mid-1980s.

  13. I don’t want to hear any more music that radio has ALREADY beat into the ground. Why not listen to some new stuff, hell I’d rather listen to the “smooth” sounds of KCRW than this.

  14. I have written to them TWICE, and been promised that they would be on the web (93.1) “next week”. Right now I’m listening to Jack from Dallas. It’s fine, but it’s weird hearing ads from another state!

  15. this is chrys in LongBeach and i am a hands-on girl…I love to Jack!!! However, I challenge you to go one week without ever playing the same thing twice. I have confidence that you can do it.

  16. I am new to the so cal area and it took me a week to find the Jack. I was surfing the radio everyday, saying to my self what the hell is going on with the LA area?! NO GOOD RADIO. all I heard on every station was top 40 crap and rap and spanish music EVERY STATION! I thought LA was the cutting edge of everything. I am from a small town up north not even worth mentioning. So I come to the big city and what do I find? Thank God for the Jack. I probably would have died with no good music for my crazy freeway rides, which I dont mind much with Jack along. I think it a cool station. I love the variety. For those of you that dont like them, then go ahead and listen to all that garbage on those other top 40 station?

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