The Sunflower

Cooper: The Flight 100.5 Offers Glint of Rock Radio Hope

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KVFW Frequency 100.5 FM The Flight went live to the greater central Kansas region this December.

KVFW Frequency 100.5 FM The Flight went live to the greater central Kansas region this December.

Madeline Deabler

Madeline Deabler

KVFW Frequency 100.5 FM The Flight went live to the greater central Kansas region this December.

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A new addition to the Kansas Airwaves is shaking things up.

Thurs. Dec. 28, 2017 — KVFW Frequency 100.5 FM The Flight went live to the greater central Kansas region with its opening track: “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty. The song decision was nothing if not poignant in the wake of Petty’s death two months prior.

“It seemed to capture our strategy,” KVWF General Manager Jeff McCausland said.

McCausland said The Flight is a platform that’s “going up against huge corporate radio conglomerates.”

Upon hearing this, I was immediately struck by the station’s somewhat against-the-grain initiative.

Since the stations’ inception this winter, four important features are to be noted.

One, KVWF has been on the air for four months, during which time the station has been nearly vacant in terms of advertisements which would otherwise annoy the bejesus out of listeners.

Two, The Flight broadcasts under the Adult Alternative Album format, one of a handful of stations in Central and Western Kansas to have recently done so. This is crucially important to listeners of rock music in general because it encompasses not only rock ‘n’ roll but also blues, post-punk, alternative, reggae, and rhythm and blues genres as well.

Third, 100.5 hosts a daily track listing which is rarely repetitive. Only rarely will the listener by subject to musical déjà vu during the third shift airwave hours of the evening.

This runs in stark opposition to the masturbatory antics of Alt.107.3 throwing on the likes of “Dani California” multiple times per day and 104.5 Rock Station having a somewhat unhealthy relationship with Rush’s “Fly by Night.”

The Flight’s emcees seem to have a rather adult understanding that listeners underneath the invisible umbrella of the airwaves are perceptive to the music which is offered them. This acknowledgement is refreshing. It is worth celebrating that the liberality with which the original rock radio DJs in the 1950s hooked an entire nation on the FM dials is receiving attention.

Finally — and this one I admit is ripe with subjectivity — The Flight succeeds in rolling out songs over the frequency spectrum which afflict one with reminiscences, reflections and a sense of nostalgia for the melodies which made up the sum of childhoods from an entire generation.

I don’t remember where I was the first time I heard The Black Crowes or Johnny Cash, the sagacious poetry of Bob Dylan or the first moment my ears took in Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. That heartrending memory of my father scolding me for pilfering through his record collection and nabbing his treasured copy of Sgt. Pepper — these flickers in time are transients in the grand scheme of it all.

Coasting to class each morning, with the dial flipped to 100.5, these memories flutter back.

The Flight is exemplifying its purpose as a medium of cultural espousal and in this case, one of musical consumption.

In the end it struck me as unique that a radio platform would pay homage to the likes Petty and keep doing so four months into their existence. In writing this review I listened to their frequency and little else for an entire day. Throughout the duration of April 8, the following tracks played on 100.5:

“The Man Comes Around” – Johnny Cash 4:15 p.m.

“Tupelo Honey” – Van Morrison 5:50 p.m.

“Plush” – Stone Temple Pilots 6:31 p.m.

“Glass Onion” – The Beatles 6:51 p.m.

“She Talks to Angels” – The Black Crowes 6:56 p.m.

“Under Pressure” – Queen Featuring David Bowie 8:49 p.m.

“Steal My Kisses – Ben Harper 9:23 p.m.

“Rocket Man” – Elton John 10:43 p.m.

“Like a Hurricane”– Neil Young and Crazy Horse 10:55 p.m.

“Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp” – Led Zeppelin 11:15 p.m.

“Shelter From the Storm” – Bob Dylan 11:30 p.m.

Are these listings refreshingly varied or a mix of overly over-sensationalized verse?

I advocate for the former.

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