In tune: Muscatine radio station sounded good Monday

For today, I’m backing into my point by first talking about social media.

Most dictionaries offer at least two definitions for shoot from the hip, an idiom with roots in the Old West:

  • Literally firing a gun that is held beside the shooter’s hip to increase how quickly the gun is fired.
  • Figuratively speaking frankly.

wal-martBut when it comes to the latter definition, shooting from the lip might be more appropriate in the age of social media. Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, etc. make it so easy. Or maybe it’s just me who sometimes rattles off quick and unnecessary remarks. It happened Monday while I was waiting in line at the customer-service counter at the local Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is an easy target. And I don’t like to wait in line any more than the next person. So, like growing numbers of impatient smart-phone users, I logged onto Foursquare, shot a photo and fired off a complaint about the line moving too slowly.

But the truth is, since I type very slowly on my iPhone, it took me as long to complain as it took the Wal-Mart personnel to work their way to me in line. They actually did a pretty good job. My complaint was overblown.

Jamie Hopkins
Jamie Hopkins

The lesson of that experience is one of the many reasons why I want to wholeheartedly encourage Jamie Hopkins and the staff at Vintage Sound 93.1 FM and wish them well.

It would be easy to write off what they are attempting. After all, I know I am not the only music fan who has switched from commercial radio to Web-based services such Pandora or Spotify. And local commercial radio stations will never get all of those listeners back. It’s hard to compete with a service that doesn’t have announcers OR commercials and never stops playing uninterrupted music from every genre you can imagine (and probably some you can’t.)


If you have become as accustomed as I have to listening to music on your phone, Vintage Sound does use the Tune In Radio app for smart phones. This should also appeal to Muscatine residents who have moved away, but may want to listen to the FM station they listened to in high school.

But not everyone has a smart phone or an unlimited data plan to go with it. If you should find yourself in Muscatine without those luxuries, you ought to like Vintage Sound in its original format, which you can listen to for free on your radio. This will be especially true if, like me, your musical tastes run toward what I like to call old, white guy rock ‘n roll. I heard some good music Monday.

What I really liked was that it wasn’t just 30-year-old Top 40. Redneck Friend is far from the biggest hit of Jackson Browne’s career. It peaked on the charts at No. 85 in 1973. But I heard it Monday on the Muscatine radio station. And that’s good enough to get me to come back to listen some more. I’m sure I will listen to it more than I did its predecessor, MAC-FM.

With all of the things today that compete for our attention, Hopkins and the rest of the staff at Vintage Sound can’t ask for much more than being given such a chance. I’d encourage others in Muscatine to give it to them. And I hope they make the most of it.