"We like camping better!" --Raymond Alexander Kukkee

view of the north shore Critter Pond, KOA Canandaigua NY [c] 2009 jcb

Music and Camping: What can we do about Radio Spam?

When I go camping, I've just gotta have some music!
photo by Andrew Taylor
by Jim Bessey

When we go camping we leave the TV behind. It's one of our little rules. I still, however, need some background noise. Assuming, that is, the campers next to us don't have their stereo cranked up. (Yup, it happens.) So we have a sweet little battery-powered radio that plays softly near the picnic table. 

I like to listen to Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40 on Sunday mornings. Sometimes I can catch a Saturday night NASCAR race on Big Dog Country 1035. My wife likes hot-pop and dance music, stuff she can dance to in the dark by the campfire. We prefer radio because it also gives us weather updates, just in case. I think it's smart to stay in touch with the news and weather, even when we're taking it easy outdoors.

Bags of coins (worth millions?), hair tonics (Guaranteed!!)

There's one big fat drawback to our music plan: RADIO SPAM. Can you hear the growl in my voice when I say that? Radio ads repeat on a near-hourly basis, so it's bad enough listening to the same come-ons from our local car dealers. Those, I can handle. But the SPAM -- mostly national-level crap -- makes my blood boil.

My dad used to get the Legion Magazine, because he was a Korean War Vet. There was a whole page of jokes and political cartoons near the back, which I liked. Right behind them, though, were the advertisements. Remember those? Bags of coins (worth millions?), hair tonics (Guaranteed!!), and carburetors that would get you 100 mpg -- it was all there every month. NOW that same garbage is all on the radio, for heaven's sake.

A few years back, a big media company that rhymes with "mEntercom" bought a half-dozen of our local, previously independent, radio stations. Now this batch of call-letters forms a fine conglomerate that apparently offers the national advertisers JUST what they wanted. If you hear one of these Spam ads on one station, you know you'll hear it on all of them. Swell. What kind of advertisements am I complaining about, you ask?

How about the amazing secret stash of gold coins recently discovered in a Swiss vault? These RARE and extremely valuable treasures can be yours when you order the free DVD that explains this incredible opportunity in detail. Oh boy!

That one's not so bad. But do we have to listen to Fantastic Offers for Male Enhancement?? Do we really? These are carefully worded so as not to offend. Well, not much anyway. Yuk

One of the regulars, limited to JUST ONE trail offer per household, promises wonderful weight loss for fat women over the age of 23, all in a simple pill. No diets, no exercise, just one pill. The bubbly girl who testifies about this pill's power went from a size 14 to a size 4 in just six weeks!! Sure she did.

These ads are SPAM, nothing less. They're come-ons, they're baloney, and they never stop playing -- despite exclamations of severe time limits on these Amazing Offers. Frankly, I'm sick of them all. I can't believe having this junk played every day is the price we have to pay for music, weather, and news. Should we simply give up and switch to an MP3 player? (It would plug right into the back of our camp radio.) Should we play CD albums instead? What do you think?
Your comments and feedback are always welcome!


  1. Jim, vote with your dollars. Boycott advertisers that use this spammy method of advertising and make sure the radio station knows you ARE boycotting the stations as well. Enough is enough.
    A man should be able to go camping without listening to garbage like that. Use an MP3 player or iPod or play CD albums you like. We don't listen to advertising crap at all, the mute button works... No wonder we like camping better. ":)

  2. Poor Jimmy, even in the great outdoors he can't get away from spam. But you do have your solution already. CDs and MP3s and then there's Sirius radio, but I could imagine how annoying it is to pay for something which should be free. Tom got a trial of Sirius when he bought his truck--yes, the one that was supposed to be for me, but was too good for him to give up!--Now he says Sirius radio has spoiled him for the old stuff. He likes being able to pick 80s music or all sports all the time or Just Springteen/Elvis/new wave music--then there's the porn station-ugh! Depends how you're willing to pay for it, male enhancement commercials or a few bucks every month Not to have to hear of such. Take your pick! LOL

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