Grunge Has Grown Up, Have You?

Posted on April 19, 2011


I’m sorry to tell you, but we all have to grow up. It happens to everyone.

We first met Dave Grohl when he was the drummer for Nirvana, the band that symbolized rebellion in the early-1990’s.

Recently when his band the Foo Fighters appeared on The Daily Show, host John Stewart pointed out that there were so many kids running around he mistook the band’s dressing room for Romper Room. I don’t know for sure but I’ll bet that’s a different scene than Nirvana’s dressing room in 1992.

We met Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready when “Ten” brokeout with angst filled songs like “Jeremy,” which tells the story of a young person who pulled out a gun and killed himself in front of his classmates.

Last week I saw an announcement that McCready is now voicing announcements for a public service campaign about Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.

I’m not minimizing the impact Crohn’s Disease has on people nor am I suggesting having children is a bad thing. It’s called growing up. It generally includes taking on new causes and re-assessing priorities.

What concerns me is the number of radio personalities who never want to grow up. I hear so many hosts using the same on-air style and talking about the same topics they were 20 years ago.

The problem is your audience, just like Dave Grohl and Mike McCready, has changed over those  twenty years.

If you chose to age with your audience, say by moving from pop radio to adult contemporary, but are still talking to your audience like you did when Jeremy was in current rotation you are going to sound out of touch. Think kids and stomach disease instead of heroin or teen suicide.

If you stayed in a younger format as you’ve aged but are still communicating the way you did when Nirvana was playing MTV Unplugged, you probably sound like a dinosaur, or worse yet a poser, to your listeners.

Everything changes, your show should too.