There’s a new alternative to the alternative-rock-flavored FM radio stations in the Twin Cities, but it sounds a lot more mainstream than either the indie-centric 89.3 the Current or even the harder-rocking 93X.
Clear Channel Radio debuted its new outlet Alt 93.3 FM Friday morning with very little marketing fanfare and no on-air commercials. The station’s playlist seems geared toward 20- and 30-something male rock fans who don’t venture too far from the iTunes top 20 or strip-mall record stores, with such arena-level acts as Coldplay, the Black Keys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Imagine Dragons, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Muse, Kings of Leon and Mumford & Sons.
Some of the more truly “alternative” acts spun so far -- acts prone to hear on 89.3 the Current (89.3 FM) -- has included Modest Mouse, the Raconteurs, Arctic Monkeys and Beck. On the other hand, the station has also spun Fall Out Boy, Bastille, Young the Giant, Foster the People and Bleachers, acts that edge toward Clear Channel’s top 40 station KDWB (101.3 FM). Some of those same acts have also been heard more and more amid the more youth-oriented format shift on Clear Channel’s “adult alternative” station, Cities 97 (97.1 FM). And then there’s the similarity to competitor 93X with such metallic acts as Linkin Park, Bush and Alien Ant Farm.
Browsing the playlist on Twitter, it seriously looks like not a single female artist has been played on the station yet.
Calls to local Clear Channel staff for more insight have not been returned. Laden with layoffs in recent years, Clear Channel did not send out any notice to press on the debut and appears to have a skeletal on-air staff for Alt 93.3. The station’s website, which is barely up and running, also lists it as 93.3 “The Edge,” which was also the previous name of 93X during the ‘90s and is an oft-used radio format moniker slapped on FM stations from Dallas to Anchorage.
The local 93.3 FM frequency that Clear Channel took over was previously listed as belonging to the Educational Media Foundation, and it was used as a Christian music and Hmong station with only a .8 mile broadcasting radius out of Shoreview. Clear Channel upped the wattage, but reception of the new station was still spotty just a few miles south of downtown Minneapolis.