Disney dupes radio listeners with “exclusive” Wilco track

Dan Haugen

Your radio is lying to you again.

En route to St. Paul last Friday night to see Valet and Divorcee at the Turf Club, I heard a perky p.m. deejay on Disney-owned Drive 105 claim that the new Wilco single, “Heavy Metal Drummer,” is a Drive 105 “exclusive.” Funny, because I could have sworn I heard the track last week on Radio K, and just the other morning on KFAI.

In all fairness, I volunteer at the latter, and I used to work at the K. Non-commercial radio is a much bigger part of my life than it is in that of the average Twin Citian. Maybe the folks over at Mickey Mouse central just overlooked the two stations. It wouldn’t be a first.

So yesterday I called up Drive 105’s main competitor, Clear Channel-owned Cities 97. There’s no way Disney could have forgotten about these guys, too. When the Drive 105 format replaced V105 earlier this year, it was widely seen as a move on Disney’s part to better compete for Clear Channel’s Cities 97 listeners. Both stations target a middle-class, middle-aged demographic. Their playlists frequently overlap. Disney’s gotta be keeping tabs on them.

But apparently not.

“We’ve had a copy of that for the last month or so,” said Mike Wolf, music director and assistant program director at Cities 97. “If there’s another station in town claiming that they have an exclusive, they are not telling the truth.”

First thing Monday morning I left a voice message and email with the Drive 105/Disney people asking them to explain their use of the word “exclusive.” As of deadline time, they hadn’t called me back yet. It’s a shame, too, because I was also going to congratulate them for actually playing a local, independent artist in their general rotation-something Cities 97 can rarely, if ever, claim. Drive 105 has been giving “Living in the Moment,” from Mason Jennings‘ new album Century Spring, regular airplay recently.

In other, more worthy news, there are a couple of benefit shows to report this weekend. The non-profit Cedar Cultural Center, still recovering from a slew of cancellations and low attendance immediately following September 11, will throw a benefit for themselves Friday. Cedar operations manager David Alderson says around three dozen acts were forced to cancel concerts last fall due to flying restrictions and terrorism fears. Friday’s all-ages concert features Duluth’s Low. Doors are at eight, and there’s a $15 donation at the door.

A solo track by Low’s Alan Sparhawk is featured on the new Pop for Charity compilation CD. The local organization celebrates the discs release Friday at the Dinkytowner, with performances from The Dames, Eyedea and the Idle Hands.

Dan Haugen is the Lens music editor. Please send comments and correspondence to [email protected].