I moved back from the Pacific Northwest in 2006 and returned to college, antsy to re-live the Q959fm golden era.
Trouble was, a stupid hillbilly radio station out in the countryside got a translator (a radio tower that re-broadcasts a station on an additional frequency so more people can listen) at 95.9 FM. My station was gone. 🙁
Scouring the dial from top to bottom, there was only one place left: 99.9 FM. And “Channel 999” was born.
Origin of Channel 999
I took a trip to San Diego years previous, and listened to a hit music station at 93.3 FM which positions themselves as “Channel 9-3-3.” I thought it was weird (“that sounds like a DirecTV channel”) but it grew on me, especially as I’ve gone back and listened to recordings of it.
It was nice, because “9-9-9” rolled off the tongue nicely (yes Mr. Cain, I beat you to it by six years) compared with a traditional “ninety-nine point nine.” Heck, I might’ve even beaten Keaton to it.
As early as as ’06, I realized radio and TV was royally hosed. Just three years earlier, my roommates and I were scouring the bins at Savers and Goodwill to find a cheap TV to hook up to the dorm’s cable outlet. We hooked up our radios to listen to my station. Girls called in to request songs.
This new crop of freshman didn’t bring TVs. They just watched stuff on laptops. They didn’t have radios, except in their car — and they didn’t bother to bring a car, either. They just listened to Daft Punk off MP3s they’d ripped.
I truly believe Channel 9-9-9 was a much better-produced station than Q959fm ever was. But it hit an audience that just didn’t care. I even tried flipping the format to all-girly-Disney-type stuff, which freshman girls tend to eat up, but no dice.