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Artvoice Slams Jack FM — Right Back Atcha!

Jack FM in Buffalo
Jack FM

Wow, Artvoice. Now we know why Jack FM wasn’t nominated in your Best of Buffalo issue (not that we’re still bitter or anything). Apparently, you feel we aren’t from Buffalo.

A segment called “Ask Anyone” compared Jack FM to Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney. Rest assured, Artvoice, there is nothing about Jack FM that is remotely close to the policies presented by Romney and Ryan (although our hair is flawless and we have abs of steel).

Instead of on-air voices, like a Shredd and Ragan or Tom Bauerle, some faraway corporation has personified a fictional character named Jack, and the only thing you hear between songs are sound bytes like “Jack, I love what you play so much, I want to date you.” or “Jack, you always play what I want to hear. How do you do that, Jack?” — The Omniscient One

The editorial goes on to imply that we don’t know jack (squat) about what is happening in the city of Buffalo and that we are siphoning off money from the area into some corporate overlord’s pocket. And while we can’t deny that we siphon money — every good business does! — let me assure you that every song and every joke you hear on Jack FM originates from the Queen City.

I’ve spent the last eight years of my life making sure that this radio station was about Buffalo. Just because we don’t blabber on and tell you there’s a tie-up at The Big Blue Water Tower or give you the weather forecast (that you likely get on your smartphone) doesn’t mean we aren’t about Buffalo. It just means we don’t have irritating disc jockeys who babble on incessantly. This station is about music and making people feel good.

We playfully razz the Bills, poke fun at local politicians and satirize everything from Dyngus Day to the signature bridge, Bass Pro to the common tern. We just do it in less than 10 seconds.

The problem with Artvoice is they have their head so far up Shredd and Ragan’s poopholes that they wouldn’t know what goes on in our dumpy little studio. We have a dedicated staff of people behind the scenes who bring the station to life and help us evoke this persona that citizens of Buffalo playfully interact with and call Jack (and yes, the calls are real).

Jack's Dumpy Little Studio
Jack FM

And here’s the funny thing about their love affair with DJs: Ironically, Shredd is from Chicago, and Ragan hails from Pittsburgh. 97 Rock’s “local” morning show broadcasts from Larry Norton’s house in Florida nine months of the year, and more than one “local” radio show originates from out of town through voice tracking technology.

Most of your “local” newscasters come from some other city, nightly newscasts are buoyed by national packages that get tracked locally and the “local” newspaper fills 80 percent of its pages with stories from the Associated Press.

Sure, Artvoice has local writers — most of them retired professors who are outsourced to write about local politics for 15 bucks a pop — and the free publication is also a great place to get a date with transexual Mercedes (did you know she melts in your mouth and not in your hands?), but Jack FM’s the problem here?

I would argue that Jack does more locally than most stations. Ask the hundereds of people that were given free turkeys on Thanksgiving, or the thousands we hand-deliver concert tickets to at our Stick Up events. This weekend, we are helping to raise money for The Food Bank of Western New York and St. Luke’s out at Mickey Rats. We have a feature called Jacktivites that plugs everything from the Erie County Fair to spaghetti dinners at a VFW Bingo Hall.

The music on Jack FM is tailored to Buffalo, and each song is carefully placed. I grew up here. I know that it’s a working class city that likes working class music, and I do my best every day to find music that appeals to Buffalonians. We are aware that Buffalo has adopted Canadian bands like the Barenaked Ladies and Tragically Hip (and we actually know who Gowan is). We worship the Goo Goo Dolls, show our love for Billy Sheehan and know that Natalie Merchant is the biggest celebrity out of Jamestown outside of Lucille Ball. We also play thousands of songs — more than any other Buffalo radio station — and unlike our competitors, the music isn’t sent to us on an Excel spreadsheet from Atlanta. Doesn’t sound like corporate radio to me.

What we don’t cover on the air about Buffalo, we try to bring to our website. Whether it’s beautiful pictures of Buffalo’s architecture, humorous takes on the fate of our grain mills, snarky tweets about Shawne Merriman or our ridiculous plans to fix the economy, we try and cover all the bases in a fun way.

If I sound insulted, it’s because I am. Our staff puts a lot of work into entertaining Buffalo and crafting clever lines about the area and about life. It’s similar to a local version of a late-night comedy show. Just don’t expect some hardball news coverage from us, we’re just a stupid little radio station. We don’t take ourselves that seriously. And neither should you, Artvoice. Now go back to listening to Tom Bauerle vamp on about where he got his carpets.

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