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OPINION: 101.1 The Beat was a much needed change

One of my biggest gripes with living in Mount Pleasant during my first three-plus years here was the lack of a radio station that played hip-hop music — my favorite.

I’ll never understand why it took so long to make the switch.

As a person without an auxiliary cord in the car, I was forced during this time to find something on the radio. Options for stations weren’t plentiful.

Neither were the genres.

Hip-hop and its culture have been popular with young people for decades. In a city with thousands of those young people living in it each semester, one would think a radio station would cater to its audience and make some money doing so.

Then I learned Mountain 101.1 was switching its format from rock to hip-hop.

I was ecstatic.

No longer would I be stuck listening to the repetitiveness that is country music and Top-40 hit stations.

Who would be better to make that kind of needed change happen than students?

Since making the switch in February, car rides through Mount Pleasant have been much more enjoyable. Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber aren’t coming through my speakers every other song — which is better for everyone.

Now, I get to listen to artists I enjoy — many of which don’t get enough airtime on any of the mainstream stations in this region of the state.

Even popular rap stations in large markets don’t play as many artists as “The Beat” does.

Rappers like G-Eazy, Chance The Rapper and Mac Miller are played frequently, when most of their music would fall on deaf ears in a major media market.

Because there are so many more artists getting airtime, the list of tracks doesn’t get as repetitive as many other stations. Freedom to stray away from mainstream artists is a huge advantage for The Beat — one this listener appreciates.

Last weekend, “The Beat” played Kendrick Lamar’s “untitled unmastered,” in its entirety.

What a great opportunity for Kendrick and his fans. That could never be done in a bigger market.

Kendrick is widely thought of as the best rapper in the game, but his music doesn’t receive the same kind of airtime as people like Drake or Nicki Minaj.

Decisions like this are the reason the format change will remain successful.

“The Beat” is appealing directly to its audience: CMU students.

Just because mainstream media doesn’t like certain kinds of music doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be played.