Absolut Radio: the way radio should be

I discovered Absolut Radio by accident when my Dad tried playing the UK’s Absolute Radio on my sound system but left out the silent ’e’. I don’t mind the latter station: I think every station should adopt their ’no repeat guarantee’ feature, in which no song arises twice within the same work day. It took me some time to realise a new station was on. Absolute Radio has this funny up-for-a-laugh voiceover introducing the songs, so when the voice started talking German it seemed normal enough. Then I noticed the lack of 15-minute advert breaks, and then some German songs came on.
What makes this little German station so great then? Firstly, no adverts! It’s a stream of song after song after song, bar a tiny 10-second promotion of a concert happening someplace somewhere. I don’t like every song they play, but there’s usually a few pleasant surprises and that’s the key word here: surprises. I never know what I’ll hear when I turn on this channel. Rock, 90s pop, German dance, harder rock, an acoustic cover of a massive hit performed by someone whose voice I kind of recognise but not quite, German hip-hop, a current chart-topper, etc etc. I’ve been listening to this station on and off for around a year and so far have only caught 3 repeats of 3 individual songs, which is completely bearable compared to the norm of catching 1 song 10 times a week in the car. This is because Absolut plays an artist’s album tracks as well as their big singles. Often I’ll hear a song I was unaware of from a band I thought I knew well. And it’s refreshing to be frequently surprised by radio, a medium which nowadays seems to live by the comfort zone, reaching for that same group of people who just want to hear the stuff they know over and over and over. Absolut laughs at Heart’s and Kiss FM’s notions of variety.
It gets better though. As mentioned, there are no adverts on this channel, and the German voiceover (let’s call him Hans) is the sole sign that you’re listening to a radio station rather than somebody’s bipolar Spotify playlist. After every 3-4 songs Hans makes his presence known.
’Tis good, yar? Absolut!’
’Hahaha, Absolut!’
Or you’ll hear him marching down an echoey corridor, visiting his vast hall of records in pursuit of more songs. I like to imagine Hans runs the entire station from a studio in his basement. He’s slightly balding, has permanently bloodshot eyes and a moustache, a nice fluffy one that’s totally UNLIKE Hitler’s, you racist. No, our man Hans is a gentleman, the type of man you’d invite home for a coffee and he’d sit there in silence, brain abuzz over the perfect song to add to his infinite playlist.
I wish we could pick the station up in the car, the place where music can demand attention from a passenger, but the signal is limited to the same old copycat stations. The one drawback to the station is that Hans never announces any artist names, so if something does catch your attention you’ll have to rush to the German site before the song ends. Absolut Radio was my little secret, but now I pass it onto my dear readers, all 2 of you. ’Tis good, yar?


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