An appreciation, hopefully not belated, of Lush 99.5

Looks like the existence of one of my go-to radio stations, the Singaporean indie beacon Lush 99.5, is under threat again. Yesterday they launched a social media campaign encouraging its listeners to tell the world why they listen – a campaign I’m glad to be part of, despite the geographical differences I outlined. Yes, I understand that supporting the arts and music community in your locality is at odds with any commercial radio station’s raison d’être, which is to earn money. In the Philippines, the radio landscape is littered with carcasses of dead alternative stations. NU 107 closed down despite being able to sustain itself for over two decades, because a more profitable broadcasting opportunity came along. And Jam 88.3, the only one left in the country, sustains itself by being a parallel universe pop station exclusively for cool kids and cool kid wannabes. Yes, I also understand that there will always be an element of cooler-than-thou when you tune in to alternative radio, but the format has the unique obligation to do something that, ironically, could kill itself in the long run: support local artists, no matter the genre, persuasion or perception. (Like pandas: carnivores who exclusively eat bamboo, to the point that it’s likely affecting their survival.) The closest this region has to that is a scrappy radio station from Singapore. I will continue to listen (and maybe write about the songs I hear and particularly like, many of which are littered across this blog) as long as it lives. [NB]

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