Here's a little exercise in corporate individualism. Have a close look at these five radio websites from my local market: La Preciosa 94.5, WMAG 99.5, 100.3 The Buzzard, 104.1 WTQR, and 105.7 Kiss FM. If those pages all seemed eerily similar, consider this: all the stations are currently owned by Clear Channel, a corporation so clued into where their stations actually are that when I type my ZIP code into their "station search", it apparently doesn't recognize I'm in one of their markets.
Clear Channel is a huge corporation--possibly too big, but that's secondary to the argument--and I'd hope they'd at least have a few different templates the station managers could choose from. Besides my opinion that it's a fairly noisy design, it's a real jaw dropper that the only differences in design are color choice and the type of music...oh, and that one's in Spanish. Everything is in exactly the same position on all five pages, with the same damn applets scrolling the machine-tooled playlists and the same reminder on the menu bar that (insert call letters here) now comes in HD Radio, too!
The whole thing is so one-size-fits-all that the bulk of the work could be drawn up Mad Libs style in the course of an afternoon, and probably was. I can only guess that the goal is to apply a homogeneous corporate image across the board, but when viewed in a row, the whole thing feels bloodless and sterile. You get the feeling that people don't need to be involved at all, and sometimes they aren't; during certain holiday Saturdays, when I was helping my stepfather with his paper route, I ended up listening to WMAG's all-night Christmas music and never heard a single on-air personality until the public service programming kicked in at 6 a.m. Nobody warned me, and it creeped me the hell out.
This is all just a long-winded way to tell you that my favorite modern radio is messy, the kind that has the stink of people. WFMU, I'm looking at you.