1990 was the year of "Nothing Compares 2 U," "Vogue," "U Can't Touch This" and "Ice Ice Baby." They Might Be Giants released Flood. The Reds beat the A's in the Series. REO Speedwagon released The Earth, a Small Man, His Dog and a Chicken. Wilson Phillips existed. In Nashville, the mayor was a Boner and it was the year "hip adult" radio came to town -- Lightning 100 (or "Radio Lightning" as it was called then) first took to the local airwaves twenty years ago this month, supplanting Lite 100, which had supplanted the short-lived Rebel 100.
These days, the format's called Album Adult Alternative, and WRLT-FM is one of only 50 stations in these whole United States to carry it. Over at the Lightning 100 blog, they're reeling in the years all through March. It's kinda worth it just to see the hairdos on the sales staff, really. You can even read (most of) a City Limits story by the Scene's own Jim Ridley, penned in May 1990.
In a press release, WRLT general manager Fred Buc says, "Over the past two decades, a multitude of artists have aired on Lightning 100 years before ever reaching mainstream radio. Some of those artists include Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, Train, David Gray, Coldplay, The Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, and most recently, Kings of Leon." He adds, "Most importantly, we believe in supporting our own community by playing independent local artists throughout the day." And in the studio! (See above.)
Here's a bit more on all that 20-year anniversary business:
To commemorate its 20 year history during the month of March, Lightning 100 will air a daily retrospective featuring the music from one particular year along with station trivia and concert memories from that year. The feature will air at 6pm weekdays during March. The station will also host a series of concerts and special promotions throughout the month, highlighted by its annual "Music City Mayhem" competition, where local artists can compete to win notoriety, additional radio airplay, and a grand prize package. Listeners and fans can vote for their favorite artist each day at http://www.lightning100.com.