Monday, July 30, 2007

Portofino Network makes Adult Contemporary Fresh Again

Several years ago, Martin Short (a well known Canadian comedian/actor) was asked why there were so many successful Canadian comedians in Hollywood (e.g. Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, John Candy, Dan Akroyd). Martin Short responded by saying "Americans watch television. Canadians watch American television."

In effect, Mr. Short was saying that an outsider's perspective is sometimes a better perspective.
I think Italians get this too, and to their testament one of the greatest comedians of all time - Roberto Benigni - hails from this great country.

Which brings me to... Portofino Network ( Based right in Portofino (as its name suggests), Portofino Radio sticks to what here in Canada would be described as "Adult Contemporay". This is often referred to as "middle of the road" fare, and I'll be the first to admit I'm not in this station's core audience. However, there are always those songs we'll hear from time to time which can best be described as a "guilty pleasure". For me, Portofino has managed to pull out and spin those gems, which has drawn me back to into this genre, where my local FM stations pushed me away. It shows you what a great DJ is capable of, and why DJing truly is a creative form. If you'd have asked me if I'd be interested in listening to Gloria Estefan, Simply Red, Phil Collins, and Christopher Cross, I probably would have shrugged my shoulders. But in reality, I do have a soft spot for the particular songs that Portofino has chosen, and it all sounds kind of fresh to me even though some of these are older songs. Sure there are times where I'll hear a song and roll my eyes a bit - but to get Neil Hepburn to actually enjoy Adult Contemporary is no mean feat.

I was about to blog on Portofino this earlier, but another neat Italian station flipped on the TUN3R Dial: Lolliradio Happy Station ( I haven't spent as much time listening to this station as I have Portofino, so I can't talk with any authority about the music itself. However, what caught my attention was its niche. Namely, Lolliradio just plays "happy music". I think on its own, focusing on emotions is pretty cool concept, and one of the reasons I love Internet radio. There's so much trailblazing going on. Heck, I'd also be interested in a station playing "sad music" (not to be confused with "melancholic music"), another playing "angry music", and of course "sexy music". The cool thing about such a concept is that you could easily cross genres and languages and still keep to that same emotional theme.

By the way, I've talked about stations from Italy, but not Italy itself. If you haven't been to Italy yet, this is a must-visit country. Oddly, my fondest memories were skiing in Canazei in the dolomites, which is not what you would normally think of when you think of Italy. Who'd of thunk that some of the worlds best skiing (especially if you like touring) could be found in Italy. There are so many other great places I could mention but that would be a blog post on its own But I think another reason why I love Italy is the food. There is just this incredible attention to freshness of ingredients whereever you go. It makes you realize how processed and bad the food is here in North America.

Well that's it for this week. My friends James says he's got another blog post he wants to put up, so in all likelihood you'll be hearing from him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My favorite Italian pop star is Riccardo Cocciante. Check out "When love has gone away" produced by Ennio Morricone. Pure Eurotrash gold!