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Third Rock Radio channels space, NASA and alt rock

Anyone can fill up a playlist with the Raconteurs, Arcade Fire and Cold War Kids. So, how do you differentiate your online station packed full of new alternative and modern rock? You add space.

Of course it was Sun Ra who declared that “Space is the Place,” though I don’t think his music is heard on the online Third Rock Radio. Instead this self-declared “space station” says that it

features updates on NASA’s newest missions and discoveries, as well as a healthy dose of great New Rock music of all kinds, along with some that you already know and love.

It certainly seems that NASA is happy with the only month-old station. The agency recently added a player for Third Rock Radio to its own iPhone and iPad apps. Though shouldn’t space radio be on satellite? At only 22,000 miles above the Earth geostationary orbit might not be outer space, but it’s closer than the internet, I reckon.

Anyway, I listened for about an hour Tuesday night and didn’t hear anything in the way of NASA or space-themed content. I just heard a steady stream of alternative and modern rock that was fine, but not terrifically different from any other modern rock station, on satellite, on broadcast or online. All indications are that Third Rock is automated with no live DJs, which makes it all the more mysterious to me why there wouldn’t be some NASA content mixed in all the time. Maybe I just need to listen earlier than 8:30 PM Central time.

It’s an interesting concept. But a new listener like me isn’t going to be enticed to tune in again if we don’t get the space stuff during our first time tuning in.

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