Sonic Radio – what’s up with that?

19 Apr

In my quest to become more healthful, I’ve cut out plenty of fast food.

It’s hard to do that, though, on Mondays, when I’ve got my regular entertainment beat as well as cops/breaking news to cover, too. So Mondays are usually the days I run by a place like Sonic to grab some food before heading off to the sheriff’s department.

So, lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Sonic Radio – the radio station Sonic plays over its speakers. And I’m hearing increasingly unusual things…

Normally I can’t say I’d be a fan of something like Sonic Radio, but my mind automatically perks up when I hear music. So Sonic Radio isn’t the kind of thing I can ignore.

A few weeks ago, there was a day that  was pretty interesting. As I pulled in, I heard Rob Thomas’ voice. I was a huge Matchbox Twenty fan back in the day, so I was well versed in anything Rob Thomas. This was a song I didn’t know, so I assumed it was some of Thomas’ solo work.

Oh, no. “That,” announced the Sonic Radio DJ with a perky voice, “was by Tabitha’s Secret.”

Whoa, Nelly Furtado! It took me a minute to register that info. Tabitha’s Secret was Thomas’ (crappily named) band before Matchbox Twenty. I remember hunting for the band’s album (also crappily titled: “Don’t Play with Matches”…I can’t even make that up) back in like 1999.

And, ka-boom, there’s the band on Sonic Radio. WTF, mate?

Right after Tabitha’s Secret was Modest Mouse, and I swear I heard the word “hell” censored from the line “for your sake I hope heaven and hell..” I guess they’re taking out any words that could be even possibly maybe a-little-bit offensive?

Sonic Radio was just as random a few weeks before that. In one small block of time, everything from Staind to Stevie Wonder to the Beach Boys were played – something no Top 40 station could pull off.

Then you hear the DJs once in a while, piping in to say that the next song was requested by Random Girl in Sheboygan or that Jack dedicates the next song to Diane. My response: REALLY? Did Random Girl really call in to Sonic Radio and request it? Is Chris Brown’s “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)” really Jack and Diane’s song? What’s going on?

Anyway…Sonic Radio both baffles and freaks me out, but most of all it kind of fascinates me.

When I went to the Sonic Web site to learn more about Sonic Radio (and, heck, maybe even request a song online? How about a little Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” with yer tater tots?), I discovered the site is mum on Sonic Radio. It does, however, promote a Facebook group called “I Love Sonic Ice.”


12 Responses to “Sonic Radio – what’s up with that?”

  1. Jeff August 29, 2009 at 12:51 pm #


    I run a Sonic Drive-In so I listen to Sonic radio 50 to 60 hours a week. I also found it odd that there is no mention of Sonic live radio on the Sonic website. I was searching for a way to e-request a song when I found your blog. You can call in to make a reqest (866-sonicfm) and you can email a request ( While this offers no explaination for the randomness of the playlist, I thought you might find the info useful.

    Funny true story. They used to play a lot of music with Spanish lyrics (Based in OK City, so Sonic’s core market is in the southwest). I have an assitant manager from Mexico, so I always ask her what they are singing. They were playing one song where the guy was singing about the all the different “ways” he would like to “satisfy” his girl. I guess they finally figured it out because they have not been playing anything in Spanish for about 3 or 4 months.

    When Sonic radio started, they wouldn’t play ANYTHING by an artist that had any controversial material. They have lightened up a little bit in the last few years. They now play one song by Nickleback and a few songs by Lynard Skynard. They do mostly play top 40 stuff though. I think I may shoot myself if I hear “The Climb” one more time today (or anything by the Jonas Brothers).

    Oh, and people do comment about our ice all the time. Not sure about creating a group on FB over it though….

    • sheenabarnett August 30, 2009 at 11:22 am #

      lol, wow, thanks for your very informative comment! 🙂
      i haven’t heard any spanish tunes on our sonic radios but you never know. so how do y’all get sonic radio? do you tune into it, like an actual station?

      lol, “the climb.” bless miley’s heart, i think everybody’s sick of that…

  2. Jeff August 30, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    It is a satelite feed intended only for Sonic Drive-Ins and Sonic franchisees. As far as I know, there is no way for the public to recieve it…….other than to sit at one of the Drive-Ins.

  3. Amy n. April 18, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    I work at Sonic, and I’m pretty sure it’s just a CD we get every month with a bunch of random songs from the top 40 and a bunch of classics, and they make it sound like a radio station, but it’s just a CD. It would be really nice if they showed the monthly playlist somewhere though!

    • Alison October 15, 2011 at 5:02 am #

      It’s an actual radio station, not a CD. And, there’s no playlist made in advance, it’s whatever the people request at the time.

  4. shayla April 29, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    it’s not a cd… it actually is live and only broadcasted to Sonic drive-ins. i have called and requested songs b4 and had them play within 20 mins of my request. it is broadcasted from texas and recieved at all of the, 3000 some, drive-ins.

  5. beka May 24, 2010 at 12:15 am #

    my friend actually is one of the DJs for the station. I just text him when I want to hear anything and he said he usually plays stuff when people ask. Before I met him I had no idea they even had a radio…I thought it was just a cd.

  6. biber hapı May 26, 2010 at 3:54 am #

    it is broadcasted from texas and recieved at all of the, 3000 some, drive-ins.

  7. Kevin August 8, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    Sonic Live Radio is broadcast from San Angelo, Texas. We are live, on the air from 6am to 2 am seven days a week. Sonic Live Radio has a mixed format/multi genre playlist and we take requests. Pretty cool concept!!

  8. countryroar July 9, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    I work at a Sonic in MO and my sister works at one in VA, we request songs for each other all the time! I love Sonic radio. I swear I request a song almost everytime I work. I do agree with Jeff, I could do away with the overplayed songs of tween stars, but I’m just happy they play some underground music. God, they would never play The Decemberists or the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s on a top 40 radio station (and that’s all we get here in my trashy little town).
    I’d have to say the best time to listen to it is during Halloween. They play the theme song from the Halloween movies (with Michael Myers). I want to die when they play it and it lasts FOREVER. Real creepy.

  9. Alison October 15, 2011 at 4:59 am #

    Well, seeing as how Sonic Drive-In is a family restuarant, if they need to have a variety of music that can entertain anyone and also, they censor words because if they had cuss words playing loud while children were here, many parents wouldn’t being them back. I work at a Soni Drive-In and I love the variety of music we can rock out to while working. It makes working at Sonic part of the great experience.

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