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Active rock is a radio format used by many commercial radio stations across the United States and Canada. Active rock plays the popularly demanded new and recent hard rock and heavy metal and some alternative rock songs.
An active rock station may include songs by retro active rock artists due to popular demand whereas an alternative rock station would not (e.g., Helmet, Toadies, CKY, Third Eye Blind, Seven Mary Three, Type O Negative, Monster Magnet, Prong, Candlebox, Oleander, Corrosion of Conformity, Stabbing Westward, Biohazard). Conversely, an active rock station also plays music by popular demand of new and recent hard rock and heavy metal artists, which are also usually absent from modern rock or classic rock radio playlists (e.g., Karnivool, Parkway Drive, Nothing More, Islander, Devour the Day, Failure Anthem, From Ashes to New, Sleepwave, Shattered Sun, Nothing But Thieves, Modestep, While She Sleeps, Northern Faces, Kyng, Twelve Foot Ninja, Code Orange).
A pioneering station of this format in the late 1980s was WIYY "98Rock" in Baltimore, Maryland. Other early adopters of this format by the beginning of the 1990s include stations WIIL "95 WIIL Rock" in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, KISS "99.5 KISS Rocks" in San Antonio, Texas, WLZX "Lazer 99.3" in Northampton, Massachusetts, WXTB "98Rock" in Tampa, Florida, KRZN "96.3 The Zone" in Billings, Montana, KEGL "97.1 The Eagle", in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, and WJJO "Solid Rock 94.1 JJO" Madison, Wisconsin. Satellite radio channels include Sirius XM Radio's Octane, and the gold-based Ozzy's Boneyard channel, also on Sirius XM Radio. Former counterparts prior to the November 12, 2008 Sirius/XM channel merger were XM's Squizz and Sirius's BuzzSaw. Australian radio network Triple M Network also uses this format. A later Internet radio station, Frogbox Radio, also began playing an Active rock format as well as in 2013 the launch of ROCK RAGE RADIO.
Active rock stations in Canada also include CFPL-FM in London, Ontario, CJAY 92 in Calgary, Alberta, CFBR-FM in Edmonton, Alberta, CFGP-FM in Grande Prairie, Alberta, CHTZ-FM in St. Catharines, Ontario, CJKR-FM in Winnipeg, Manitoba and CFXY-FM in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
- Classic rock – some tracks heard on active rock will also appear in the classic rock format, especially tracks predating the 1990s.
- Mainstream rock – similar to active rock, it is a mix of classic rock and modern rock, though it tends to feature a higher proportion of older tracks
- Modern rock – some tracks heard on active rock will also appear in the modern rock format (more so from tracks featured on classic rock)
- Toby Eddings, "Active rock finds an Asylum at 93.5," The Sun News, Feb. 7, 1999.