UP2U Radio supplies a never-ending stream of inoffensive '90s pop songs "that contain only positive, uplifting lyrics" straight to your local supermarket's PA system, thus "energizing audio landscapes for business," somehow. Its Web site is stuck in a cultural vacuum, just like its radio equivalent! The theme they've chosen is "fake computer console in space," the prevailing aesthetic for sites designed in 1998.

You are not-so-instantly greeted by a completely unnecessary Flash animation of a transparent "Welcome" that slowly appears and then fades away, followed by the phrase "UP2U Radio Elevates the Human Spirit!" What the heck does that mean? Let's look at their About Us page:

"The lessons we learned while building a custom, in-store radio network for Kroger Supermarkets, laid the foundation for UP2U Radio," [Rise Radio President and CEO Art] Scott said. "Kroger Store managers noticed that the positive music and messaging on Kroger Radio had a significant impact on the morale and performance of their personnel. In addition, they associated the increased length of store visits and greater impulse spending by customers to the station's ability to target advertising at the point of sale," Scott continued.

Ah, "elevating the human spirit" means increasing visit duration by a percentage point or two and targeted advertising. The philosophy classes at business school must be weird.

Also elevating the human spirit are a few inspirational quotes randomly strewn around the site, including one from Paradise Lost, which seems maybe just a tad pretentious for a radio station that plays Joey Lawrence and Black Box while you're buying cat litter.

Here's a thought exercise: Let's pretend you're a prospective buyer of UP2U's services. Maybe you'd like to "Listen Now!" to a demo of their no-doubt quality pablum, or check out their portfolio of "world-class audio-production services"? No dice! Those pages are inaccessible unless you already have a registered account, and there's no obvious way to get one, either. Your best bet is to use the "Ask Us" form to contact someone with an @bellsouth.net e-mail address.

Perhaps you'd like to peruse some testimonials from satisfied customers instead? Well, uh, they'll put some up on their Testimonials page, just as soon as they get some. Right now it's just an empty box. To paraphrase the lone quote on the page, an ersatz endorsement from Lao-Tzu, a journey of a thousand satisfied customers must begin with a single comment.

– Adam "rubber cat" Jameson (@robbercat)

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