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Fresh Listen: Happy Birthday, Bob FM

When CFWM (99.9 Bob FM) Winnipeg debuted just over 15 years ago, (on March 4, 2002): Classic Rock was still focused on its first generation of artists, and considered the Boston-to-Bon-Jovi era to be a secondary trifle, at best. Pushing into the ‘90s wasn’t even a consideration; those songs were still recent gold for Alternative and Active Rock radio. Oldies radio had not renamed itself Classic Hits and was still grappling with how to push further into the ‘70s. The ‘80s were just another era for Mainstream AC radio, which still went back to the ‘60s and ‘70s without issues. The ‘80s had just been discredited as a separate format by the fast-burning all-‘80s stations, but they were still a center lane for “’80s, ‘90s, and Now” Hot ACs. The Adult Hits boom that Bob FM fostered—within a year...Read More

How Is Removing The Ownership Subcaps Good For All?

Earlier this month six group owners wrote a letter to the FCC petitioning for the removal of the AM/FM band subcaps per market. The heads of Alpha Media, Connoisseur Media, East Arkansas Broadcasters, Galaxy Communications, Jackson Radio Works, and Roberts Communications seek the FCC to act on a previous NAB petition to reconsider the limits on the amounts of stations a company can own in a market. The Commission originally adopted the AM/FM subcaps in light of technological and marketplace differences between AM and FM stations that the FCC feared disadvantaged AM stations. The Commission’s most recent broadcast ownership order ignores record evidence that any technical and marketplace dynamics that may once have differentiated AM and FM stations no longer exist. On reconsideration, the C...Read More

Number Two For New Music . . . And What To Do About It

It was a trend that had been years in the offing, but it was still shocking when the numbers hit the screen as part of the 2017 edition of Edison Research’s “The Infinite Dial.” Among those respondents who said it was “very important” or “somewhat important” to keep up-to-date with music, broadcast radio had fallen out of its first-place tie as a source used for doing so. “Friends and Family” was now alone at No. 1 (flat at 68%), followed by YouTube (64%). “AM/FM Radio” was now third, down 68%-63%. Spotify was sixth, but up 25-33%. Among 12-to-24-year-olds, where AM/FM had already lost its hegemony, YouTube was first (80%), followed by Friends/Family (77%), Spotify (59%), Pandora (53%), and AM/FM (50%). Last year, among all respondents, broadcast radio was first outright when listeners wer...Read More

First Listen: WXAJ (99.7 The Mix) Springfield IL

It was a familiar headline from CHR doldrums past. The market’s second Mainstream CHR segues to Adult CHR, promising “the best variety of music from the ‘90s, 2K and today.” Often the next step is that the only remaining Top 40 eventually switches formats, too. But on WXAJ (99.7 the Mix) Springfield, Ill., the ‘90s part of the equation isn’t Matchbox Twenty and the Goo Goo Dolls. It’s actually a lot of the songs that scared stations out of the CHR format at the time. Even in 1992, one would hear Kris Kross, “Jump,” and wonder if it would be playing on Hot AC in 25 years. Your station might have crossed that threshold for a lunchtime feature or special weekend. I heard the Mix playing it at the top of the 10 a.m. hour yesterday (March 14). Not all the “oh wow” songs on the Mix are lost ‘90s...Read More

Fresh Listen: Alexa’s Favorite “Light FM”

It began with a discussion between Edison Research colleague Larry Rosin and his Amazon Echo. He asked Alexa to play “Lite FM.” She said, “Playing ‘Lite FM’ on TuneIn.” And this is the station she gave him. Light FM Beirut began, I now know from the station site, as a hobbyist station in 1989. “Throughout the years, more and more listeners started tuning in to forget their everyday stress.” This in a market where everyday stress had meant more than just traffic jams. I reached out to managing partner Karim Mansour to ask if he’d noticed more listening from the U.S. recently. He said, “We’ve been getting increased streaming traffic from all over the world.” As a student of radio everywhere, I’m happy when audio tourism finds me an enjoyable AC option from far away. For most broadcasters, ho...Read More

… And The Best Positioning of Today

Despite the pedestrian nature of many current radio station positioners, and my fears that they’re making radio sound small at the wrong time, I’m still able to find some current ones that stand out for me. I liked KROQ Los Angeles’ “Alternative First,” a slogan which it is now playing down, in tandem with going more gold-based again. That liner simultaneously claimed the music discovery position and asserted the station heritage against KYSR (Alt 98.7). I like that stations want to be “Number One for Music Discovery.” But I often hear it next to the song that is already a sub-power on a station and has been playing for 13 weeks—because if that slogan were used on music that was truly new, stations could use it only about eight times a day. It also takes something personal and joyful like ...Read More

Blaine Jackson Named PD Of WLUB/W292EE Augusta

iHeartMedia has named Blaine Jackson as Program Director of Country “105.7 The Bull” WLUB and Classic Country “106.3 The Bull Icons” W292EE/WLUB-HD2 Augusta GA. Jackson joins WLUB/W292EE from sister “96.5 The Bull” WIHB-FM Gray/Macon where she served as PD/Midday host. She has spent her entire radio career with iHeart, starting as a board operator in Macon in 2010 and eventually moving up to Program Director at the company’s Newnan GA stations and then WIHB. iHeartMedia announced today that Blaine Jackson has been named program director for WLUB 105.7 The Bull and WLUB HD2 106.3 The Bull Icons effective immediately. 105.7 the Bull, Augusta’s No. 1 for Country, plays today’s hottest country hits including the newest tracks from artists such as...Read More

The Best Positioning of Yesterday…

There have been two very different moves on station positioning in the U.K. this month. One was British group broadcaster Bauer going from the broad—“Your Music, Your Life”—to the more mundane with “The Biggest Hits, All Day Long.” But a week later, the U.K.’s Heart FM dropped its “More Music Variety” slogan. While it’s still unclear the extent to which it’s being used on the air, what replaced it is “Turn Up the Feel Good.” Judging by comments from readers and Facebook friends since last week’s question “Is Radio Famous for Boring Things?” there are a number of programmers who would be comfortable if radio moved away from station slogans altogether. Some felt that the right listener comments said more than any slug line. “Perception of the brand is the positioning statement,” writes veter...Read More

Where To Hear The ‘60s Online

They were the webcasters most vulnerable to changing performance royalty rates—the boutique stations specializing in ‘60s and ‘70s gold that you didn’t regularly hear on large-market broadcast radio. A year ago, there was legitimate cause for concern about the future of the individual Webcaster. So as we wrap up our look at where to hear the ‘60s on the radio, it’s gratifying that, whatever their travails over the last year, there’s still an incredibly wide array of choices. Pop Gold Radio — Veteran New Jersey radio personality Don Tandler’s labor of love got the most mentions here, including from Joseph McCombs, Tim Marini, and Rich Appel. Pop Gold’s centerpiece is its Saturday afternoon Time Machine countdown—not just the chart from this day in history but from a different legendar...Read More

Is Radio Famous For Boring Things

Is radio becoming famous for boring things? Or trying to? It’s long been something I’ve wondered about. It was always possible to reimagine McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” if broadcasters had chosen the slogan. But the fast-food giant never became “a better variety of burgers and chicken sandwiches — now with breakfast after 10 a.m.” In recent months, I’ve been listening to a lot of radio, even compared to my usual pace, and a lot of the traditional imaging is blending together. Without notes, I wouldn’t know where I heard “today’s hits, today’s favorites” yesterday, and where it was I heard “more music, more variety.” I wonder if those stand out enough against Spotify’s “Music for Everyone” or Pandora’s external marketing line “The Next Song Matters.” Only AccuRadio’s “Better Music for Y...Read More

Where To Hear The ‘60s Part II, Readers Respond

Last week’s column on Oldies and Classic Hits stations that still play the ‘60s, usually as part of a broader mix, brought forth a lot of reader suggestions. One of the biggest FM outlets to spring up as a result of the format’s evolution is Hubbard’s KAZG (Oldies 92.7) Phoenix. With rival KOOL pushing into the ‘90s, “KAZG cumes around 170,000 people a month and has a 1.3 share 6+ in December and the Holiday 2016 [PPMs]. We play Beatles, Motown, British Invasion, and lots of ‘60s pop music, in addition to plenty of ‘70s material,” writes cluster OM David Moore. Randy Michaels checks in with hometown WDJO Cincinnati, as well as Lancaster, Calif.’s “goldmine in the desert,” KFXM-LP, and WEAK-LP Athens, Ohio. Reader Bryan Wellander also mentioned WDJO. To which I’ll add that Cincinnati is als...Read More

How To Play The FCC And Come Out On Top

Make no mistake about it. Entercom’s maneuverings with KDND in light of the merger with CBS Radio were a stroke of genius. The potential of 107.9 KDND losing its license over the 2007 “Hold Your Wee For a Wii” contest and death of Jennifer Strange and attempts to have Entercom’s entire Sacramento cluster dragged into the matter was going to hover over the regulatory hurdles the merger with CBS Radio would need to clear in the months ahead. Now Entercom eliminates that hassle and has the potential to improve the status of its Sacramento cluster. By replacing low-rated Hot AC “Star 106.5” KUDL with the “107.9 The End” intellectual property and turning in the 107.9 license Entercom now has the ability to improve its standing in the Sacramento market. Upon c...Read More

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