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Final Listen: WGHT (North Jersey 1500)

It’s business as usual today on “North Jersey 1500” WGHT Pompton Lakes NJ today. There are still promos about the station being live and local, and not voice-tracked (“our announcers drive to work”). There are still advertiser testimonials. (“There are no more flying chickens, because I sell so many wings.”) But North Jersey 1500’s pend...Read More

Ten Random Songs From The ROR Vaults

  I haven’t done it yet, but every time I have to do a presentation somewhere, I consider not talking about the state of radio. I consider not talking about the radio format landscape. I think about just taking out the phone and playing music. Not because I can’t hold forth on those topics endlessly. But who doesn’t want to play music for thei...Read More

The Novelty Is Wearing Off, And That’s Good

  We forget it now, but there was a time, even 6-8 years ago, when anything from the pop side of the new-wave ‘80s was inherently considered goofy by some programmers. The guitar rock side of the genre—U2, Clash, Police, David Bowie, even Billy Idol—belonged in the same canon as Dire Straits, Bryan Adams, and John Mellencamp, which radio progr...Read More

Surprise! Alternative Tops the CHR Charts

There was a time not that long ago when it was still possible that neither “Feel It Still” by Portugal, The Man nor “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons would be a CHR hit. Both were inherently poppy records, but the Alternative chart was mostly poppy records and few of them were crossing over. Imagine Dragons had also jeopardized their status as “the Alte...Read More

For All of Us, Lots of Mel Tillis to Discover

Enjoying Country radio literally began for me with Mel Tillis. When I was little, there’d been a babysitter who played WPIK Washington, D.C., instead of the R&B and Top 40 stations I liked, but I remember everything as sounding sad and slow.  Then, at age 12, my dad, who usually had little interest in contemporary music, was turned on to WHN Ne...Read More

“Scheduling” The Perfect CD Reissue

I’ve come to know Brent James as the dean of the Classic Hits format in Australia. He’s the APD/MD of 4KQ Brisbane, which racks up FM-style numbers on AM. Hit-oriented during the week, 4KQ first got my attention through its feature shows, “Friday Night Fever” (heard Friday morning in U.S. time) with its mix of not just disco but other party songs, ...Read More

My New Favorite Oldie Is . . .

I was in San Antonio when I came across the long version of “Scorpio” by Dennis Coffey on the radio. That was followed by the original version of “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle,” made famous by Deniece Williams, but known to me many years earlier as an R&B classic by the Royalettes. If that had been the tone of the radio station I discovered, that ...Read More

What Top 40 Must Do Now

  Maybe it’s not fair to look at Top 40’s numbers during the fall. The time after back-to-school has, traditionally, been a bad time for the format. But have you seen the numbers? It’s been common for a while to look through monthly PPMs and find only a station or two at the top of their market. But crunching just the 6+ PPMs makes the story m...Read More

Fresh Listen: K-Love

One of the first stations I worked with as a researcher, more than a decade ago, was the iconoclastic Classic Hits format on WKLU Indianapolis. Back when “Classic Hits” was not yet a euphemism for “Oldies,” WKLU was one of the first stations to bend the distinction between the two terms with a wide list that stretched from “Play That Funky Music” t...Read More

Great Second Helpings From “One-Hit Wonders”

Okay, technically it passed on Sept. 25, but, really, every day is “National One-Hit Wonder Day” in Ross On Radio. Also, “National Local Hit Day.” Also, “National ‘Oh-Wow Oldie’ Day.” And “National Songs That Sound Vaguely Like Each Other Day,” too. And now I’m declaring October 12 to be “Worthy Songs That Should Have Given an Artist Their Second H...Read More

First Listen: Mod 102.3 New Haven

So let me be clear, I like Connoisseur’s “Mod 102.3” W272DO/WPLR-HD2 New Haven, Conn.,  which launched last month with a pop-leaning Alternative format that it positions on the air only as “The New Sound of New Haven.” I had tweeted my intended approval of the station’s segue from R&B artist Khalid to “The Man” by the Killers, addin...Read More

Two Song Mysteries Down, One To Go

Of the three outstanding song mysteries featured in last week’s Ross On Radio column,  I had thought that two of them might remain unanswered forever. Instead, the first song was figured out within minutes; the next one within a day. (A fourth mystery in the column was presented to you already solved.) That leaves just one, from a Ross On Radio rea...Read More