Author: Sean Ross

Two Very Different (From Each Other) CHRs

I took a “Fresh Listen” to two very different CHR stations this week. One was Rhythmic Top 40, one was Mainstream. One came to my attention for the amount of Latin crossover it was playing. One I just happened across. I’ve said in recent years that spending time with many CHRs is sometimes more professional duty than pleasure. In many cases, it’s the lack of differences. After PPM, the range of wh...Read More

Fresh Listen: Son of The Original Kool

With this week’s flip of WQTL Tallahassee, Fla., it’s worth noting that Adams Radio Group now has three stations branded as “Kool Oldies.” The new station, playing a more ‘60s-driven version of the format than that usually found on major format FMs, joins sister stations in Ocean City, Md., and last year’s launch on KWML Las Cruces, N.M. These are the sort of medium-to-small-market changes that ar...Read More

The First 10 (Or So) Songs I Loved

If you were going to have a special attachment to the music of any one year, 1967 would be a good one to choose. I like to think that you didn’t have to be there to recognize 1967 as a special moment. It doesn’t take much more than a litany of song titles to make the case. But I was there, and 1967 was the year that I became aware of what was on the radio. The first current song I remember my fath...Read More

Catching Up With Friends Of Ross On Radio

There are two things happening with friends of the column this week that might be of interest to Ross On Radio Readers. Both involve people whose knowledge of music and charts perhaps exceeds my own. Josh Hosler: More than a decade ago, he left the then-Jones Radio Network to pursue seminary and the Episcopal priesthood, but Hosler’s interest in music and charts never flagged. Here’s Hosler’s new ...Read More

America’s All-Current CHR Superstation Is …

It’s always an intriguing question for programmers. Could you successfully program an all-current CHR along the lines of WCAU-FM Philadelphia? WCAU, now WOGL, famously revitalized the format with a total inventory of 50 titles in fall ‘81/spring ’82. And it did so beginning at a time when CHR music was at its then-nadir. That was a long time ago, and all-current is not where CHR lives right now. O...Read More

To the College Broadcaster I Heard Tonight

Like a lot of the radio that interests me, I came upon the college Alternative station I heard tonight by accident. Its name was similar to a better-known commercial station. That station wasn’t available online, so I decided to listen. “Sober Up” by AJR was ending. The student on the air ID’d it as the band “Air.” Then he back-sold M83’s “Midnight City” as by “M-B-3.” A few breaks later, AWOLnati...Read More

Listening To Every New Song In Every Format

It’s been a weekly ritual for as long as I’ve had access to monitored airplay. On Sunday nights, just before the new chart week begins, I begin with the Mainstream Top 40 chart and listen to any new songs I haven’t heard yet — usually those cracking the 100-spin mark for the first time. I work my way through most of the current-driven formats. It’s not a perfect listening exercise. In Countr...Read More

First Listen: Boomtown Richmond

“Out and About” wasn’t the first song that caught my attention on WUWN/WBTL (Boomtown Radio) Richmond, Va. It was just the one that made me start writing songs down. Boyce & Hart’s “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight” is of those top 10 records that might as well have never existed — except in my firmament — based on its acknowledgment (or lack thereof) by Oldies radio. That was the case even w...Read More

First Listen: Fonz-FM Milwaukee

There are two things to know about Fonz FM, the AM/FM-translator combo that recently rebranded from the True Oldies Channel. The name is brilliant, prompting the sort of excited reader reaction that I last experienced during the November volley of CBS/Entercom format change. Like Tuscaloosa, Ala.’s Nick 97.5, it was the rare format change that generated TV coverage. I wish I’d come up with the nam...Read More

America’s Fastest Growing Music Service Is…

There’s good news for Amazon Music in “The Infinite Dial 2018,” just released by Edison Research. Monthly usage of the subscription service, flat a year ago, was up 6% to 9% in 2018. Those saying they used the service in the previous week were also up, 4% to 6%. Amazon Music’s usage is a fraction of the listening to either Pandora (31% last month) or Spotify (20%), but it’s the biggest gain of any...Read More

Final Listen: WLUP Chicago

“97.9 The Loop” WLUP-FM Chicago didn’t get the same big sendoff that “100.3 The Sound” KSWD Los Angeles did when it was sold to the Christian AC K-Love Network, but irony abounds in its last 24 hours before the news broke. When I listened to midday host Lyndsey Marie on Monday, March 5, the first break I heard began with “looks like we’re in for a miserable ride home” (beca...Read More

The Best Batting Average In Country Radio

Among the “Moneyball”-style metrics that have become part of Jeff Green’s annual presentations at Country Radio Seminar, there were a new set of stats in Nashville this year. Those metrics were not about the songs, but the stations that break the hits, or don’t. Green rated stations on several factors: how fast their combination of airplay and audience could familiarize a song (KYGO Denver was the...Read More