Author: Sean Ross

Constructing The Next Decades of Classic Hits

There was genuine excitement last week when I reported that Classic Hits KOLA Riverside, Calif., was filtering in titles from the early 2000s. KOLA had been aggressive, and successful, by forging into the ‘90s ahead of most stations. When I reported that they were on the move again, some readers thanked me for telling them about the station. Cumulus VP of programming Brian Thomas called my attenti...[Read More]

Bring Back for What?

For a long time, I regarded the act of holding on to a current title after its chart run as an act of independence on a par with going “off the menu” and adding a new song not being promoted by a label. Keeping a proven hit in power might not have displayed the same enterprise as finding a new hit. But both decisions represented a willingness to curate a distinctive station and put the audience fi...[Read More]

Fresh Listen: KOLA Riverside In The New Millennium

It wasn’t that long ago that 99.9 KOLA-FM Riverside, Calif., was provocative among Classic Hits stations for its forays into the ‘90s. Other stations were planted in the mid-‘70s through late ‘80s, occasionally crossing the date line for an early ‘90s song with a throwback feel—Spin Doctors, Black Crowes, Michael Jackson, “Black or White.” KOLA pushed further, both in terms of era and texture, int...[Read More]

Handicapping The Summer Song of 2018

  For Top 40 radio, there’s a lot riding on the Summer Song of 2018 candidates. The mother/daughter coalition is beyond frayed. Tempo is negligible (I heard a major-market CHR segue this week from Post Malone, “Rockstar,” to Max, “Lights Down Low”). April PPM ratings were dismaying even for some stations that had withstood the format downturn. The format needs its moment in the sun. So make i...[Read More]

First Listen: The Brand

Before there was “Hot Country” or “New Country,” there was the Country battle in Houston. Through the ‘80s and early ‘90s, KILT-FM (FM100) under consultant Ed Shane and rival KIKK-FM were mainstream musically (at least as I now remember them), but had an extra level of presentational gloss and energy that made them the brightest sounding stations of their era, until rival KKBQ (93Q Country) and so...[Read More]

Twenty (Or So) (Mostly) Great Songs That Were a Hit on One Station

A few nights ago, “Bania U Cygana” by Zero came up in my workout playlist. “Bania U Cygana” was a Polish-language dance record that became a signature record for WKIE (Energy 92.7) Chicago during its brief tenure as a dance station in the early ‘00s. It never spread to crosstown WBBM-FM (B96), whose version of Rhythmic Top 40 was more Hip-Hop and R&B in those days. There were a handful of othe...[Read More]

Did Mike Joseph Die And Take Hot Hits With Him?

I didn’t like Mike Joseph’s “Hot Hits” WCAU-FM Philadelphia when I first heard it. I liked WIFI, the presciently named “Wi-Fi 92.” WIFI was pretty hot by 1981 CHR standards and threw in interesting gold. It was foreground enough compared to the rest of the sterile format, and when WCAU-FM came along, WIFI had just cracked a four-share after segueing back from Rock 40. How much more saving did the ...[Read More]

Review: “New Wave: Dare to Be Different”

  The first impressive thing is the artists who step forward to testify. Brand names including Deborah Harry, Billy Idol, U2 (represented by manager Paul McGuinness), and Joan Jett. But also, Mike Score from A Flock of Seagulls, Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, Book of Love leader Ted Ottavio, Vince Clarke of Erasure. And in the story of WLIR Long Island, N.Y., those acts were as much a part...[Read More]

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]