Author: Sean Ross

A Format Change That Matters In A Market That Matters

The decision on November 17 by iHeart Media to take KDGE (the Edge) Dallas from Alternative to Mainstream AC as “Star 102.1” is significant not just for what it is, but for where it is. It wasn’t that long ago that a series of format changes and modifications, particularly in the Midwest, opened up Mainstream AC holes that threatened to go unfilled for a while. And over the years, the Metroplex ha...Read More

The Artists I Still Want to Meet

Working in the music business, getting to meet an artist is usually a matter of timing. Are you around at the beginning of the career, when they’re most available? Or around the time of a comeback, when they’re ccessible again? Some of my most fondly remembered conversations with artists—Billy Ocean, Natalie Cole, Vern Gosdin—came when they were switching labels after a decade or more. By that tim...Read More

Fresh Listen: BBC Radio 1 vs. Capital FM

BBC Radio 1, the state broadcaster’s (mostly) mainstream CHR has been a famous longtime irritant to its commercial rivals. The national footprint of a CHR station that also happens to be commercial free was the publicly stated rationale for the networking of British commercial radio that has taken place over the last decade. It was also Radio 1’s eclectic nighttime bloc from which Apple Music poac...Read More

Making The Grasp Equal Our Reach

These are the top five radio stations in New York: AC WLTW (Lite FM), Rhythmic Hot AC WKTU, Top 40 WHTZ (Z100), Classic Hits WCBS-FM, and Adult Top 40 WNEW (Fresh 102.7). Here’s Los Angeles: Top 40 KIIS-FM, Adult Top 40 KBIG (My 104.3), AC KOST, Classic Hits KRTH (K-Earth 101) and CHR KAMP (97.1 Amp FM). Philadelphia: AC WBEB (101.1 More FM), Classic Hits WOGL, CHR WIOQ (Q102), Classic Rock WMGK, ...Read More

The Last Days Of Disco … Rocked

Everybody knows what happens when you listen to Dark Side of the Moon and watch The Wizard of Oz. Now, try this one. Cue up the single version of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2.” It’s the one that begins instrumentally, without the “Happiest Days of Our Lives” intro, and without the scream. Now, think of “Boogie Nights” by Heatwave, specifically the “boo-gie nights” chant that pre...Read More

The Week Radio Really Got Moving

Yes, it was the best Radio Show in recent memory. It might have been the energy of Nashville. It might have been the crowded hallways. I try to look at radio’s progress with clear eyes, but it really did feel like “a pivot point,” as iHeartMedia Executive VP of Programming/Central Tony Coles called it. And it didn’t take the cheerleaders or pep talks that have characterized previous Radio Shows. I...Read More

Did Fragmentation Kill Rock Radio?

Is it time for current-based rock radio to become one format again? His focus was mostly country radio, but during his keynote at Tuesday’s RAIN Summit Nashville, Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta talked about rock radio’s recent travails. Rock’s weakness, he said, was due to its splintering into multiple charts—modern rock, active rock, and, in some cases, mainstream or herita...Read More

Once Derided On Stage, Denver Is Now “Forever Country”

It might not have been intentional, but “Forever Country,” the new superstar-laden single and video promoting the fiftieth anniversary of the CMA Awards, wades into a more than forty-year-old dust-up about “what is country” that ensnared the CMA Awards itself. The song that kicks off the classic country medley is John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” That song was only a top 50 Country hit ...Read More

As Industry Gathers, Radio Is Still Negotiating the Audio World

I came out of Radio Show 2013 in Orlando with optimism and many questions. I was excited about broadcasters’ new spirit of candor that didn’t get lost under the usual talking points. There was a group head admitting that radio had a spotload issue. There was Cumulus’ Lew Dickey announcing his deal with Rdio and suddenly declaring that “it’s all audio.” Suddenly the concept of on-demand music was s...Read More

“Perfect” for My Current Mood

“Boy, there’s a lot of controversy about that song,” said the jock backselling Lady Gaga’s “Perfect Illusion” on Monday. Then he added, “It’s really growing on me,” maybe a little too hastily. I loved “Perfect Illusion” after one listen. But if you’re grappling with it, or dismissive, I understand. It’s a harsh lyric and an adamant vocal. It’s yet another Madonna homage. It’s chaotic in plac...Read More

The Market Within A Market

“It’s sure hard to punch around this market.” That’s an industry friend talking about Nashville radio. The fast growing city and home to the upcoming Radio Show 2016 is also growing as a radio market, in a way that many people may not realize. More than 25 years ago, Nashville became one of the first markets where an FM translator was used to do something other than help an FM station extend its c...Read More

Reconsidering Radio’s Worst Summer (Of The Early ‘80s)

The summer of 1979 was pretty great for hit music—the peak of disco, the explosion of new wave crossovers, not much has to be said. Besides, I’d just graduated from high school. The summer of 1980 was pretty good where I was in Washington, D.C., thanks to the battle between WPGC and WRQX (Q107). WPGC hadn’t stopped playing R&B crossovers like many top 40 stations. Q107 leaned pop/rock and was...Read More

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