Author: Sean Ross

Sixties MOR That Rocks

The narrative that the birth of rock ‘n’ roll essentially eliminated the ‘50s MOR that preceded it with one big blast in 1956 has been pretty well discredited now. It took a while for the obvious vestiges of pre-rock to be eliminated. Even in the late ‘50s, you could find holdover hits like the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra’s “So Rare” (1957) or Doris Day’s “Everybody Loves a Lover” (1958) that were abso...Read More

THE Song Of Summer 2017

There aren’t a lot of stories about galvanizing records these days. But a few weeks ago, when the song was about a week-and-a-half old, the topic of Kesha’s “Praying” came up in my office. Three of my colleagues, all female, raved about it. The fourth hadn’t heard it yet. Once she did, she went under the headphones and listened to it several more times. Not every CHR station reacted as quickly. At...Read More

Songs That Readers Wish They Could Play

When I asked programmers to name the songs they wished they could play on Classic Hits radio last week, there was a wide swath of titles. Some were favorite stiffs—songs that made it as far as the high teens maybe, but never went to current, or songs that never got anywhere near that far. Some were top 10 chart hits, but songs that nevertheless feel lost now. And some were records whose hit status...Read More

What The 2017 Summer Song Won’t Be

In Germany, the Summer Song 2017 battle is already decided. On Billboard, “Despacito” has been No. 1 for so many weeks that it would seem like they’re only holding off on the coronation to try and keep the suspense going. I’m still not ready. I like that a Spanish-language hit could be Song of the Summer (as has been happening around the world for years, see that German list). I like seeing Luis F...Read More

Songs That Programmers Wish Would Test

  I’ve never seen Electric Light Orchestra’s “Turn to Stone” do well in music testing. Or “Sweet Talkin’ Woman.” Or “Livin’ Thing.” Or “Do Ya?” The band that had five years as one of pop music’s greatest hitmaking machines is now often represented at Classic Hits radio by two songs, “Evil Woman” and the goofy outlier that it is “Don’t Bring Me Down.” (Who was Brrrrruuce? What did Jeff Lynne h...Read More

Summer Song Week 6: The Year Without A Summer?

I’ve been on the road again this week. The place I am now is lovely and temperate—perfect summer weather. The market I was in earlier this week was sticky and hot—undeniable summer weather. And in each of them, the unavoidable song on the radio was “Stay” by Zedd & Alessia Cara, which was the unavoidable song of my Memorial Day road trip as well. “Stay” has just been pushed out of No. 1 on the...Read More

What Is Fast? Not So Fast!

Quick, which is more uptempo? “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2? Or “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”? “I Still Haven’t Found” sort of floats, wraith-like, through its four-and-a-half minutes. “Sunday” rocks. But their tempo is essentially the same, just under 101 BPM (beats per minute). Ron Gerber’s “Between the Songs” is billed as “a step by step guide to creating radio magic,” specificall...Read More

Summer Song Week 5: The Summer Stealth Contender

I don’t think it’s going to be long now before somebody just gives the summer song battle to “Despacito.” It’s July. “Despacito” has more momentum than “I’m The One.” (It’s all relative, they’re No. 2 and 3 this week respectively; but “Despacito” is up +1167 spins and “I’m The One” is “only” +488 spins.) And if another song is going to explode into contention, it needs to be in the next few weeks....Read More

First Listen: Real 106.1, Vintage 96.5, 94.7 Smoke

A few notes from some of the July 4 weekend format changes.  WISX (Real 106.1) Philadelphia  Some of the trades positioned it as a head-to-head battle for throwback Hip-Hop and R&B with Radio One’s WPHI (Boom 103.9) Philadelphia, but keep up, people! WPHI modified its Classic Hip-Hop format to a more adult-leaning Mainstream Urban late last year. At the outset, there were both currents and ‘90...Read More

Passionate From Miles Away: Summer Song Week 4

Early on in the summer of 2012, I annoyed some readers by giving a week in the Summer Song derby to “Brokenhearted” by Karmin. That song was the sort of second-tier turbo-pop that made great radio fodder but rarely got to power rotation. It wasn’t important enough to be the Song of the Summer, and I knew that all along. But for a week in early summer, it was certainly the unavoidable record. I’m o...Read More

The Second Single … And the Old Single

As a music fan, and a fan of the business, one of the nice moments in hit music is the release of the second single from a project. The first single is heavily watched, but it’s often the second that determines an artist’s career trajectory. When a developing artist follows the breakthrough hit with the right second single, it always establishes them as someone to be reckoned with, really. Cyndi L...Read More

Party Rock Is In The House Again: Summer Song Week 3

It was weird to look out over the field of Summer Song 2017 contenders and realize that there was no party song. Once the Song of Summer became a phenomenon, part of the calculation in the battle for Summer Song became building in usage. “Party Rock Anthem” had a clear mission statement. “I Gotta Feeling,” by pitching weddings, parties, and bar/bat mitzvahs, guaranteed itself an audience beyond th...Read More