Songs You’re Sick And/Or Tired Of

As somebody who schedules music for a living, and who helps guide radio stations toward “playing the hits,” I have no trouble programming “Sweet Home Alabama” next to “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” I know that “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Cold Water” and other recent hits will continue to test for months, and it doesn’t matter that I never warmed to them in the first place. Knowing the difference between your taste and that of your audience is the first tenet of programming. But I still cannot personally listen to “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” on the radio. Or “Brown Eyed Girl.” Or “Jack and Diane.” If it’s on a station I schedule, I might leave it on—afraid to punch out and miss the transition. If “Carry On Wayward Son” comes on any other station that I’m listening to for professional reasons...Read More

Ross On Radio Announces New Presentation For 2017

“Radio: How Does That Make You Feel” Addresses Industry Change And Our Perspective Sean Ross, author of the influential “Ross On Radio” column has announced his 2017 public-speaking theme: “Radio: How Does That Make You Feel?” The new presentation addresses how broadcasters have reacted, internally and externally, to the changes in the industry, and looks at how we feel about the business and ourselves. The new presentation is a follow-up to the well-received “Radio in An Audio World.” Debuted in 2014, “Radio in An Audio World” asked how broadcasters should respond to big-name competitors like Apple and Google and a loss of their monopoly on audio content. “Radio In An Audio World” looked at broadcasters’ strengths, challenges, and opportunities in extending their broadcast offerings and o...Read More

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 has proven itself to be a bellwether market for radio format developments, including both the stations involved in this series of format flips. Since the beginning of the contemporary era of radio programming, Dallas/Fort Worth has been: An early major-market showplace for Top 40 and Gordon McLendon’s KLIF. An early showplace for FM AC, thanks to KVIL—for many years the most emulated station in the ...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 time, there was a catalog to ask them about, but they still appreciated the attention. Meeting veteran artists happens less consistently. You may not have a reason to cross paths with them. Programming an R&B oldies station in Chicago was great for meeting a long list of soul legends (mostly with local connections, but sometimes touring acts): Jerry Butler, Lou Rawls, Barry White, Marshall Thomps...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 poached Zane Lowe for its new Beats 1 service last year. Whatever Radio 1’s advantage nationally, it never cut the same figure in London as the eclectic AC BBC Radio 2. Capital has been mired in a slog with AC rivals Heart and Magic, but it could usually count on being the leading CHR. But in the just released Q3 London RAJAR ratings, BBC1 is up 3.6-4.5, well behind BBC2’s 10.9 share, but edging Capta...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, and CHR WZMP (96.5 Amp FM). Charlotte, N.C.: AC WKQC (K104.7), CHRs WHQC and WNKS (Kiss 95.1), Adult Hits WLKO (the Lake) and Country WSOC. If you follow the 6-plus PPM ratings every month, enough to keep a running tally of which stations are doing well, this list probably sounds a little bit off to you. Out of the top five, there are three or four stations that you think of as dominant, but one o...Read More

Who Gets Hurt The Most By A KDND License Revocation?

The incident that led to the potential license revocation of Entercom CHR “107.9 The End” KDND Sacramento took place nearly a decade ago. The employees responsible for the “Hold Your Wee For a Wii” contest and death of Jennifer Strange have mostly moved on to better jobs following their terminations from KDND. Even if the station’s license is revoked, the CHR format and “End” brand will likely just move to another one of Entercom’s stations in the Sacramento market. So what is really to be gained by revoking the license? Yes Jennifer Strange died pretty much at the hands of the radio station. Entercom was found guilty in civil court and paid $16.5 million in compensation. No criminal charges were filed against the employees responsible for th...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 precedes, and continues through, the first verse. Now, play the thumping first three notes of “Another Brick in the Wall.” And sing “boo-gie nights.” It fits perfectly. “Boogie Nights” was about two years old by the time “The Wall” came out. Usually, the lag between a hit single and the song it vaguely sounds like is closer to a year. (This British hit by Carl Douglas of “Kung-Fu Fighting” fame was e...Read More

Nearly Instant Insight On Today’s Big Moves

There are plenty of days when there is little news to report which then gets balanced by days like today when you get flooded with big stories that have the potential to have repercussions for many months and years forward. Starting with Entercom’s purchase into Charlotte via the mandated Greater Media divestitures and WFNZ, you have to first start with noting how much was paid compared to what Greater Media acquired WBT AM/FM and WLNK in 2007. Entercom will pay less than a quarter of the $100 million Greater Media forked down for one less station nine years ago. The debt taken on just before the economic collapse eventually led to Beasley acquiring the company. With Entercom bulking up lately on sports play-by-play rights and Beasley shying away from the format (Selling WQAM Miami a...Read More

A Tale Of Two Launches

Two format changes took place this week in the South Bend market. Midwest Family Broadcasting launched CHR “Live 99.9” WQLQ Benton Harbor MI following a weekend of stunting with television theme songs. Across town Artistic Media Partners broke off the simulcast of Classic Hits “The Stream” to debut Classic Rock “Rock 97.7” WYXX Goshen. WQLQ’s launch was the closest to having a fully fledged station ready at birth we’ve had in years. Unlike most launches that go for the jockless 10,000 song commercial-free debut, “Live 99.9” had a clear plan of attack against Artistic’s “U93” 92.9 WNDV. Unlike most format changes that are kept secret until the second it goes live, WQLQ announced its intention a week ahead of time ...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. It was two announcements that bookended the Radio Show that are driving my optimism about the business this week. One was the announcement that iHeartRadio will unveil some sort of on-demand music streaming. Then there was yesterday’s announcement that Canada’s version of the UK-originated Radioplayer is moving forward; ironically, putting it in competition with Bell Media’s planned Canadian launch...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 heritage rock. That was why, Borchetta said, he had personally opposed any attempt to fragment the country chart. While the opposition of Borchetta and many on Music Row to fragmentation goes back for decades, you think he might come around now that Big Machine and radio group owner Cumulus have partnered on a NASH Icon record label specializing in heritage artists, like Reba McEntire. Labels like havin...Read More

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