Czech Out This ‘90s Station

This article originally appeared April 17, 2007 on Edison Research’s The Infinite Dial blog (when Sirius and XM Radio were still two separate entities).

So far, broadcasters have shown an admirable amount of restraint in trying to get an all-’90s format on the air, instead leaving it to Internet or satellite broadcasters (particularly XM’s ‘90s Channel and Sirius’ ’90s-based Hot AC The Pulse). But it’s still fun to speculate on how a ’90s format might manifest itself, particularly when the mass-appeal music of the ’90s went through so many changes.

The XM approach is reminiscent of some of the all-’70s stations, acknowledging all the decade’s extremes in turn. And for a truly unusual listening experience, there’s the Devadesatka ’90s Channel of Czech Hot AC station Radio City.

Maybe because the hits in Europe were different, Radio City does manage to find a pop center to the decade–a mix of pop, Eurodance, and the softest rock and hip-hop crossovers. There will be plenty here that’s not familiar to most Americans, but as I write, they are about to segue from Shanice’s “I Love Your Smile” to White Town’s “Your Woman.” Here’s a recent sample hour:

  • Scorpions, “Send Me An Angel”
  • Madonna, “Beautiful Stranger”
  • LaBouche, “Be My Lover”
  • Prince Ital & Marky Mark, “United” (mid-’90s reggae rap from before the rapper-to-actor transition had completely taken hold)
  • Roxette, “Run To You”
  • Roy Orbison, “Oh Pretty Woman” (counts apparently because of the movie)
  • Culture Beat, “Mr. Vain”
  • Des’ree, “Feel So High”
  • Double You, “Please Don’t Go” (a different studio group doing a similar arrangement to the KWS version)
  • Cranberries, “Dreams”
  • Sasha, “If You Believe”
  • Prezioso f/Marvin, “Tell Me Why” (late ’90s Eurodance)
  • Aerosmith, “Cryin'”
  • DNA f/Suzanne Vega, “Tom’s Diner”
  • Pet Shop Boys, “New York City Boy” (their hit streak ended in 1988 for Americans but went on elsewhere for years)

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Sean Ross is author of the Ross on Radio newsletter and VP of music and programming of Edison Research.

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