Fresh Listen: WMJI and WHLK Cleveland

The parameters of WHLK (the Lake) Cleveland, iHeart’s successful Adult Hits station, are pretty much what you’d expect for the format, especially with a Classic Hits station next door. The bulk of the music is in the ‘80s, but there are the usual handful of megahits from the ‘00s and even from recent years. The music essentially begins in the mid-‘70s with mostly rock titles such as “Sweet Emotion” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I have no inside knowledge, but it seems likely that the parameters of WMJI (Majic 105.7) are influenced by cluster strategy as well. Majic lives largely in the ‘70s. It plays the ‘80s but has no depth; the most played ‘80s songs are “Billie Jean”-level superhits. As other stations bid farewell to the late ‘60s once and for all, even for the Beatles and Creedence Clearwa...Read More

What Does Last Week’s Format Action Mean For The Rest Of 2017?

The Christmas/New Year’s season is normally busy for format changes, but with the amount of action (including five PPM market changes in one day) has put the entire radio industry on notice. While the circumstances behind every change were different, there was one noticeable similarity about many of the new format launches. Escaping younger demographics for older. We all know that reaching the 18-34 audience has become more difficult for broadcast radio, especially if you are not the heritage player in a market. Lots of words have been written elsewhere about the struggle for radio to reach millennials but has finally come back to hit radio in the wallet where it hurts most. New AC’s launched in Philadelphia and Tampa. Gold leaning Urban AC in Boston. Adult Hits in Houston. Onl...Read More

First Listen: Three New Year’s Format Changes—Dallas, Houston, Long Island

Okay, technically, August 20 is National Radio Day. But format watchers already have their national holidays — Labor Day, Memorial Day, and the 12 days of Christmas (or the 12 or so days that follow Christmas) when format changes take place. Whether broadcasters are willing to invest in a new format is often an indicator of radio’s optimism, and this year radio seems fairly optimistic. The last few weeks have brought something for almost every radio fan. KISQ (The Breeze) San Francisco has seemingly reignited the interest in supersoft AC. But Classic Country continues to spread as well. And we took three First Listens to a variety of stations. KKHH (The Spot) Houston When Top 40 KKHH (Hot 95.7) became Adult Hits “The Spot” late last year, it was symbolic. In 2008, Hot 95.7 was the first CH...Read More

A Holiday Message From Dan Mason

A Ross on RadioInsight guest article from Dan Mason, Chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. The giving time of year is upon us and radio stations across the country have been conducting drives to raise money and awareness for the charitable causes that help their communities. That’s part of radio’s public service, and we do it earnestly and well. Radio is a call-to-action medium. We know how to rally our audiences to help others. What happens, though, when the victim is one of our own? When an unforeseen misfortune befalls a member of the broadcasting community? That’s when the Broadcasters Foundation of American can step in to help. The Broadcasters Foundation is the only charity devoted exclusively to helping broadcasters in need. Our grant recipients are your colleagues. Br...Read More

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

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