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Could CHR Be A Better Upper-Demo Format?

Summer was, over the years, a Top 40 stronghold. For the last few years, however, it’s been mostly a vehicle for Nielsen press releases about the success of Classic Hits and Classic Rock. And it’s part of why I’m rethinking how CHR might rebound. I railed against CHR’s “25-54’itis” of the early ‘90s that turned the format into Hot AC, sapping it of...[Read More]

First Listen: Austin City Limits Radio (KGSR Austin)

This is not how the story usually ends. There’s a struggling heritage brand. A chain reaction of frequency flips. The sudden availability of a new, lesser frequency. A promo about a major announcement coming the next day. It would have been entirely reasonable to expect something far more anodyne on the 93.3 frequency of Triple-A KGSR Austin. Inste...[Read More]

Five New Stations To Stream

Radio needs a “new fall season.” Radio needs to do a better job of creating stations that can be streaming destinations—national tentpoles that satisfy needs not always met on the local level. Fortunately, while the “Ross on Radio” column was in the last weeks of summer vacation schedule, a number of new (or revamped) choices popped up that fit tha...[Read More]

When CHR Wins, Despite the Music

They are positive stories for CHR at a time when CHR needs positive stories. WJFX (Hot 107.9) Fort Wayne, Ind., rebounds sharply and goes No. 1, among published stations in the market, up 4.8–8.2. WDDJ (Electric 96.9) Paducah, Ky., is up 18.3–23.4, second only to its sister Country station, WKYQ. (That’s the usual hierarchy in the market, but somet...[Read More]

First Listen: Cities 97.1 Minneapolis

For roughly twenty years, basically as long as there’s been Modern AC, “Cities 97” KTCZ Minneapolis has been darting back and forth around the place where that format and Triple-A converge. About five years ago, it landed in a place I really liked, finding the songs in Triple-A that deserved to cross to pop, playing them in aggressive r...[Read More]

Handicapping the Summer Song of 1979 (And Today)

I have place memories for a lot of songs, and I definitely have one for “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor Doctor)” by Robert Palmer. It was the summer after senior year — probably right around this time. My high-school buddy Matt and I were driving back to Washington, D.C., from Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., exciting not just for the amusement ...[Read More]

Fresh Listen: WKIC Hazard KY

I don’t know if today’s 15-year-old music geek needs a station like 97.9 WKIC Hazard KY. That would imply they were listening to the radio and waiting around to hear songs not normally heard on the radio. My options for that in 1978 were hanging out at the record stores that let you audition singles or hoping that a radio friend would let me go thr...[Read More]

Sherwood Ross (1933-2018)

At age 4, my father made a tape of me with his handheld cassette recorder asking what I wanted to be when I grew up. The answer was a radio station’s music director (or maybe, at that age, it was “the person who chooses the records”). My father, Sherwood Ross, was public affairs director for Sonderling, the company that owned legendary R&B stat...[Read More]

Constructing The Next Decades of Classic Hits

There was genuine excitement last week when I reported that Classic Hits KOLA Riverside, Calif., was filtering in titles from the early 2000s. KOLA had been aggressive, and successful, by forging into the ‘90s ahead of most stations. When I reported that they were on the move again, some readers thanked me for telling them about the station. Cumulu...[Read More]