Has American Radio lost touch with American music tastes?

SoulfulDetroit.com FORUM: Archive - After July 12, 2003: Has American Radio lost touch with American music tastes?
Top of pageBottom of page   By janebse ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 07:51 am:

Has American Radio lost touch with American music tastes? What do all of the posters here actually listen to on the car radio, or are they playing CD's or tapes?

Based on my own observations radio is listened to in the car far more than in the home or work.

Are we trying to determine music tastes by radio play? I have been amazed at the increasing number of young people who listen to NPR stations. When I get into other people's cars, no matter what their age, they either turn on NPR, put in CD's or nothing. And the CD isn't rap or hip-hop.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Greg C. ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 08:27 am:

Call me crazy but I feel radio has become one of the most insidious forms of mind control in this nation. You have a few organizations who have gobbled up the radio stations in most of the major cities and you can go from town to town in this country and hear the same carbon copy format.

Radio is terriblle! The same 40 songs over and over with no room or encouragement for creativity.

The frightening thing is the public is sitting by and letting this happen.

I stopped listening to radio a LONG time ago. If I do turn it on its for NPR or maybe a little news. I make my own music and check out the internet and Billboard to get a feel for what's new

Top of pageBottom of page   By timmyfunk1 ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 08:34 am:

I guess when you have corporate vultures like Clear Channel in the mix, then it's not hard to see why people are turning their radios off. I personally just got a CD burner and took matters into my own hands.

Top of pageBottom of page   By medusa9e2003 ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 08:50 am:

..In my car, I listen 2 a certain oldies station,(areal nice one) otherwise, I play a lot of oldies tapes.
I have taped a lot of my own favorites on cassette(I have no CD player N my car).Every now and then, I may turn 2 the so-called Jazz station, or just flip through 2 see what's new.
...and there have been times, that I just purposely turned on 2 a popular station and just listend 2 Rap & all the young vocalists that sound like they have a neurological problem, white Liver or someone has done this or that 2 someone else, or about someones vehicle wheels. After a while, when I think my radio has suffered enough, I either drop N the cassettes, or my poor radio is turned "OFF".

Top of pageBottom of page   By R&B ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 09:20 am:


Top of pageBottom of page   By Brandi1978 ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 09:31 am:

Radio is horrible these days. they play the same artists over and over again.I don't listen to it unless it's the oldies station where I know I'm going to hear real quality music.other than that I go cd shopping and go straight for the classics.
Music these days will never be remembered like the ORIGINATORS of real music. it's sad because the people out now don't make original music..the subject is the same and it's horrible as well as boring.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 09:32 am:

Greg C., I'm with you 100% with your statement pal!

Top of pageBottom of page   By janebse ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 10:19 am:

You have introduced some interesting thoughts. Radio could be insidious mind control, but I think people don't want to have someone tell them what they wshould to listen to. I think people either turn to stations that offer a great deal of variety, like NPR, Jazz, or they bring their own CD's. And people are burning in songs they want to hear.
Radio could be insidious mind control, but people are pretty obstinate. I sort of visualize the radio people as thinking they have everything under control while people are listening to nothing or whatever they prefer.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 10:31 am:

There are Senate hearings going on right now about radio consolidation -- they had the head of the Cumulus radio chain up on the stand, questioning him about his ban of the Dixie Chicks for what Chicks singer Natalie Maines said about Pres. Bush. It was chilling! He absolutely felt he had the right to tell every one of his program directors to stop playing them, for political reasons, no matter if the public still wanted to hear their songs. He's embarrassed now, but ...

There was also a reference to a Clear Channel program director in Alabama who made some negative remark about Bruce Springsteen and his support for the Chicks, that if he said the same thing Natalie Maines did, he'd better watch out, like they'd ban him. Even Sen. John McCain said this is exactly what people were afraid would happen, if ownership of radio stations devolved to just a few corporations: attempted mind control.

Top of pageBottom of page   By LTLFTC ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 10:38 am:

Who's playing the hearings? I'd love to check them out. C-Span has Nancy Reagan....John McCain and me on the same page..I gotta hear this


Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 10:47 am:

By "right now" I meant last week. Not sure if they're ongoing next week or not. McCain did say that while admitting he was still an avowed free market guy.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 10:47 am:

oops I mean an avowed "deregulation" guy.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 10:49 am:

At one point, McCain asked the head of Cumulus, "Would you do that to me?" referring to his ban of the Dixie Chicks. The guy said no. McCain asked why he thought it was OK to do to an entertainer?

Top of pageBottom of page   By LTLFTC ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 10:55 am:

Sue; thanks for the info - i gotta try to catch some of that; I'm not sure if there are enough people in America that realise how dangerous this situation is


Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 11:04 am:

This is why the WKNR re-launch sounded so good last year. It'd been years since I'd heard that kind of radio, and a lively mix of music as well.

And we thought CKLW was tightly formatted!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Charmedes ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 01:22 pm:

In regard to the radio losing touch with the public, speaking only as an "average guy" not employed in the industry, I would have to say the answer is yes. At least as far as most current music goes. I sometimes listen in coffee shops, in cars or at the end of a year, I'll sometimes hear the top 40 countdown or see the occasional video on TV; unlike years ago when each new release by a favorite performer was a milestone or each new issue of a trade magazine was eagerly anticipated.

One of the reasons I feel people are turning in ever increasing numbers to oldies and country is that the current music scene has simply become too
"out there" or "bizarre" for consumption by the masses, especially people with families. Would you like to see your son grabbing his crotch in public or your daughter dressing like a disadvantaged street walker or both using profanity wherever and whenever at the drop of a hat? Television features young people on talk shows all of the time that are too unsophisticated to understand the difference between reality and a fantasy and the resulting consequences therein. Do you know where your gong to indeed.

Oh boy, I'm beginning to sound like my parents. Speaking of which, last night I went with friends to see a performance by a group called "The Unknown Soldier;" a tribute to the Doors. Members of the band and the audience were about 70% in the 20 to 30 year age group. Audience members shouted with glee at the recognition of each song and they displayed some very interpretive moves on the dance floor. The remainder of the crowd was like myself, at least 15 to 25 years older. It now seems very interesting to observe what's happening around me with what my doctor calls "a paradigm shift in perspective" as an older, more experienced person.

The point being, the young people were really into the music although most were not born when it was being released. Even though this music also had an edge in its day, most of the crowd looked like people you wouldn't be afraid to invite to your table. In fact, one of them danced with my lady friend and the two strangers shared a wonderful moment under the spot light. I always find that interesting when young people express an appreciation for the oldies (no pun intended) equal to my own.

In any case, my personal opinion is that nature always looks to establish a balance and that most people have to behave within certain parameters at least to some degree to "survive" in our culture. Most average folks couldn't hold down a job or at least would be very restricted in their choices looking like Michael Jackson or Marilyn Manson. Nevertheless, every "individual" has their own perspective of how they want to present themselves and their own individual interpretation of the term "beauty." Personally, I concur with the ancient philosophers; I find it in my own individual perception of "harmony in line and form."

Top of pageBottom of page   By WPA ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 03:29 pm:

Below is a recent news story about radio and media in the U.S. Congress noticed the massively negative reaction to Chairman Michael Powell (Colin Powell's son) and the FCC's proposed new media rules. It might help to keep the pressure on, though, because Powell has shown absolute arrogance and Clear Channel etc. want to rule the airwaves. I know here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (population 500,000), big media, especially Clear Channel, rules commercial radio, and it is unlistenable.

More consolidation in radio business could hurt free expression,} senators say
{Associated Press Writer}=
WASHINGTON (AP) - Senators opposed to new federal rules on media ownership expressed concern Tuesday that the regulations will bring further consolidations that will limit radio listeners' choices.

They cited the decision by Cumulus Media to bar its dozens of country music stations from playing songs by the Dixie Chicks after the group's lead singer criticized President Bush over the war with Iraq. Natalie Maines said she was embarrassed to be from the same state as Bush.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said she was stunned by what happened to the Dixie Chicks. It sends "a chilling message to people that they ought to shut up," she said.

Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., also was critical.

While McCain was offended by the statement from the Dixie Chicks, he said "to restrain their trade because they exercised their right to free speech to me is remarkable ... and it's a strong argument about what media concentration has the possibility of doing."

Cumulus Media President Lewis Dickey, Jr., whose company owns more than 250 radio stations, defended the decision to temporarily pull the Dixie Chicks from the air. He told the panel that "there was a groundswell of negative reaction by our listeners against the band and we had never seen anything like it before."

Dickey said it was a business decision and not a political one, and he noted that his company's top-40 format stations kept playing the Dixie Chicks.

He also testified that more consolidation is good for the industry, and it won't drown out diversity in the marketplace.

Simon Renshaw, a music industry executive, said the "mad rush to consolidate" has hurt artists and record labels by giving too much control and influence to radio stations and media companies.

Since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which softened ownership limits, the number of station owners has dropped significantly and more stations have been snapped up by a few large companies.

The hearing by McCain's committee was called to focus on radio issues in light of new rules from the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC eased decades-old restrictions on ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations on June 2. While most media rules were relaxed, the FCC voted for new, stricter radio ownership rules.

An amendment sponsored by McCain would expand those new radio regulations so they apply to stations a company already owns. If enacted, the change could force companies like Clear Channel, the country's largest radio chain with 1,200 stations, to sell stations in markets where they exceed ownership limits. {----}=

On the Net:

Senate Commerce Committee: http://commerce.senate.gov

Federal Communications Commission: http://www.fcc.gov

Top of pageBottom of page   By motownboy ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 06:33 pm:

Most music programming on American radio sucks!! I listen to my CDs in the car or the news.....

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jay ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 07:16 pm:

Don't you folks remember the Detroit radio stations playing the SAME song back to back?????

Where can you possibly draw the line in an industry which has consistently had their own interests at heart. It's nothing new.

Is the music of today worse for it?
You bet it is!....But unfortunately, it ain't gonna change!

Top of pageBottom of page   By SB ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 07:34 pm:

I mentioned before that I only listen to the oldie type radio stations. I either play my tapes (slow songs at that), or I listen to the oldies. Sometimes at night - I'll listen to "Quiet Storm", on the Howard University station, WHUR. (They play nothing but slow songs)

Again - doing that gets me over - otherwise - I'd have to "Suffer", like Curtis sung. I am not getting any younger - and that is for sure - and the music is not getting any better, and sadly, that is for sure. So - I don't know what is down the track, ova the bridge and under the moon.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SB ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 08:11 pm:

Nor around the bend. LOL!

Top of pageBottom of page   By LTLFTC ( on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 09:59 pm:

I sure do remember radio stations playing the same stuff , and over and over... A big difference was that if the song stunk, you only had to wait about two minutes and here came something else. These 4-6 minute average song lengths are brutal........

Steve K

Top of pageBottom of page   By Bob Olhsson ( on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 12:23 am:

In a nutshell, here's what's wrong with radio today:

Radio formats are being used to sort consumers into groups for advertisers. The way it works is that they create "focus groups" of the intended listener groups and then "test" music on them. In the case of new music, they add insult to injury and require that labels or management companies finance this research for them.

The result is music that is utterly bland and non-controversial. Muzak actually applied similar research to background music during the '50s and '60s.

In the old days, listeners voted with their wallets and radio played the best sellers. Many of the most popular records actually had a love-hate relationship to the audience. Unfortunately today's research eliminates these "polarized" records along with everything that hasn't got a hundred grand available to finance the research.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eli ( on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 09:43 am:

"Back in the day" when we had Blue Magic with Sideshow, the record was doing great but it needed several more key stations to "get it over the hump" so to speak.
One of those key stsatios was CKLW.
So a trip was scheduled by some Philly "officials" to Detroit and they met with Rosalie at CKLW, the record was added and the rest is history.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Greg C. ( on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 11:21 am:

I remember reading a long time ago a passage that said "if you control a person's mind you don't have to worry about the physical body because it comes right along with it."

The insidious thing about mind control is that in many cases you don't even know your attitudes, thoughts, and values are being taken over until the damage is done.

I am concerned with a medium that virtually tells me what I should like, what I should hear, when I should hear it, and instills those those same songs, beats, and messages into my head over and over and over.

All I'm saying is just be aware and alert of what's going on around you today...

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. ( on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 11:35 am:

Some of the most memorable recollections of radio's best was, actually, during the 1960s, and for the most part, right on into the 70s.

One of the unique aspects of 'personality' radio stations then, for example as it was with Detroit's WKNR, we know they had a 'strict' rotation of 30 records plus on their playlist, allowing an afforded opportunity to many other *new* records (many of those records have been forgotten now) some airplay that would not make any eventual impact, or, any ascension, climb on the record charts, whether it was due lack of popularity, or record sales.

But at least WKNR, CKLW, WXYZ would play many of them, even if it was dropped from their respective playlist rotations after just a few short weeks AFTER we had heard some of them played on the radio then.

For example, off the top of my head....

I can relate of several records that I REALLY enjoyed listening to, records that WKNR "Keener" had dropped from playing all together, after airing them for only a few weeks:

"I REALLY LOVE YOU" ... Dee Dee Sharp*
*debuted on WKNR 10/13/1965: stayed 3 weeks; peaked at #21

"HURT BY LOVE" ... Silkie Hargraves*
*debuted on WKNR on 3/3/1965: stayed 2 weeks; peaked at #22

"TRY TOO HARD" ... Dave Clark 5*
*debut on WKNR March 13, 1966: stayed 3 weeks; peaked at #23

"IT'S GONNA BE ALRIGHT" ... Maxine Brown*
*debuted on WKNR February 25, 1965: stayed 5 weeks; peaked at #15

The whole thing is, to this very day... I still remember these songs that WKNR had once played!

And of course, I can run off much more of these (now) 'forgotten' records, here... but these are just a few that "Keener" did play on WKNR during the '60s... and the fact that the above mentioned were given' some radio airplay-- makes me realize how diverse and creative the 'former' used to be, that WAS RADIO then-- nothing like what 'controlled' radio is what it is, today... lacking, and much is oh, so (yawn...) boring....

Maybe radio should just revert back to this old 'format' standard.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 05:41 pm:

If I may chime in on this topic as a former radio exec who left the business in 1990 but still keeps track.

One of the things I learned in college was that radio programming has only one purpose - to attract listeners to the commercials. So, since the git-go it has been a tool for advertisers and sponsors.

The reason why I think radio sucks (and started to suck many, many years ago) is because radio stations do not want to play anything that will turn off listeners from those commercials. That was the purpose behind concepts as "Make 'Em or Break 'Em" - play a new record & let the lister decide whether the station should play it or not. Now, as Bob Olsson indicated, radio stations hire consultants and focus groups to determine what should be played (or not) BEFORE the record even hits the program director's desk (I've monitored focus groups for the radio station I worked for and did so with great disdain). In the years I was at WVOR-FM in Rocheter, NY there was only one occurrance (in 1986) when the program director added a record that didn't "pass muster" with the focus group only because it was the #1 hit in the country and everyone from Top 40 to Adult Contemporary to R&B radio were playing the tune. The record - "Holding Back The Years" by Simply Red. Otherwise, we did as the consultants and focus group told us at the time.

That said, this is why even oldies radio has a "sameness" that bores me and other listeners to tears. I thank God for community radio because that's gonna be the last place where diversity and creativity will be found in radio programming.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 07:47 pm:

But Kevin,

Even veteran radio folks are appalled at how bad radio has gotten, and how the audiences are falling away. The shares are laughable.

You said it yourself, radio is boring. People turn it off. So how is it serving advertisers when radio is delivering fewer and fewer people to hear their ads, yet they keep their rates jacked up?

"Little Steven" Van Zandt, to name a syndicated guy, is proving that playing a variety of music coupled with a personality jock, can and DOES sell ads! Simple.

The trouble is, the way the big chains are set up, if they have six stations in a market like Detroit and the bottom two are tanking, they just don't care, they'd rather save money and run an automated dog that nobody listens to ... and they won't sell it. Whereas if a small company owned that station, you'd best believe they'd be trying every other format, doing anything they could to get listeners.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Bob Olhsson ( on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 08:32 pm:

I don't think anybody is kidding themselves about the fact that radio is losing listeners big-time and it will not be able to sustain the status quo much longer. The problem is that whoever goes first changing radio is betting their job on it.

This is why I said on the music biz thread that we've got to address this stuff globally. It's about hosting singers and musicians first in our living rooms and then in churchs and schools. I'm talking grass roots because there are no shortcuts. We've got to give people an eyeball to eyeball experience with music again. And lets not forget dancing to live music! WE'VE got to create a scene because nobody else is going to do it, especially anybody connected to Wall Street.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. ( on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 08:52 pm:

Such is the sad state of present-day radio, Kevin conveyed of it's business mentality (was that the reason Kevin left radio?) as it applied in the past, and present today. But you are so right about what you had said!

Eventually radio may stand to lose further ground in revenue and audience, for instance today I had heard "XM" radio play, "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash, which was 'number one' on the radio at one time, as it was a million seller in 1969.

but I was able to hear that one on the "XM" '60s music channel today, along with this other one I haven't heard on the radio for years, "I Can Make It With You" by the Pozo Sego Singers, and, it's radio without the commercials!

And realize they just don't play that one Johnny Cash, 'Pozo Seco', million-seller on 'free' radio anymore, whereas 104.3 WOMC in Detroit probably would'nt consider touching it. They just don't play those two.

But who knows, someday... it may just be well worth paying the 10.00 a month for such a 'consumer demanded' radio service... like if you want that sort of 'radio' today, well... it's there now, but you'll just have to pay for it!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. ( on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 10:05 pm:

Added NOTE:
For the benefit of all those who might have missed it--

Here's Sue Whitall's excellent (and complete) read in the Detroit News "special report", on Detroit's status in 'present' day 'radio' in general... as it will answer all of the various questions being raised on this forum, and, it certainly belongs right here on this current "American Radio" subject thread....


Top of pageBottom of page   By Jim Feliciano in Detroit. ( on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 10:10 pm:

And there's more... from the Detroit New's Sue Whitall on 'radio':

Top of pageBottom of page   By douglasm ( on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 11:02 am:

I had dinner with a friend of mine a couple weeks ago in Seattle. Met him as Jones Radio's complex, and as we were walking to the resturant, I said to him "I feel like I just left a radio factory."
His response, "You just did."

Radio, like everything else, goes through periotic "revolutions". In the late '50's and early '60's, Top 40 was a response to the sameness of the MOR stations, only to be replaced in the late '60's by the progressive movement, responding to the "same 30 songs on the radio" syndrome, which was well and good, until everybody and his uncle jumped on the bandwagon. Stick around. Someone somewhere is going to find a format that strikes a nerve and radio life is going to be wonderful again, or at least until that nerve makes a ton of money and it's co-opted by everybody else.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 11:14 am:

But Doug,
The big difference between today and the '40s or '50s or '60s -- you don't have those small entrepreneurs willing to shake things up with a new format.

Why are the giants, Clear Channel or Infinity, going to pump money into one of their underperforming dog radio stations? They'd rather just hang on to it, have it virtually all automated, and let its listeners just trickle away. It costs them next to nothing to hang on to these properties, but they don't do anything with them.

The guy who would shake things up can't buy radio stations in a major market, the "bigs" have them all locked up.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 11:22 am:

One thing I learned in radio is if a station's listenership has fallen, as long as they maintain decent numbers within their specific target audience, they can maintain their ad rates because they are reaching the target the advertiser(s) desire.

That is why a radio chain will hold onto a station or two that is doing okay enough by getting their core target audience while owning stations that are doing gangbusters - great numbers and okay numbers combined are better than just having great numbers period.

Jim Feliciano -
I left radio for one main reason - I got tired of being part of a system that was keeping great records OFF the air while fighting a "radio consultant/research" culture that was bent on putting the same-old-same-old ON the air. That's why I entered the music industry at age 23 (I'm 36 now).

You are so right about how stations can take a great idea and damn near kill it by beating against the trees repeatedly.
When I first heard of "dusties radio" and "jammin' oldies" in 1995, I couldn't wait for the format to hit NYC because of what I heard from stations down south and in Chicago - records I hadn't heard on the radio since they were new songs (from Latimore's "Let's Straighten It Out" to the Lost Generation's "The Sly, The Slick & The Wicked"). However, when the format did hit NYC in 1998, Jammin 105 burned itself out quickly by playing the same records every day (for example, Gladys Knight & the Pips' "Midnight Train To Georgia" was banned from my apartment because I heard the song every day at the same time on Jammin 105). When the station finally got a grip and expanded its playlist, it was too late - the ratings became worse and worse, they weren't even maintaining a decent share of the target audience. Last year, Jammin 105 became a hip-hop/rap station.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 11:42 am:

KevGo your statement about stations kept afloat because their ratings are good with their target audiences is totally correct but is something that I have never fully understood.

A good example of this is sports talk station WKNR in Cleveland. Rating wise it always ranks down in the lower teens. It's a 50,000 watt station but ranks among the stations with much lower wattage. None of its time slots are ever rated number one or even gets close. But it supposedly scores excellent with its target audience (a certain demographic of males) and remains viable.

The station was part of a changeover and switched dial spots with an easy listening station (it's 850 now, use to be 1220). The easy listening station it switched spots with still ranks among the 10 most popular stations in the area while WKNR has stayed in its same lowly spot.

I may be wrong but I have the feeling the whole demographic thing particularly in the scenario I gave is a bunch of hogwash that somehow advertisers have fallen for hook, line and sinker.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 12:09 pm:

You basically tapped into the mystery of commercial radio, advertisers and demographics.

The sports station may be doing really crappy in the overall ratings (which, last time I checked, was 12+) but WKNR is reaching a specific audience that advertisers crave for - adult males. As long as the station is one of the Top 3 stations that are getting that target audience, they are seen as doing just fine in the eyes of the advertising world and the station's rate card for commercials would be anything but cheap.

Also, the wattage issue - 50,000 watts hits a lot of territory so they may be reaching listeners from as far away as Buffalo, Rochester, Pennsylvania, Chicago & Detroit. That's potential "tourist dollars" for the advertiser on that station (if I hear a commercial for a local restraurant on WKNR from my radio in Rochester, I'm gonna remember that restaurant if I ever visit Cleveland).

As far as the easy listening station is concerned, they are doing very well because they probably reach a large number of older female listeners (female radio listeners outnumber male)so no matter what the wattage is they will do very well as long as they maintain that target audience.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By douglasm ( on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 12:23 pm:

....yea, but they've been falling over it for years. One of the arguements against top 40 in the early days was that kids didn't have the kind of money that would attract advertisers. That's why many smalleer broadcasters would block program, playing to the adults during the day, and pushing rock at nite and weekends, when a) mainstreem advertising dollars were low, and 2) they felt the kids would be listening and possibly pick up a couple advertising bucks in the process. If my memory is correct (I know someone will correct it if it isn't) Wixie, WJBK and WKMH tended to program more "adult" during the dayparts in the early rock years.

....yes, I agree with you, but in major markets I can usually find something interesting on the radio somewhere, be it jazz, rock, baseball (GO M's) or something.

.....Mile Landry hsd a good line. "Immitation is the sincerest form of radio." How true, how true. He's an ex-jock and GM who is now a college professor, and I (ditto w/ownership) a convenience store clerk/grocery merchandiser. And when we talk, his "as a carreer, radio is a great hobby" line keeps ringing in my ears.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 12:34 pm:

WKNR is supposedly number the number one sports talk station in the country in regards to reaching its demographic.

WTAM, however, is the number one sports talk station in the Cleveland/Akron area. It's also the flagship station for the baseball and basketball team. It ranks in the top five in overall ratings and has been as high as number two. Could be now, haven't checked lately. If advertising is high on WKNR it must be astronomical on WTAM.

WKNR's signal supposedly reaches all the way to Wheeling, WVA; however, I go to Wheeling to play Powerball from time to time and the station can't be heard there or in Columbus, Ohio. Get too far outside of Akron and you can't get it. I don't know about east or west only that I don't hear any callers from Ashtabula or Toledo.

As a talk show listener, it's easy to tell that listenership is down. In the old days you heard a diversity of callers (different ones) calling shows, now you hear the same people everyday spouting the same points. It's not as hard to get through anymore, while some years back you almost had to get lucky to get in because so many people were calling.

Your point about hearing a restaurant advertised while in Rochester and frequenting that restaurant while in the city you heard it advertised is valid. But how often does this happen? Does it occur often enough to really make a difference in a businesses' bottomline? Probably not, just another way to soak them.

Top of pageBottom of page   By LTLFTC ( on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 01:36 pm:

As someone who lives in a mid-sized city (where all of our complaints about radio ring true), I'm always shocked when travelling to a major-market city (Detroit , a few times a year ; Cleveland and Chicago once in a great while ) at the sheer QUANTITY of commercials on the stations in those cities. Coupled with my pet peeve re; bloated song lengths , those stations must play about 5-6 songs an hour - I honestly can't see why anyone would bother listening to ANY commercial station in major markets. Of course there's also a wider variety of NPR and college stations ( with hit or miss programming), but the commercial stations seem far more irritating than they're worth in the larger towns.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Bob Olhsson ( on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 01:39 pm:

Cheap computing has allowed demographics and targeted marketing to become an intoxicating drug to advertisers. Middle management can trot out the battle cry: "our research shows..." and justify almost anything.

What everybody forgets is that only a tiny percentage of people ever respond to advertising and there must be a point of diminishing returns where it becomes necessary to consolidate audiences rather than divide them. That will be the point where radio will have no choice but to change.

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