Monday, January 3, 2011

Radio station format changes....Jan. 3rd

The new year means a new format for several stations around the country, separate from the many stations which returned to their "regular" format after weeks of only holiday music.

One other thing. Too many stations not doing holiday music wound up playing too much holiday music as if they would actually keep people who really wanted holiday music to tune away. All that did, for the most part, was drive some listeners further away. Another instance of management of AM and FM stations overlooking how their listeners have internet and satellite radio available to them.

Back to the recent format changes.

WNIC Detroit 100.3 FM is now "Fresh 100.3", while St. Louis KEZK is now "Fresh 102". These titles don't tell the listeners anything, since the vast majority of radio listeners don't read radio columns or keep track of formats in other markets. Generally speaking, "fresh" format stations are really "light music" stations geared toward a female audience.

Also in St. Louis, WSDD changes from "The Sound" to "GenX Radio". So, yes, you could say this radio station starts the year without "The Sound".

KMVA Phoenix is now Hot 97.5, although syndicated shows including Elvis Duran's morning show don't exactly fire up the locals.

KQXT San Antonio is now "The Variety Station". Upon further investigation, they play music of some sort.

Miami's 93.1 is taking it 'easy' as of the new year, now WFEZ Easy 93.1, getting rid of WHDR "93 Rock" in the process.

Two changes hit the Seattle market for the new year. KJR-FM 95.7 has gone ahead with its rumored change, moving back a few years as they have gone from Classic Hits to "Oldies 95.7". That is generally adding more 1955-65 songs and dropping some 80's tunes. The former Smooth Jazz KWJZ is now clicking along as "Click 98.9". If you are wondering, they now play modern adult contemporary, which figures to easily do better than the previous jazz format.

Fresno CA also has one less Classic Hits station. But it's a more significant change than in Seattle. Now the Fresno station is playing Spanish music.

Round and round she goes. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Format changes - Nov. 30th update................

Well, not all of the radio format changes are just to add to the endless list of stations airing only holiday music after all.

In Atlanta, WYAY has dropped 'True Oldies', but in a slight format change has gone to 'Greatest Hits'. It's really less talking and changing out 50's and early 60's music for more 80's, but it is considered a format change. Somehow other radio experts consider "classic hits" to be different from "oldies" on the format wheel.

In Chattanooga, the 'classic hits' format has come to WOGT 107.9, in this instance replacing the country format which aired for just over 5 years. By the way, the station was "oldies" prior to the 2005 change to country.

And in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, WMYF 1380 dropped its adult standards format last week and picked up ESPN Radio to go all sports. The station also carries Boston Bruins hockey.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Radio's own turkeys for holiday weekend

Another note to the radio executives while they continue to wonder why the AM and FM radio audiences continue to vanish.

This may come as a shock, but millions of people are at home or in the car with more time than usual to listen to local radio stations on Thanksgiving weekend. This SHOULD have been a time for local stations to showcase their programming and talent in hopes of increasing their audiences.

Instead, us listeners were slapped in the face (or the ear) with reruns of talk shows, substitute hosts, and part-time staff.

I can possibly accept some degree of substitutions on Thanksgiving Day itself. Yet, moreso than past years, it seems that radio has made the entire weekend to be like a holiday and thrown away a chance to impress potential listeners.

Airing a "Best Of" talk show which is outdated is not a way to keep a listener's attention when he or she has more time than usual to listen and perhaps sample a show he/she would not normally have an opportunity to hear. This past weekend should have been the chance to give people more and more reasons to CHOOSE "your" station.

This was not a holiday for PPM's, diaries, or other ratings measurement tools.

True, on-air talent deserves some time off just like anyone else. But at least prepare something ahead of time. Make an effort. Listeners have too many other options.

My MP3 player wasn't playing music I don't normally listen to instead of my favorite songs. Many of the TV networks were showing marathons, special movie presentations, or some form of themed programming designed to attract and keep viewers for hours, knowing that more viewers than usual would be available. Check the movie box office figures for the weekend. Obviously, a lot of people seeing a lot of movies.

Other forms of 'entertainment' were clearly ready for the long holiday weekend.

Many smaller retailers, open for extended hours on the year's busiest shopping weekend, had local radio stations on. How annoying it must have been for their customers to have to listen to replays of talk shows or part-time hosts introducing music instead of the station's top guns.

All except, of course, the stations in every city already burning us out on the same few hours of holiday music titles weeks before the next set of holidays gets here.

I guess we will all have to adjust to the wishes of AM and FM Radio management. We should only listen to local stations between 6 AM and Midnight on working weekdays. Then we wouldn't have these issues.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stealing listeners is one thing........

As much as we yearn for competition among local stations, this takes it a bit too far.

It's really not funny, but it fits in as an "only in radio" story.......

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New York Oldies Lunch coming up

Oldies radio fans in the NYC area might wish to consider the "Oldies Lunch", scheduled for Saturday Nov. 13th at Ben's Deli on West 38th Street in Manhattan from 2 - 4 PM. Russ "Famous Amos" Di Bello and former WNBC and WCBS-FM's Big Jay Sorensen are two of the special guests, with WAXQ's Jim Kerr also expected to attend.

There is no extra cost to attend other than lunch at Ben's. (If only they would go back to 60's prices!!) Reservations are requested by calling (908) 403-8962. I wonder who is bringing the reverb chamber!

(Actually, this sounds like fun, and I wish I could make it.)

Format Changes Update - Nov. 2nd

It's been rather quiet on the format change front, which is usually the case for November and December until the format switching heats up again in January.

KVI 570 Seattle will be switching back to oldies. The "back" is not about the music. This station stops its current talk format after this week to turn to oldies for the second time in its history. Simply put, this format change is "getting old".

Of course, there are format changes a-plenty coming up across the country over the next 6 weeks, as more and more stations abandon the rest of the year and go with holiday music. But I'm not going to bore you with those after this week.

Here it is November 2, and we already have some stations roasting chestnuts by the open fire all day long. Upstate New York seems to be leading the holiday spirit, for whatever reason.

Believe it or not, Albany NY already has not one but TWO stations on holiday. WTRY-FM 98.3 and Buzz 105.7 have changed over, while Syracuse has WZUN Sunny 102.1 jingling bells and Utica's WUMX Mix 102.5 is doing the same. Everything is up to date in Kansas City as Star 102 is holiday, and Grand Rapids has River 100.5 flowing with the snowy sounds of December already.

Nothing like hearing about the World Series during another hour of holiday music..........

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Format change update - Oct. 12th......

Bob jacks classic rock. No, it's not a new radio station slogan, although it probably will be one of these days. Instead, it's what happened this week in Biloxi. Classic rock WHGO 105.9 has changed to "Bob FM". At least they are starting off by playing 10,000 songs in a row without commercials, and some of what they are playing are actually classic rock songs. Not sure how Bob differs from Jack, but we'll see what the Biloxi listeners think.

Norfolk VA has 3 times the fun this week, as 3 of the market's stations have done the switcheroo. Kiss-FM 105.3 has puckered for the last time, as the former urban contemporary station has become Magic 105.3 and gone further back in time to feature classic hits.

Ah, but that's not the end of urban programming in the market. Cool 92.1 has gone from light rock oldies to Urban Adult Contemporary, and 107.7 has dropped smooth jazz to also go Urban. These 2 stations are now in addition to 103 Jamz, which plays "urban pop". There will be a quiz on this later.

In Gainesville FL, the University of Florida owned WRUF will stop the rock music programming this weekend after years of being "Rock 104". Not for talk or sports, mind you. The school seems to think that music tastes are changing, and as a result, on will come "Country 103.7".

In Terre Haute IN, WSDM 92.7 has just dumped its "country rock" format. As of now, the station is simulcasting sports radio WSDX-AM. Yet, in this case there is something to it. The AM signal is 500 watts during the day and even less at night. The station hopes that since people can now actually hear the ESPN Radio station it will make a difference for the audience.

Stay tuned...............