Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Death of Radio.

Yesterday at 5 PM, WXRK-FM in New York (known as K-Rock) changed formats for the 3rd time in four years becoming 92.3 Now FM. It has become the second CHR (contemporary hits radio) in the market and will directly go against the most popular pop station in the country, Z100.

As a rock fan, you would think that I'd be upset about this.

The truth is, they lost me the first time that they changed their formats in 2005 to more of a classic rock station.

Don't get me wrong, I love the grunge of the 90s and some of the harder alternative songs of the 80s. 

However, I feel that radio for the most part is current-driven.  How is the current music business expected to succeed if you keep referring to the past?

K-Rock lost me for that very reason.

In the current age of the IPod, Myspace, Facebook, and Youtube, where songs are just a click away, radio has lost me.

Radio has been relegated to little more than background music at work. It's a sad reality.

Radio used to have a certain magic to it that when new songs were played, people listened.
It also has the power of nostalgia. Whenever you hear a song you hadn't heard in a long time, you hearken back to the days when you heard that song for the very first time. 

Music radio still has that power, but doesn't seem to know how to bring it back.

It seems a lot easier than these radio station music directors are making it out to be.

People say it all of the time, but it may be because MDs are in bed with the labels. 

It may not be payola in the traditional sense, but it's related because certain artists get more airplay if they appear in the area locally.

Because of large media ownership, this script gets rewritten all around the country.

Rather than simply complain about K-Rock's demise, I'd like to come up with a few solutions as to how radio can keep from becoming the dying medium that it clearly is.

Music directors need to take on a more active role in a station becoming mini A&R's scouting for unsigned artists, artists on smaller labels and local artists.

Labels need to be less involved with stations because while their artists certainly help a station's viability by making appearances, stations are hurting because they're limited to what they can play.

Formats need to be more fresh. An idea would be to make a station with all currents that focuses on popular songs on all'd be kind of like a pop station, but there would be more of an eclectic mix.

Finally, there needs to be a change in rotation. There's nothing wrong with the idea of rotation, but the way that songs are being played (sometimes twice every 75-90 minutes), makes radio very boring. Radio needs to be a lot more freeform and a lot less streamlined.

Clear Channel, CBS Radio, and other radio entities have turned radio into a science rather than a medium. The variables need to change and the experimentations have to continue. Otherwise, you'll wind up hearing "Love Lockdown" on up to 6 major NYC stations.

No comments: