Saturday, April 28, 2012

Death of a Kiss.

This marks the last weekend of the legendary urban adult contemporary station 98.7 WRKS-FM (Kiss-FM) in New York City.

Emmis Communications announced a sale of the station to ESPN Radio that set off a chain reaction of events. Kiss' legacy will live on, merging with 107.5 WBLS-FM and ESPN Radio will take over 98.7.

In the biggest music market in the world, two of the city's major FM stations will not play music and many of the major ones that do are mere carbon copies of each other.

Z100 and Now 92.3 FM are both pop stations that copy much of the same music and both of those stations tend to play a lot of the songs found on Hot 97 and Power 105.1FM, both urban (R&B/hip hop) stations and some of the songs from those stations leak into WPLJ 95.5FM and WKTU 103.5FM, an adult top 40 station and a dance station, respectively.

Songs in our market tend to be super crossovers. They not only cross over on stations that they would traditionally be played on if it were successful, but those songs then oversaturate radio with remixes both for easy listening stations and/or dance stations. By the way, if I start hearing Pitbull on Lite FM, I'm done.

EVERY SINGLE STATION here winds up sounding the same because of those super crossovers. Even some of the Spanish/Spanglish stations in the market tend to play the most popular songs on English pop and rap stations.

You would think that the biggest music market of the world would play music that's on the cutting edge, no matter the format, but this market is home to radio stations that play most vapid, lifeless, and safe music in the country and this is when you consider that terrestrial radio is still the #1 medium for discovering new music.

I'm not upset that ESPN made the move to FM radio as ESPN's radio programming is dynamic and engaging. However, to do it at the expense of one of the better stations in the market was a bad idea. Cheers to Kiss and here's hoping the legacy of the station lives on with WBLS.

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