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August 31, 2007

The Oldies Battle Is Back (Sort Of)

It's no surprise now that stations are starting to trickle back into the Oldies format--or at least the '70s/Classic Hits-driven format that Oldies has become. But yesterday's switch from smooth jazz to "The Greatest Hits of All Time" at KPKL (Kool 105.9) Portland, Ore., is interesting for (kind of) giving Portland the first major-market Oldies battle in recent memory.

As heard this afternoon, Kool 105.9 is a '70s-driven Classic Hits outlet that falls somewhere between the Clear Channel "Superhits" outlets and the early days of its WOLL (Kool 105) West Palm Beach. It's mostly '70s with a few '60s (Beatles, "Do You Want To Know A Secret") and '80s on each side (Journey, "Any Way You Want It", Bruce Springsteen, "Dancing In The Dark"). That puts it in the same neighborhood with KLTH (K-Hits 106.7), which bills itself as "Portland's Home Of The '60s and '70s," and replaced one-time Oldies powerhouse KKSN. It also overlaps with KKSN's successor, KYCH (Charlie FM) and its '80s/'70s-based format.

If one had to make a fast characterization after a day on the air, it might be that KPKL is somewhat newer and more aggressively produced than KLTH, which has always had a little bit of a WDRV (the Drive) Chicago earnestness to it. But it's still two '70s-centered stations with similar functionality. It also says something about the evolution of AC that Clear Channel would launch a station that played some of these songs even with KKCW (K103) next door.

Here's some KPKL in middays today:

Journey, "Any Way You Want It"
Wild Cherry, "Play That Funky Music"
Carole King, "It's Too Late"
Manfred Mann, "Do Wah Diddy Diddy"
Bruce Springsteen, "Dancing In The Dark"
Ace, "How Long"
KC & the Sunshine Band, "That's The Way I Like It"
Romantics, "What I Like About You"
Hamilton Joe Frank & Reynolds, "Don't Pull Your Love"
Diana Ross, "Upside Down"
Fleetwood Mac, "Don't Stop"

August 28, 2007

Defining "Classic" Rock

Recently I came across a fascinating post by CNET's Matt Rosoff: Who decides what's "classic rock"? Great question. Edison's Larry Rosin is fond of proclaiming that 'true' classic rock will endure through the ages, like Beethoven, and will be listened to hundreds of years from now. Lots of classic rock stations seem to have standardized around a single corpus, with some regional variation, but a recent analysis of Last.FM playlists shows that some of this body of classic rock can't really be termed "classic" at all. Rosoff points to a classic rock stalwart like Bob Seger, who certainly gets his due on American classic rock stations, but shows few signs of being an enduring "classic" when the playlist behavior of Last.FM listeners is analyzed. Yet, "important" rock artists like Nick Drake are rarely, if ever, heard on commercial radio and rank very high in the Last.FM analysis. Critics of this analysis might point out that the Last.FM audience does not resemble a 'mainstream' audience (and includes many Non-Americans), but what does 'mainstream' mean, these days?

So, here is my question--and I'd love the rock programmers reading this to chime in with comments--what defines "classic?" Popularity? Importance? Is Rosoff unfairly picking on poor Bob Seger? Which song is more of a "Classic": Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'", or "How Soon is Now" by the Smiths, a song I've personally never heard on a classic rock station (though you may have played it) but is arguably rock, and arguably a classic? I'm not really trying to make a point here--just exercising the most important trait a researcher can have: curiosity.

August 27, 2007

Successful Talk For Women Hides In Plain Sight

One of the most remarkable challenges of putting on a new Talk radio station is that nobody seems to know how long it takes for new Talk stations to get entrenched.

Operators are disappointed if a new Talk station doesn't get traction in a year--even though the best case scenario is usually 3-to-5 years, unless you're lucky enough to steal every major franchise from a competitor.

Detractors, meanwhile, seem to need only a few months before they declare a station, or in the case of Air America, a network, to be a failure. And as with Air America, the detractors aren't only those people who disagree with the concept, but fans of an idea who were unhappy that it weren't being executed to their specifications.

That's why it's necessary to remind people again just how long it took WABC New York, WLS Chicago, and KFI Los Angeles to find their way at first. WABC, in particular, took at least five years to get traction. And all three of those stations were 50,000 watt blowtorches that had a history as viable signals within a market.

The hit shows on a Talk station are rarely what you expect them to be at the launch. At Air America, Randi Rhodes emerged as a bigger success than most of her bigger name co-workers and, with the departure of Al Franken, the most enduring success.

It's hard to say that another few years would have ultimately made a difference for GreenStone Media, the female-targeted talk network which closed its doors on Aug. 17. But I am willing to say that GreenStone was almost guaranteed not to get immediate traction, only if because nothing does. And it exacerbated its challenges by offering an entire daytime lineup--not a single show. In that regard, it was in a trick bag--had they offered a single show, some clients wouldn't have felt they had enough programming to change formats.

GreenStone's demise brought forth its critics both from within the industry and from the outside. In the New York Post, author Carrie Lukas declared that GreenStone's "brand of tepid liberalism didn't appeal to women," There was successful Talk radio for women, Lukas contended, but it was conservative talkers Laura Ingraham and Dr. Laura Schlessinger, as well as successful male conservative talkers.

It's tempting to make GreenStone a referendum on liberal talk, female-targeted talk or anything else a critic doesn't like. But with less than a year under its belt, the only thing it really proves is that launching new Talk formats is hard and particularly hard for entrepreneurs without an existing revenue stream, whether it's a hit syndicated show or another station in the cluster that already brings in billing.

But Lukas is indeed correct that "talk radio for women" was always more than GreenStone, and not always hosted by women. It is, in fact, a lot more than the conservative talkers as well. But it is rarely identifiable as "talk radio for women," which is, perhaps, a plus in a world where the audience is always wary of being patronized.

Successful talk radio for women exists in Bob & Sheri, Delilah, John Tesh, and now "Wake Up With Whoopi." It arguably includes the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show and, in fact, every CHR or Hot AC morning show that plays only a few records each hour, since women are those shows' sole target. In that regard, it parallels the rise of African-American talk in the guise of Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Michael Baisden, Wendy Williams, and other talk shows that run on music stations--not low-wattage AM outlets--and have the feel of music radio that just happens to talk a little more.

Was GreenStone's issue, as some contended, that it offered women the sort of soft topics that typified Talk radio four decades ago? Tesh successfully packaged that content as "intelligence for your life" and similar content is the central focus of Goldberg's show. Was GreenStone's problem its liberalism? Goldberg has hardly hidden her social consciousness over the last year. At times the show seems deadly earnest, but it has persevered and is only likely to get a boost from its host's new role on "The View."

The industry drive toward female-lifestyle talk won't end with GreenStone; the week of its demise, I got a call from a small-market PD looking to build something similar in his market. As with African-American Talk radio, it will likely be built one show at a time--Joyner was the only phenomenal success in the category for many years. As with WAMJ (Grown Folks Radio) Atlanta, the breakthrough will likely be a full-signal FM that can combine existing programming with a track record in music radio with more straight-ahead talk. The first challenge will be coming up with enough programming that radio station General Managers feel they can make an investment in the format. The breakthrough will hinge on having a show like Rush Limbaugh or Steve Harvey that GMs feel they must have if only to keep it away from their competitors.

August 23, 2007

The Poison Pill of DRM

photo_candy2.jpgToday's Radio Business Report has a story on a rumored deal for streaming royalties that hinged on webcasters accepting the inclusion of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology on any webcast streams. Whether this rumor is true or not, the inclusion of a DRM wrapper on your stream is more than a "trade-off" or compromise--it is the poison pill that might just sink your streaming efforts for good.

DRM is bad. When I buy a video on iTunes Music Store, and want to watch it on the larger, brighter screen of my Zune, I can't--because of DRM. The same is true if I download a song from my (legally paid-for) Yahoo Unlimited music subscription and want to listen to it on my iPhone. I can't--because of DRM.

But DRM is more than just an inconvenience--it represents a return to the client/server decisions of the late 90s that hamstrung so many webcasters. When I was a partner in Chrysalis Media's streaming radio venture in the UK back in 1999, there were still all kinds of client issues with webcasting--do we broadcast in Realaudio, Windows Media or Quicktime? Do we need three servers to stream all three formats? What do listeners need to download/install, and how do we help them through that process? What about Mac listeners?

These became financial decisions, not decisions based upon the needs and wants of our listeners. Thankfully, those days seem to be behind us. Webcast audio works best when it is format-agnostic, a generic MP3 audio stream that can be read by any player, presenting as few barriers between your listeners and their content as possible. DRM-wrapped audio, on the other hand, will require your listeners to use one client for your audio stream, but maybe another for other stations they listen to. That is a real step back, in my opinion, and your listeners shouldn't have to go through Real to get your station--they should be able to listen to it on iTunes, over their browser, through a flash-based player--whatever.

Consumers are becoming more and more aware of DRM--hence the recent deals announced by Real/Rhapsody, Wal-Mart, and (to a very limited extent) Apple to sell DRM-free music. Mainstream consumers are just now bumping into the hard edges of DRM, and are beginning to understand that what they buy, they don't seem to own--and many don't cotton to that. I know I don't.

Accepting the poison pill of DRM is essentially treating their lack of a 21st century business model as your emergency. Your best hope is to spread your content as far and as wide as you can, without barriers and without making your listeners jump through hoops. Don't take the pill.

August 15, 2007

Suspicious Minds Want To Know

There's been a lot in the consumer press about Elvis Presley's legacy on the 30th anniversary of his death--particularly given the number of people who didn't grow up with Presley during his most influential years, or even during his lifetime. But here's one stat that brings it home. According to Mediabase, only one Presley song is among the 100 most-played titles at Oldies radio (or as it's recently been rebranded there, Classic Hits), and that's 1969's "Suspicious Minds." The only other Presley title that receives more than 100 spins nationwide each week is 1972's "Burning Love." And that includes the week ramping up to the anniversary of Aug. 16. So even if you listen to Oldies radio, you're likely to experience Presley like those of us who grew up in the '70s--hearing the biggest of his handful of comeback hits.

August 14, 2007

RAIN: NAB Issues Mock SoundExchange Invoice to 13,000 Member Stations

Kudos to the NAB for sending mock SoundExchange invoices to 13,000 member stations. I might have made those invoices even more explicit/specific to the stations that received them, but in any case this was a creative way to get this issue back on everyone's front burner where it belongs. (originally posted in Kurt Hanson's RAIN Newsletter)

The lesson of iVillage

Valleywag reports today that NBC is finally admitting they made a mistake purchasing iVillage, noting in particular this important little nugget from NBC's Beth Comstock:

"You assume in the beginning that a mention on the 'Today' show will drive tremendous traffic, but it's not that easy"

In other words, it isn't enough to just mention your radio station's website over and over on the air--it's gotta be its own dog. There will soon come a day when you are committing as many resources to your website as you are your on air signal. So, you know that money you've been putting aside for a rainy day...?

Radio's Future Is . . . Easy Listening?

Although they could pass for Adult Standards or a super-soft AC (along the lines of WPLM Boston) musically, WEZV (Easy 105.9) Myrtle Beach, S.C., has instead decided to position itself as the last of the Easy Listening stations that went from a significant part of every market to endangered species around 1989, taking slogans like WEZV's "The Relaxation Station" with them.

As with today's Oldies stations, Easy Listening outlets didn't go away because the audience wasn't interested, but because owners and sales departments threw in the towel. Nearly two decades after the implosion of the format, WEZV is fifth in the market, and has been between a 4.9 and a 6.1 over the last three books--at least 12-plus.

But that's not why they're featured today.

WEZV talks more and to better effect about its Website than stations in much younger targeted formats.

After the Myrtle Beach ratings came out yesterday, I turned in WEZV on a whim this morning and heard midday host Kelli Dixon discussing the station's Internet stream at great length. Dixon was saying hello to listeners throughout the Southeast who had discovered the station--often on visits to the Grand Strand area--and were listening on-line.

By encouraging listeners to tell a friend who might not have an Easy Listening station in their area--and that's almost everybody these days--WEZV was getting a head start on the Infinite Dial, an era in which every radio station has a chance to be an international brand name. Alternative and indie brands like WOXY.com, KDLE (Indie Radio 103.1) Los Angeles, and KCRW Santa Monica, Calif., have already thought of themselves that way. But why shouldn't an Easy Listening station stake out that territory as well?

Most terrestrial broadcasters are, of course, only making the transition to thinking of themselves as websites and streams with a transmitter attached now. And most are doing it for the benefit of the listeners in their own market who prefer to interact with them on the Web. But WEZV's local ratings don't seem in any way diminished by their broader vision. And considering the number of stations who have stolen the "world famous" slogan from KROQ Los Angeles, actually being world famous may not be a bad thing even for local listeners.

Here's an hour of WEZV this morning:

Patti Austin, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"
Brook Benton, "Endlessly"
Laura Fygi, "You Do Something To Me"
Mary MacGregor, "Torn Between Two Lovers"
Simon & Garfunkel, "Sounds Of Silence"
Barbra Streisand, "The Nearness Of You"
Al Jarreau, "A Rhyme This Time"
Bobby Goldsboro, "Honey"
Beatles, "Michelle"
Perry Como, "Make Someone Happy"
Kenny Loggins, "Your Heart Will Lead You Home"
Michael Buble, "Can't Help Falling In Love"

August 13, 2007

Stars Over McAllen

Recently, Entravision's Spanish-language Top 40 KSSE (Super Estrella) Los Angeles became the latest in a handful of stations to try playing English-language pop music in the framework of a Spanish-language station. That format has worked everywhere in the Latin world, but was thought to be superfluous in the mainland U.S. (Most recently, the Bob Perry-consulted Radio Digital stations played some English-language music but have backed off in the last few years.) But with the Hispanic success of KIIS Los Angeles and the growth of the bilingual Rhythmic format, it was inevitable that Latin/English hybrids would re-emerge.

KSSE isn't streaming yet. But you can hear another fascinating Entravision experiment on the Web. KNVO (Super Estrella 101.1) McAllen/Brownsville, Texas, is doing a very different take on the format that can be best described as a cross between English-language Top 40, Latin pop, and Radio Disney. Like XHTO El Paso, Texas, or rival KBFM when it was Top 40 B104, KNVO is playing a significant amount of music that isn't on the radar of many of its Top 40 counterparts--which is as it should be. (In the last half hour, for instance, I've heard a new Jennifer Lopez that isn't the same single that was serviced last week.)

Here's a monitor of KNVO at 11:50 this morning:

Pink, "Just Like A Pill"
Maroon 5, "Makes Me Wonder"
Everlife, "Go Figure"
Ricky Martin, "Pegate"
Jennifer Lopez, "Hold It, Don't Drop It"
No Doubt, "It's My Life"
Raven Symone, "This Is My Time"
Fergie, "Big Girls Don't Cry"
Enrique Iglesias, "Dimelo (Do You Know)"
Pink, "Who Knew"
Rihanna, "S.O.S."
Gwen Stefani, "The Great Escape"
RBD, "Besame Sin Miedo"
Quietdrive, "Time After Time"
Mariah Carey, "Shake It Off"

Meanwhile, if you're interested in hearing Digital, here's its Mexico City flagship, which streams.

August 10, 2007

They Tried To Make Me Buy Digital Music Elsewhere And I Said . . . Maybe

So Universal Music Group has announced that it will sell non-copy-protected downloads--but not on iTunes Music Store.

Earlier, UMG had gotten a lot of publicity for not renewing its deal with ITMS. According to reports, it will continue to sell there, but test non-protected MP3 downloads elsewhere. As noted when the deal first broke, I've bought a lot of UMG music on-line over the last few years and would hate to lose the exhaustiveness of their catalog.

That said, I do resent the copy protections of iTMS, more on theory than anything else--I haven't yet had occasion to burn any song I own more than five times. I also don't like that every now and then, iTunes decides not to transfer songs that I've long paid for to my iPod as a way of forcing me to update my software.

But I like the one-stop convenience of iTMS. Thus far, I haven't shopped much for digital music elsewhere, only because I rarely feel like I will find anything different. And if, as with EMI, the unprotected files are an excuse for a price bump, I'd rather pay 99 cents for the protected file.

August 9, 2007

Moon Over Minneapolis

With the recent news that longtime KEEY (K102) Minneapolis APD/MD Travis Moon is headed for the PD job at WUBE/WYGY Cincinnati comes this reminder to check out two of the stations he's leaving behind. Although best known in trade publication world for K102, Moon is also PD of sister KQQL (Kool 108) and its HD-2 multicast channel Kool-1-0-Eighties. As reported earlier this year, Kool has evolved from Oldies to Classic Hits to what can best be described as a "party songs" format that ranges from "Time Won't Let Me" to "You Shook Me All Night Long," while the '80s channel can usually be relied on for some impressive depth two or three times an hour (they've just segued from Tracy Ullman's "They Don't Know" to Tom Petty's "Jammin' Me"). While I doubt that Moon's replacement is going to immediately turn his attention to weeding a HD-2 station's Selector, both stations are worth a listen in their current pre-PD-change form.

August 8, 2007

Looking In On Sexy

Last year, consultant/station owner/veteran programmer Jerry Clifton's new Top 40 outlet KSXE (Sexy 106.3) Fresno, Calif., generated national headlines for signing-on with a loop of sex-related music. Not much has been written about the station since, but this rated a mention. Sexy's current shtick is that its jocks all live in the station's "radio dorm" and can be viewed, "Big Brother"-style, on the station's Webcams. (The site offers you a choice of the living room, kitchen, or studio). That's a hard bit to keep going, however: when heard this afternoon, Sexy 106.3 middayer Cleveland was castigating the afternoon driver for stealing his pizza, which, as anybody who was forced to have a roomate in their early radio days can tell you, is about the least of what can happen among jocks at close quarters.

August 7, 2007

H(ar)D To Find

Last November, Edison's Ross on Radio column talked about purchasing the $99 HD radio that was on sale that weekend at Radio Shack. Finding the HD radio wasn't that hard--the salesman knew it was in stock and was able to find it on the floor, although it wasn't hooked up because it got no reception inside the store. At that time, the issues weren't just availability but content, processing, reception and more.

Nine months later, Inside Radio has done a spot check of New York electronics retailers to see who had receivers readily available. "At a Manhattan Best Buy, it took four queries to different employees to find the lone HD radio located amidst a sea of stereos," it reports. "At least the New York City [store] had an HD receiver in-stock. A Long Island branch didn't. And Circuit City--well, it's coming--they think." Sharper Image did the best job of having the receivers available and display.

Of course, the availability issues shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to record labels, who pay for price and position, but can't necessarily count on their advertised specials being prominent amidst the shrinking sales space given to records.

August 6, 2007


It's pretty standard for Europe's major broadcasters to offer a suite of Web-only brand extensions these days. There's typically an all-'80s station, a lounge or chillout format, an R&B/hip-hop format of some sort, an indie rock channel, and a Top 40 channel that is younger or newer than the more adult mix that usually constitutes Top 40 in Europe.

But Frankfurt's heritage Hot AC FFH has something unusual in its tier of Web-channels, a format it's billing as "FFH Jack FM." While the first announced international Jack FM client in Oxford, U.K., gears up for its launch later this year, it's interesting to hear it with German liners (but no apparent attempt to re-create the tenor of Jack-FM voice Howard Cogan) and the English-language slogan, "We play what we want."

The website copy for FFH Jack FM promises, "The craziest radio station of all times! At FFH Jack FM, we're playing Eminem after Simon & Garfunkel and Nirvana before Elton John. No rules, just good music. Happy 'radio-anarchie' [their spelling] rules, because we play what we want."

The irony, of course, is that it wasn't that long ago that a lot of European radio sounded like Bob- or Jack-FM. And in a smaller market, it's still quite possible to hear Abba and Fort Minor on the same station. Here's FFH Jack FM on Monday afternoon:

R.E.M., "Drive"
Abba, "Thank You For The Music"
Seed, "Aufstehn" (bilingualreggae pop)
Rainbirds, "Blueprint"
Mario, "Let Me Love You" (not a song you'd hear on most U.S. versions of the format)
Church, "Under The Milky Way"
Fort Minor, "Believe Me"
Slade, "Far Far Away"
Billy Joel, "Leningrad"
Mika, "Grace Kelly"
Yes, "Owner Of A Lonely Heart"
Modjo, "Lady (Hear Me Tonight)"
Desireless, "Voyage Voyage" (bilingual Eurodisco)
Frank Zappa, "Bobby Brown" (early '80s Zappa song that became a hit in non-English speaking European countries where the R-rated lyrics weren't quite as widely understood)

Visualizing Research Data


I admit it--sometimes Edison's research presentations are not as 'visually arresting' as they could be. We have been using the same IBM/Lotus software to make our data graphs for over 13 years, primarily because it is the easiest software we have found to make clear, data-rich graphs (that doesn't require 20 people in our office to buy, install and learn Illustrator.) Powerpoint, for our purposes, has historically been terrible at making all but the simplest representations of data (ask Edward Tufte about the tyranny of PowerPoint's AutoContent Wizard!) and our initial explorations of the new version aren't much better.

My biggest pet peeve--gratuitous three-dimensional presentation of two-dimensional data. Another impediment to clear understanding of data is the graphing equivalent of 'Mystery Meat Navigation,' charts made from non-standard shapes that make it difficult to mentally calibrate and judge data relationships. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Anil Dash's Pixels Are The New Pies. I saw the Wired graphs in the magazine this month, and was tickled to see Anil's keen dissection of these mystery meat graphs. As art, they are visually arresting. As a means to visually present quantitative information--they are visually arresting.

So, now you know why Edison's graphs continue to be prosaic, aggressively two-dimensional, and screamin-out-of-Windows-98-gorgeous.

August 3, 2007

Heard This Week On The Infinite Dial

A few odds and ends from this week's listening that didn't prompt a separate post:

* 4KQ Brisbane, Australia: This Australian Classic Hits station's "Friday Night Fever" has become appointment listening for me (on Friday morning, since its 6p-Midnight running time is 4-10 a.m. here). 80% of what 4KQ plays could be on any gold-based AC here, but the remaining 20% is pretty intriguing for Oldies fans. Here's the last hour of this week's show:

Lipps Inc., "Funkytown"
John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John, "Summer Nights"
Billy Thorpe, "Most People I Know Think I'm Crazy" (early '70s Country rocker from the guy known here for the harder-rocking "Children Of The Sun", Keith Urban has covered it)
B.A. Robertson, "Bang Bang" (unusual 1979 U.K. hit from the eventual author of "The Living Years")
Irene Cara, "Fame"
Eagles, "Already Gone"
Go-Go's, "Our Lips Are Sealed"
Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Sweet Home Alabama"
Diana Ross, "Upside Down"
Christie Allen, "Goose Bumps" (early '80s pop that would be sorta like hearing Sheena Easton's "Telephone" here)
BTO/You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet
Billy Ocean/Caribbean Queen
Marcia Hines/Your Love Still Brings Me To My Knees (R&B vocalist with a string of '70s/'80s hits)
Rolling Stones/She's So Cold
Vicki Sue Robinson/Turn The Beat Around
Eric Burden & War/Spill The Wine

* KPLV (the Party) Las Vegas: With the devastating success of "Pick Your Purse" at female-targeted radio stations in recent years, it was inevitable that shoes would be next, as seen in this Rhythmic AC's "Heel or No Heel."

* CIDC (Z103.5) Toronto: I've already brought them up this week, but two other things stood out during my listening this week. One is that Z103.5 actually frontsold a record by noting that it had been a No. 1 record in the U.K.--something that I haven't heard any American station do in years. The other was an ad for Trojans--something you hear a lot more on Canadian CHR radio--that I won't quote here but which seemed a little explicit, no matter how many American morning shows one listens to. And elsewhere in Toronto...

* CHWO (AM740): Broadcasters always talk about going more aggressively against print, but this Adult Standards' on-air promos aimed at selling advertising time end with, "Don't leave your advertising on the curb with yesterday's crash." Wonder how sales departments are going to retool this one as on-line advertising becomes the competition.

Your Friday Funny

Guitar Hero is still doing well at games stores all over the country, but Sousaphone Hero---not so much.

August 2, 2007

What National Radio Needs: National Personalities

During her tenure at country KPLX (the Wolf) Dallas, I regarded middayer Amy B., as perhaps the best jock working anywhere in any format. She combined the amiable cynicism of Larry Lujack and John Records Landecker in their WLS Chicago heyday with devastatingly effective use of phones. (Only Alan Kabel came close, for me, on that latter score.) And, yes, I know what kind of expectations you create for somebody when you say something like that.

When Amy left the Wolf earlier this year, it was hard to imagine where she might fit as well. But yesterday's announcement that she will resurface shortly on the ABC Radio Networks' format, Today's Best Country, makes perfect sense. She deserves a nationwide platform. And more important, national radio could use some of that bigness. Satellite radio has the opportunity to be WLS on a grand scale, but has never taken full advantage of it. But why shouldn't a satellite radio network?

To hear the demo that ABC is circulating, click here:

August 1, 2007

Hy's In The Mid-'60s, '70s, '80s, Etc.

It's N/T powerhouse New Jersey 101.5 now, but I was a fan of WKXW Trenton, N.J., in the early '80s when it was Kicks 101-1/2, an unusual Adult CHR starring Philadelphia radio veteran Hy Lit and programmed by his son, Sam Lit. A couple of things made Kicks unusual: its heavily dayparted music meant that you could hear Hy playing "Goody Goody" by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers at lunchtime and "Danger" by the Motels at night. Then there were almost eerily intense stagers that sound unique more than 25 years later.

Kicks 101-1/2 was never a chart reporter to the trades in that era and, despite its initial success in the market, remained more or less off the industry's radar, unlike rival WPST. But a year or so ago, a Philadelphia PD and I got to talking; turned out that he had grown up with Kicks and its unusual imaging as well.

So if you're interested in hearing what the Lit family is up to now, check out hylitradio.com, which began with an Oldies channel. Now there's a second stream, HyLitRhythm.com, which can best be described as Jammin' Oldies in terms of texture and a Bob- or Jack-FM in terms of scope. (A recent half hour stretch ranged from Al Green to Klymaxx to two Trammps songs, neither of which was "Disco Inferno.") Best of all, the stagers recall Sam's work on Kix 101-1/2 and are very much worth hearing, particularly if you never heard the original station.