We had a few major radio stories break this past week ... and also wanted to tell you about a new Online Oldies Poll ... you'll find all of this information here today, along with some of your radio-related comments. Enjoy!
re: ON THE RADIO (aka WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?!?!?):
At a time when HUNDREDS of talented jocks are out of work, Clear Channel just signed Ryan Seacrest to a brand new, three year, $60 Million deal!!! ($20 Million a year to count down The Top 40 Most Popular Songs In America once a week?!?!? Hell, I'd count 'em down every day for only a million a year!!! How on earth is this considered money well spent at a time when radio is struggling, stocks are plunging, stations are closing and unmanned automation seems to be ruling the airwaves?!?!?)
Honestly, I just don't get it ... and they're calling Ryan Seacrest "The New Dick Clark" ... which is EXACTLY what he's been going for!!!
Here's the official story from "Taylor On Radio":
Clear Channel makes Ryan Seacrest the $60 Million Man
Clear Channel gets even more of Ryan Seacrest
This was a renewal John Hogan simply had to get - Seacrest is the linchpin of top-rated and top-billing CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles, the star of the syndicated daily "On Air with Ryan Seacrest" that airs on many Clear Channel (and other) stations, and the anchor of Premiere's weekly "American Top 40." So is $60 million over the next three years worth it to Hogan? You bet. The New York Times reports the expanded contract goes beyond just the Pentagon-size numbers. (Seacrest's expiring three-year deal is worth perhaps $35 million.) Seacrest will help CC develop new on-air and digital content. He'll joint-venture with Clear Channel for a potential new "record label, music publishing business and live concert series", says the Times. (Don't you see echoes of Dick Clark's career here? Seacrest has studied the hero of "American Bandstand.") And the highly entrepreneurial Seacrest has the rights to sell some advertising in his shows and (says the Times) to "embed his own marketing partners into the programming." So Clear Channel successfully renews Ryan Seacrest, while another signature talent (Dr. Laura) is leaving terrestrial radio in a month.
-- Tom Taylor
And, if that story's not ridiculous enough for you, then let's move on to the completely absurd!!! Big rumors were flying all week long about whether or not Howard Stern would resign his contract with XM / Sirius ... or jump ship to begin a brand new venture. Here are a couple of the highlights ... along with the final INCREDIBLE resolution. (If you think Sixty Million Dollars for Ryan Seacrest is ridiculous, then just how do you feel about Six HUNDRED Million Dollars for Howard Stern?!?!? Huh?!?!?! Yep, that was the latest rumor circulating for most of last week!)
"Howard Stern is on the verge of signing a $600 million / three year deal
with Apple to host Internet / TV / iTunes broadcast.”
That’s from Paul Scheer and last night it was caroming around the Twittersphere like a UFO sighting in Beverly Hills. (It’s also on the Discussion Boards at Radio-Info.com, here.) We know Stern has been investigating new-media platforms. Apple has the cash to make a credible offer. But there are several problems with the scenario.
#1, Apple's not currently in the content generation business.
#2, Apple is notoriously G-rated when it comes to content. It’s turned down all kinds of iPhone apps it deemed salacious. And “salacious” could be Stern’s middle name (all in good fun)
-- Tom Taylor / Taylor On Radio
UPDATE: After ALL kinds of rumors and speculation, Stern ended up resigning with XM / Sirius anyway ... but check out the breakdown of Howard's new deal ...
Howard Stern’s new five-year deal equals $2,008 a minute, says the Daily Beast.
Peter Lauria reports that two people “close to the situation” say Stern’s getting $80 million a year in cash. Lauria works the math from there – “after accounting for Stern’s eight weeks of vacation and 10 standard federal holidays, the shock jock will only be working 498 hours per year.” There’s also the possibility that Stern, like the Tonight Show’s Johnny Carson in his later years, won’t work as many days. Lauria says Stern doesn’t keep all the $80 million, but that perhaps $20 million goes to “production costs for the show and staff salaries.” So Howard’s seeing more like $60 million a year. Just looking at on-air time, that’s $120,482 per hour and $2,008 a minute. Not bad. Sirius XM will eventually need to disclose at least some outline of the deal, since it qualifies under SEC rules as a “material event.” Analyst Barton Crockett of Lazard Capital, quoted by CNN, says that historically, Sirius XM has been spending $350 million annually on programming costs. Stern’s about one-quarter of the entire budget. Many folks seem to think that his new deal is similar to the expiring one in terms of cash – about $80 million. But that it doesn’t include the additional stock that Sirius paid him in the deal which took effect in January 2006. Speaking of stock – Sirius XM (“SIRI”) finished up about 6% yesterday at $1.39, presumably on the Stern renewal. Check the Daily Beast story here.
$2008 per minute?!?!? For EVERY single minute he's on the air?!?!? Think about that the next time you hear dead air during Stern's show ... when he pauses in silence (for effect) ... $2008 per MINUTE!!! $2008 for every moment of silence. Meanwhile, President Obama spent a good portion of last week fighting with Congress to extend unemployment benefits for all of the MILLIONS of people out there still out of work.
Again, to quote syndicated jock Tom Kent, "What's This World Coming To?"!!!!! (kk)
I got to spend some time with Clark Weber this past week ... he was making an appearance at The Schaumburg Public Library, talking about his new book and then signing and selling copies after the presentation. What a remarkable man! Clark just turned 80 last month and he is SO full of energy and life ... a fun-filled 90 minutes with this broadcasting legend, telling story after story about the good old days of rock and roll radio ... he still runs a successful advertising agency, still has a syndicated radio program for seniors called "Senior Moment" that runs on about 38 radio stations around the country, still voice tracks the new Tommy Edwards "Chicago Radio" Internet Radio Program ... and tells me that he does a couple of these library and book store appearances every since week! Amazing!
Clark has got the "gift of gab" as they say and LOVES to talk and tell these humorous stories ... he's a natural entertainer who loves to be up in front of an audience. If you get the chance to see him, be sure to check it out. And, if you don't have a copy of his book yet, you can pick it up here:
Click here: Amazon.com: Clark Weber's Rock and Roll Radio: The Fun Years, 1955-1975 (9780979789212): Clark Weber, Neal Samors,
It's a fun read ... and a great look back at the era of radio that we grew up listening to right here in Chicago! (kk)
Our last radio rave-out sparked a couple of noteworthy comments ... here are just two:
I loved your impassioned opinion about the narrow programming of today's oldies DJs!
Kent, Kent, Kent ...
I have a terrible confession to make:
I sometimes feel like I'm going to have to stop reading Forgotten Hits, because the state of radio ... the state of OUR MUSIC ... is just so freakin' sad ... I mean, they don't even want to call it what it is ... "oldies" ... any more.
Well, maybe I'm just having a bad day, but I think you see my point. BTW, once again I printed out one of your comments to re-read as needed, the one starting with "Isn't it interesting how ... " Damn, when you say "All of this music makes up the soundtrack of our lives ... " it just breaks my heart, for two reasons:
(1) There's a lot of joy we can bring to people with this stuff, and I know this personally ... at gifting times, I make CD comps for my friends, all types of music, and they rave about them, and ask for more.
(2) And consequently, there is money to be made here, I'm absolutely convinced of it, and that's the bottom line, like it or not.
I am a displaced DJ, unceremoniously shown the door after 36 years in the same market. Oldies station ... and in terms of variety, I pushed the envelope for all it was worth ... 10 til the hour, I had "appointment radio" ... 6:50 am was Story Time, anything from Gordon Lightfoots' Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald to Mel Blanc's Big Bear Lake.
7:50 was Discopalooza, self-explanitory.
8:50 was The Originals, two songs, best illustrated by playing Mama Told Me Not to Come ... first by Eric Burden and the Animals, then by Three Dog Night. I got tremendous positive feedback from listeners, but that's neither here nor there, I guess ... I doubt I'll ever be able to do that again, but it was a good run while it lasted.
The future of the format? I've long called it "New Oldies" ... another label might be "Rediscovery Radio" ...
And the poster-child for this, for Christmas and for all of it, is in my mind Donnie Hathaway's "This Christmas." Correct me if I'm wrong, but this was only moderately successful when it came out in 1972, and was flat out non-existent as a standard oldie until relatively recently ... look at it now. And big surprise: what a gorgeous song! Melody, production, his voice, the beat, everything. How could we have missed it for so long?
OK, so maybe there's hope. All I want for Christmas this year is for a few people to listen to "No L" at thewholething.podbean.com, and maybe get a small kick out of it.
My two podcasts, stolfpod.podbean.com and thewholething.podbean.com, are generally about old radio and TV commercials, but the latest on thewholething features "No L" music ... four instrumentals that just strike me as Christmasy, altho they obviously weren't intended as such.
They are "Highway at Night" by Horst Jankowski, "Picasso Summer (Summer Me, Winter Me)" by the Baja Marimba Band, "Aliki" by John Barry and "Staten Island Ferry" from the soundtrack of TV's "The Saint" by Edwin Astley.
As I'm wont to do ... I just can't help it ... I've "re-named" them, respectively: "Peppermint Kisses And Tinsel", "Have Bell, Will Jingle", "The Blue Yew" and "Shopper's Waltz". OK, maybe it isn't really a waltz ... sue me!
Thanx for letting me rant.
We're saving most of our Christmas Comments to run during upcoming issues of our "Twelve Days Of Christmas" / "Countdown To Christmas" feature ... but since MOST of your comment above pertains to "The Sad State Of Oldies Radio", I decided to run it here instead. As depressing as it gets sometimes, all we can do here is keep fighting the fight. The truth is a good portion of oldies radio IS better than it used to be ... the sad part is that there seems to be a prevailing opion in the industry these days that there just isn't any "need" for on-air talent anymore. That's our next battle. SO many great jocks out of work these days who can add SO much to the broadcasting of this music if only given a chance. We want to help put personality back into radio ... it's sorely lacking in far too many places.
Speaking of Christmas instrumentals, there's a great one on the brand new "It's About Christmas Volume II" CD we've been telling you about ... "The Nutcracker Overture" by James Hollihan's Guitar Orchestra ... featuring some pretty incredible pickin' and grinnin'. Give it a listen and see what you think ... I really dig it! (kk)
Speaking of Christmas Music, our Countdown To Christmas will pick up again next week ... but we just received word from FH Reader Frank B that WCBS-FM in New York City (Frank B's favorite Radio Station!) will be counting down The Top 101 Christmas Songs this weekend. You can tune in to listen here: Click here: WCBS-FM 101.1
I believe Scott Shannon is also running a Jingle-Jam Weekend over at The True Oldies Channel, too ... so The Sounds Of Christmas are definitely in ... and ON ... the air! (kk)
Speaking of WCBS-FM ... and oldies radio in general ... congratulations to WCBS-FM in New York ... they just moved into a First Place Tie! (As far as I'm concerned, they've got Frank B. to thank for that!!! Not a day goes by that he doesn't send me three or four links from their website ... many of which eventually make their way to our pages, too! lol)
Here in Chicago, however, oldies radio is down for the third month in a row on BOTH oldies stations ... we've also seen reports that Atlanta has dropped their True Oldies Channel in favor of a more updated "Classic Hits" format. I just don't get it ... EVERY DAY I see evidence that the oldies are hotter than ever ... and Scott Shannon's programming has been ESPECIALLY good lately ... so what's up?!?! (I get at least three or four phone calls a week from work-related customers who don't even know that I publish The Forgotten Hits Newsletter but happened to hear our name or our newsletter mentioned on the air ... in fact, I think it's safe to say that MOST folks I know listen to The True Oldies Channel ... or The Drive ... whose ratings took a HUGE upswing in the past 30 days.)
Meanwhile cutbacks and redesigned shifts don't seem to be helping over at Y103.9, our other oldies outlet ... this latest ratings report would indicate that their listenership is down nearly 50%! over the past couple of months! Somebody needs to breath some life into THAT station ... (I'm available, by the way!) ... they've got a great playlist and a fun format but for some reason it just isn't getting through to the audience anymore. (kk)
And, speaking of Y103.9, we got a nice letter from one of our readers regarding Jim Shea ...
I want to add my agreement to your recent comments about Jim Shea, who was let go from Y103.9 in a cost-cutting move. I've always loved radio, but I enjoyed Jim's morning show more than any other radio show in decades. Jim displays a remarkable combination of professionalism and passion. He cares about people, he cares about the music -- and as listeners, we GOT it! We became a radio family -- something rare in radio today. Thanks for keeping us updated on Jim's status.
Thanks, Dan! I passed your letter along to Jim Shea, who I know REALLY appreciates the support of so many of the fans who have gotten in touch with him since our piece ran a couple of weeks ago.
Jim says ...
Thank you so much for passing that email from Dan along ... I really appreciate it.
As for the ratings, I only look at allaccess.com and get the monthly cume and quarter hour figure for WWYW ... in the past two months the total cume has gone from 189,300 to 147,900 and the total average quarter hour share has gone from .3 to .1, so in two months they have lost 22 percent of the cume and 66 percent of the quarter hour share ... I don't have it broken down by day part of any other demographic cell ... but if you are cash-strapped Nextmedia, or a subsidiary, you try to look for bright spots in minute portions of the data.
I have friends still working there and I continue to wish all of them well and root for them.
I never want to sound disparaging of them or big headed. Two months can't always tell you a lot. But I think that if they really want to be in for the long haul, they may have to realize that letting me go caused a ripple and try to get the community involved in the air sound again.
But I can say this ... at the end of the day I have never used the phrase "at the end of the day" metaphorically ... until now. Maybe I have a bright future in management after all.
Oldies Radio is NOT dead ... it may just need a little mouth-to-mouth ... and there are some GREAT mouths out there NOT being heard on the radio right now ... guys with years and years of experience that know how to entertain an audience and put personality back on the air. We need to open our eyes (and ears) before it's too late.
Clark Weber made a comment the other night during his presentation that the life-expectancy for radio as we know it is probably about seven years ... this according to market research ... that radio will soon go the way of the newspaper because most folks don't turn to radio as a source of information and entertainment anymore ... you can get much more immediate information and musical gratification somewhere else. (This is especially true of programming that was voice-tracked 24-72 hours in advance ... there isn't even "reaction time" anymore to a big story or event that hasn't been diminished by the passage of "too much time". Meanwhile, OTHER media outlets have jumped on ... and saturated ... this news IMMEDIATELY. Too often lately, by the time WE hear it on our favorite radio programs it's already "old news" that we've heard fifty times before someplace else.)
PROVING that Oldies Radio is not dead ... and, in an effort to keep things interesting, (coming right on the heels, as it were, to Hz So Good's / Rich Appel's recent Top 100 All-Time Favorite Radio Stations of the Past report), it was interesting to see this in my email from Sean Ross, who publishes the "Ross On Radio" column ... he's looking for "The Greatest Greatest Hits Stations" NOW ... and you can cast your votes by clicking on the links below. Check it out! (kk)
Nominations Are Open ,,, In Search Of Greatest Hits’ Greatest Stations
This column has always been about finding finding standout stations – the ones worth seeking out among the mounting number of choices. For me, a motivating factor has often been songs that you don’t usually hear on the radio, but I’ve always had a lot of respect for stations that put great packages around the hits or blend them uniquely.
A lot of the stations featured here have been Oldies / Greatest Hits outlets — often, but not exclusively, the AMs or smaller-market FMs that have the freedom to surprise more often. Now it’s your turn. Starting next week, Ross On Radio readers are going to get a chance to choose the greatest stations in the Greatest Hits / Oldies format. And this week, I’m taking your nominations for stations in the following categories.
Major Market FM – The large-market “Greatest Hits” FMs that have PPM measurement and greater song-by-song scrutiny to deal with. Those that manage to achieve an “oh wow” factor have a different balancing act to deal with than our other terrestrial category. Nominate
AM and Secondary / Small Market FM – A lot of the Oldies stations that I’ve written about over the past 18 months fall into this category. They’re the stations whose market situations give them some room for greater depth. Nominate
New Platforms – Satellite, HD-2 multicast stations (those with no FM translator), Internet pureplays, stations licensed as Low-Power AM / FMs, and anybody else with different pressures and parameters from an over-the-air AM / FM station. Nominate
‘80s-Gold / Next Generation – AM / FM outlets doing some sort of format whose focus is beyond the current Greatest Hits format’s mid-‘60s to early ‘80s window. Includes Bob - and Jack - FMs as well as the growing count of “Rewinds.” Nominate
International – Any gold-based station whose primary focus is outside rated U.S. markets. Nominate
You can e-mail me your nominations by clicking the link after any category, or, if you have nominations in multiple categories, e-mail me here. Semi-finalists will be chosen by the author, but your feedback will help determine the field. Nominating your own station, or a station in your group, is fine, but endorsements of somebody else’s radio station carry extra weight. We’ll start the voting next week.
Ross On Radio will often spotlight songs that you don’t usually hear on the radio ... much like Forgotten Hits, his push has always been in favor of these "Wow Factor" songs ... and HIS list is primarily distributed amongst on-air (or out-of-work) deejays.
While OUR list continues to grow by leaps and bounds each year (and I think at last count we had about 120 deejays on our list as well), my hope is that COLLECTIVELY we can reach a big enough audience to have a greater impact on "creative programming."
What follows are more excerpts from some recent "Ross On Radio" mailings. And, if YOU'D like to get on his mailing list, just click ANY of the links provided in this article and ask him to sign you up. (Be sure to tell him that Forgotten Hits sent you!) kk
“Little Willy” Won’t Go … Quietly
If you were an 11-year-old boy in early 1973, chances are excellent that you think “Little Willy” by the Sweet was a great record. If you were a screaming rock and roll DJ, you might remember it fondly ... or, just as likely, as something that you were forced to play. If you were anybody else, chances are equally strong that you consider it teenybopper garbage, or just more ‘70s cheese, gathering dust in the same abandoned 45 carrying case with contemporaries like “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia.”
Regular readers already know which side I’m on. From the toughest opening guitar strum ever to one of the greatest tension-and-release moments ever at the end of the bridge, “Little Willy” is one of the powerhouse singles of all time. Even if I believed that anybody should ever feel guilty about the music they like, I still couldn’t muster an iota of guilt over it. It was bubblegum — never a pejorative for me — but with some Rolling Stones-like sleaze on top. And if you know what the noun of the title means in British slang, that whole “stay down” refrain becomes a little subversive.
I’ve also disagreed with the idea that certain ‘70s U.K. glam rock records were good and others were inherently garbage. For many historians and programmers, T. Rex, Bowie and “Rock & Roll, Part II” went in one pile, everything else went in another — or never came to American listeners’ attention in the first place. Same goes for the ample body of ’70s work by Mike Chapman & Nicky Chin, the writer / producers who, by the end of the decade had found a more respectable package for their power pop, thanks to Blondie and the Knack. Then an album cut of theirs was reworked by Toni Basil; “Mickey” would go on to set off the same sort of polarization that “Little Willy” did.
Every now and then, a programmer puts “Little Willy” into a gold library test. The PD is almost inevitably somebody who was a screaming Top 40 jock in 1973 or, more likely these days, somebody who was 11-years-old. Typically, it finishes near the bottom or perhaps two-thirds-of-the-way down the pile. On a few occasions, small-market PDs without research will ask me to look at their library; I’ll see “Little Willy” and have to decide whether to let them know that there are actually listeners out there who might not recognize its awesomeness.
I mention this because I’ve actually come across evidence of “Little Willy” on the radio three times within the last five days or so. The soon-to-be-sold WLVW (The Wave) Ocean City, Md., is one of those quirky medium-market type Oldies / Greatest Hits stations where I’d expect to hear it in regular rotation. But special Thanksgiving week programming meant that I was able to hear it on both WCBS-FM New York and WOGL Philadelphia. That’s not exactly a dramatic reversal of fortunes for a song that still gets only a handful of monitored spins every week — even “Mickey” is testing in more places now — but it’s three times more than I’m used to hearing it in an average five day period.
Another once-reviled Sweet song, “Ballroom Blitz,” has found a grudging home at Classic Rock and Adult Hits stations over the years. Allowing that one through and not, say, “Love Is Like Oxygen” (the song with which they briefly found rock credibility for a moment) seems as arbitrary to me as all the other good and bad piles. But I’ll take it.
-- Sean Ross
A quick check of the list below shows you that the nominees are already coming in ... notice anything peculiar (and yet similar) about these choices??? They ALL seem to favor the stations who use the very "WOW!" factor that we talk about non-stop here in Forgotten Hits ... and this isn't just the casual oldies fan at home talking now ... or the record geek going through his collection in the basement ... these are radio industry "players" who ALL recognize the fact that what makes one station stand out head and shoulders over another is a little thing called programming creativity. Give these a look-over and see if any of YOUR favorites are on the list ... and then scratch your head in complete bewilderment as to why some others aren't. (And you don't have to be silent on this topic ... email YOUR votes to the links above and let yourself be heard!!! Maybe we CAN change the way we hear radio in the not-so-distant future!!!) kk
LISTENERS SHARE THEIR GREATEST HITS CHOICES:
In last Thursday's "Ross On Radio", we began soliciting suggestions for our first annual Reader’s Poll of the greatest Greatest Hits / Oldies stations around the world. We’ll announce the nominations in this Thursday’s ROR. But here are just a few of the reader suggestions so far.
“Hands down [WGVX] Love 105 in Minneapolis. They kept the Oldies alive when [KQQL] Kool 108 left us out in the cold.” – Geoffrey Barber. KQQL has since returned to Oldies, but Love 105 remains a unique, long-playlisted radio station.
“WDIA Memphis is a unique radio station — the only full-service station in the Urban AC format. You’ll hear the hits that you wouldn’t normally hear on other Urban AC stations: ‘I Don’t Wanna Cry’ by Mariah Carey as well as ‘I’d Rather Be With You’ by Bootsy’s Rubber Band. The station is winning due to its music mix, the Bobby O’Jay morning show, WDIA’s community involvement and its all-blues Saturday programming.” – Roshon Vance
“CKWW (AM 580) Windsor / Detroit: Any station that routinely spins Barry Allen’s ‘Love Drops’ and the Guess Who’s version of ‘Flying On The Ground Is Wrong’ is definitely a cut above the painfully tight playlists of such out-of-touch stalwarts as KRTH (K-Earth 101) Los Angeles.” – Michael McDowell, Editor / Publisher, Blitz Magazine
“K-Earth 101: Great personalities, weekend themes, community outreach. The best Classic Hits station in the nation. For small market, KITI Centralia, Wash. — live and local, great jingles, great music, full-service approach, community outreach, and the personalities are great for the size of the market / station.” – Michael Workman
“Nostalgie, part of France’s Group NRJ. It’s a very difficult station to program because Motown was not part of their musical culture. Plus all of the old French music is not only slow, it has terrible production quality. And it is huge in France.” – Doug Erickson
“WCBS-FM New York, the one Classic Hits station that still has a fair amount of ‘oh wows,’ specialty weekends, great imaging, and so many great jocks that even the part-timers would make a great fulltime airstaff. I heard Bob Shannon play Darrell Banks’ ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’ and I knew that this station was the best.” – Tom Lawler, whose own format can be heard here.
“WHPH (The Peach) – They creep into the Birmingham ratings, but more important for them, they seem to be sold out all the time to local advertisers. The music is pretty eclectic. Recently, I’ve heard ‘Weekend’ (Wet Willie), ‘Shame Shame’ (Magic Lanterns), ‘Ask The Lonely’ (Four Tops) and others not usually heard.” – Thom Price
“KDRF (Ed FM) Albuquerque, N.M. – The music mix [of this Adult Hits station] is dead on. ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s with total disregard for what most people would consider a trainwreck segue.” – John Trapane, Capitol Nashville
“XHRM (Magic 92.5) San Diego – A unique creation in 1998 which has sustained Top 3 if not No. 1 numbers since." – Rick Thomas, Ohana Broadcasting, Honolulu, a former XHRM PD whose current R&B Oldies station, KUMU, is doing pretty well itself these days.
Wow ... what a GREAT concept for radio programming. (Now why didn't I think of that?!?!?) Hey, I've said it a THOUSAND times ... push the envelope a little bit and we ALL win ... your station will stand out, you'll have happier jocks who don't have to play the EXACT same crap day in and day out ... and your listeners will perk up and listen ... and love you for it. It's a Win / Win for EVERYBODY!!! (kk)
For an even MORE detailed explanation of what Ross is going for, read this ... (we're really getting into the thick of it now!!!) ... and then go out there and cast YOUR votes!!!
Oldies Readers' Poll, Vote Now!
For the last 18 months, this newsletter has given nearly weekly attention to the Oldies / Greatest Hits stations that have helped to break, or at least dent, the once-rigid 300-song guidelines of the format.
(I LOVE it ... that's been The Forgotten Hits Mantra for going on twelve years now!!!) kk
Some of those stations have crossed the line strategically; some were probably never that concerned with where that line was. They’ve all added to the excitement of the format’s recent resurgence.
Now it’s your turn to help determine the greatest stations of the Greatest Hits format. Nearly 120 stations have been nominated in seven categories — from the stations you’ve read about all year to many that were suggested by readers. The categories range from those large market FMs that spike in the “oh wow” songs occasionally to the AM outlets that exist to play what the FMs won’t.
Overall, we were looking for Greatest Hits / Oldies stations for music lovers – stations that you can depend on to hear something different. But there were also some recent more mainstream success stories that were too big to deny — particularly in larger markets. Sins of omission are inevitable and unintentional. And if there seems to be a bias toward some of my local AMs, well, I’m lucky enough to live near a lot of good ones. There’s something for everybody here — and we’ve also left room to write in any station that you think we’ve left out.
There are seven categories but there are a lot of others that we could have gotten to: Specialty Shows, Classic Rock / Classic Hits, Classic Country. We’ll make those part of our next Readers’ Poll.
Clicking on the name of any nominee will take you to their Website, if one exists — the link to vote follows the listings.
LARGE MARKET FM
KLTH (Oldies 106.7) Portland, Ore.
KLUV (K-Love) Dallas
KOLA Riverside, Calif.
KRTH (K-Earth 101) Los Angeles
True Oldies Channel National
WBZO (B103) Long Island, N.Y.
WCBS-FM New York
WDUV Tampa, Fla.
WGVX (Love 105) Minneapolis
WLS-FM (True Oldies 94.7) Chicago
WMJI (Majic 105.7) Cleveland
WRBQ (Q105) Tampa, Fla.
XEPRS-FM (The Walrus) San Diego
MEDIUM / SMALL MARKET FM
KDES Palm Springs, Calif.
KKLZ Las Vegas
WAFN (Fun 92.7) Huntsville, Ala.
WAKY Louisville, Ky.
WCKM Glens Falls, N.Y.
WDRC-FM Hartford, Conn.
WFNE (Fun 106.7) Cape May, N.J.
WHPH (The Peach) Birmingham, Ala.
WIBG Cape May, N.J.
WLBW (The Wave) Ocean City, Md.
WLGZ (Legends 102.7) Rochester, N.Y.
WLNG Eastern Long Island, N.Y.
WNCL (Cool 101.9) Milford, Del.
WRLD (Boomer 95.3) Columbus, Ga.
WTIX-FM New Orleans
WVLT (Cruisin’ 92.1) Vineland, N.J.
CKWW (AM580) Windsor / Detroit
KDAV Lubbock, Texas
KITI –AM Centralia, Wash.
KRWZ (Cruisin’ Oldies 950) Denver
WGHT (North Jersey 1500) Northern N.J.
WGVU-AM (Real Oldies 1480/850) Grand Rapids, Mich.
WHTG (Great Gold 1410) Monmouth / Ocean, N.J.
WMTR Morristown, N.J.
WQMV Waverly, Tenn.
WRNJ Northwest N.J.
‘60s Jangle Radio (Live 365)
AccuRadio / Chicago Radio Online.com / Chicago’s Best Oldies
Golden Hits Radio
Great Big Radio
Hy Lit Radio
Q Rock Radio Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Rich Bro Radio
Radio Bop ‘60s
Radio.io ‘50s & ‘60sRock
Sirius/XM ‘60s on 6
Sirius/XM ‘70s on 7
Tony Mann Radio
Top Shelf Oldies
WFMU Rock ‘N’ Soul Ichiban
KBPA (Bob FM) Austin, Texas
KCBS-FM (Jack FM) Los Angeles
KDRF (Ed FM) Albuquerque, N.M.
KFMB-FM (Jack FM) San Diego
KZOY (Sunny Radio), Sioux Falls, S.D.
WAMS Dover, Del.
WARH (The Arch) St. Louis
WCJK (Jack FM) Nashville
WDRQ (Doug FM) Detroit
WFKL (Fickle 93.3) Rochester, N.Y.
WLGX (Gen-X Radio) Louisville, Ky.
WNOB (Bob FM) Norfolk, Va.
WNTR (The Track) Indianapolis
WOLL (Kool 105) West Palm Beach, Fla.
WOYE (Magic 97.3) San Juan, P.R.
WREW (Rewind 94.9) Cincinnati
WSMW (Simon 98.7) Greensboro, N.C.
WVBW (The Wave) Norfolk, Va.
CLASSIC R&B/JAMMIN’ OLDIES
KAJM (Mega 104.3) Phoenix
KISQ (Kiss 98.1) San Francisco
KKDA-AM (Soul 73) Dallas
KOAS (105.7 The Oasis) Las Vegas
KOKY Little Rock, Ark.
KRJO (Old Skool 1680) Monroe, La.
WGVN (Groovin’ 1580) Lexington, Ky.
WRBO (Soul Classics 103.5) Memphis
WVOL (The Mighty 1470) Nashville
WXSH (Studio 106.1/95.3) Ocean City, Md.
XHRM (Magic 92.5) San Diego
Absolute Radio ‘80s London
4KQ Brisbane, Australia
Berliner Rundfunk Berlin, Germany
CFZM (Zoomer Radio 740) Toronto
CHBM (Boom 97.3) Toronto
CKLG (Jack FM) Vancouver
CKRA (96.3 Capital FM) Edmonton, Alberta
CKWS Kingston, Ontario
Nostalgie FM Paris
Solid Gold Network New Zealand
Vinyl 107 Stockholm
XHFO (Universal Stereo 92.1) Mexico City
Disclosure: Absolute Radio, Berliner Rundfunk, WBZO, Solid Gold / New Zealand, and CKRA are all stations that I’ve had some involvement with over the last year (or that my other employer, Edison Research, has been involved with).
To vote for the greatest Greatest Hits stations, click here. And feel free to pass this link along to friends, colleagues, or listeners.
And ANOTHER quick suggestion, if I may ... print this list out and keep it with you! If you do ANY amount of travelling, you'll want to know where the best oldies stations are in town, regardless of just WHERE that town may be! (kk)
And finally, in effect, a "Ross On Radio" comments page ... showing reaction to his "Little Willy" column from the week before!
In response to last week's column on the awesomeness of The Sweet’s “Little Willy.” Notice that all the positive responses that came in were from guys! And, yes, I love ‘Fox On The Run,’ too.
“Speaking of the Sweet, don’t forget ‘Fox On The Run.’ When it comes to Alternative Rock programming, I’ve often used glam rock as one of my secret weapons, usually during specialty shows. I love to throw in T. Rex’s “20th Century Boy,” recently used to sell Mitsubishi on TV. Also, Gary Glitter’s original version of ‘Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah!)’ sounds great. Lou Reed’s ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll’ is also a personal favorite.” – Scott Lowe, and notice that he’s mentioning the Sweet and the Velvet Underground in the same breath. Take that, art snobs!
“Come on, the Sweet song that’s any good is ‘Fox On The Run.’ Now, there’s a song!” – Richard Sands, the Sands Report
“No mention of ‘Fox On The Run’? I’m sure it was an oversight.” – Jerry Noble, PD WLHT/WTRV, Grand Rapids, Mich.
“Loved Sweet; hated ‘Little Willy,’ for one of the reasons you mentioned. I was an 18-year old DJ working at progressive rock WZGC Atlanta at the time, and they abruptly changed formats to Top 40 Z93. Out with the albums; in with 20 singles. That’s it. No library; ‘play the hits.’ They changed 1 or 2 every week, but it was 20 songs over and over all day every day. And ‘Little Willy’ was one of them. Every 45 minutes for two months. Back at Album Rock radio later, I played ‘Ballroom Blitz’ and ‘Love Is Like Oxygen,’ but couldn’t even think about giving ‘Little Willy’ a spin.” – Drew Murray, co5 Music, who can take some consolation either in being present at the birth of a legendary Top 40 or knowing that Z93 is now Triple-A Dave FM.
“I never could stand playing ‘Little Willy,’ but on those rare times when I hear it now, it sure brings back good memories of radio the way it used to be.” – Dan Adams
“I grew up loving ‘Little Willy’ and most of the Sweet songs and was never embarrassed by it, but ridiculed by some. Thanks for the redemption.” – Darren Wilhite
“We have an employee who moonlights as the stadium music guy for many pro sports teams in Western New York. For years, he has played ‘Little Willy’ in the final minutes of games (because, as we all know, Little Willy won’t go home). Even though I’ve personally liked the song since the first time I heard it, probably on WAXC or the new 95BBF, I’ve always teased him about playing a song that ‘doesn’t test.’ As if anyone having a good time listening to fun music is really trying to determine FAV, LIK, NOP, DDL, NEG, or UNF. There are times to ignore the score.” – Dave LeFrois, OM, Clear Channel / Rochester, N.Y.
“Now we have to get somebody to play ‘Action’ or ‘The Lies In Your Eyes.’ They can borrow my MP3 player.” – Tom Schuh, OM, WECK / WLVL Buffalo, N.Y.
Have a great weekend. And be sure to vote.
Back with more Ross On Radio on Tuesday.
-- Sean Ross
And we'll be back tomorrow with a brand new Sunday Comments Page ...
Next week ... more of your Christmas Comments and favorites ... along with some GREAT new music that you just won't hear anywhere else ...
And, as a special added bonus, Robin Luke stops by to visit with Forgotten Hits ... ALL coming up next week! (kk)