Saturday, October 13, 2012

On The Radio

Congrats to Dave Fogel. Enjoy hearing him on 104.3! Could they be finally heading for a bit of a change? I heard Please Mr. Postman by the Marvelettes (definitely an oldie!). Also, their weekend countdown is more in line with WCBS' material.
Enjoying Forgotten Hits,
AJK (the Youngest Oldies Freak Around!)

I was TOTALLY pleased hearing K-Hits doing something special in the way of weekend programming ... and their countdown idea was unique in that it incorporated their slogan of '60's, '70's and '80's Music by playing down the biggest artists of each decade in order. (Somehow I feel that Tommy Edwards just HAD to be involved with this ... which is what I had suggested last week ... put Tommy in charge of K-Hits programming ... this guy knows his way around a radio station ... and has been successful everywhere he's gone!) 

You can check out the complete countdown list here:

Man, it is SO refreshing to hear them doing something DIFFERENT!!! (kk)

Even cooler ... this allows them to play TONS of artists that they don't normally play on the station ... a win/win for EVERYBODY!!! 

If K-Hits wants to make a serious run for the oldies market here in Chicago, NOW is the time to do it. With listeners still upset about the programming changes made over at WLS-FM, K-Hits is now in a position to distinguish itself from the other stations in town by doing something unique and different ... and I firmly believe that the winner of this ratings battle will be the station most-willing to push the envelope and reach the broader audience. (Wouldn't it be cool to see a radio-rivalry like the golden days of Top 40 here in Chicago when WLS and WCFL went head-to-head competing for the same listening audience??? And, with the power and proven track record of a station like WCBS-FM in New York behind it ... [that's Frank B's favorite station in case you didn't know!] ... the time is right to REALLY make radio interesting again in The Windy City. And how would you like to be Dave Fogel right now?!?!? Booted off the air by WLS-FM, he lands on his feet at K-Hits less than two weeks later, just as the station is about to revamp its programming in an effort to secure a larger listening base. Timing is everything, eh, Dave?!?!?)

Things I would have done differently (or slightly differently) with their countdown ...

#1 - Stop the jocks from saying "The #35 song" and "The #21 song" ... this isn't a SONG countdown ... it's an ARTIST countdown!!! And, as such, why not feature a couple of tunes by each artist as you count them down, to better show the variety and diversity of their careers ... examples of WHY they placed so high on the list. That would have been far more interesting than hearing (in most cases) one over-played tune that you probably would have played this weekend anyway. As the ranking of the artists gets higher, feature more ... 3, 4 or 5 songs by an artist ... they don't have to be all in a row ... but if, for example, you reach the #3 Artist on all three charts (The Supremes, The Bee Gees and Madonna) play a couple of songs by each artist, rotating them and then circling back to play a couple of other tracks. The Bee Gees in the '70's, for example, kicked off the decade with "Lonely Days" and "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart", two #1 Records, before they hit their disco phase ("Jive Talkin'", "Stayin' Alive", "Night Fever"). Play the first two ... then a couple hits by Madonna ... then circle back to a couple more Supremes tracks before a Bee Gees Disco Triple Play ... and talk a little bit more about these artists (preferably in a way that shows you know a little something about them ... and, more importantly, that you CARE about these artists!!!) Little moves like this will help you win over your audience ... a VERY loyal and dedicated Chicago oldies audience ... in a big, big way.

By the way, their countdown seems to be loosely based on Joel Whitburn's recap of The Top 50 Artists of each decade (The '60's, The '70's and The '80's) from his ever-popular "Billboard Top Pop Singles" book, with a few exceptions. 

For example, K-Hits has chosen to skip over and ignore Kenny Rogers (Whitburn's #12 Artist of the '80's Decade), probably because he doesn't fit the scheme of what they want to program. Positions 1-11 match Joel's list exactly ... they then go on to skip Sheena Easton (#19 on Joel's list ... hmm ... maybe it's because she had a hit duet with Kenny Rogers???) and Rod Stewart (I don't quite get that one ... but he DID make their '70's list). Because of these omissions, they were then able to skip a little further down Whitburn's list and include Van Halen.

In the '70's, there is a HUGE omission ... The Carpenters (who had 19 Top 40 Hits during the decade, including 12 Top 10's and THREE #1's) are nowhere to be found on the K-Hits List ... and that's just WRONG!!! You cannot downplay their role in what made up The Sound of the '70's. Ironically, soft-rock acts like James Taylor, Barry Manilow, Paul Simon and Bread MADE the list ... so how do you overlook The Carpenters?!?!?

Moving on, James Brown was also omitted (although you don't hear ANY of his '70's records on the radio anymore ... and, quite honestly, we didn't hear them here in Chicago when they were out either.) Brown IS represented on their '60's Artists List (coming in at #7). 

Several other artists made multiple lists, which while factual, could have made for a more interesting countdown had there been no "repeats" / cross-overs from decade to decade. 
America places at #7 on the K-Hits '70's list but is way down at #46 on the Whitburn equivalent. Elvis is missing (but, surprisingly, they DID include him on their '60's chart ... and I wouldn't have expected that. Heaven forbid ANY radio ties to the '50's in this day and age.) But I guess that just means they can continue to play "Suspicious Minds" as Elvis' only contribution to rock and roll music history!
Also missing are John Denver and Glen Campbell (which, along with the omission of Kenny Rogers,  leads me to believe that they must have a "no country" policy on their agenda ... although Olivia Newton-John IS listed as both a '70's and '80's artist ... and most of her '70's hits were country-flavored.) Helen Reddy is missing, as is Barbra Streisand (7 Top Ten Hits during the '70's, including four #1's), again most likely a programming decision. You won't find The Guess Who on this list either. Instead Steely Dan, the inescapable Steve Miller Band and Queen have all been elevated to "top artists" status, despite not even making Whitburn's Top 50 List ... and a couple of these place rather high on the list, too ... Steely Dan is in at #12 and Steve Miller at #18 ... I can only assume that points must have been added based on CURRENT airplay of these artists (which is everywhere you turn.)

Most surprising is their '60's List ... artists are represented here that I have NEVER heard played on the station ... Elvis, James Brown, Roy Orbison, Jackie Wilson, The Dave Clark Five, Frank Sinatra, The Drifters, Dion, Wilson Pickett, Herman's Hermits, Ray Charles and Johnny Rivers have never been part of the K-Hits line-up ... it is SO good to see that they're finally going to be getting some airplay.
This list (with some major position shifts) seems to include most of the artists listed on Joel Whitburn's recap. Missing (of course) are Brenda Lee and Connie Francis ... fear of instant radio-death runs rampant if anyone dares to play either of these hit-making artists ... as are Chubby Checker, Brook Benton, The Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Bobby Vee, Bobby Darin and Bobby Rydell (K-Hits seems to have a "No Bobby's" policy in place, too!)
Elevated to Top 40 Status (and deservedly so) are The Monkees, Johnny Rivers, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Rascals, Wilson Pickett and The Marvelettes. Noticeably missing are Dionne Warwick (how do you overlook HER hit catalog of the '60's?), Petula Clark and Herb Alpert.

All-in-all, a very promising start to what can perhaps best be viewed as a re-launching of the station ... and hopefully it only gets better from here. 
(I'm available, guys, if you need some creative, out-of-the-box-thinking input!!!) kk

Chicago Radio and Media columnist Larz is also impressed by the change-up going on at K-Hits ...
here's what he posted this morning:

Fans upset by recent removal of most oldies from WLS-FM, need only tune their radio to WJMK-FM/104.3 K-Hits this weekend. As of this morning, K-Hits is having a "K-Hits Hall of Fame - Top 40 Artists of the 60's, 70's & 80's Countdown" weekend. The top 40 artists of each of those three decades, based loosely on sales & airplay, will be played often all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The list of artists being played can be viewed HERE. The weekend playlist will further differentiate WJMK-FM from that of WLS-FM and be more appealing to the fans of WLS-FM who have been searching for older rock & pop songs that aren't just classic rock. Is this weekend's special a sign of things to come for K-Hits' playlist...? A last ditch effort to change the station's fate perhaps?

If you grew up diggin' the Sounds of Chicago in the '60's, you won't want to miss THIS program!!!

Coming soon to a radio near you!
Da Big Four ( + me )
Fred Glickstein (The Flock)

Jim Peterik (The Ides of March, Survivor)
Jimi Sohns   (The Shadows Of Knight)

Ronnie Rice (The New Colony Six)

and Me.

What are they? 

A band? a TV Sitcom? A new series of stamps?

Nope, just a bunch of Chicago musicians, getting together with guitars in hand, to play some tunes and talk about our beloved Chicago music scene. 

And it all happens on Dick Kay’s WCPT Back on the Beat radio show, 820 AM on Saturday October 20th.

We’ll be on the air at 2:00 and if Dick locks the studio door so his boss can’t get in, we may go on for hours! This will be big fun.

This from Dick Kay, DJ:
820 AM, 92.5, 92.7, 99.9 FM and streaming live at
(I list all those frequencies because we simulcast on all four stations.)
My show is 1-4 on Saturdays and is 90 percent liberal political talk with callers … but I have the liberty to do anything I like with my show. That was my deal when they asked me to join them … anything including a good chili recipe.
Since I like music ... and especially the old rock and folk stuff ... I occasionally do a show such as the one we are planning. I haven't done one in a while but have always planned to do more after the first one.
So …. here we are.
I was tight with Ray Tate and the Old Town School, used to hit the bars where Ronnie Rice was doing his thing, had my own country group briefly and have always believed in local talent. We don't have a big studio so not much space but we will make it work. I just want to have some fun and talk about good folk and good music.
Last show I did was based on Dean Milano's book. Glad you're coming …. and PLEASE send me some bio on you and your music career. Thanks.
Dick Kay
Man, I can't wait!!! (kk)

For more on the Chicago Music Scene in the '60's, be sure to check out Dean Milano's book ...