Let’s get back to that NY Times article on the Death of Rock Radio I linked to the other day. (And thanks to Vidiot, here’s a permalink.)
You kids today! Radio used to actually work! Stations were locally owned and operated. Programming wasn’t done by computer, by demographic survey, or by committee in some airless room a thousand miles away. It was done right there at the station, often by the air staff themselves. They at least had a hand in it, anyway. And dinosaurs ruled the earth, too. *sigh*
I’m finding it really hard to feel bad for the guy who had his station switched out from underneath him. I mean, aside from the fact that he was working for
Satan Clear Channel, there’s the idiotic way in which the format was decided. They hitched their cart to a fad (and a deeply stupid one at that – who the fuck actually listened to mook rock, anyway?), and intentionally alienated 50% of their potential audience (i.e., women). I’m no marketing genius, of course, but I think even I could have spotted the flaw in that plan.
“Music executives say the lack of true stars today is partly the reason. Since rap-rock acts like Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit retreated from the scene, none of the heralded bands from recent rock movements, be it garage-rock (the Strokes, the Vines) or emo (Dashboard Confessional, Thursday), connected with radio listeners or CD buyers the way their predecessors did.” Hey, I’ve got an idea: get the majors to sign some decent talent & maybe you’ll see that turn around. Or, better yet, radio could play material from independent labels. There’s plenty of great rock and roll out there, waiting to be played. It’s not gonna happen, though, because the people who make it can’t afford to hire “consultants” to buy airtime for them.
So, what’s gonna take the place of all the dick-wavers now that mook rock is officially stinkin’ up the joint? Something called Jack. Or, alternately, Bob or Charlie.
Let me get this straight: corporate radio has spent the last twenty-some years dividing their listeners up into neat little slices of pie – Urban Contemporary, Americana, Alternative*, etc. – and now they want to put the pie back together? Yeah, good luck with that, guys. I mean, back when I was a kid that’s the way our top 40 station was, and it worked really well. We grew up with that, though, and the target demographic for rock radio these days didn’t. They’ve been sequestered, listening to one genre and one genre only per station. You really think those kids weaned on Limp Bizkit and Korn are gonna stick around for Mariah Carey and Beyonce? Or vice versa? Or that either group will put up with Alan Jackson? See, with an iPod set on shuffle, the owner gets to program it. True, the songs come up in random order, but they’re all songs the owner already likes.
And hey, wasn’t Heritage Alternative (shudder) supposed to be the salvation of rock radio? KRQI made that shift less than a year and a half ago, and look at them now.
I hereby predict that Jack won’t make it that long.
*That one always confused me. When Alternative became mainstream, what exactly was it supposed to be an alternative to?