Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Continuing Demise of Radio

Is the "mainstream" idea of commercial radio continuing to become more and more of a fossilized notion? Between the ever-increasing competition between "free" radio, satellite radio behemoths XM and Sirius, and other technology competing for attention (and dollars), it amazes me how utterly thoughtless programmers within the commercial radio conglomerates have become.

For those of you in the Washington, DC and Baltimore markets (as well as many, many people across the country), you are all too painfully aware of the demise of WHFS, eliminating perhaps one of the most prolific alternative/modern rock stations in the country, and the only one of its kind in the Washington/Baltimore area, for a Hispanic-focused station - one of six in the metropolitan area now.

In a half-assed attempt to placate listeners, the format was picked up by Live 105.7, a Baltimore-based station, albeit as a filler for hours on the evenings and weekends when they don't have programming from the Infinity stable of shock jocks to fill their airwaves and coffers. In addition, WHFS signed a deal with AOL Radio to become an Internet-based station, as well. At least this allowed the staff a broader range of music they're able to play, and widened the potential listening audience.

The movement to try and dislodge this type of music format from the airwaves has crept up the I-95 corridor, and Philadelphia has now felt the sting of management ignorance. Y100, another monster in the modern rock format, had the plug pulled by parent company Radio One, abruptly changing the format from the unique sound that was singular in the Philly market to yet another "urban contemporary" format - because Philly simply doesn't have enough outlets for 50 Cent or Usher as of yet.

Actually, the worst part is that the station now inhabiting the Y100 spot on the dial was actually just moved from it's prior spot (103.9) because Y100 had a stronger frequency.

Fair enough.

So, why not simply switch positions and place the Y100 format on the weaker signal, at least salvaging the jobs of those working for Y100? Noooooo.... Radio One, in it's infinite wisdom, created a Gospel station in the new spot, because obviously the new station will be MUCH more commercially viable than tired old bands like Green Day. ugh.

So, what can be done? Well, probably not much, although the usual round of rallies and protests are taking place. Y100 has been given an Internet slot on, and an online petition can be signed at this site (50,000 signatures to date). All other information can be found at Y100Rocks.Com.

I would encourage all PTFers to check out the story at a minimum, viewing it as yet another cautionary tale of big business unconcerned about the public it supposedly serves. Sign the petition, write a letter, and get mad about this! Or else don't complain when it happens in your community.

Posted by FleshPresser at 9:44 PM /


  • Blogger ModFab posted at 11:29 AM  
    I had no idea that WHFS had closed of my favorite stations during my life in D.C. in the early 90's. What does this signal about the viability of the rock market?

  • Blogger FleshPresser posted at 9:27 PM  
    I think it says less about the viability of the rock market, and more about the spineless nature of large conglomerate "Parent Companies" (see ClearChannel) - that "damned rock n roll" is Satan's music, after all... it's dangerous!

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