Why did AC stop being soft? - Page 3
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Thread: Why did AC stop being soft?

  1. #21
    Music Lover
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Avid Listener View Post
    Nope. What we're looking for are AC "newies" that have the same general sound as the AC Oldies. We use the names of older songs to illustrate what we're talking about. The problem is that too many radio people understand the word "format" as a radio term, but they are totally clueless with the concept of "genre" as a musical term. I'll try to give you an illustrative example, though I doubt that you'll understand it. There was a genre of music in the early 1960's best described as "Spector Girl Groups". Songs like, "(Remember) Walking in the Rain", "Be My Baby", and other similar songs were part of that genre. In the early 1980's, Tracey Ullman recorded a song that was a dead-on recreation of the sound of that genre, "They Don't Know". Despite being 20 recorded almost two decades after that genre was one of the most common on the Top 40, it was still an example of the genre.

    The crooner ballad genre of the 40's through the 60's had many, many artists recording songs that fit the genre. Then, several decades later, Harry Connick, Jr. and Michael Buble revived the genre and recorded brand new songs that fit the old genre. The swing genre was big in the 30's and 40's, but then there was a revival of the genre, and bands like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies recorded a large number of songs that were faithful replicas of that old genre.

    So, what fans of the soft-rock genre that was a common staple of Adult Contemporary radio stations want is for those stations to play NEW songs (and those songs are out there) that are in the same soft-rock musical genre.
    From the way I read it, it sounds like the original poster is asking why AC stations are not as ballad heavy as they used to be. After all, these stations were initially designed for relaxation on your radio dial. Since when did that idea become out of fashion?
    Last edited by Music Lover; 09-12-2014 at 07:08 PM.

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Music Lover View Post
    From the way I read it, it sounds like the original poster is asking why AC stations are not as ballad heavy as they used to be.
    That is a very succinct summary of what he asked. Ballads are a musical genre. They used to be common on AC stations. They aren't any more. He wasn't asking why they didn't play old ballads. I imagine there is little shortage of new ballads, though perhaps there aren't many new ballads by artists working for labels willing to do what needs to be done to secure radio airplay.

  3. #23
    Music Lover
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Avid Listener View Post
    Ballads are a musical genre
    I've never considered ballads to be a genre. For instance, when someone describes a song as being a pop or rock or country ballad, pop and rock and country are the genres.

    Overall, I think that the majority of today's music is lousy.

  4. #24
    Here's a good example of what a great AC radio station sounded like in 1991. Aircheck from KLTR-FM 93.7 (K-Lite) Houston in circa 1991.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEL1ApgON0I

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Music Lover View Post
    From the way I read it, it sounds like the original poster is asking why AC stations are not as ballad heavy as they used to be. After all, these stations were initially designed for relaxation on your radio dial. Since when did that idea become out of fashion?
    Starting about 10-12 years ago. At the time I was working in Indianapolis, and here's a summary of how the format evolved there:

    The late 90s/early 2000s were quite the heyday for AC in Indy -- at one point three full signal stations were carrying it - WENS, WTPI and WYXB. All three had very good to pretty good ratings.

    WENS started to struggle first, starting around 1999. Between 1999 and their flip to country in 2005, they tried a lot of ideas, including personality changes and various music mixes, but they never recovered their ratings or revenue.

    WTPI had a similar story, benefiting from the disarray at WENS for a while and peaking in the ratings around 2002.

    WYXB flipped to a softer version of AC around 2000, providing an odd sort of competition to co-owned WENS (although their playlists barely overlapped at this time).

    I believe they were damaged by the strength of two new Oldies stations that pulled away a lot of the older listeners, and a successful Adult CHR in WZPL. Moreover, the "soft rock" listeners were given a better alternative in WYXB, even though WYXB was a low-rated station until its competitors left it as the only AC in the market.

    WYXB remains an AC station, although the gradually became more uptempo over the years -- and it helped their ratings significantly. There was a period in 2012 that they were #1, and they've been in the top 5 pretty consistently for several years.

    It is notable that WYXB did have a competitor, briefly. Warm 93.9 was a traditional 80s based AC in 2008-9. And the ratings were ice cold, I'm not sure if they ever broke the top 15.
    "Its music what makes a radio station, and at Live FM, we play the last music around."
    After receiving that copy, I quit the VO industry.

  6. #26
    Music Lover
    Guest
    This is one I grew up listening to: http://www.995wmag.com

    During the 1980s and 1990s, they were Soft AC. Core artists were Air Supply, America, The Carpenters, Neil Diamond, Elton John, Barry Manilow, James Taylor, The Beatles, The Mamas and The Papas, The Supremes, The Temptations, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and so on. After Clear Channel acquired them around 1999 or 2000, I remember they gradually became hotter. They now basically sound like a carbon copy of their sister station, which is a CHR station: www.1003kissfm.com/. Seems to me the AC format is trying to target a teen audience these days.
    Last edited by Music Lover; 09-14-2014 at 12:04 AM.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Music Lover View Post
    Seems to me the AC format is trying to target a teen audience these days.
    I see it differently. Adult Contemporary is what it is. It also is what it was. When a station that calls itself "Adult Contemporary" changes its format to something else, then that doesn't mean that "Adult Contemporary" now means something new. It means that the station is no longer "Adult Contemporary", it is now something else.

    Don't get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a station changing its format to something different. Station management has to do what station management has to do to survive in the market place. But when a station changes its format, it has changed its format. Slavishly clinging to outmoded terms that no longer describe what a station really is makes no sense. It's a damn fool stupid thing to do.

    If a fast food restaurant sells hamburgers, that's fine. If hamburgers stop selling, and it switches to selling hot dogs, and is successful selling hot dogs, great! But that doesn't mean that hot dogs are now hamburgers.

    Radio stations change formats all the time. That's the natural order of the radio industry. But when they change formats, they are no longer using the old format, they're now using a new format.

    Why is that so difficult for the suits who run the radio industry to understand?

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Avid Listener View Post
    But when they change formats, they are no longer using the old format, they're now using a new format.

    Why is that so difficult for the suits who run the radio industry to understand?

    How about when it's the same format, but now playing different artists? That's what has happened with AC. In the 90s, it played artists from the 70s. Now, 20 years later, it's playing artists from the 90s. Same format, different artists.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    How about when it's the same format, but now playing different artists? That's what has happened with AC. In the 90s, it played artists from the 70s. Now, 20 years later, it's playing artists from the 90s. Same format, different artists.
    Artists don't matter, songs and what the songs sound like does. If a station plays different artists, and those new artists are recording songs in a different genre, then the format has changed. And, just as radio stations can change formats, artists can change genre. A station that used to play The Folkmen who now plays Spinal Tap has also changed formats.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Avid Listener View Post
    Artists don't matter, songs and what the songs sound like does. If a station plays different artists, and those new artists are recording songs in a different genre, then the format has changed.
    But the songs aren't in a different genre. They're being drawn from the same genre that AC drew from 20 years ago.

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