Luster Off The Classic Hip-Hop Boom Already?
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Thread: Luster Off The Classic Hip-Hop Boom Already?

  1. #1
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    Luster Off The Classic Hip-Hop Boom Already?

    During their quarterly earnings call yesterday, Radio-One CEO Alfred Liggins expressed doubts that the format has legs to keep growing in the ratings. As Tom Taylor Now reported, Liggins stated that following launches for the format it “takes off like a rocket, then the ratings come to earth”.


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  2. #2
    If Boom 107.9 in Philly is any indication, they deserve their drop in ratings. I listen to radio mostly on Saturdays. When I channel surf, Boom is usually the station that sounds the worst, and I don't mean the signal. I mean the songs sound like they are being played of 3rd generation cassettes, unless they found compilation cds with classic rap on them. Then there is the problem of them trying to attract female listeners by playing R&B. Well, if you call yourself "Classic Hip-Hop", don't play R&B. Leave that to your sister station, WRNB.

    Then you have the issue of early rap hits that were clean, by nature, versus the 90's and later rap that were cuss-heavy. Some of the edits they play make no sense, or are different from the edits that were played when those songs were new. Don't play cuss words in some songs and not others. It sends a mixed message.

  3. #3
    It seems the ratings for some of these stations aren't as good as when they first went on the air, although with most older music formats, you need to do music tests and tweak the format as time goes on. Classic Hits stations don't play the exact same music they did a few years ago. So maybe the Classic Hip Hop format needs more research. Some songs stand the test of time and some don't. I wonder how much research Radio One has done?

    I notice Cumulus is putting its own Westwood One version of this format on an increasing number of stations, including markets where I doubt it will work, such as Minneapolis and Des Moines. These cities don't have enough of a black population that they even have an Urban or Urban AC FM station. So if nobody heard Hip Hop when it was new, why would they listen to Classic Hip Hop? I suppose Cumulus would say Hip Hop isn't just for African-American audiences. But again, I doubt there's enough of a base to make this format work in very white markets.
    Last edited by Gregg.; 10-10-2015 at 08:23 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregg. View Post
    I notice Cumulus is putting its own Westwood One version of this format on an increasing number of stations, including markets where I doubt it will work, such as Minneapolis and Des Moines. These cities don't have enough of a black population that they even have an Urban or Urban AC FM station. So if nobody heard Hip Hop when it was new, why would they listen to Classic Hip Hop? I suppose Cumulus would say Hip Hop isn't just for African-American audiences. But again, I doubt there's enough of a base to make this format work in very white markets.
    Oklahoma City also has a classic hip-hop station but doesn't have a Mainstream Urban station. It was very popular when it first flipped but I don't hear much about it anymore. Personally I don't think the playlist is wide enough to keep popularity. It also focuses mostly on songs that were popular enough that they crossed over to CHR. People like hearing old songs that take them back but don't want to hear songs like "Nelly - Hot in Herre" ever few hours like they did when it was new. These stations need to not just focus on the biggest hip-hop hits of the past 15 years but also play the more obscure songs that people may have forgotten about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bchristi View Post
    These stations need to not just focus on the biggest hip-hop hits of the past 15 years but also play the more obscure songs that people may have forgotten about.
    Which then puts them in the same position as Classic Hits stations, which avoid the obscure songs in that format to avoid playing something "unfamiliar" at the moment someone tunes in. I doubt Classic Hip-Hop is going to be immune from that same problem, even if it doesn't have the heritage Classic Hits does by evolving from the now-dying Oldies format.

    What Classic Hip-Hop probably needs to do to remain viable in the long term is be to the Rhythmic CHR format what Classic Hits is to the traditional CHR ... play the songs that crossed over big from Urban to R-CHR and not rely on a rotation of purely Urban hits.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by K.M. Richards View Post
    Which then puts them in the same position as Classic Hits stations, which avoid the obscure songs in that format to avoid playing something "unfamiliar" at the moment someone tunes in. I doubt Classic Hip-Hop is going to be immune from that same problem, even if it doesn't have the heritage Classic Hits does by evolving from the now-dying Oldies format.

    What Classic Hip-Hop probably needs to do to remain viable in the long term is be to the Rhythmic CHR format what Classic Hits is to the traditional CHR ... play the songs that crossed over big from Urban to R-CHR and not rely on a rotation of purely Urban hits.
    Classic Hits has the advantage of having a much larger library to draw from without having to delve into obscure territory. You hear stuff ranging from the late 1960s to the mid 1990s. Classic Hip-hop is limited to the late 1980s through the early 2000s. If you only want to play the big hits and/or songs that crossed over to CHR, that library gets even smaller.

    I think the solution is instead of following the Classic Hits formula (there just isn't enough material to do it without going obscure), become to CHR/Rhythmic what Hot AC is to CHR/Pop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bchristi View Post
    I think the solution is instead of following the Classic Hits formula (there just isn't enough material to do it without going obscure), become to CHR/Rhythmic what Hot AC is to CHR/Pop.
    That could solve the problem of having to go too deep and risk driving listeners away. Add currents and recurrents, decrease the number of gold plays per hour.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by bchristi View Post
    Classic Hits has the advantage of having a much larger library to draw from without having to delve into obscure territory. You hear stuff ranging from the late 1960s to the mid 1990s. Classic Hip-hop is limited to the late 1980s through the early 2000s. If you only want to play the big hits and/or songs that crossed over to CHR, that library gets even smaller.
    Classic hits stations generally have a 15-18 year range out of which about 90% or more of total plays are drawn. The few songs that are from much more recent or ancient times are actually few in number.

    So a classic hip hop station can play mostly 1988-2008, with a few more recent tunes and an occasional earlier song right down to "Rapper's Delight" So they would, in effect, have about the same pool to draw from as a classic hits station. One difference is that classic hits targets 35-54, with a lot of 55+ listening. Most classic hip hop stations are 25-44, with a fall-off in 45-54.

    The few that have tried to plug in currents have not done too well, such as KZEP in San Antonio.

    I think the solution is instead of following the Classic Hits formula (there just isn't enough material to do it without going obscure), become to CHR/Rhythmic what Hot AC is to CHR/Pop.[/QUOTE]

    The more successful classic hip hop stations avoid the harder core and feature a lot of material that crossed over nationally or at least crossed over in rhythmic-core markets.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEduardo View Post


    Classic hits stations generally have a 15-18 year range out of which about 90% or more of total plays are drawn. The few songs that are from much more recent or ancient times are actually few in number.

    So a classic hip hop station can play mostly 1988-2008, with a few more recent tunes and an occasional earlier song right down to "Rapper's Delight" So they would, in effect, have about the same pool to draw from as a classic hits station. One difference is that classic hits targets 35-54, with a lot of 55+ listening. Most classic hip hop stations are 25-44, with a fall-off in 45-54.

    The few that have tried to plug in currents have not done too well, such as KZEP in San Antonio.

    I think the solution is instead of following the Classic Hits formula (there just isn't enough material to do it without going obscure), become to CHR/Rhythmic what Hot AC is to CHR/Pop.


    The more successful classic hip hop stations avoid the harder core and feature a lot of material that crossed over nationally or at least crossed over in rhythmic-core markets.
    [/QUOTE]

    Yeah I definitely don't think adding too many currents is a good idea. KKWD, the Cumulus CHR/Rhythmic station went this route after the change to Cumulus from Citadel (gold based with select currents) and the station is not what it once was. I do think adding a broader range of recurrents and gold from Rhythmic/CHR that were popular between 1988 and 2008 would be a good strategy for classic hip-hop. The station in my area doesn't play anything newer than early 2000s and never plays anything that didn't cross over to CHR. I think expanding the playlist to include mid and late '00s and also playing songs that may have been CHR/Rhythmic hits but not urban would be a step in the right direction because it would give a lot more material to draw from. The entire 2000s decade were the peak of hip-hop and rhythmic music, so if you cut it off at 2003 there is a lot you could be playing but aren't.

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