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Thread: Can Small Town Radio Still Work?

  1. #71

    Re: Can Small Town Radio Still Work?

    You got me on your location amfmxm. I thought you were talking about a station near Nashville. These are in Morristown.

  2. #72

    Re: Can Small Town Radio Still Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by amfmxm
    Quote Originally Posted by PTOCDJ
    Do AM Oldies stations skew older because they present themselves as "oldies" stations? Would an AM Oldies station work if it were presented like a CHR station that just plays oldies? Some oldies stations in my area use the usual phrases like "flashing back," "rewind," "memories," "going back to" - insert song year here, etc. I would listen to an Oldies station that sounded like WABC had been transplanted into 2009. Comments? I would love to hear any feedback.
    Well, check out www.947trueoldies.com and take a listen to Chicago's WLS-FM. Having grown up on the original Big 89, I'll attest that this "re-creation" isn't nearly as sharp/dynamic/entertaining as WLS was in the sixties & seventies, but... BUT it has been very successful since its debut last year. Currently ranked #6 in the nation's third largest radio market--#4 among all FMs--94.7 is actually a localized version of Scott Shannon's "True Oldies Channel" and the cast of former Big 89 jocks (Dick Biondi, Brant Miller & John "Records" Landecker) is very limited--Landecker just does a Sunday 70s show.

    But does it sound pretty good? Yeah, it does. Is it racking up good numbers? Yeah, it is.

    As far as your question--does it attract a younger audience--I'm not sure, but I kinda doubt it. I have three kids in their twenties & thirties and none of them would ever be caught dead listening to the Bee Gees "Staying Alive" as I am right now via WLS-FM online. They think of Earth, Wind & Fire the same way I thought of Glenn Miller when I was their age. You know... Old People's Music!
    There are actually separate boards for this topic under "Formats"--both Oldies & Classic Hits.

    But, hey, I did see something today relating more directly to THIS topic (small market radio).

    Got an email from BIA with market info from their 2009 reports, including a breakdown of radio advertising revenue according to market size. It may shock some radio-info readers to learn that 26 percent of all radio sales income is generated by UNRATED markets.

    Those are markets SMALLER than market #302--Aspen, CO (60,400 persons, 12+)--Arbitron's smallest rated market.

    Places like Covington, Indiana... Valentine, Nebraska... Clearfield, Pennsylvania... Paintsville, Kentucky...

    The glamour markets. That's what we're talking about!

  3. #73

    Re: Can Small Town Radio Still Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by knoxbob
    You got me on your location amfmxm. I thought you were talking about a station near Nashville. These are in Morristown.
    Never been to beautiful, picturesque & historic Greeneville, TN? It's the next town over from Morristown.

    And it's funny how both towns have locally-owned AM/AM combos. It wouldn't surprise me terribly if all four are co-owned (but its probably more research than I have time for, right now).

    I did check out both the WCRK & WMTN websites, and it looks like 1150 does pretty well. They quote a #1 Arbitron ranking with a whopping 17 share in the county, even beating that "Frog station" (WIVK) and showing WMTN at #3 with a 4 share. But it is just County Coverage info, and that's where it becomes a problem for agencies. In the first place they like to see metro numbers--i.e., numbers from "rated markets." County Coverage reports are not circulated to agencies as part of their regular subscriptions, so it becomes incumbent upon the station to get them the info and to put up with the BS from know-nothing 23-year old buyers along the lines of "What's this?"

    But, like mentioned above, there's a hell of a lot of radio money in those "unrated" markets like Morristown and Greeneville.

    Oh, and, hey, if you really haven't ever been over to Greeneville, it's worth the trip. Great little town!

  4. #74

    Re: Can Small Town Radio Still Work?

    Both stations are gems. I've been to both Morristown and Greenville. I used to live in the Tri-Cities, working for one of the TV stations. They have a lot of local news and community content, and frankly don't sound too bad.

  5. #75
    adma
    Guest

    Re: Can Small Town Radio Still Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by amfmxm
    As far as your question--does it attract a younger audience--I'm not sure, but I kinda doubt it. I have three kids in their twenties & thirties and none of them would ever be caught dead listening to the Bee Gees "Staying Alive" as I am right now via WLS-FM online. They think of Earth, Wind & Fire the same way I thought of Glenn Miller when I was their age. You know... Old People's Music!
    Though it could just as well be a measure of radio as an inane Old People's Medium which, in the end, ironically winds up doing such music injustice when it comes to the younger generations. And maybe 'twas ever thus: I simply can't see the MOR or full-service AM radio of the 1960s as the best resource for learnin' the young'uns on Sinatra or Glenn Miller or whomever.

    Personally, I find that today's under-40s are actually more inherently charitable t/w so-called Old People's Music than, I suppose, your generation was at a similar age--and that's part of a more broadly-based "historical sensitivity" in the air, the same thing that might draw them to vintage clothing and old-school visual imagery or to gentrify older inner-city neighbourhoods. That is, they're truly serious in their retro conoisseurship--but in practice, there's probably something of an inverse relationship between said yen for the retro/old school and the relative role of radio.

    So, we've the situation where old music can draw and generate more of a thoughtful, informed younger audience than it used to--it's just that radio's less and less a part of the equation, and in an age of downloads and infinite superior alternate resources, it has less and less reason to be part of the equation...

  6. #76

    Re: Can Small Town Radio Still Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by adma
    Quote Originally Posted by amfmxm
    As far as your question--does it attract a younger audience--I'm not sure, but I kinda doubt it. I have three kids in their twenties & thirties and none of them would ever be caught dead listening to the Bee Gees "Staying Alive" as I am right now via WLS-FM online. They think of Earth, Wind & Fire the same way I thought of Glenn Miller when I was their age. You know... Old People's Music!
    Though it could just as well be a measure of radio as an inane Old People's Medium which, in the end, ironically winds up doing such music injustice when it comes to the younger generations. And maybe 'twas ever thus: I simply can't see the MOR or full-service AM radio of the 1960s as the best resource for learnin' the young'uns on Sinatra or Glenn Miller or whomever.

    Personally, I find that today's under-40s are actually more inherently charitable t/w so-called Old People's Music than, I suppose, your generation was at a similar age--and that's part of a more broadly-based "historical sensitivity" in the air, the same thing that might draw them to vintage clothing and old-school visual imagery or to gentrify older inner-city neighbourhoods. That is, they're truly serious in their retro conoisseurship--but in practice, there's probably something of an inverse relationship between said yen for the retro/old school and the relative role of radio.

    So, we've the situation where old music can draw and generate more of a thoughtful, informed younger audience than it used to--it's just that radio's less and less a part of the equation, and in an age of downloads and infinite superior alternate resources, it has less and less reason to be part of the equation...
    I'm 48 now, and in the early 1970's as a pre-teen I discovered not the music of my parents, but the more adventurous music of their day that was too-far-out for them. The wilder and faster stuff that was not as socially acceptable. At the same time I found I liked some of the milder stuff. I discovered it mostly on FM and records. I also enjoyed the wilder, faster rock of the time more than the mello, but some mellow stuff appealed to me. When "Stayin Alive" came out I was repulsed and still am.
    Fast forward to today, I run a pt 15 AM in one of the densest neighborhoods in Chicago, W-nuthin-nuthin-nothin AM 1620.
    I reach a neighborhood that includes a university, about 500 feet away, with many old apartment buildings converted to student housing.
    My format is simple, if I like it, I play it. Classical, oldies, punk, ephemera, jazz (old-dance type jazz), country, ancient commercials, TV clips, movie clips, disco, sound effects, probably about 2000 titles deep and still building. I know a few neighbors have discovered the signal, and like it. I am doing a musicradio-without-blinders thing to suit myself and hoping others enjoy it.

    I am considering a door leaflet campaign, like the pizza joints and plumbers do to let the neighbors know about the station.
    In the same way "kids" let me know they like my 1965 car, I think youth can and will accept "their parents" music if it is appealing.
    I regularly ask my 5 and 11 year old girls what they think of a song I've added to the playlist, and most of the time, they like it.
    Today I added some Patsy Cline, Tom T Hall, some Beatles Tollie 45s, and 2 cuts by Gene Krupa.
    Right now "You Sexy Thing" by Hot Chocolate is on the air...now a japanese cover of "Pinhead", a Ramones song.
    Several thousand LPs, 45, and 78s on a nearby wall beckon to be added to the playlist.
    Not to mention the reel to reel tapes, cassettes and cylinder records.
    With a tiny signal, my situation is much like the small town radio picture. They can find everything else everywhere else,
    but the only place where Link Wray from 1962 segues into "Kickin a Hole in the Sky" from 1933 is HERE on W-nuthin-nuthin-nuthin.


    Valparaiso Technical Institute 1982, Analog engineer, AM pt 15, inventor with 2 issued patents, former SW pirate. Now offering antique radio repair/restoration and alignment.&nbsp; Stop just wishing that old radio worked!<br />AM1620 podcasts -&gt;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; http://thomasjwells.podomatic.com/

  7. #77

    Re: Can Small Town Radio Still Work?

    Tom, as a Part 15 practitioner, you're a hobbiest, at least in that corner of your broadcasting life. And in that fun corner you can do what you want--it's not what you're doing to feed the kids & pay the mortgage. It does sound like a lot of fun.

    For those of us doing radio to keep the family fed & housed the considerations, of course, are different. Even in the small towns that are the purported subject of this thread--perhaps especially in these small towns--niches don't play well.

    Since Tesla & Marconi first started playing with amplitude modulation radio has teetered between art and science... culture and business. I'm glad that there is still room in radio for folks like you enchanted enough with the art and culture sides to invest your own time, money & energy to share with your neighbors.

    Have fun!

  8. #78
    adma
    Guest

    Re: Can Small Town Radio Still Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wells
    When "Stayin Alive" came out I was repulsed and still am.
    Right now "You Sexy Thing" by Hot Chocolate is on the air...
    Though to be honest, looking at the bigger picture from a 2009 perspective, I can't see what makes "Stayin' Alive" so obviously repulse-worthy in a way that "You Sexy Thing" isn't--or rather, it might have less to do with the music than with the inane Great Big Disco Bubble manner in which radio and popular culture milked it at the time.

    There, too, today's thoughtful youth might be more charitable t/w Saturday Night Fever fare...but in a way that brings a larger context into the picture: most of all, the poignant cultural artifact that is the movie itself. Strange as it might sound, a lot of the c1978 radio-based Fever fever was in spite of the movie, whose NYC period context might as well have been some far-off la-la land.

    Which, of course, takes us way off topic relative to this thread...but then again...

    For those of us doing radio to keep the family fed & housed the considerations, of course, are different. Even in the small towns that are the purported subject of this thread--perhaps especially in these small towns--niches don't play well.
    Maybe you should place emphasis upon "perhaps especially". Because it's so often forgotten how in larger centres such as NY/Chi/LA, a niche can cover the same raw audience size as in small towns. An 0.1 rating in a market of 10 million may look awful, but transcribe it down to a market of 100 thousand and the raw figures don't look nearly as awful.

    That said, it may not be an alibi for the free-form eclectic radio fantasy so much as for signals superserving certain ethnic communities...

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