Tuesday, August 5, 2014

8.5.14 Bee-otch of the Day: corporate radio

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on Chuck69.com.




Name: corporate radio
Age: 94
Occupation: broadcasters
Last Seen: everywhere
Bee-otched For: killing themselves

It was 33 years ago this past Friday when MTV debuted as a music video channel. Its first video was The Buggles' 1979 hit "Video Killed the Radio Star".

But, the British new wave duo of Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn were both wrong. Video didn't kill the radio star, but rather corrupt, money-hungry corporations and consultants were the culprit.

It was also on Friday that legendary Hartford rock station WCCC-FM 106.9 signed off for good at 5 p.m., becoming a satellite of the K-Love Radio Network which airs a Christian Contemporary music format. WCCC was a rock station for almost 40 years and was probably best-known for being the station Howard Stern worked at from 1979-80, doing morning drive. It was also where Stern met one of his long-time sidekicks, Fred Norris. Stern left WCCC in 1980 due to a pay dispute and moved to Detroit where he did mornings at ill-fated rocker WWWW 106.7 "W4". WCCC picked up the Stern show in syndication in May, 1996 and carried the show until December, 2005 when he moved to Sirius Satellite Radio.

In recent years, WCCC was an active rock station, playing hard rock acts. But in 2013, the station made a dumbassed move by flipping to classic rock as "Rock 106.9", angering listeners since WCCC was the only hard rock station in the area. Even worse, the Hartford area is cluttered with classic rock stations left and right. But, it was too little, too late. Marlin Broadcasting is in the process of selling the station to Educational Media Foundation, which owns the K-Love format.

The flip to Jesus music now leaves Hartford with only one station playing new rock, Radio 104 WMRQ. It's unknown how many listeners that station has since their owner, Red Wolf Broadcasting does not subscribe to Nielsen. But, like many other alternative stations, fans of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters and Green Day now have to sit through Paramore, Coldplay, Capital Cities and other wuss bands to get to them, and good luck trying to get them to play harder bands like Metallica and Pantera.

I know, some people think that rock is dead, and the active rock charts prove it. I see a lot of indie rock sneaking its way into the charts and the harder bands are, well, kinda dull. Take All That Remains, for example. A lot of their songs are fast and some even have unclean singing, or as some people call it, "Cookie Monster Metal". But their biggest single to date, "What if I Was Nothing" is a slow snoozefest that sounds like it could be played on your local soccer mom station.

So, is active/hard rock dying? Not really, IMO. Look at WGRD here in Grand Rapids. They have a popular morning show - Free Beer and Hot Wings - and the people here in GR love their hard rock. As a matter of fact, they're kicking all the classic rockers' asses in the ratings.

But that's another problem: big radio station owners and consultants bank too much on classic rock, despite the fact that it reaches an older audience that's gearing towards retirement and into an age bracket undesirable to advertisers. In northern Michigan, there's THREE classic-friendly rock stations, but only one that plays any type of new rock and its signal barely kisses Traverse City.

Hell, look at New York: NO NEW ROCK STATIONS and the only rock station there is plays (you guessed it) classic rock. Yet, Cumulus launched a country station last year, Nash FM that is getting less-than satisfactory ratings. Even more embarrassing is that the last several new rock-friendly stations NYC had all did way better than Nash is doing.

But that's why I rarely listen to terrestrial radio these days. I have the Milk app on my phone and listen to it religiously. I listen to it in my car and at work. If terrestrial radio ever wanted to keep me as a listener, they would have to work harder. They need to realize that not all men aged 18-49 listen to classic rock, CHR, country or oldies. If I was ever in a town where those were the only radio formats, I would proudly get the gun and blow my brains out.

Good thing I have a smartphone, eh?

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