...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Friday, February 25, 2005

Radio is messy.

No getting around it. Change in US commercial radio (and public radio, for that matter) is always a train wreck. Which is one of its charms.

Like in Philadelphia (always a great radio town). Last Friday (2/24) Radio One, an African-American-owned station operator, dumped the 12-year-old alternative rock format from Y100 (WPLY-FM) and moved their hip-hop format over to its frequency (Read what Dan Gross wrote on Philly.com--registration required). In the old days, that would be end-of-story. In the Internet Age, there'll be some kind of Chapter 2. Instantly, there's a fan-agitation Web site, even a Web radio station set up by the dumped deejays on Live365.com, where even you can set up your own Web station if you feel like it, free. The goal is to get another Philly station to adopt the dumped format and its audience. We'll see. Not the first time this has happened, but this time it might work--Philly loves its radio.

Meanwhile, in L.A., the owners of Indie 103.1, another free-form alternative music station, had to drop their time sales agreement with Clear Channel (see my KING-FM post (below) for more on sales agreements), because of a change in FCC regulations covering such deals. The fans and the trade are panicky (LA Times; reg. req'd here, too), expecting the always-fragile alternative format to die without the ad sales clout of the CC sales department. Interestingly, Indie is also held by a minority broadcasting company, Hispanic-owned Entravision, who insist they'll keep the mostly honky-gringo young-male format.

All this energy, in spite of Web radio, Ipods, Napster-class song trading, and all the legacy pocket music boxes. Maybe there's hope for radio yet. To be continued.

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