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Tiki Central Forums » » Bilge » » Legendary oldies radio station WCBS-FM, New York yanked for 'Jack'
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Legendary oldies radio station WCBS-FM, New York yanked for 'Jack'
donhonyc
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From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2005-06-05 9:06 pm   Permalink

I know that ultimately this is a New York City story and many of you may not relate to it, but it merits a post here. This past Friday, June 3 at 5pm will probably go down as one of the stupidest and most shocking events in the modern history of New York radio. That was the moment when the 'good people' at Infinity Broadcasting decided to yank the oldies format at 101.1 WCBS-FM and replaced it with a new format that is apparently sweeping the country called 'Jack'. The format itself is as anonymous and disturbing as the name.

Some may think that oldies is a worn out format. I can't argue with that, but here in Gotham, WCBS-FM was a 33 year old institution that was quintessentially New York to the bone and had a unique and personal connection with it's listeners. In fact it was currently holding a top-ten position in the ratings books!! It was also home to many legendary New York DJs like 'Cousin Brucie' Morrow, Don K. Reed, and Bill Brown. Over the last few years CBS was grapling with the new technological changes in listening to music via iPods, Sattelite, etc., thus playing it real safe with their playlists. Granted it had it's problems, but it was in no way a lost cause, not even close. Currently, Infinity owns two other stations in this market that are in extremely bad shape. Why they didn't choose to install the 'Jack' format there is beyond me. It's all very backward. So out of nowhere on Friday they yank the format, fire the staff, and install this 'Jack' format which in the short description is supposed to be 'an iPod for your radio'. No DJs, no weather, just some snotty faceless pre-recorded voice over IDs. One says 'We put the B-S in CBS'. Gee...that's nice. What's up with these corporate a-holes??? Credible sources are reporting that the air-staff, etc. didn't even have prior knowledge of this until an HOUR before the change took place!!

There is total outrage over this right now and the listeners that had kept this station in top ten including me, are taking this real personally. Even people in the business are wondering what the hell is going on. It was a station that was not just about oldies, because yeah...I do get sick of hearing 'Happy Together' by The Turtles over and over again. This station was built on it's personalities from the school of when radio was your supposed to be your friend.

On a more general level, this is disturbing because it seems to be the direction are culture is headed. Generic, faceless, and expendable. Just really dissapointing and scary.



[ This Message was edited by: donhonyc on 2005-06-05 21:14 ]


 
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TikiGardener
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Posted: 2005-06-05 10:42 pm   Permalink

When will some corporate wank finally realise that there are millions of people who would kill for a good radio station?

Why do they think radio is dying? Yes technology is passing them by, but radio could remain viable if they hadn't snuffed the vitality right out of it.

Indie 103 here in L.A. is the only radio station left that has any originality or soul. I know you can get it on the web. If they could get Rob Zombie to shut up and play a litle more music, it'd be closer to perfect. If they gave Rodney Bingenheimer A choice slot everyweek night, they'd be unstoppable.

"Accountancy killed the radio star!"


 
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Feelin' Zombified
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From: The Exotic Shores of Lake St. Clair
Posted: 2005-06-06 05:50 am   Permalink

Detroit just received a gift in the form of "Doug FM- We play everything"

As far as I can tell, "Everything" just means Lite FM rock with the occasional disco hit. It sounds like Jack & Doug are brothers.

-Z


 
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donhonyc
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From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2005-06-06 06:00 am   Permalink

Accountancy killed the radio star indeed. Well put. these corporate wanks will never learn. As we hear over & over, 'It's all about money & power'. The guys that pulled the plug on CBS-FM made a big mistake, an 'economical error' as one radio insider put it. This is not, and I say this confidently, this is not going to make them more money than if they had left CBS-FM alone. CBS-FM was number 8 in the last ratings book. That's pretty damn good for a station that was just slaughtered like a friggin black angus at a steak farm. The way this was uncerimoniously handled says volumes about the money people in charge. They LIKE, no I'm sorry...they LOVE slaughtering things, especially if it's something they perceive as 'music for old farts'. This wasn't just about changing formats, this was about a room full of yuppies and old suits flexing their undeserved financial muscle, and letting everybody know that 'the lord giveth and the lord taketh away". And as far as demographics go I'm 38, I'm not exactly young, but I'm not 'old' either. And from what I've read on blogs, CBS-FM also had a good chunk of 20 something listeners. Oldies...music from the 50s,60s,70s...is a huge part of the fabric of American culture. Why do they always use it in commercials (not that I like that). Some 'oldies' you may not like, but guarranteed there is something for everybody in that format. ALOT of people like Elvis...ALOT of people like The Beatles...ALOT of people like Little Richard....ALOT of people like Motown...I HATE Frankie Vallie & the Four Seasons, but you can't win 'em all. So this continues to boggle the mind. On a positive note, I have a feeling that we haven't seen the last of this format in NYC, and Cousin Brucie will most likely pop up on the radio somewhere. We'll see.

 
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cynfulcynner
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Joined: Mar 24, 2002
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From: Ocean Beach, San Francisco
Posted: 2005-06-06 09:34 am   Permalink


We just got a station like this here in SF at 95.7 (owned by Infinity, I believe). It replaced a country station. Few listen to country in this area, so there hasn't been any kind of outcry.


 
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stuff-o-rama
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Joined: Nov 20, 2003
Posts: 751
From: Central Coast of California
Posted: 2005-06-06 6:20 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-06-05 22:42, TikiGardener wrote:
When will some corporate wank finally realise that there are millions of people who would kill for a good radio station?

Why do they think radio is dying? Yes technology is passing them by, but radio could remain viable if they hadn't snuffed the vitality right out of it.

Indie 103 here in L.A. is the only radio station left that has any originality or soul. I know you can get it on the web. If they could get Rob Zombie to shut up and play a litle more music, it'd be closer to perfect. If they gave Rodney Bingenheimer A choice slot everyweek night, they'd be unstoppable.

"Accountancy killed the radio star!"



Agreed. I listen to "Jonesy's Juxebox" everyday at noon (PST) via the internet.

http://www.indie1031.fm/listenlive.html

It's hosted by Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, he has amazing guests and they often sing and play live on his show. He is brutally honest and candid and pulls out some great "blast from the past" songs.

It's shows and stations like this one that make me understand why most of my friends have switched to sattelite radio. There are so few stations with live DJs and all are owned by corporations who are tied to MTV's payola playlists that there is no more variety, just 25 songs in rotation with the others being the same crap they've overplayed for the past two years.

I have personal problems with the "music business" as I've always felt that music should be entertainment and not a commodity/investment. But the world doesn't work that way, unfortunately.


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Atomic Cocktail
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From: Land O' The Next Big One-L.A.
Posted: 2005-06-06 8:14 pm   Permalink

WHAAAAAAT! Killed WCBS? That's insane! It's the sign of the imminent arrival of the "End Times"!

I also listen to "Jonesy’s Juke Box". Despite that fact that he talks too much it's the best show on the station. However, before and after his 2 hour stint "Indie 103.1" sucks! It's as bad as any other corporate radio station.

It seems every time I tune in they are playing the same, whinny friggin' song. Truthfully, it seems to be playing every other song. And the other song is another , whinny corporate "indie" song. What's the industry term: "heavy rotation"?


 
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TikiGardener
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Posted: 2005-06-06 8:19 pm   Permalink

I remember back in the late eighties, there was a San Diego Am radio station The Mighty 690 that played oldies. At some point they changed over to a cart machine system. Which was the precursor to whats happening today. It was a big machine with hundreds of "carts", Which basically look exactly like 8-track cassettes. So you could have the songs, the dj banter and commericals all set to go. The problem was that after about 8 hours, the programming grew really stale. Mighty 690 is long gone. Its now the Lounge, which has taken a horrid turn by playing modern interpretations of lounge classics. Compared to the originals, "sucks" is not a strong enough description. I bet the lounge goes bye bye within a year or so.

If there are any really original radio staion programmers out there who really want to "shake things up", I'm available.


 
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freddiefreelance
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Joined: Feb 15, 2003
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From: San Diego, Ca.
Posted: 2005-06-07 07:17 am   Permalink

It looks like all of the Jack-FM stations are Infinity, except for the one in San Diego. The station that has gone over to the Jack Side here is the former STAR-FM (owned by Midwest Television, Inc., of Chicago), one of the top performing stations in the market & considered one of the top 3 moneymaking Hot-AC format stations in the country, which changed it's format because the PD thought the Jack-FM format would erode it's fan base. :Huh?: You take one of the top performing stations, with a style based on on-air personallities, fire all the DJs (except for the geriatric Morning Show, who are rumored to want to leave anyway) and add some Rock & Pop from the '70s & '80s to your previous playlist of Kelly Clarkson & Matchbox 20? Their "Hook" is that they sound like your I-Pod, but they don't sound like what I'd put on an I-Pod, or what my wife would put on an I-Pod, or what my friends would put on an I-Pod... And when I turn on the radio I want to listen to the radio, not some pathetic Canadian's I-Pod (All apologies to the non-pathetic Canadians here, but the format was created & is handled by one of your countrymen).

Here's the last 20 songs from Jack-FM, San Diego:

"Like A Virgin" - Madonna
"Evil Ways" - Santana
"Born In The USA" - Bruce Springsteen
"Tonight Tonight" - Smashing Pumpkins
"What I Like About You" - The Romantics
"Rock N' Roll Fantasy" - Bad Company
"Please Forgive Me" - Bryan Adams
"Tell Me Something Good" - Rufus
"Down Under" - Men At Work
"Der Komissar" - After the Fire
"Semi Charmed Life" - Third Eye Blind
"Big Shot" - Billy Joel
"Once In A Lifetime" - The Talking Heads
"Animal" - Def Leppard
"Follow Me" - Uncle Kracker
"Dream On" - Aerosmith
"On The Dark Side" - John Cafferty
"Lies" - The Thompson Twins
"Here We Go" - C+C Music Factory
"Go Your Own Way" - Fleetwood Mac

Not much there I'd tune in for, except maybe the Uncle Cracker track, & I haven't heard that song from Rufus in years, everything else I was sick of years ago.

I expect this to go the way of the "Love Songs, nothing but Love Songs" & New Age Instrumentals formats that previously tried to fire all of their DJs. I remember what happened to the Mighty 690 in San Diego when they tried to go to a computerized Cart system: They went under in a year & a half. I expect the same to start happening here.

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[ This Message was edited by: freddiefreelance on 2005-06-07 07:20 ]


 
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Satan's Sin
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From: Imperial Beach, CA
Posted: 2005-06-07 08:39 am   Permalink

Let's face it, broadcast radio is about as interesting as broadcast TV. The wave of the future is definitely satellite.

I tried listening to Jack FM here in San Diego. Garbage. Personally, I like the Mighty 690. I'm a sucker for the Great American Songbook. It's not all "modern" interpretations. Plenty of Sinatra, plenty of Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, etc. I love it.

My all-time fave radio show was "American Roots," sadly no longer available here in SD.


 
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finkdaddy
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Joined: May 11, 2004
Posts: 2061
From: Wisconsin
Posted: 2005-06-07 08:49 am   Permalink

I really like WLUW in Chicago. I haven't listened to it in a few years, so maybe it's not there anymore. But much of the music I listen to today I got from that station.

Milwaukee is a music radio wasteland. Nothing good at all. Nothing. All I listen to now is talk radio because everything else drives me nuts.
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donhonyc
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Joined: Jan 13, 2003
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From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2005-06-07 09:22 am   Permalink

Good to hear people in other parts of the country who feel the same way.

Freddie...yeah, these dumb-ass General Managers (or whoever's in charge) are so scared that 'Jack' is gonna get on another station and kill theirs. It's ALL a bad knee-jerk reaction, and they are going to see how bad in a year or less. What they need to do is very simple: the biggest complaint of all us radio listeners is that we hear the same songs over and over. Granted WCBS-FM for example had it's problems with that; they would play "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye, "Sister Golden Hair" by America, and "Respect" by Aretha Franklin CONSTANTLY. By the same token alot of these stations like CBS had the personalities that kept you listening despite this. Still not a reason to yank the format. What all these programmers have to do is EXPAND the playlists within their formats. There's 40+ years of Pop hits out there to choose from. That's gotta be more than 300 songs. 'Jack' they say is the answer to this. In theory, yes. But not when you replace a successful station with a strong listener base.


 
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dogbytes
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Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 2242
From: seattle, wa
Posted: 2005-06-07 10:07 am   Permalink

seattle's K-Rock 96.5 FM abruptly went to JACK format on April 22, with no notice to its DJs or staff.

infinity owns at least 4 stations here in seattle..taking over and homoginizing our music and news.


 
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PiPhiRho
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From: Redondo Beach
Posted: 2005-06-07 1:11 pm   Permalink

Ah, so that's what this is. Arrow 93.1 in Los Angeles has switched from "Classic" rock to "Jack." This biggest difference that I have noticed so far is the lack of DJs and that I no longer hear Styx 8 out of 10 times that I flip over to 93FM. These days I pretty much listen to the public supported Jazz station exclusively, and only switch ever to another station when they are doing a pledge break or overloading me with Latin jazz. It's weird. I must be getting old. It seems old music is all I want to listen to anymore. I think everybody else in my age group must be switching to AM conservative talk radio.


 
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dogbytes
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Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 2242
From: seattle, wa
Posted: 2005-06-07 1:18 pm   Permalink

i have my husband's car today, and listened to JACK for a few minutes. sadly, their self advertisement admonished listeners to NOT call in requests because "We play what we want".

certainly im not going to set a button to that!


 
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