Monday, August 24, 2009

More terrestrial radio musings...

...brought to you by Charles Kuffner and Mike McGuff.
Man, where to even start with what Clear Channel did with KLOL? I remember the day they flipped it. When I heard that reggaeton crap coming out of my speakers that morning I was thinking it was some other station bleeding over into the Rock 101 signal, as was often wont to happen this far away. It sucked to find out that was not the case and that Clear Channel threw almost 35 years of heritage down the crapper for a few more dollars. I know they're a business and as such their goal is to make money, but if what Mike McGuff was told was true, the flip was about making MORE money. And would anyone have really missed 93.7 The Arrow? To the point they'd still be talking about the format change 5 years later? Somehow I doubt it.
And what to make of the billboard? That amazes me, to be honest. I thought Clear Channel would have gotten rid of every single one of those years ago -- and that their lawyers would be all over the ass of anyone who made another one. And as for what came after that, Cumulus' attempt to recreate KLOL on another frequency...well, THAT turned out to be another great idea that was very badly executed. Between the station's playlist (WAY too much '70s rock) and the fact the signal reached the least populous eastern half of the city, it was doomed from the start. I honestly don't know what they could have been thinking when they put it on the 97.5 or 103.7 sticks -- maybe that they could make inroads into Beaumont-Port Arthur as well -- but we see how that turned out.
I have to admit it would be interesting to see what they could do if they tried to bring back KLOL and get back as many of the old deejays as they could, especially since the station isn't a Clear Channel property anymore. But then it'd probably crash and burn too, because there are a lot of those old-media types in radio who are still stuck in the old ways of thinking; that is, they tout the advantages of the oligopoly but they don't ever use those advantages to their full potential. They'll talk about having a station for, say, the new country fans and one for the classic country fans, as Cox does with 93Q-Country and Country Legends 97.1, but they'll play a lot of the same songs over and over, thereby throwing that advantage away. Hearing some of those deeper cuts and new music by the classic artists would be great. I'll admit there's a fair amount of repetition on Sirius as well as overlap (i.e., you hear some songs on more than one channel), but even with that I was and am still being introduced to so much that I have NEVER heard on terrestrial radio, or haven't heard in a very, very long time. And I could probably count on one hand with fingers left over the times I've heard "Stairway to Heaven" or "Free Bird." I know that deep emotional connection. I used to have it myself. I remember very clearly when my stepdad first got the Sirius radio, I was thinking, "this is really cool, but I don't know if I could ever give up my local radio stations." But once I really sat down and listened, I was hooked. Sirius has its flaws, but by and large they take that niche marketing much closer to the level it needs to be to work. And for a music fan, you just couldn't ask for more. It'd be interesting to see how many terrestrial radio listeners in Houston have gone to satellite since Rock 101 went off the air. I'd bet quite a few.