With radio's renewed emphasis on "live and local" as its franchise in a world of proliferating audio choices comes the tacit suggestion that broadcasters may have to get out of the "continuous music" business, rather than offer a spot load competitive with today's new offerings. That would be a shame, because nobody knows more about playing "continuous music" than radio.
The folk/dance hybrid currently at No. 1 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart recalls another time of genre-busting nearly 30 years ago: Bruce Springsteen and Arthur Baker; Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen; Prince, with or without collaborators. Billboard Top 40 Update's "Ross On Radio" column looks at the causes and finds that, oddly enough, it's easier to get on the radio now with a song that doesn't just fit in one place.
We haven't seen many major-market R&B/hip-hop sign-ons lately. Or stations that try to beat the competition by playing harder hip-hop than the other guy. Clear Channel's recently relaunched Miami station, 103.5 The Beat, is both those things. And we take a First Listen.
"Forward motion" used to be the sign of a well-programmed radio station. Then the concept of letting the next record start before a radio deejay spoke became one of those discredited practices of the pre-Howard Stern era. These days, PPM ratings measurement tends to favor brevity, but forward motion exists inconsistently at top 40 radio. Here's why it still matters.
Broadcasters were quick to dismiss iTunes Radio. In many ways, the criticisms that the people who reinvented everything came up with just another Internet radio service are valid. But iTunes top 40 channels do manage to play the hits a little faster than major-market radio. And if that's so easy, why hasn't everybody done it? We take a Fresh Listen.
When Miley Cyrus appeared in a controversial Vanity Fair photo shoot four years ago, then followed it up with an edgier (and unsuccessful) album, it was considered a career misstep from an artist who we didn't want to grow up so abruptly. Now, Cyrus is astride a "Wrecking Ball" and atop the Hot 100. And why shouldn't it have worked? It worked for Olivia Newton-John 35 years ago. Here's "How Miley Became The One That We Want."
This year's NAB/RAB Radio Show and RAIN Summit had their share of "real radio vs. Internet radio" posturing, but following the Cumulus purchase of Rdio, those distinctions seem to be further breaking down. Now, just unveiled research proves that broadcast and pure-plays don't exist in a vacuum from each other. And the debut of iTunes Radio (which we share our first impressions of) is likely to further complicate things.