For years, radio was emphatically not in the business of selling records. Now, major broadcasters have launched various label/artist initiatives and pre-release specials of superstar albums have become a regular part of the landscape. But how can radio sell records at a time when an increasing number of listeners are choosing to stream, not buy? We have some thoughts.
This week, one Ross On Radio listener tweeted that he felt the format was going into a downturn. Another wrote to remark that the format had seemed to miss its once-customary early-decade doldrums. So it seemed like a good time to take a look at the format's health, from ratings to available product. Here's part one.
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.