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.
"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."