Two years ago, Cox's WPOI (Hot 101.5) Tampa, Fla., launched and got enough traction against incumbent top 40 WFLZ to overtake it in the ratings, and seemingly to hasten the departure of WFLZ's longtime morning man. In doing so, there were echoes of WFLZ's own battle with heritage top 40 WRBQ (Q105) twenty years earlier, which ended with Q105 going country. But today, WFLZ is again leading the top 40 battle and both stations seem to have staked a position. We take a Fresh Listen.
It was just a few months ago that mainstream top 40 was hosting a surprising number of acoustic triple-A crossovers from Phillip Phillips to the Lumineers to the long-delayed pop acknowledgement of Mumford & Sons. Now the charts are moving at 120 b.p.m. again. So is the new Lumin-era over? Not quite. But the pipeline is jammed and even Pink and Rihanna play a role.
There's nothing new about "whoa-ay-oh." But a few years ago, Usher's "OMG" and a string of subsequent hits helped make it ubiquitous. Now "the chant" has taken over from internal repetition as the unavoidable thing on the radio -- often something encountered in four out of five consecutive songs, even in Belgium, or Tasmania! We trace the chant's history in "Top 40's Tale Of Whoa-Ay-Oh."
As a teenager, I didn't care about hearing "good radio," just new music--wherever I could most easily find it. Then I began to understand radio programming, and suddenly I was more interested in what was between the records. Recently, however, I've found it nearly impossible to sit through music I don't want to hear, whether it's 30-year-old Classic Rock or 30-week-old CHR hits. Is that because of a PPM-era compression of playlists and format choices? Or is it because there's less between the records?
Vancouver has two CHRs and a very hot AC. All three play a lot of EDM, even by the standards of Mainstream Top 40 in the U.S., particularly because Canadian artists and DJs have been producing a steady stream of it. Sean Ross has just returned from a place where "Hello" by Martin Solveig & Dragonette never left the radio after its chart run and takes a "Fresh Listen."
Recently, we observed that listeners were less hung up on genre and format than ever. They still had groupings of music, but they didn't necessarily coincide with radio's formats. That led a reader to ask if chart formats were really just a matter of record label convenience. Well, not quite.