For three days, the Bay Area's #Nelly105.7 captivated social media and the usually jaded consumer press with the type of format stunt that hardly gets noticed anymore, even in radio circles. The new "Hot 105.7" that emerged is a fairly straightforward rhythmic top 40, using a once-successful template that hasn't been quite as common recently. The Ross On Radio column takes a First Listen.
A month ago, a Ross On Radio reader wrote to suggest that the worst period for R&B crossovers since the disco backlash finally seemed to be coming to an end, thanks to a handful of phenomenal singles, including Pharrell Williams' "Happy." But even with a handful of phenomenal records, we may have actually only attained parody with that not-so-great period for music. How we've gotten this far has a lot to do with foreign territories, Beyonce's December surprise, and a label willingness to pursue crossovers again.
Two years ago, Edison Research's Infinite Dial study found that 44% of listeners would be very disappointed to lose their favorite broadcast station. Earlier this month, another researcher reported a similar finding, something the trade press seized on as an indicator of radio's strength.
For four decades, one of the hardest transitions has been from teen pop act to viable adult artist. Only a few, like Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Rick Springfield, and now Miley Cyrus have pulled it off. With "Story Of My Life" at No. 6 this week and still gaining, One Direction seems to have pulled off their "song for people who don't like One Direction." And here are some thoughts on how.
Oscar Best Song nominations have always been an unusual bunch, and while some of this year's nominees fit that description, there are at least two songs that have some hit aspect to them this year, Pharrell's "Happy" and the Frozen soundtrack's "Let It Go." The former is finally exploding at radio after six months. The latter is a hit so far only in Puerto Rico. And once again we ask, "What is a hit"?
In late 2013, R&B/hip-hop radio seemed to be undergoing its first building boom in a decade, and the first since its numbers were diminished in many markets when the PPM metered measurement era began. Part II of Ross On Radio's "Intriguing Stations of 2013" ranges from new R&B launches to country in the northeast to great hobbyist stations.
2013 began with Country coming to New York, but only as the calling card for Cumulus' Nash-ional country format. It ended with Clear Channel moving Rush Limbaugh off KFI and trumpeting "live and local." In between, there were breakthroughs for '90s-rhythmic-based formats and even the super-soft '70s and '80s.