FM/AM still rules

Discussion in 'Tuners' started by audiomagnate, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Jody Thornton

    Jody Thornton Just Enjoying the Music

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    Excellent write up, except it was MAPL (to represent "maple leaf"). Nonetheless you touched on a LOT of good points
     
  2. Jody Thornton

    Jody Thornton Just Enjoying the Music

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    The research shows that listeners want the familiarity. We all say we want variety, and we want radio to take chances, but then here in lies the problem.

    Let's take three music formats that demonstrate this: AAA, Classic Rock and CHR.

    With a CHR outlet, you likely only have the listener for 20 minutes to a half hour on the drive home. And they want to hear the current hot hit. So that same Calvin Harris or Rihanna song the driver heard this morning, will be played to keep the listener. Play those familiar hits, or else you lose them for that twenty minutes. You can't afford to break hits anymore. So those new song showdowns, or make it or break it type features don't work at CHR any more (those that do it just play a snippet of the song, because they can't afford to miss a listener with a "bad song").

    So who breaks the new song? You Tube, and radio has accepted that. CHR only plays proven hits.

    Now over at Classic Rock, we could use some variety there right? Every rock fan agrees we should. So why does the format churn out the same Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Janis Joplin ad nauseum? Because we can all agree on the first tested 100 songs: we all like them. Now the next 100 songs we test will score 4 out of 5 listeners. So when we come to Floyd, we can afford to spin "Hey You", but but just a little less than "Comfortably Numb".

    But when we test the next two to four hundred songs, only a few score beyond 3 out of 5 listeners. So playing Floyd's "Run Like Hell" isn't as safe a bet as playing "...Numb". Three listeners really likes it, but two tune out - uh oh! And by the time we get to Skynyrd's "Working For MCA" or Deep Purple's "Lazy", we getting into abysmal ratings territory. Both people that are left listening really like it, but the other 500 listeners wanted "Smoke on the Water". Advertisers want the larger audience if they are going to buy.

    The issue over at AAA is that people like to say "Oh it's great that Mark Knophler, Sting and Springsteen are putting out new records", but these artists are no longer in their prime (there are great new songs by all of these classic artists), but two things: younger artists seem to have a more energetic and aggressive presentation (in the rock and folk genre I mean), and the other issue for AAA (and I hate to say it): it's largely an aging male dominated audience. Advertisers chase the 25 to 54 year old woman. Males appear set in their ways (so says the research) and they don't embrace consumerism as much as energetic and fashionable women. It's sounds so chauvinist, but the research seems to prove it, so the mindset won't likely change.
     
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  3. Jody Thornton

    Jody Thornton Just Enjoying the Music

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  4. Eric n Kc

    Eric n Kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hey
    Not trying to argue but pay radio seems to be able to play a variety of songs/artists. And people will pay for the prevledge.
    I guess it's kinda like pay for bottled water. For better or worse. Eric
     
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  5. Jody Thornton

    Jody Thornton Just Enjoying the Music

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    That seems to be where streaming services are heading Eric :)
     
  6. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    So it seems true that what I expected is the case all along. Those of us here on AK and other sites who really want a vast array of different and ecxciting variety in music are the exception and not the majority.

    Or perhaps, a boring media (this can be any form from print to music ) creates a boring population. IMO somewhere along the line this happened to much of media outlets of all sorts. I suspect it occured when big conglomerates started buying up these outlets with the to plan to make them all the same for streamlining operations and advertising purposes, with glossy exteriors but empty of substance. Sorta like the Big Mac.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  7. woofmytweets

    woofmytweets AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  8. N8Nagel

    N8Nagel AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Honestly, what I'm doing these days is taking my cues from various "what are you listening to" threads and a few music centric Facebook groups to which I subscribe, as well as recommendations from friends, and playing them all on Spotify. Then when I feel that I'm getting stale I cue up one of the "your daily mix" things to see what else comes out of the algorithm. FM isn't doing a thing for me in a music context; I mostly listen to the news on NPR.
     
  9. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

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    KMOX St Louis was once one of the very best evening/ nighttime long reach AM stations, but with the gradual programming changes and departure of hard working interesting talent, lastly the superb Jon Grayson for Overnight America, I don't bother going there anymore. WGN Chicago is the last overnighter of any interest hereabouts. FM, it's NPR. We have a college local but I'm long out of the demographic for most of the current teen / young adult fare.
     
  10. amptramp

    amptramp Active Member

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    n
    And you have pointed out the fallacy right there. Let's say I like lasagna. It's my favourite dish. But if I get served lasagna on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, there is a good chance that although I like it, I don't want it for a while. But radio has made the mistake of thinking, "OK, they like this song, lets put it on as often as we can, the listeners who like it are always going to like it". Plus, I disagree with the "favourites" from some groups. If they play Van Halen, the song you will likely hear is "Jump" but I consider "Dance the Night Away" to be their best - it really captures the effect of a live performance in the first few bars. When I disagree with their choice, I am likely to switch to a CD or another station since it is one push of a button away.

    I couldn't listen to early Beatles after their heyday until the early 1990's. It was overplayed. I still have trouble with Phil Collins with anything from "No Jacket Required" and that came out over 30 years ago. It is possible to overplay records to the extent that people tune away. When I am driving with my daughter and she commandeers the car audio, she will often listen to a station for a few seconds and say, "overplayed" and switch to another station. Quite often, there are a few stations that she passes up for this reason, so as well as the question of "what are your favourites", stations should also ask, "what do you think gets too much air time". Then watch their little brains explode when the same songs show up in both lists.

    What I had cued up in the car CD player for quite a while was a CD concatenated from two CD's, "Storms" and "Half Truths and Whole Lies" by The Free Press, a now defunct group that should have been stars. I know I won't hear it on the radio. I was around for the beginning of Rock and Roll but after a thousand stars and ten thousand hits, I was pretty jaded. They were playing at the gold record party for The Joys and opened with "Love and Wonder". That was a moment I was waiting for - great music that made me keep looking for great music when I though it had gone away. It is on YouTube in both live and studio format. But it is not on radio and may never be on radio until someone realizes there is a market of jaded listeners looking for a way out of the tight little playlist. CBC radio doesn't seem to be as limited by playlists (or advertisers), so they have some good music. Isn't that a conundrum? The stations that are ruled by advertising revenue are falling flat whereas the stations that have little concern for advertisers are doing better.

    I haven't given up on radio. Someone may still come to his senses and understand the market. But I have to say that most of my love of radio is love for the technology - the reception of microvolt signals, the tuning process that eliminates all but what you want and the variety of circuitry that makes it possible. As I said in a previous post, maybe it will take a diabolical idea like a new class of radio license that favours new music to stop the downward spiral.
     
  11. restorer-john

    restorer-john Super Member

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    They don't! Surely?

    Air is free here in Australian petrol stations. You might have to ask for the gauge (because lazy people would run over them) but if anyone attempted to charge for it they'd be laughed out of town.
     
  12. woofmytweets

    woofmytweets AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    oh, it's true. now, i haven't been an adorable child for a while, but do have some nieces that fit the bill for an undercover sting operation.....but yes, all the gas station tire machines are coin-operated now. whether or not you could get the attendant to override the coin mechanism might be up in the air, but i bet you a nice, juicy kangaroo steak that they'll just tell you they can't do it.
     
  13. loopstick

    loopstick AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    College radio - it's all there. And there are no borders. More awesome Canadian bands than you can shake a stick at. If that's what you're into.

    Indie 2443
    .
     
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  14. c.coyle

    c.coyle Fighting the Dunning-Kruger Effect Subscriber

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    Way back in '79 or '80, I was living in Pittsburgh. Some service station owner installed the first pay air pump in Western Pa. People went nuts. One night I'm watching the KDKA 11 O'Clock local news, and there he is, with a mic in his face. The news gal asks him "How can you make people pay for air?" His deadpan answer: "If you think air is free, try blowing up a tire with your mouth."

    Seriously, there are still lots of free air pumps here in my area. Most traditional service stations still have them. Sheetz, a ubiquitous convenience store chain, has them, with auto shut-off when they hit your selected pressure.

    And kids don't ride bikes any more.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
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  15. WobblySam

    WobblySam Active Member

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    I would have to say that those, for the most part, are valid points. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a pop song slut. If it's got a catchy tune, good - catchy lyrics, good - catchy lyrics and a good tune, great. Unfortunately, it seems particularly difficult to hear new, "good" pop songs. I suppose that will be a nebulous metric, since all sorts of demographic stuff figure into that equation. Starting in the mid '90s through about 2005, I used to tune into stations that played new stuff - hoping that something might "stick". I decided it must be me and gave it up after Hootie was the only result. Like another member here said "I used to like R&B, till they took the R&B out of it". And another over-worn statement - "There's lots of new music out there" is soooo tiresome. Not sure where "there" is, but if it means I have to spend my day combing through YouTube videos to find something - no thanks, I've got better things to do with my time. My narrow focus is my undoing, I like to listen to music I like. I wish I could see or hear what seems to be good about most new music, but I continue to fail. I guess it's another one of those age-related anomalies.
    Thanks for the write-up.
     
  16. jlovda

    jlovda Things I loved from the 60's and 70's

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    I think the ultimate in overplayed music was Hootie and the Blowfish's first album. Listeners loved them for the first month and then they crashed. Everyone stopped playing them almost simultaneously and NO ONE wanted to hear them after that.
     
  17. satkinsn

    satkinsn low end audio Subscriber

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    So, I posted the following over in digital sources, but begging the mods' indulgence, it seems timely to this thread as well. Think of it as the third part, after the OP's link about AM/FM share and the much more pessimistic report about radio in one of the early replies.

    https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-beat-of-tomorrow

    The question, I think - and which the article implicitly raises - is, is there a third way for radio? You local station isn't going to open up a streaming subscription channel to compete with Pandora, and most commercial stations are stuck doing the same thing they've always done. What's the way out if neither staying the same nor radically changing are options?

    Incidentally, I don't think "radio" is going away. There's still innovation and value on the public side, where you can hear serious journalism, smart talk and music discovery. What continues to gobsmack me is how commercial radio has ceded the field to the publics; most commercial stations don't even try to be interesting. The article cited above suggests commercial radio doesn't have to follow the publics' lead but can still do worthwhile, popular stuff.

    s.
     
  18. RxDx

    RxDx Speaker collector Subscriber

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    It would be revealing to see market ratings.
     
  19. c.coyle

    c.coyle Fighting the Dunning-Kruger Effect Subscriber

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    Slightly off-topic rant, but I had a three and a half hour drive through Western Pa. yesterday, and listened to the Steelers game in the car. This is mountainous terrain, so I had to change network stations a few times. The FM stations had so much compression, hissing, pumping, and breathiness on every syllable that they were just downright fatiguing - almost painful - after a few minutes. But when I was forced to go to a "low-fi" AM station farther out, it sounded natural and soothing by comparison.

    I guess they do all that processing for music listened to in noisy cars, but how hard can it be to turn it off for spoken word programming?
     
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  20. evsentry3

    evsentry3 Active Member

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