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Re: Census 2000 And It's Impact On Future Format Changes

In a message dated 03/30/2000 3:55:24 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
Joe Gallant writes:

<<(5) Boston: Within the city limits, I forsee the Black population
increasing from 25% (1990) to 38% (this year), enroute to passing the
50% mark between 2012 and 2015, and the Hispanic population about
doubling from 5% (1990) to 9% (this year).

I feel convincd that the results of Census 2000 could include radio
station format changes to take advantage of either market growth (as in
Las Vegas), or serving the needs of increasing ethnic populations (the
other markets I have mentioned).>>


    i think several broadcast groups have already jumped the gun on some of 
these projections locally, but perhaps not with the desired result.  by 
relying on research and information designed to fill a niche, even if it is 
based on ethnicity, several stations have taken a chance in embracing what is 
believed to be traditional ways to better garner a larger piece of the 
listenership pie. 
    unfortunately, the ethnic make-up in some markets does not necessarily 
translate to what is perceived to be traditional "ethnic" programming and 
comparable ratings results.  example here is that research had shown, 
positively, for two different stations owned by two separate owners, that 
Boston "loves" the soul/r&b/Motown sound.  do we all truly "dig" Marvin Gaye, 
Stevie Wonder and the Supremes?  Aretha?  Gladys Knight?  yep, but not in 
overdose mode.  it was tried and didn't work for WROR.  and it ain't cutting 
the mustard for the crew at 93.7.
    one might think that even in the Motor City itself that a soul/r&b based 
"jammin' oldies" format would fly.  it's obviously a time process, but the 
format certainly didn't hammer it home out of the box.
    yet in larger markets, such as LA and NY, urban/r&b and latin stations 
seem to be holding their own with the long-term market formats.
    the potential for knee-jerk reaction in format focus is great, especially 
when faced with demographic breakdowns such as those Joe mentions.  however, 
the old axiom of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" seems to ring true.  
     until group owners are willing to trust in the actual opinions of the 
audience they desire, and in so doing put some actual demographic backbone 
into their station's design by bring in people with solid "gut" instincts, 
instead of relying on the same old "auditorium testing" and "focus group 
research", then we, the radio listener, will face another decade of format 
     not to say that all group owners don't have a measure of success on 
which they base their respective calculated risks on their other properties.  
but i would be willing to bet that the pride and joy of the chain, as an 
example, Greater Media's Magic 106.7, has not only been consistent 
formatically since the owner either acquired the signal (from Westinghouse in 
1981) or launched a format in which they truly believed, but they've believed 
in the people delivering the product.  (i've mentioned before, with great 
admiration, that Magic is home to several on-air professionals who've been 
doing what they do on WMJX for more than ten years each, some close to 20 at 
this point.  feelin' old, david?.)
   let's hope that thought, long hard thought, goes into any station's 
tweaking or redesign once the Census numbers are crunched.
   (btw, Joe:  great thread starter!)

- -Chuck Igo