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Re: "The Lost 45s with Barry Scott" moves to Oldies 103.3!

-----Original Message-----
From: "A. Joseph Ross" <lawyer@attorneyross.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2001 02:42:07 -0500
To:  <boston-radio-interest@bostonradio.org>,
Eli Polonsky <elipolo@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: "The Lost 45s with Barry Scott" moves to Oldies 103.3!

> On 14 Dec 2001 at 17:27, Eli Polonsky wrote:

> 50s and 60s music is already well established in 
> the format of Adult Standards stations like WXKS
> (AM) and WJIB.   

Yes, but they're playing 50's and early 60's MOR pop music and the lighter, softer side of rock from the era. We were talking about creating a pre-British Invasion format Oldies station, playing uptempo rock'n'roll and R&B with an upbeat Oldies style delivery (jingles, etc...). Adult Standards stations aren't rocking and rolling!

> I suspect that niches like that may be found on 
> Internet and satellite radio and may even be the 
> reason some people buy the service.

Yes, they are. Practically any format imaginable can be found somewhere on-line and on satellite. Is that a reason not to have them on the good old airwaves yet, if someone can do it viably?

I was browsing the webstreams of XM satellite radio yesterday, and their 50's channel sounds like Oldies stations used to sound, upbeat delivery, PAM jingles, vintage rock'n'roll, R&B, and doo-wop. 

> If I hear my favorite music, I don't particularly 
> care if it's bird-fed. 

Many people may feel as you do, but many also don't. Major market stations wouldn't pay airstaffs if everyone felt that way. 

I worked at oldies 1150 WMEX for two years in the 80's, and to cut costs they fired most of the airstaff and went bird oldies except AM drive and Little Walter on Saturday nights. The ratings went from about a 2.2 share (not all that bad for a 5000 watt AM in Boston that didn't cover many suburbs well) to unrateable, less than a .1 (except Walter still claimed a 2.5 for his shift only).

WMEX was still the only oldies station in town at the time, this was BEFORE WODS came on the air. The oldies fans found the bird so boring that they may have been listening to locally programmed AC stations, news/talk stations, classic rock, who knows what.

When WODS came on, WMEX made a last ditch attempt to compete and dumped the bird and went all live again in spring '88 (with some less experienced jocks who would work for low money, including myself) and by playing deeper, more rocking and more R&B oldies and all-request evenings and weekends we began to develop a "niche" audience and managed to squeak about a 1 share in the first season. Still very low, but better than zero, and this was now WITH WODS ON for a year, a 5000 watt AM against a 50,000 watt FM.

Of course, this wasn't enough to for WMEX to remain sucessfully viable, but I'm illustrating that we did get some response with locally produced, niche music formatted oldies in the face of powerful competition from WODS, who were playing all big-hit 50's through early 70's at the time. 

Unfortunately (IMO), the new incoming WMEX PD in fall '88 developed a playlist that basically duplicated WODS and limited the request shows, so that even with live jocks WMEX then sounded like a junior WODS and lost their niche, and the 1 share dropped to a .2 and stayed there through the next year, when they gave up and flipped to a business format.

With WODS now dropping 50's and moving into 70's soft-rock and mainstream disco hits, I'd be curious what kind of a showing a local 50's/early 60's oldies rocker would do in Boston now. We'll probably never know, but Steve's original post starting this thread was speculating that perhaps the time may be coming for such stations, and not everyone has XM yet or can listen to webcasts everywhere.

Eli Polonsky