Jack, Mike, and the music schism

Bob Nelson raccoonradio@gmail.com
Sat Apr 16 10:06:51 EDT 2005

I was talking by email with a friend in the radio biz about stations
like Jack and Mike, and my comments are below. It seems like pop or
oldies stations went through a schism where some went to rock-based
stuff while others had dance/disco/R&B.
I'm thinking of Eagle 93.7 which was mostly rock-based, though later
they had a disco show on Saturday nights. They flipped to Star, which
was more dance/
R&B-based, and now Mike, which has both. 

my comments to my friend: 
hi--yes, "trainwrecks" of music mixes are OK if it's _your type of
music_ (on Jack-like stations). The interesting thing about stations
like that, though, is they do play both rock-based cuts and
dance/disco/R&B-ish stuff. For example, yesterday I heard Mike 93.7
playing a dance remix of Barry Manilow's "Copacabana" (which I like; I
also like rockish cuts).
A "classic hits" station like WZLX wouldn't be caught dead playing
anything like that.

And a station like the _old_ Star 93.7 wouldn't play something like 
AC-DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long". So since I kinda like both
kinds of music, it's interesting to hear both styles. IF it's songs I
like. I also heard some dance-based cuts on Mike 93.7 that I wasn't
familiar with, and I didn't think were all that catchy,
so I changed the station. 

You gave me some tapes of Classic Gold FM from England; I liked them
because they covered a wide range of decades (60s-90s, even a couple
of 50s cuts thrown in) and different styles of pop (not to mention
some songs that were UK-hits only!) I have heard Mike 93.7 being
called "gold-based AC", "hits driven" etc. Their time range is
more like 1975-95 for the most part...in fact one person called them 
"an oldies station for Generation Y", as in people slightly younger
than me. Anyway, to some extent Mike FM is interesting but it, too
can burn out within a couple years. 

Also while many people don't like DJs who drone on and on, the 
_absence_ of DJs (on stations like Mike) has its drawbacks too. 
They have the liners by an L.A.-based guy (who's heard on a lot of 
Jack-like stations) which sound funny at first but after awhile 
they get boring. 

Sounds like radio programmers are losing listeners to I-pods, 
car CD decks, satellite radio, and they're scrambling to recover 

You're right, "when dealing with the mass public" it's best to 
play hits. Even so, you can't please everyone...those who like 
rock may change the station when something like "I Will Survive" 
comes on and those who like dance/disco/R&B may change the station 
when a rock-ish cut comes on, etc. Which is why we got the 
fragmentation in the first place.

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