oldies (was WROW)

markwa1ion@aol.com markwa1ion@aol.com
Tue Feb 9 13:50:15 EST 2010

On 8 Feb 2010 at 21:48, Garrett Wollman wrote:

> > I wouldn't be surprised if WROW goes some variation of Oldies.
> I would.
> Nobody wants to be caught dead telling baby-boomers that they are
> "old".   (Never mind the fact that the same songs have been called
> "oldies" almost since they fell off the charts in 1967....)

So you play the music and give it some other name.  After all, the
previous generation's music was called "Music Of Your Life."

A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                           617.367.0468
 92 State Street, Suite 700                   Fax 617.507.7856
Boston, MA 02109-2004                        http://www.attorneyross.com

So what is the big deal about admitting being old ?  I don't care if 
they call it oldies, dinosaurs, nearly dead, or Music of Your Life.  If 
someone could crank up a good oldies format covering, primarily, '50s 
and '60s, I'd be a regular listener.  AM or FM - it doesn't matter.  
With greats such as Chuck Berry, Roy Orbison, Gene Pitney, Del Shannon, 
Everly Bros., Ray Charles, and Elvis being completely shunned (except 
in a few places like night WCAP), the access to these tunes has 
decreased dramatically in just 5 or 10 years.  It's not like the 
listener base went from being age 65+ in 2000 to 75+ now, which would 
likely mean that a fair amount "didn't make it".  It's more like 45 to 
50 then and 55-60 now.  I think insurance figures would indicate that 
most of those who liked '50s rock ten years ago are still here.  Do 
they not like it now ?  I doubt that supposition.

I wouldn't even mind a format of big-bands, pre-rock standards, old 
blues and country from WW2 and before, etc.  Seems like even stuff that 
"ancient" wasn't too hard to find a few years back.

You can hear Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Johnny 
Mathis, Benny Goodman, Howlin' Wolf, Tex Ritter, Sons of the Pioneers, 
and so on as background in some fairly classy Boston area restaurants 
(as well as in chain places like Uno's).  Somebody must think that the 
music sets a mood and is relevant to things such as thoughts of 
idealized romance, recalling old movies or American history, or 
something else that enhances the experience of dining out or having 
cocktails - even for people born decades after the songs reached their 
Billboard peaks.  But trying getting any on the radio.  Even a few 
years back when WLLH-1400, WXKS-1430, and others were doing the 
pre-rock thing, many regular listeners were too young - even at that 
point - to remember the first time around for the tunes.  But good 
music is still good music.

I like what Bob Bittner is doing at WJIB/WJTO though it runs rather 
mellow for me sometimes.  And it's too bad the music licensing fees 
preclude WJIB from web-streaming since the night signal doesn't go too 

Someone with the fire, pizazz, knowledge, enthusiasm, and showmanship 
of the late Bill Marlowe could enliven an older music format - kicking 
it up a notch from the 'JIB style - and introduce something to younger 
people who want music that is either more intelligent or more romantic 
(or both) than hip-hop, boy bands, and the like.  Danny Stiles out of 
NYC (who shows up on WRCA sometimes) isn't too bad.

Radio format specialists see nothing wrong with bulking up the dial 
with multiple sports, religion, and foreign language stations in a 
given market, but have the idea that one good '50s/'60s rock oldies 
station and/or one pre-rock standards / jazz station is superfluous to 
the needs of local listeners.  What surprises me is that the conclusion 
is even the same on Cape Cod which is the New England version of 
Florida, a.k.a. "God's waiting room".

I do understand that it would likely be smaller stations who'd pick up 
older music formats and run successfully (as opposed to high-cost 
operations like WWKB which need big audience numbers).

Mark Connelly, WA1ION - Billerica, MA + S. Yarmouth, MA

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