Ungodly Politics

"Announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh." - Al Swearingen


Tuesday, March 09, 2004  

The Death of Local Radio

This post reminded of a time I was a DJ, for WVUA. That was, and most likely still is, the college station for the University of Alabama.

As opposed to "hit radio" or "Top 40" or this accursed Clear Channel crap, we had a fantastic format. It was, of course, on vinyl (early 80s). Considered "Album Oriented Rock." Everything was split into 5 categories.

1. Max rotation
2. About to become max rotation, or just left max rotation
3. Oldies
4. The at-the-time new designation "college rock" or "new wave"
5. Stuff that was popular a few months ago that you got sick of

What was best about this was the freedom the DJs had. The rotatino was set up by a pie chart. It went something like: 1, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 5, 3, etc. With commercials and news breaks thrown in. Everything but oldies were set in boxes by the DJ station in order, so you ran the albums in order. However, you didn't have to play any particular song off each album. And oldies were up to you.

And you obviously had to mix and match to make the times fit. One thing I learned: If you only had three minutes left, you always went for the Beatles or Ramones.

Part of the fun of this for DJs and listeners was the discovery of new songs. You got to play tracks that didn't get played on Top 40 stations, tracks that were never released as singles. And that sold albums.

The next time the RIAA complains that they can't sell any CDs because of downloaders, remember the last time you listened to music on the radio. I don't even bother any more. I don't listen to oldies stations, either. Same old crap, over and over. All piped in from a central station in San Antonio.

I remember the first time I encountered this back in late '80s. It was in Corpus Christi, Texas. I was hanging out with friends, and one of them was a DJ. I went down to the station with her, eager to visit the old days.

Not a record player in the place. Nothing but a couple of big reel to reels and a satellite feed. All she was there to do was push buttons and do local PSAs. Horrible.

I honestly think one could track the decline of record sales with the decline of locally produced radio.

posted by lazarus | 11:35 | |
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