OnMedia: The 106.9 FM stunt goes on
"Stunting" is a standard procedure when a radio station changes formats. Some gimmicky music -- Christmas tunes in May, for example -- replaces the old format in an attempt to signal the death of the old station, and to provoke interest among potential new listeners.
But the former "smooth jazz" WJZX-FM (106.9) has now been stunting for eight days after its apparent attempt to jump to a top-40 format was trumped by WQBW-FM (97.3). The station formerly known as "The Brew"dumped its rock format to become "Radio Now" and aim a version of top 40 at female listeners that lie between the female target of WXSS-FM (103.7), better known as "Kiss FM," and WMYX-FM (99.1), better known as "the Mix."
That all happened last week.
And, still, 106.9 is stunting.
First it was a funny play on Tiger Woods' problems called "Tiger Radio," which played songs about cheating. That was dumped earlier this week by an endless loop of Beatles songs that keep on playing and playing and playing.
Writing about these radio format changes since 1994, I've learned that their impact is very focused. Unlike television stations, which are all sampled by most viewers, radio stations have a very specific audience. If you don't listen to a station, you don't care about it and are unlikely to know, or care, that it's gone.
Unless you listened to smooth jazz before, you're unlikely to have noted the demise of the old WJZX. This stunting marathon on 106.9 FM makes it more likely that a buzz will be created for the new format.
Saga Communications, which owns the stations, hasn't much to lose as it keeps up with the stunt.
And the guessing continues on what the new format will be.
Don't expect anything shocking or surprising. We're talking about commercial radio here, which has a simple formula: find a piece of the audience, generally some chunk of listeners, between 25 and 54, and offer them something that will yield a big enough crowd to sell to advertisers.
I'll keep an ear on this today and over the weekend, and you can check OnMilwaukee.com for any updates.
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Jeff | June 7, 2010 at 8:54 a.m. (report)
Thank god for Sirius/XM--classical and jazz on multiple channels, plus zillions of rock variations, if you're in to that. No mindless chatter, no annoying commercials. I'll never go back.
I'm rather enjoying All Beatles All of the Time. But I do miss a REAL jazz station as well as a classical music station in Milwaukee. Thank God for Pandora Radio when at home, but in the car and at work, it's getting harder and harder to find palatable music on commercial radio.
I hope the "stunt" goes on and on a lot longer. It's tons better than the incessantly banal mindless talking heads on the current morning radio shows . . . the shows showcasing classic rock especially.
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