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for January 27, 2004

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[Inscrutable Links: John Peel Says "Hi". FM106.3 Staff List. FM106.3's 1988 playlist.]

The Pendulum Meets The Brick Wall
by Sean Carolan

For those of you outside the central Jersey area, we've got more on the ongoing saga of the little alternative station that couldn't, G-106.3. In fact, this ends the story.
It turns out the farily decent weekend of programming we gushed over a couple of weeks ago was, in fact, a swan song. In the week that followed, the station abandoned their three year old (but only recently applicable) "Your Rock Alternative" slogan, dismissed the one remaining staffer that had a tenuous link to the old (and, for a long while, truly alternative) FM106.3, and started reporting as a "Modern Adult Contemporary" station.
Radio is probably unique in being the only media that doesn't use the word "Adult" as a euphemism for "Far too freaky for the mainstream". In actuality, it uses "Adult" as a euphemism for "more or less unchallenging".
This means they play Dido and Train. A lot.
I've got nothing against Dido personally. In fact, I think she's kind of neat. She just doesn't belong on any list that has the world "alternative" at the top of it... and in much the way that the fecal coliform bacteria is used as an indicator that something worse may have polluted the local swimming hole, Dido can be used as an indicator of how "safe" a station's format is. And don't get me started on Elton John-wannabees Train...
So, in large part, it's over. G-106.3 managed to squander what little cachet they inherited from FM 106.3 (which had, unfortunately, squandered quite a bit itself) when they bought the station. Ultimately, one wonders what sort of a plan Press Communications could have had when they bought the station (at, I hear, a pretty well-inflated price) in the first place. Considering they've been modifying the format on a ratings-season to ratings-season basis, it has become clear that what they must have really wanted to do was sell the station soon after they bought it, and make whatever money they could, because the station has not been run as though there was anything approximating a plan to actually operate it. At least not one that took into account the people that actually live in their market.
There's always a possibility they'll swing back to alternative when, in a market with two other Adult Contemporary stations immediately adjacent, and about ten reaching it from various larger cities in the area, they fail miserably.
But when they ultimately do fail - again - I'm sure that there will be an ocean of Powerpoint bullet items explaining what went wrong, but none of them will say the truth - that they've been losing, and they keep losing, because they haven't taken a single worthy risk that wasn't undercut by a transparent hedge play, and they likely never will.
I look forward to the day they prove me wrong.

©2004 Sean Carolan

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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