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Parker Lopez
Parker Lopez

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24 R trlfriday, June 18, 1982 KJET Takes Off AOR Futures: News And Special Prorammin JEFF GELB One area of rowin concern in discussin the immediate future of AOR radio is the part news prorammin will play, especially in liht of dereulation. Should News Directors ready resumes and start packin their bas, or will smart prorammers retain a full service news department to cover the stories that listeners want/need to hear? Also of rowin interest to AOR radio is the bureonin number of radio networks specifically eared toward our format. t is a sure and flatterin sin of our format's success nationwide that so many options now exist, and more are sure to follow. At the same time, prorammers whose listeners have said they want "more music and less talk" must wonder whether special prorammin of any sort is a positive or neative prorammin element. Our "panel" of experts tackle these questions and more this week in their discussions of the future of AOR news and special prorammin. WZXR/Memphis PD Redbeard "n head to head competitive situations, where two or more AOR's in a market are all playin more or less the same music, the decisive factors in winnin lie in three areas: air talent, promotion, and news and special prorammin. "With news and special prorammin, it's definitely the quality and not the quantity that will work. Look at it like the spices in your prorammin recipe: not enouh and "A sinificant technoloical innovation will have a profound effect on both network news and lonform special prorammin; that is diital satellite distribution." Redbeard your prorammin is too bland; too much and the mix is unbearable. "The keys to success for the networks and outside proram syndicators will be their understandin of local station oals and their responsiveness to those oals. We'll continue to see successful station prorammers consult this field, or better yet, mirate into their ranks. The success of all of these proram suppliers depends on understandin the fundamental need common to all ood radio stations, while bein flexible enouh to mold their prorammin into the unique framework of each station in its own competitive situation. At least one news network, the Source, has responded to its affiliate needs by institutin a capsulized newscast in afternoon drive that can be aired in a 30 or 60 second lenth, at the discretion of the local station. t's this type of responsive, versatile prorammin that will thrive in the future. "Conversely, the proram syndicators that offer, 12, 24, and even 48 hour mea specials with five national spots per hour and 144 local spot avails to be aired one specific weekend only between 9ammidniht, all sold without even an audio demo (believe it or not), are oin to find it touh oin until sales manaers start prorammin radio stations. "A sinificant technoloical innovation will have a profound effect on both network news and lonform special prorammin; that is diital satellite distribution. This will seeminly brin network newsrasters and actualities out of their distant vantae points, and because of the stunnin presence this technoloy provides, create an impact previously possible only in a live local studio. Besides the increased audio fidelity, a lare amount of time and money will be saved due to the elimination of disc pressin, tape duplicatin, and mailin. This means more timely delivery of dated or late breakin shows. "The key to success for the local stations will be makin `outside' prorammin sound like it's all theirs, by carefully choosin the prorams in which the content and production are compatible with their sound and imae, and also dressin it up with locally produced promos, opens and closes, audio loos, and rock performer D's. "The bottom line is that outside prorammin should be a tool, helpin to build a better product by providin depth and further reinforcin your imae as the new mass appeal format." WDVE/Pittsburh PD Howie Castle "Networks are quickly becomin more than news services; they're becomin fulltime prorammin services offerin quality specials and concerts (for example, the merer of the Source and Starfleet Blair). With satellite technoloy, the quality of live prorammin will improve dramatically. As a result, many of the reular syndication companies could start feelin the squeeze, especially since many of the concerts and specials offered will be duplicated by those networks in the same week." Consultant Jim Cameron "With the imminent split of AOR into two sub formats, Adult Oriented Rock and Teen Oriented Rock, the future for news/information prorammin looks briht for the former and dismal for the latter. n tiht economic times, dereulation will leave news staffers vulnerable to layoffs at teen oriented AOR's. But for the 25+ AOR audi "Watch for some AM's to battle AOR 's for 1834 listeners with new `Youn Adult Talk' formats. " Jim Cameron ence, a credible news operation will be a tremendous draw. Once the networks complete their switch to satellites, their proram clearances will improve as dramatically as the fidelity of their feeds. Syndicators will be in trouble, unable to compete with instantaneous delivery of prorammin. Watch for some AM's to battle AOR's for 1834 listeners with new `Youn Adult Talk' formats. As in TV, `happy talk' news will fade, as listeners earth out credible information to cope with and survive the Eihties. "n 1983, at lon last, the prorammin SBattle has a new AOR... sort of. On May 31, KZOKAM was renamed KJET and jettisoned oldies prorammin for automated "modem rock." t's a darin move, especially in a market where there's already been an AM modem rock experiment (KZAMAM) that failed. KJET PD Steve Larson explained, "KZAMAM was exposin too much product too quickly; there was no consistency to their sound, which came off confusin to listeners. KJET puts out a more homoenized sound; we have a tihter rotation of our 'mainstream' artists so as to establish them. Once they're established, we'll add more frine stuff." For KJET, 'mainstream' equates to roups like Human Leaue, XTC, Devo, Graham Parker, the Clash, and the B 52's. t also includes some mainstream AOR acts that have crossover potential: the Cars, Pretenders, Police, Tommy Tutone, Johnny & the Distractions, and Tom Petty, to name a few. Most of KJET's music is post 1975, but a "roots" cateory includes British invasion bands like the Beatles, Rollin Stones, Kinks, and Who, all of whom Larson credited as trendsetters for modem rock. Also featured are various local bands. Larson picks the music by texture, familiarity, and how it will fit in with the rest of the KJET music mix. Teens and mid 20's females are the taret demo, thouh Larson reported that early response to KJET indicates quite a few older listeners are in its audience. Larson claimed that the role of KZOKFM consultant John Sebastian in KJET is minor: "He's observin. et some input from John on Top 40 formates, but he's not consultin it's seat of my pants radio." Nor is KJET a clone of KROalPasadena, the most famous example of a successful modem rock outlet. Larson stated, "'m really blazin my own trail here. did listen to KROQ tapes and was inspired, in the sense of realizin that this sort of prorammin can work. But they're doin it differently Los Aneles is so much bier than Seattle, so they have more room to play really unusual stuff; they can be more extreme." Automation and AM: two potential stumblin blocks to any rock format but Larson sees them as challenes: "f someone started doin this on FM 'd take it in the shorts. But don't see that happenin, so for now, see us on AM as a plus. Radio is cyclical, and riht now it seems that it's AM that's exposin new music while the FM'ers play the 'dinosaur rock.' The automation could be a neative if we tried to hide it. But we're onna have fun with it, be up front about it, have the jocks talk about it. Of course, 'd love to o live if ratins warrant it. "Last fall the Arbftron's showed KZOKAM with about a.4, so anythin would be an improvement. 'd like to see a one share for the station in the fall book; that would mean we're on the riht track. think we'll show; initial response is ten times what expected." Best of luck to Seattle's new experimental AOR! pendulum will swin back, favorin news/ information. And if the music's also riht, adults will return to AOR. Diversification and dereulation notwithstandin, there's still a market for full service radio: music and information." KWXL/Albuquerque PD Bill Stambauh "AOR radio will see chanes in news, syndication and features in the comin year. These chanes will be in the areas of content, availability, and form of presentation. expect the chanes in content to be evolutionary. n the past year, the news nets have adapted their prorams to taret the national AOR audience more accurately. This will continue. Newscasts and network features will become even more usable to AOR prorammers. believe the AOR prorammers who incorporate more news and features will find this provides a competitive ede for their stations. "The syndicated prorammin scene will become even more competitive. More new prorams will be available, alon with more variations on the interview/concert/ music and news formats. The possibility of overdoin special prorammin exists; increasinly we'll be askin, 'How much is enouh or too much?' And, `Which of several features does the best job?' "The bi chane see is in the way the news and features are delivered to AOR stations. Even here in Albuquerque, we're not decidin if, but when, we'll et a satellite receivin station. AOR networks oin on satellite will mean major chanes in the future: improvements in the quality of sinal, and speed and Pase of delivery. t's also obvious that the major AOR networks will be absorbin the best of the independent syndicators and prorams, so the form of delivery will, to an extent, determine the content." Media Consultant John Parikhal "At last, think the better PD's have realized that commercial free is no substitute for ood prorammin, althouh it has some positionin value for one station per market. Commercial free drew attention away from the most important element of radio if it is oin to compete successfully aainst tape... that is, the element of surprise, of the unexpected. "The better PD's will carefully and very selectively interate news and special prorammin into the broadcast week. News on AOR will be brief and relevant. Special prorammin should focus on music or important elements in the lifestyle of listeners. Rock histories, countdowns, and selfhelp shows will work best. Excellent comedy has a place but must be showcased properly and sequenced in the riht spot, not in between two 20 minute rock jams. Cross promotion of the shows will be as important as the shows themselves." KRQR/San Francisco PD Dave Roberts "One of my reatest needs riht now is for live concert prorammin. My research has shown that this is the one thin that really seperates the men from the boys. realize we're workin within a finite universe, but many of the roups offered by the syndicators currently are marinal. This isn't to say these bands don't deserve exposure, but when we're runnin `specials,' they have to be truly special. "'m particularly interested in live via satellite concerts. We et reat reception to these. t's the kind of proram that takes advantae of the immediacy of our medium. 'm sure we'll see an increase in these shows. "As for lifestyle features, our positionin in this market riht now demands we keep talk and clutter to a minimum. So we have no immediate need for that type of prorammin. But, in my estimation, for AOR, network services enerally seem to be incompatible. think news must be local; the audience is very sensitive to the structured produced approach, and see this as an Continued on Pae 26




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