Tuesday, July 14, 2009

WBCN RIP, and more from Sotomayor

They're dropping like flies! Music radio stations, I mean. Seriously!

The legendary Boston rock station WBCN will cease to exist next month. Actually, another CBC owned music station, WBMX, will move up the dial to 104.1, the prime location that has been home to WBCN since before it became one of the ground breaking early FM rock pioneers back in 1968!

Come mid-August, listeners to Mix 98.5 will have to tune to 104.1 to get their "Hot A/C"... a more adult version of Top 40, where WBCN now lives. A new Sports Talk station will move into the 98.5 dial position.

More and more these days, music stations seem to be going the way of the dodo. And more and more talk stations are moving from the AM band to the FM. For those of us who do and and enjoy talk radio, that's a good thing. But is the era of music on the radio coming to a close?

Studies show that young people don't turn to radio to find new music any more. The internet has usurped that responsibility. And it might be due to the fact that radio just hasn't been that good at it... especially since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 opened the floodgates for consolidation. Radio was no longer the local medium, owned by small media companies.

This is the world of Clear Channel and 1200 station portfolios, where the credo was no longer creativity. It was the shareholders and the bottom line.

We'll discuss the changes afoot tonight on Air America with Joel Denver, founder and publisher of the All Access Music Group - one of the few remaining radio and record industry trade publications (his lives exclusively online).

In the second hour of tonight's show, I'll once again speak with Doug Kendall, founder and president of The Constitutional Accountability Center, who is also liveblogging for Huffington Post the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Judge Sotomayor about what went on today, Day 2, of the hearings.

Join in the conversation at 866-303-2270!


Barry Schwartz said...

Music radio and the corresponding sales item, the hit record, should not be confused with important things; they are no more important than a black-and-white TV Heathkit. Indeed, we are purposely suppressing important things -- the great technological advance of our time, the means for ordinary people to copy and enhance data. If we instead were to unleash this capability, the culture would benefit enormously (after a confused shake-out period, of course).

Problem is, a person might only be able to make a good living wage with music or TV or a book in the new environment. But actually that's a good thing, because personal ultra-wealth tends to be destructive, especially when it has control of cultural symbolism.