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Specialty Formats Can Survive on Internet and LPFM Stations


As new music takes over the radio landscape and we grow older,the older songs have become a rarity on the radio. When I was growing up, we listened to top 40 radio and my parents listened to what was known as "middle of the road." These were stations that played primarily pop vocals like Andy Williams, Jack Jones and Steve Lawrence but also played pop standards like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett. These formats also thrived during the 50s and 60s along with rock and roll. As the music changed during the 70s and 80s, middle of the road formats were heard less and less on the radio and became what is known as "specialty formats." Some stations featured this music for a few hours on the weekends. Small AM stations took on the format because they felt that an older audience would still listen to AM radio. Country music experienced the same fate. As country changed, traditional country with artists like Patsy Cline, Hank Williams and Merle Haggard became a rarity on the radio.

Today these formats are rarely heard anywhere anymore. The next victim of the passing of time is oldies. Music from the 50s and 60s and even 70's. Radio stations began "lopping off the 50s, then the 60s now the 70's leaving 80s 90s and 2000's. Depressing?? Yes it is.

So what do we do as internet or LPFM broadcasters? Personally, I will not play only 80s or even 90s and definitely won't play today's hits. I believe in the format that I program but do consider it "specialty programming." I'll feature music from the 50s through the 80's but have selected specific parts of the day when certain music should play. I play more 50s during the evening and over night hours and even some pop vocals. During the day, I focus on 60s 70s and 80s. I play music from the 60s and 70s only on weekends and feature a 5 hour classic disco show on Saturday nights. So far the results have been very encouraging. During the past month, I've increased my total listening hours by 25%.

LPFM and internet broadcasters are not in it for the money. We're in it because we have a passion for radio. This is the reason that I program the music that I love and truly believe in. You should as well.

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