Themed Music Radio Shows--yeah or neh?


Growing up, I listened to pop radio stations playing a variety of the top hits and oldies. One of the things I loved about this kind of radio was the unpredictability. I enjoyed not knowing what song was coming up next. I enjoyed listening to count down shows like Casey Kasum's American Top 40 and the "newies" show on WPIX-FM in New York.


I wasn't too fond of shows that would feature one artist or even shows that played a certain theme. In college, I found that lots of the staff at the college radio station always spent hours planning their show according to special themes, trying to piece the music together like a puzzle. I say kudos for their efforts and creativity but I only did that for short segments of a show not the entire show. For instance an hour of songs relating to Summer, or Mothers day or British rock etc. That's it, the rest of the show was made up of a variety of music that kept the audience guessing. This is the kind of radio that I grew up with and that I liked best.


While working at eight commercial radio stations, formats were extremely structured and this is the type of radio that I was used to and enjoyed. Oldies were oldies, Adult Contemporary was Adult Contemporary, Country was country, you get my drift. I never tried to be an audio expert or music historian and frankly that wasn't my job. My job was to keep my audience company as they enjoyed their favorite music. It didn't have to be structured any particular way. "Just play the music" one of my mentors would say and thats what I did. I played the music and offered quick informational and friendly comments in between. That's what my audience expected and that's what they got.


This is the kind of radio my audience at Edgewater Gold Radio expects and has expected for the past 20 years! They want to hear oldies without all of the lingering talk, they don't care about the history of a song, the studio it was recorded it, the color of the paint on the walls etc. --just the song, that's it. They do want to FEEL the time period like the sixties or seventies and they DO want to hear all of the elements of pop radio which I provide.


I was paying close attention to some of the specialty shows that I air on Sundays over the past few weeks. Here are my findings, the shows that stayed on target playing oldies and in the usual format and style of the station had the highest number of listeners. Shows that concentrated on different genres of music, too much talk or special themes revealed very few listeners. There is nothing wrong with these shows but it's not what my audience at Edgewater Gold Radio expects. I've noticed that my audience who enjoy all of the oldies also enjoy pop standards. I've added a night time show and a Sunday show that features pop standard music and the audience seems to love it!


In the coming weeks I will be making some changes with our specialty shows in order to keep the audience happy and keep the station consistent!