Monday, June 06, 2005


Corporate America never ceases to amaze me.

This morning while driving to the train station I hit my radio preset for WCBS 101.1FM, an oldies station playing in the NY City area, and was disturbed to find it was gone and replaced by something called Jack 101.1. Now, for those of you who do not know this WCBS NEVER changes. It has been playing oldies for the past 33 years. It does update its playlist every now and then and now there are more 70s songs mixed in then 50s, but for the most part you get Top 40 music from 30 years ago on your radio when you tune in.

Yes, I am so old that I do like to listen to this stuff, especially in the morning when my mind can’t handle anything to wild and crazy. But I’m still cool. My wife tells me so.

Anyway, at first I simply thought the odd music and call sign was a joke being played by the morning DJ, who happens to be Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees. Yes, I am so old that I remember and actually like The Monkees, but I love Van Halen, too. I went to another station and came back and heard more of the same and became truly confused.

When I got to work I checked the news to see what was up and found out that the station had fired its DJ staff and gone to a computer generated format. All without informing the public or the DJs. They were simply fired, later, thanks for everything, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

The idiots at Infinity Broadcasting decided to eliminate the top selling oldies station in the nation in order to implement something called the Jack FM format. Jack is supposed to mimic a person’s iPod playlist or satellite radio. It will play a mix of 2,000 some odd
songs from the 1950s to 1999. Like an iPod on shuffle.

The stupidity behind this move is truly astounding. In addition to the fact that an executive should never mess with a cash cow like WCBS, it never occurred to these honchos that listeners tune into a station because they enjoy listening to a particular type of music. They don’t want to go from The Rolling Stones, to Madonna, to Duran Duran to The Beastie Boys. All they did by implementing a staggering array of music is guarantee that a listener will leave the station when a song they don’t like is played.

It’s like watching the SciFi channel and getting a soap opera.

Luckily there are a couple of other stations on Long Island to get me through my 7 minute drive to the station, but I will truly miss WCBS-FM. It was a little something from the past, kind of corny at times, but dependable.

My only hope is the new format bombs worse then New Coke and the program directors are forced to admit their mistake and go back to the old format. Due to corporate thick-headedness I doubt this will happen even when the station bottoms out, but you never know.


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