May 10, 2005

Regarding Oldies Radio Today...

On, Chris Kidd wrote:

I have seen a lot of posts on Oldies stations not being pure by going into the 70s. I also read a post that an Oldies station should talk about past events more and be be into now times. I beleive that nothing could be further from reality and here is why:

A radio station to have appeal needs to be informative and entertaining. The songs of the past still sound the same, however the events of our lives today are different.

My reply:

I think that these are two different subjects: first, I agree that an oldies station should talk about current happenings. But I still believe that radio is Theater Of The Mind, and I'm listening to an oldies station because it's a nostalgia thing for me. Go ahead and do the news, do the traffic, give me the baseball scores, and tell me that your going to have the station's Funmobile out at the Safeway this Saturday.

Paul Revere & The RaidersBut when it comes to oldies, Sixties Top 40 is NOT the same as Seventies Top 40. And Seventies Top 40 is NOT the same as Eighties Top 40.

Look at your hits and artists from the Sixties, then compare them to those from the Seventies and Eighties -- and I'm speaking broadly here. The Monkees, Paul Revere & The Raiders and The Temptations have nothing in common with Bread, The Carpenters and The Main Ingredient. There is a distinct sonic difference between the Sixties and the Seventies.

And there is a bigger sonic difference between the Seventies and Eighties. Trying to bridge the sonic difference between the Sixties and the Eighties -- Prince, Culture Club and Cyndi Lauper, for example -- is too extreme.

If you are programming to the listener who is interested in listening to Sixties-era Oldies, that listener may like Seventies and Eighties music, but these are different types of music. (One more personal opinion: you can get away with more Seventies music on a Lite Rock station than you can on a Sixties-style Oldies station.)

You can, however, get away with playing "pre-Beatles" (mid-Fifties to 1964) pop and R&B on a Sixties Oldies station: nearly every artist from this era was directly influenced by the early rock'n'roll era, and much of it is relevant to the 1964-1970 period.

As someone who was just a kid during the Sixties, I want my Sixties music to be Sixties music. I am an Eighties music addict, but I have just as many records, CDs and MP3s in my Sixties collection as I have in my Eighties vault. But I keep them away from each other for good reason.

{A little assistance getting down from the soapbox, please. Thanks.}