Dre\’s Ramblings


The Ramble: Reflections on the fan’s reflections on the radio carousel

Thanks to all that have stumbled across this blog as a result of this story. I hope that you’re all enjoying it and that maybe you’ll nose around a bit and find some other stuff that you might like.

UPDATE: There is also a MySpace page for the new station. And FYI, the e-mails to the Vulcan are not currently active.

I’ve been interested in the fact that the entry that I posted on Monday morning is on pace to becoming my most visited ever by the end of today (actually before lunch). This would mean more than any of the Taylor Hicks posts (here’s the former #1 ), more than posts about civic engagement and community involvement. It is more than just looking at the images on the site and their downloadable links.

Here’s the Birmingham News’ take on the story from yesterday’s paper:

Gospel station turns to rock, The Birmingham News, 12.5.2006

It has solidified some of my beliefs and led me to make some interesting observations. Here are a few of them:

People may disagree on Alabama vs. Auburn, but they are willing to come together on the issue of music. (Really a no-brainer, but it is still interesting).

I probably stand by this post I typed about race in Birmingham more than ever before after seeing some of the comments at the end of the post.

The people of metro Birmingham, AL are seeking some answers on all sides of this conversation. Those that are members of Facebook should click here (if you’re not a member, you’re not going to be able to see this, sorry). A group of young adults felt compelled enough to start a group about the demise of their favorite station. They’ve even started a petition to bring back The X.

I have also seen a groundswell of concern via comments on the post from loyal listeners of Hallelujah FM asking some of the questions that were not necessarily asked by The X at 100.5 when the plug was pulled on it. It will be interesting to see how those who listened to Hallelujah FM decide to organize their thoughts and concerns.

I’ve seen the issue of religion be brought up in ways that quite frankly worry me. Now I am a damn Yankee, but I’m a God-fearing damn Yankee. I would still not say that the Lord will strike a station down for no longer carrying a certain message. I’m not sure what to think about those comments but a discussion of faith is best saved for another day and time.

That the ability to choose what one can listen to on the radio, even in the age of iPods and digital downloads, is extremely important to many people. More important than two other issues currently taking place in our community that one would think people would be focusing on just as much, a fight to save City Stages by young professionals and questions surrounding the future of one of our most unique experiences here in the Magic City, Sidewalk. But when you look at these in comparison, the issue becomes which of these do you interact with on a daily basis?

Not everyone’s musical tastes are represented in our current selection of stations. Here’s something of consider: Where the fast growing Latino population in our metropolitan area can they listen to music on the FM dial? I grew up listening to calypso and reggae as a child of West Indians and there are plenty of natives and first generation Americans in that situation here in Birmingham. We don’t even get the AM dial for options.

With all of my observations and the comments and visits to my site, I believe that what people want more than anything else are answers. I’m about to send an e-mail to the program manager at the new 105.5 (they do have a web site now – thanks to Grumpy Old Man for that info) linking to this post and the post from Sunday. I’m hoping that they will be willing to answer some of the questions that have been asked. Maybe you want to ask them yourselves. If so, click here and send one to the program manager. As to contacting Citadel Communications (The former X at 100.5), your options are to contact their corporate offices in Las Vegas or maybe even WJOX itself.

While an online petition has been set up for one, I think it’s safe to say that the X and Hallelujah are both no more. What happens next will be heavily influenced by the way that both of these new stations start out the New Year.

Any more comments, let’s hear about it.

Enjoy the day.

Cheers.

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7 Comments so far
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Here’s the original post

Pingback by Dre’s Ramblings

I don’t know anything about the Birmingham radio market, but I would like to offer some observations. Andre, you mentioned that you grew up listening to radio. I can say with a good deal of confidence that yours is one of the last generations with any real affection for terrestrial radio. I’ve found that today’s young adults did not grow up listening to radio as you and I did. They are about as interested in radio stations as they are in Medicare plans. It’s not even on their radars. And that’s very bad news for radio.

It seems to me that abrupt, seemingly counterintuitive format changes are symptoms of the larger problem: National and regional radio station ownership groups have largely ignored local listeners. Having lost any meaningful connections the the communities they are licensed to serve, station owners sometimes play musical chairs with formats, in a desperate attempt to juice their Arbitron numbers and advertising income in the short term. In an industry that faces an increasingly doubtful future, a radio station’s history is disposable.

Comment by John

John has it right. It is all short term focus for the radio stations. They need ad money today or something has to change. Long term terrestrial radio, at least music programming, is likely doomed. You can get great programming through Satellite radio today and avoid all the problems of broadcast radio including the commercials.

Now, where broadcast radio may have a future is in more local talk. I think we are seeing that with WJOX. Local and regionalized talk programming is not viable for Satellite radio programmers, but it works well for local stations. If I had to guess, I would expect to see more talk taking over in the local market.

Of course I am only a consumer of programming and I have no insight into the business, but as a user that is what I see happening.

Comment by Shadowhelm

Great points by both of you. I also think we need to see what happens come January. BTW – I did get the e-mail to the MySpace account. We’ll have to wait and see if we get a response to some of the issues brought up.

Comment by dresramblings

As I’m sure you’re aware, BhamWiki has been busting its butt to assemble some background on these stations:

http://www.bhamwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=WRAX
http://www.bhamwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=WENN

Comment by Dystopos

And this is why we have the hardest working Wiki staff in the southeast (if not the only).

Comment by dresramblings

[…] At some point the radio carousel will probably slow down, but as my friend John points out in his comment to one of my posts about the situation, terrestrial radio as we know it will never be the same. Loyalty to a station owned by a […]

Pingback by Lift every voice: FM gospel supporters gather in Birmingham’s Kelly Ingram Park




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