Monday, January 30, 2012

Happiness Is: Realizing That 'Oldies' Radio Now Means The '80s

Every morn when I shower, my Hello Kitty radio in the bathroom (gimme a break, I found it in my building's trashroom, and it works!) is tuned to all-news 1010 WINS-AM, which gives me weather/headlines "in 22 minutes."

But somehow, no matter when I seem to click on, I've timed entry to :15 and :45 minutes after the hour... just when the endless, boring sports report comes on. With the New York Giants entering the Super Bowl in a week, it's all the more relentless.

Enough, already... I finally decided to change the dial Saturday morning, and landed on a station playing '80s Foreigner, followed by Olivia Newton-John. Stop right there... Five minutes later, I was admittedly horrified to discover that the outlet was "Oldies" WCBS-FM (101.1), which I always knew as the station that pounded Motown and dusty '70s hits.

Oops... Obviously the outlet is moving forward with its demographic... and I am now among its intended audience of 34-49. Wise thinking on the part of CBS Radio to recognize that its listeners are a constantly moving target. I'm well aware that top 40 typically makes my ears bleed (read: Black Eyed Peas) and NYC AC remains too sleepy and way too narrow for my tastes.

So it appears I've found a new favorite FM on the dial... and to add to the coup, WCBS offers online streaming specifically for the '60s, '70s and '80s. While writing this post, I've heard Duran Duran, Madonna, a-ha, Joan Jett and Bonnie Tyler. Nirvana, indeed.

Now if only the radio industry could convince anyone under 20 that the console built into their vehicle's dashboard offers free entertainment 24/7... Sadly, a decade ago, the biz replaced music with as much as 16 minutes of commercials an hour (thanks, Clear Channel) and replaced local DJs with syndicated programming, just as internet "radio" gained traction, eradicating new generations from bothering with radio. Perhaps there's no turning back... but for old-timers like me, radio is born again. *