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Out with the oldies, in with the JACK. (from ATSNN)

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posted on Jun, 10 2005 @ 08:20 PM
Imagining listening to a radio station that's been playing your favorite kind of music for as long as you can remember, then in literally one minute, it changes to something you don't really like. That's what happened to thousands of New York City dwellers back on June 3rd at 5PM. 101.1 WCBS-FM, the station that has played oldies for 33 years officially died and a radical new format named JACK-FM took its place.
After more than three decades as the top oldies station in the country, WCBS-FM (101.1 FM) abruptly scrapped its format yesterday for a concept called Jack.

As Frank Sinatra's "Summer Wind" trailed off at 5 p.m., a voice intoned: "Why don't we play what we want? There's a whole world of songs out there."

The first song under the new format was the Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right." Soon after, CBS played Bruce Springsteen's "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" and James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

I personally being an 18 year old really did not care much for the oldies and prefer this new JACK format, but I can honestly understand how the thousands of loyal WCBS listeners must feel with their style of station gone in literally one minute.

I have heard of the JACK-FM format before. I've gone to Toronto to visit family and there is a JACK station there. They are all over Canada and are also now spreading throughout the US. They are categorized under "Adult Contemporary" and don't take any requests, hence their tagline "Playing what we want".

It is quite a radical change on the part of Infinity Broadcasting which owns WCBS and some other stations in the area. Suddenly switching from a 33 year old oldies format to a "we play every genre of music" format. It's like taking a retirement home, knocking it down and building a strip club in its place. That would also be sure to rub people the wrong way. Being eighteen I don't find a problem, but I can understand how the older audience does. But sometimes, as one of the promos on JACK says... "Change is good", and in this world, there's no stopping it.

Related News Links:

posted on Jun, 10 2005 @ 08:49 PM
JMHO but this belongs in BTS not here. There is nothing newsworthy in the story at all.


posted on Jun, 10 2005 @ 08:52 PM
I think its a shame. I don't like oldies much either, and I think I knew the station mentioned and I thought it sucked. But, that said, I think its a real shame when media companies change their stations to attract more of an audience. If they keep doing this, pretty soon every single station will be exactly the same. There's a lot to be said for niche stations. Personally, I listen to talk radio, namely WBAI, 99.5, which is New York's only listener-sponsored radio station, and it's coming very close to being pushed off of FM to be replaced by a big-media pop music station.

-koji K.

posted on Jun, 10 2005 @ 08:54 PM
I disagree with Shots. I think this is an important issue. Maybe not so much as it related to music, but it exemplifies a problem that relates to freedom of speech in general. The WBAI issue I mentioned in my post above is very serious, and it's suffering the exact same threat this article deals with.

-koji K.

posted on Jun, 11 2005 @ 12:17 AM
same thing just happened in chicago magic 104.3, lots of irate oldies fans

posted on Jun, 11 2005 @ 12:35 AM
Jack is in Southern California as well........93.1, formerly Classic Rock.......

.....I'm kind of with shots on this one.......although I find the listening habits of segments of society to be an important topic as it can relate to commercial tactics and consumer habits, but this really amounts to not much more than a synchronized annoyance......not that big a deal......

........On a side note........interesting that the Jack takeover around the country hapopened all at once.......savvy business, in a sense.....

posted on Jun, 11 2005 @ 12:55 AM
Ya they dumped 104.3 here. Its a shame. We all grew up listening to that station from our parents. Lots of songs on there you cant here anywhere else. Theres plenty of pop formatted stations out there. 104.3 was the only one like that. It was a stupid move on the companies part.

My dad is pissed as all hell about it. I kinda feel bad for him though. He's 67. Hes listened to that station for as long as I can remember. Now its just gone. STUPID STUPID STUPID.

posted on Jun, 11 2005 @ 01:04 AM
They dropped our local Classic Rock station here on 99.9 for some new station called Hank FM....

Same deal - "Music you can sing along with" is their catch phrase, playing an assortment of big hits from all genres and time periods....

I don't know if this Hank FM and Jack FM are related or not.....Maybe they're brothers

posted on Jun, 11 2005 @ 01:07 AM
I 2 agree with shots in that this is not news at least not for ATSNN IMHO. Just to add one more thing though is that Toronto has had a Jack FM station for about a year now, it kinda sux though. When Humble and Fred was on there it was worth listening to in the mourning but now that they are on a different stations(and not talking as much) I don't bother listening to radio anymore. Been thinking of checkout out SAT radio heh.

posted on Jun, 11 2005 @ 01:59 AM
Radio stations change formats and ownership ALL OF THE TIME. Rock 101.1 in Houston a couple months back changed to an urbano latino format, leaving Houston with only 1 rock station left (and that's the obligatory modern rock MTV TRL crap station).

This is not suitable for and it has absolutely nothing to do with freedom of speech whatsoever.


posted on Jun, 11 2005 @ 05:25 AM
Nothing unusual here. Radio stations are there to make money. If they figure there's not enough money in one format, they will change it.

If the station had predominantly government watchdog programming, and then it was forcibly changed to pop music by the government or big biz, then there mighy be an issue here. As it is, there's no loss of free speech; just another opportunity for oldies to complain about young people's music.

posted on Jun, 11 2005 @ 11:03 AM
I know they change formats often. Ive been around long enough to have seen it a 1000 times. My point is that this was the ONLY station in the Chicagoland area that played that format. If you checked the aribtron ratings, they were number 3 in this market.

There are allready at least 5 stations here that play that type of format. Whats one more going to add? They just lost a huge chunk of the market. If I had money, I would start one tommorow. Theres a huge hole left by this

posted on Jun, 11 2005 @ 12:04 PM
Hello, and I apologize for having put this in ATSNN. I realize only after submitting it that it really did not belong there. It sort of MIGHT fit in the OP/ED section, but even still it wasn't fully fitting. BTS seems like the correct place, and I have learned my lesson.

Back to the topic, JACK-FM is a way of terrestrial radio to fight the rising popularity of satellite radio and especially the iPod and other MP3 players. People are considering the JACK format the "iPod-ification of radio" with the much more than average amount of music the station has. A normal station has anywhere between 250-300 songs in its database while JACK has about 1,200. Along with the fact that some JACK stations have no DJs at all. It's just music, the commercials and the periodic promos made by Howard Cogan (JACK stations hired him to do the promos, and honestly, I think his sarcastic sound is amazing).

Here are some links if you all would like to read more into the JACK phoenomenon.. and referring to earlier threads, if you see a JACK, BOB, BEN, JOE, HANK, DOUG or other stations... they're like brother stations. All of them are pretty much the same idea.

Related links: (there is a listing of every current JACK station in the US and Canada right now) (an article about Jack-FM and the iPod-ification of Radio)


posted on Jun, 25 2005 @ 08:39 PM
I ran across this thread (and this message board) doing some research for my website that concentrates on this radio format. It's called a few different names; I personally liked the name Variety Hits for it, thus my site is called

But I'm not here to shill for my site. I appreciate the above post pointing out that wikipedia had info on both Jack FM and Bob FM -- I wasn't aware of that, and I was able to add a few things to the wikipedia listing as a result. So to that end, I'm quite appreciative.

I respectfully disagree with those who feel that the Variety Hits format is an attempt by radio to copy the iPod. The iPod is a very personal experience, catered specifically to an individual user's taste. Variety Hits, on the other hand, uses Top 40 songs from 1974-present, usually more upbeat leaning (i.e. no Toni Braxton), that cover a wide variety of genres. It's hit oriented since hits=ratings; it's goal is to do well in the Adults 25-54 demographic (in radio terms called P25-54, or "Persons 25-54"), but it's aim in specific is Adults 35-44.

The wider playlists are a refreshing change from the 300 song narrow playlists than many stations use (and some are even tighter than that which play mostly currents). The format first caught on in Canada, and it was tried out on a rimshot signal in Denver, where it worked out very well. After successful efforts in places like Norfolk and Dallas, it suddenly reached what Michael Gladwell would call "The Tipping Point" and it became the next big thing in radio.

Oldies as a format is slowly dying because the core audience is aging out of the 25-54 demo, and once you pass 54, advertisers lose interest. Satellite radio, both Sirius and XM, is now trying to fill that gap.

Because of the huge playlists (and even larger libraries of potential songs), I think the Variety Hits format has legs to last longer than fad formats like Rhythmic Oldies, 80s, etc. But we'll see...

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