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OLDIES RADIO STATION NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND MUSICAL “CONTEXT”

Last week I wrote about a clueless morning show at major market oldies radio station.

The same station (the same week) had a “Commercial Music Weekend,” spotlighting oldies that have been used in commercials.

Recorded, Booming Announcer Voice: “And now here’s a song that you just might remember from a certain TV commercial….”

The live DJ says, “You might remember this song from the Gap commercial,” and Carole King’s “So Far Away” begins.

Yes, in CONTEXTUAL PROGRAMMING I explain the value of creating an “artificial context,” which this station attempted to do.

But the context needs to have some sort of emotional resonance with the audience.

Remember, this is an oldies station.

When listeners hear the opening notes of “So Far Away,” they don’t think of the Gap commercial. They immediately connect to the associations they’ve already formed to that song.

Trying to convince them that it’s not about who and where they were in 1971, when the song was a hit, but instead about The Gap — Well, that’s foolish.

“But Dan, what about the younger listeners who weren’t even born in 1971 but who did see that Gap commercial?”

It’s an oldies station. Check their audience demographics. Those “younger listeners” aren’t listening to that station.

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  • Greg Williams November 27, 2013, 10:53 am

    And that’s an issue that needs addressing. When every genre of music, every new song or group first came out, it was received as good music: fun to hear, sing’able, and chocked full of talent. Why can’t “Oldies” and “Classic Hits” formats deliver their playlist music with that attitude? Being born in ’63, I was 6 yrs old in 1969, but I can thoroughly enjoy Woodstock, any Top of the Pops show, and bands from the era for the sake of the music…period.