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Platinum 96.7 Revisited

The one article written on this blog with the most comments is about Platinum 96.7 the Citadel oldies station in Dallas.

I wasn’t very kind toward the station.  In fact said it would be DOA.

Arbitron is tracking them in the 3 share range so my original prediction was incorrect.

How long the numbers hold is still out to the jury.

I must admit Platinum has some good qualities.  The music is familiar and generally sing-able.   It is well mixed and produced for the type of station it is.

Platinum is a station that nobody likes except the listeners.

I made a point to listen again during a trip to Dallas last weekend.

The big push was for Debbie Diaz who joined in afternoon drive.  There were no jocks on during my monitor.  Having heard her work, I’m sure she is a nice addition.

Ron Chapman has a presence too doing testimonial type commercials.

Chapman’s spirit runs through the station.

Platinum will never be my favorite oldies station.  Not because of anything they’ve done wrong,  but because it’s just not my kind of station.

The point of the original posting asked why radio as an industry always returns to the same ‘well’ when creating new station formats.

There is tons of fresh music released weekly.  As an industry we  fall into the same pattern of AC, Oldies, Country, Rock, etc. without looking for something fresh.

Citadel’s choice of soft oldies isn’t the only predictable type of format we’ve heard in recent times.

CBS’s ‘Now’ Fm comes off as just another CHR in a long line of similar launches.

Nova 96.9 Sydney was the last really innovative CHR launched around 2001.  They still sound fresh today.

Looking back on my own launches there have been plenty of copy cat things we did to get the stations on air.   I’d like to have a few of those 10,000 in a row back to do again.

Radio needs some different thinking.

Perhaps in this time of economic uncertainty the ‘tried and true’ stuff is right.

Radio will need formats that go beyond playing from the Whitburns and Mediabase if it has a hope of remaining viable.

Today it’s nice to see anyone have success. even if I don’t personally like the station.

So Platinum take it through the 3’s and beyond.  The industry needs some good stories right now.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Creating A Sparkling Station

Gordon McLendon was the owner of KLIF Dallas and KILT Houston among others during the 50s, 60s and 70s.

The McLendon stations were innovators and very colorful.

He was the first to try an all news format, but Top 40 was where McLendon made his mark.

The stations were really promotion vehicles, with music and DJs attached.

McLendon promotions were imaginative and exciting.

A McLendon promotion could generate thousands of participants. They often included treasure hunts or other ‘event’ type promotions designed to stop traffic and get notice for the station.

Sometimes the promotion was so big and successful the city had to pass new laws to prevent traffic jams and property damage.

Other owners and PDs would fly into Dallas to listen and take notes. They’d try to identify what worked and bring the magic back to their own station.

McLendon was hard to copy, in part because he was so original and so driven.

The “old Scotsman” had a simple rule posted in the studio.

“Be funny, be informative or be quiet”.

Talk to any former McLendon PD or jock and they’ll tell you he meant it too.

McLendon believed certain elements made a station stand out from the others. He called these “sparklers’.

To quote from a McLendon memo; “a ‘sparkling station’ means one that is: alive, exciting, animated, buoyant, vivid, spirited, fresh, topical, exuding on air a feeling of what’s-going-to happen-next and something-continually-going on.”

“Such a station doesn’t just happen. It takes WORK by the Program Director and all concerned– lots of work. And if that work is not a labor of love, rather than a labor of continuing effort, the chances are that the station will sparkle only briefly.”

McLendon was so serious about the subject he laid it out in a ten page memo to Program Directors.

Every element was important.

He wanted the Program Director to pay attention to everything on air. The memo even outlines the right and wrong approaches to ‘time and temp’.

Does your station ‘sparkle’? Does it sound ‘immediate’ or ‘topical’?

Pretend you are a Program Director coming from out of town. Take a room at a local hotel for two days and listen to your station. Fill a notebook with everything you hear.

Is there anything you would ‘steal’ and take back to put on the air?

Is your station alive, exciting, animated, buoyant, vivid, spirited, fresh, topical, exuding on air a feeling of what’s-going-to-happen-next and something-continually-going-on?

In other words does it ‘sparkle’?

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2008 in Radio programming

 

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