Columns appear in print in the U Entertainment Section of the Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Whittier Daily News
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Radio Column April 14, 2006
April 14, 2006
By Sandy Wells
New pop alternative music in focus as Star 98.7 changes format
The personalities are gone; Jamie White, Jack and Stench are on permanent hiatus from morning drive and Bradley is no more in the afternoon (his contract ran out). And, a station announcement said there will be no radio personalities until further notice. Goodbye also to most of those ’80s hits. “Star 98.7” KYSR-FM 98.7 has ceded that ground to the Jack FM juggernaut (KCBS-FM 93.1) and is now focusing on exposing the exciting new crop of pop “alternative” artists.
“The next evolution of this format is here and Star 98.7 will lead the way in Southern California,” said Star 98.7 Program Director Mike Marino, in a statement. “This new generation of artists has joined the format’s established artists in embracing the art of great storytelling in their music, and our listeners have told us they want to hear more of it. Star 98.7 will celebrate by featuring top artists from our playlist in signature live on-air Star Lounge performances on every Monday in May.”
Its new slogan launched this week is “Today’s Music Alternative.” Featured prominently now are artists such as James Blunt (“You’re Beautiful” Natasha Bedingfield (“Unwritten”), Jamie Cullum (“Catching Tales”) and Daniel Powter (“Bad Day”).
Hits from established artists such as Greenday, Nickelback, Alanis Morissette, U2, The Killers and Train are also in the mix.
Station spokesperson Robert Lyles explained that the new approach is taking the station back to its “roots” as a more contemporary-oriented pop music station.
This may bring the FM station some better ratings, plus give exposure to all these gifted young artists that otherwise depend on word of mouth, iTunes and MTV to get their names out into the public.
“We’re thrilled about the compelling new music coming out for our format, and the results of our on-air music search yesterday confirm that there’s an audience for it,” enthused Star 98.7 General Manager Craig Rossi. “We’re also seeing that the power has shifted to the listener when it comes to audio entertainment choices, so Star 98.7 is going to provide lots of opportunities for listeners to tell us what they want from their radio station. And, they can connect to very cool interactive features through www.Star987.com web offerings like the Stripped Music performances, Videos on Demand, NEW!, The Music Store downloads and lots of other on-demand content.”
As I wrote in this column earlier this year, the exit of Howard Stern has really opened the door for music radio’s resurgence. The pressure on programmers to counter Stern with a morning comedy show is gone, and now other options are being explored. We’ll see if Star 98.7 is up for the challenge.
Wanted: one full-time all-news station for Los Angeles
Now that baseball season is here, and the Dodgers games are being carried on KFWB-AM 980, there is no fulltime radio news outlet in the Southland.
Former news station KNX-AM 1070 is developing a full slate of daytime (9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Mon. – Fri.) business-consumer talk programming including “Money 101” and the “KNX Business news Hour” with Bob McCormick, Westwood One’s “Real Money” with Jim Kramer and business news with Frank Mottek.
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