video title: Battle for Radio Control
video link:
video source: SacTVnews
uploaded on YouTube March 18, 2012

more info: Playlist
duration 9:16 minutes

Battle For Radio Control "Video of the Day" review by Alex Cosper on March 18, 2012

At one time radio DJs created their own playlists by showing up an hour before air time to plan out their shows. This practice gradually changed between the mid-seventies and the mid-eighties as radio consultants began to use research to chop up station music libraries to focus on the songs that tested the best with research focus groups. As playlists shrank, so did the stature of the radio star, thanks to corporate control, which increased its power to dictate programming. Digital technology eventually gave behind the scenes programmers complete control of what went out over the air. Cox explains the radical differences between the fun radio at KROY in the 70s/80s and the more controlled corporate sound of radio in 2000, when this interview was shot.

The former KROY morning host describes how playlists were hand-written by the jocks prior to the 80s. Jocks would pick music from a box of cards that represented records. The cards were color-coded to help categorize songs so that the same types of songs didn't play back to back. Tony compares corporate radio with cheap hamburgers, in which the point is not to deliver the best quality products, but to get away with bare minimum quality that sells. The result of this corporate streamlining has been a homogenized and predictable cookie-cutter sound across the dial. Read more about the history of KROY and other Sacramento radio stations at Playlist Research.

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