Perhaps the most disheartening thing about the comments that led to Don Imus’ firing yesterday is that while they were inexcusable, they weren’t that unusual. In an era where the corporate lawyers had clamped down on indecency, race baiting had become the place where some air personalities had chosen to ratchet up the outrage. In this week’s Ross On Radio, Edison Media Research’s Sean Ross argues that if any real change is to now take place, broadcasters’ must now take pro-active steps to instill a culture of respect that influences their talent before the mic is opened, rather than responding only to those comments that are highly publicized enough to create a crisis.
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In the late ’90s, when hip-hop began to usurp rock’s status as “the only music that matters,” even among white teens, programmers were forced to finally consider some sort of combination of rap and rock on the radio, particularly when hybrid acts like Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock became the defining flavor of Alternative radio. Nearly a decade later, rap rock seems like almost a quaint notion. But KMBY (X103.9) Monterey, Calif., is taking another swing at it, couching it in a young male-lifestyle approach that many predecessors had never really developed.
A lot of people want to talk about the Rhythmic AC format this week, given the initial returns for Alan Burns’ “Movin'” format at KQMV Seattle, a high-profile format flip at KZLA Los Angeles, and the launch of Clear Channel’s own variant at WJJZ (Philly’s 106.1 FM) Philadelphia. In this week’s “Ross On Radio” column, Sean Ross takes a look at the three stations and how they differ from each other, as well as the various strengths and challenges of the format. As programmers look for a way to acknowledge the lost rhythmic hits of the late ’80s/early ’90s, read “Rhythmic AC: In Search Of The Funky Cold Medina.”