Entries by Tom Webster

Songs That Made A Difference in 2003

Every year, I’ve looked back at the records that not only captured the moment, but signaled a sea-change at radio. In 2003, however, with the labels still trying to save their way to prosperity by releasing less product, it was hard to pinpoint more than a handful. Still, radio definitely changed last year. So what songs drove that change?

So This Is Christmas: What Have You Done?

Unlike much of the country, the author hadn’t lived with the Christmas format on a full-time basis until this holiday season when WLTW and WNEW both took the plunge (as well as numerous other stations heard on his daily commute). It’s hard to dispute the effectiveness of Christmas music. The effectiveness of Christmas radio, on the other hand, is another story.

KLBU Santa Fe, NM: Radio Finally Chills Out

Chillout music, electronica’s mellow side, has been the Smooth Jazz (or Easy Listening) of this generation for several years, but only in the last 18 months or so has that music made its way to the radio with specialty shows and, now, the debut of KLBU (Blu 102.9) Santa Fe, N.M., the first full-time chillout station. Here’s an exclusive interview with GM Ken Christensen.

Wanna Be Startin’ Something?

The arrest of Michael Jackson just seemed like more fodder for morning shows and promotion directors—something to tide them over until Britney Spears could get married for a few hours. But why would any morning team try to find the lighter side of this particular tragedy? And are PDs overlooking the topic’s potential to polarize the audience?

A Shift At Pop Radio, If Not A Shift In Listener Tastes

As recently as mid-summer, Top 40 radio was harder and rappier than ever. Then fall came and suddenly the hits were by Stacy Orrico, Fountains of Wayne, and Trapt with just an occasional Outkast or Baby Bash. But have Top 40 listeners really switched their musical allegiences this fast? Or are PDs just being, uh, headstrong?