For Radio, Classic Is The New Black


(By Curt Krafft) There are two radio formats that are doing very well across the country and they both have one word in common—“classic.” The two formats being Classic Hits and Classic Rock. So why the yearning for nostalgia? Is it because of the troubled times we currently live in? Is it because many of us just don’t like the current music? Or is it because we feel that the best part of our lives has already taken place. Psychologists say that the past looks better because we only remember the good times associated with it. And with those good times we also remember the music that was played. Radio should start jumping on this. More so than it has.

For example, in addition to Classic Hits and Classic Rock why not Classic Country? Yes, there are some stations that have this kind of format, but not that many. You would think that with the popularity of current country music that Classic Country would be a no-brainer. I’m talking about FM stations in major markets across the country. But this is not the case. Most Classic Country seems to be relegated to AM stations, many in smaller markets. And some of them are just carrying satellite feeds with no local air personalities. BORING! This format should be taking off, and I think it would if given the proper attention and effort.

Another format that is being tried in a few markets is Classic Hip Hop. But again, only a few. I would think because of its uniqueness that more stations would be jumping on the bandwagon. At least it’s different. And this got me to thinking. What about trying some other genres of music and see if the Classic Spin works for them?

For example, how about Classic Dance? Disco from the late 70s along with dance music from the 80s and 90s with 2,000s to be added over time to keep the format fresh. As a former club DJ, I think this would be successful in a number of different markets. Of course, it has to be done right. By that I mean live air-personalities who know and love the music along with an extensive playlist that not only includes the dance songs that were hits on the radio, but also includes the dance songs that were hits in the clubs. It would also include the various genres of dance music, including techno and house. If you want to fail, then by all means play “Stayin’ Alive” and “Y.M.C.A.” fifty times a week.

Radio has got more competition now than ever before. It can’t afford to remain stagnant, especially with music formats. Content is still king. New ideas have to be developed. And if some of them should fall under the Classic banner, like Classic Dance, then why not give it a try? Come to think of it, has anyone tried Classic Classical? Just a thought.

Curt Krafft is a radio air personality, account executive, and developer of new format ideas. He can be reached at [email protected]


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