Category Archives: Programming

Clutter Creep

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

KevinRobBy: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media

“Out of clutter, find simplicity.”
Albert Einstein

All brands eventually wake up from the malaise of sameness – to find it.

Our homes have it – mostly tucked in drawers or hidden in seldom used rooms.

Clutter.

Where you place a once-important item to be addressed later.

And, it creeps into a part of your natural habitat.

With media brands you’ll find multiple slogans or messages, assembled with inconsistency.

Or perhaps features that have been spawned without a serious mind-audit.

Or worse yet – a we’ve always done it that way brain freeze.

The BEST brands know that not EVERY thing is forever.

McDonalds’ – McRib (for a limited time).

Starbucks – pumpkin spice.

Netflix cleanses their feed every month.

With 2016 slowly dripping to a close, it’s time to de-clutter.

Your brands, your habitat and eventually – your mind.

Turn over every piece of your brand to clean up the message.

You can only be known for one (or maybe two) things.

Why pour anything else into your brand message?

Waiting for you and your consumer on the other end is a clutter-free, focused and consumable brand.


Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top 3 of the target – often times as the list leader. In his 35 years of radio, he’s successfully programmed or consulted nearly every English language radio brand. Known largely as a trusted talent coach, he’s the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position. His efforts have been recognized by Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink, and has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent. Kevin lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.

All Things Christmas

garyberkowitz_275
Gary Berkowitz

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of the above article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Gary Berkowitz
President, Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting
gary@garyberk.com
http://www.garyberk.com

“It’s all about how you decorate your station for the holidays.

Here’s a programming checklist and suggestions as we approach Christmas.

Programming checklist/suggestions as we approach Christmas:

  1. The on-air presentation should remain up and contemporary. Sometimes when stations go to all Christmas music, the jocks tend to “soften” or bring the presentation down. The on-air delivery should be up, fun and exciting.
  2. When opening the mic, the jocks should always open with a line like: B106.1 The Christmas Music Station. (Please do not refer to the music as “Holiday Music” always call it Christmas music).
  3. Other key Positioning lines to consider:
    • 100% Christmas Music
    • All Christmas Music, All The Time
    • Non Stop Christmas Music
    • All Your Christmas Favorites all Season
  4. Reinforce these lines every time. Not just sometimes. It’s critical to drive home the “All Christmas” message. It will not get tired.
  5. The goal is to “dress up the station” with Christmas cheer. This is a six-week tactic. Sound great and get all the ratings credit.
  6. The right music list repeats a lot. You may get some complaints. That’s ok. Wondering about your list? Call me and I’ll tell you.
  7. Dress the website for Christmas. Use the line “The Christmas Music Station.” It’s very important that when a listener goes to the website, it reflects what you are doing on the air. Same for Facebook pages. Do what you can with them to make it look like Christmas.
  8. Have high production values. Use lots of holiday jingles. If you cannot get new Christmas jingles in time, take your current ones, and be creative. Add bells, chimes, and ho-ho-ho’s to make them sound Christmas.
  9. It’s all about Christmas. All live liners and recorded sweepers refer to Christmas.
  10. Get involved with as many Christmas promotions as possible. Local sings, shows that are coming to town (Radio City Music Hall Christmas, etc). Look at a contest tactic like “Christmas Song of the Day.”
  11. Attention diary markets: No matter what the Arbitron, Ooops, I mean Nielsen people tell you, change your Arbitron SIP. Make sure it says “Christmas Music” “Xmas music” etc.

Before his current tenure as President of the company that bares his name, Gary Berkowitz spent many years being involved in every aspect of the operation and management of some of America’s most successful radio stations. Gary was the first Program Director at the legendary PRO-FM, Providence. He transformed WROR, Boston from an Oldies station to what would become one of the first AC’s in the US. Gary then went to Detroit for Capital Cities Communications to program News-Talk powerhouse WJR, and WHYT. Under Gary’s leadership WHYT experienced the highest ratings ever as a CHR. The next step was when Gary launched one of the first Hot AC’s, Q95, Detroit with another #1 success story.

Gary started his Detroit-based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting in 1990 and has been helping AC stations grow and achieve higher ratings ever since. Results driven, attentive and highly passionate best describes his style. In 2012 he was inducted to the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame as well as the WERS (Emerson College, Boston) Radio Hall of Fame.

Spectacular!

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

KevinRobBy: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media

The year – 1883.

Under construction – The Statue of Liberty –with detailed supervision by designer Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

As metal workers banged out sheets of Lady Liberty, the curve on TOP of her crown received the same detail – as her feet.

This is significant as commercial flight – was decades away.

Bartholdi wanted every inch to be spectacular – even if no eyes would see much of the top.

Spectacular happened when Top 40 radio was – a baby.

Don Steele.

The Real Don Steele was one of the original Boss Jocks on the legendary KHJ-AM/Los Angeles.

He could be spectacular in 8 seconds – and treated every break as an audition for the next show.

Self-help – from Tom Peters.

Being Spectacular requires minute-by-minute excellence.

Sculpting – entertainment – personal improvement.

Everyone has the same 168 hours a week.

The same 1,448 minutes in a day.

The same 3,900 heart beats in an hour.

During our time, why endorse mediocre now – or ever?


Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top 3 of the target – often times as the list leader. In his 35 years of radio, he’s successfully programmed or consulted nearly every English language radio brand. Known largely as a trusted talent coach, he’s the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position. His efforts have been recognized by Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink, and has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent. Kevin lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.

Find It

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

KevinRobBy: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media

“Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought.”  -Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Hungarian physiologist

Sometimes it’s right before your very eyes – or ears, in some cases.

The traditional media world screams for new, fresh talent but fails to pull the trigger and resorts into the well of ‘the usual suspects.’

What would the music world be without Stevie Nicks, who was discovered in 1967 at a Young Life meeting by Lindsey Buckingham – no Fleetwood Mac, as we know it today.

If Columbia Records had not directed contract producer Jim Messina to work with a new kid named Kenny Loggins – well, you know. No one home in the House At Pooh Corner.

In Los Angeles, Jimmy The Sports Guy on the KROQ morning show summoned the random services of a personal trainer named Adam and struck up a conversation about our business.

Now, Adam Carolla is a household name and a podcast superstar.

And, that Jimmy The Sports Guy, who carries the last name Kimmel, also unearthed, as his intern, another talent named Carson Daly.

Looking for that spark to jump-start YOUR talent bank but think that there’s ‘a big lack of talent out there?’

Listen to Brad Booker tell his story about who he found serving pizza in Evansville:

“I stopped into the big pizza joint, Turoni’s. After ordering the beer sampler, the server carded me and inquired why I moved to Indiana from New Orleans.

I told her I was there to do a morning show on (Hot 96) WSTO. She proceeded to inform me that she recently graduated from Ball State University, with a degree in Media Communications and was proficient in Pro Tools.

WHAT? The girl bringing our pizza knew Pro Tools?

She wanted to break into the business but had no experience. Sarah was so witty and entertaining, I brought my boss in to meet her. Weeks later, she was producing our show and the third voice.”

Sarah Pepper then rocketed from market size #162 (Evansville) to #6 (Houston) – simply by what others saw but what no one else thought.

With turmoil swirling in legacy media, it’s prime to take chances again.

It’s out there – let’s find it.


Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top 3 of the target – often times as the list leader. In his 35 years of radio, he’s successfully programmed or consulted nearly every English language radio brand. Known largely as a trusted talent coach, he’s the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position. His efforts have been recognized by Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink, and has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent. Kevin lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.

Shrink The Audience

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

KevinRobBy: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media 

“At stadium shows, we connect by shrinking the audience, reducing the place so the guy in the back row of the balcony is the one left.”  –Dave Murray, Iron Maiden

No, this isn’t about losing audience. Rather, this is about GROWING audience by connecting with an audience of ONE.

The key to building a relationship with the audience – any audience – is communicating to ONE person and NOT thousands.

You remember your favorite radio or TV personality growing up – he or she was talking to YOU – not everyone else.

Whether it was Cousin Brucie, John Records Landecker, The Real Don Steele or (insert your favorite here), they were doing their show for YOU – and no one else.

Broadcast Talent (unlike stage actors) must break the ‘4th wall’ and connect directly with the target. They have the unique opportunity to be one with the audience.

Talent grabs audience – just by showing up. Get them to LOVE you by bonding in a one-on-one relationship.

As they say, you get audience ‘one at a time.’

Accomplish this by telling stories – reducing trite ‘bits.’

Eliminate words that build the wall (‘everybody,’ ‘out there;’ ‘where you are’) and simply employ the word ‘you’ with intimate regularity.

Deliver content as though the audience is sitting in the room with you!

Eradicate nonsensical language such as ‘radio’ and ‘station.’

Your show should be an experience – not a box or building.

Doing so will increase your Audience Eye Contact, galvanize the relationship with the audience and GROW your brand by connecting with the audience of ONE!


Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top 3 of the target – often times as the list leader. In his 35 years of radio, he’s successfully programmed or consulted nearly every English language radio brand. Known largely as a trusted talent coach, he’s the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position. His efforts have been recognized by Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink, and has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent. Kevin lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.

Robinson: The Score

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

KevinRobBy: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media 

“Writing a tune is like sculpting. You get four or five notes, you take one out and move one around and you do a little bit more and eventually the sculptor says, ‘In that rock there is a statue, we have to go find it” – John Williams

Parallels between creating a radio brand and developing a movie are striking. Even the roles that behind-the-scenes players occupy are similar.

The Owner (Executive Producer) funds the operation, General Manager (Producer) hires the Program Director (Director) as the Program Director populates his brand (the movie) with talent (actors).

In a perfect world, the vision for the product comes directly from the mind and leadership of The Team.

Every element, from the business matrix to compelling messaging to marketing to product delivery, supports that vision.

What comes through the target market is – The Score.

The minutia inside the sonic design, the atmospherics of the product spring from the mind of Program Director.

The ART of ‘scoring’ the product is a lost – uh – art!

Great brands are built on an intuitive music scheme (beyond research), focused, unique, compelling talent and larger-than-life reflective packaging.

All programmers should take a day away from the office every quarter and listen intently to their ‘movie.’

Best done sequestered and away from distraction, this isolation will allow you to SEE your song-to-song decisions, HEAR the score in your packaging and truly DIRECT the air talent.

It won’t ever be perfect – but (like movies) with a touch of risk, it will be different,

YOUR – ‘different’.

Today – now.

Do you hear a statue inside your radio?


Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top 3 of the target – often times as the list leader. In his 35 years of radio, he’s successfully programmed or consulted nearly every English language radio brand. Known largely as a trusted talent coach, he’s the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position. His efforts have been recognized by Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink, and has coached CMA, ACM, and Marconi winning talent. Kevin lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.

Editorial: Stand Out From The Crowd

JohnLund_200By: John C. Lund
The Lund Consultants, Inc.
www.lundradio.com

Many companies make cell phones and computers, but Apple managed to cut a unique path that led to sales numbers all other companies covet. In the process, the Apple name gained strength as the “i” moniker became a marker for innovation. Apple has mastered standing out in the crowd. Winning stations are like that: a unique edge or identity that becomes part of the brand. We call it Stationality.

What is your unique edge? If you say your music, then this can be attacked easily by a competitor in order to steal your audience. Is it market longevity alone, or have you coupled that with other unique desirable listener benefits?

An even bigger challenge is properly identifying your station’s unique offering and marketing that to listeners. In your next staff meeting, ask every employee to describe your station and then list a key attribute or offering. Chances are that some of your own staff have trouble defining what you are. What can we expect from a listener in that case? Conversely, you may find a description or approach that becomes your new marketing campaign.

The value of your brand rests with being easily identified and offering something exclusive or more attractively packaged for your audience.

Do you own your image in your market? We work with stations and groups to build unique positions and stronger brands that anchor ratings and revenue. Contact john@lundradio.com to discuss your market. See the Lund Stationality Stylebook for ways to make your station unique.

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of the above article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Editorial: Is Radio Milking The Wrong Callers?

Sean Ross webBy: Sean Ross
Sean@RossOnRadio.com
Twitter: @RossOnRadio

It is a seemingly inevitable moment in any call-to-win contest, especially for a prize of any significance.

You will hear the caller before the correct number caller. Sometimes it will be a quick groan of frustration when they’re informed. Sometimes the on-air personality feels the need to play with them, dragging out the suspense, even when the caller doesn’t think they’re the right number. If they can’t be sure of getting the winning caller to scream appropriately at the office, they can at least milk some extra agony from the loser before hand.

There are multiple variants on the “call before the winner” call.

  • There’s the “I’m sorry, we already got a winner, but don’t worry, because there’s more cash in four hours” call.
  • There’s the “I’m not giving away anything right now, but don’t worry, because there’s more cash in four hours” call.
  • There’s the “I’m sorry, you’re listening for a different Taylor Swift song, but don’t worry because something by Taylor is coming up again in 20 minutes” call.

Airing these calls comes out of an absolutely correct programmers’ instinct, or several. Generate the most possible excitement about your cash contest. Tell people what you’re going to do, then do it, then tell them that you did it. Set appointments. Don’t let a hundred dollars’ worth of excitement be over in just a few seconds, much less a larger amount.

Hearing a contest milked, well or badly, is also a function of jock nature: “We’re giving away money on my shift.” You can generally count on that kind of excitement for any prize greater than the $50-gift-certificate-from-a-jeweler-that-doesn’t-actually-buy-anything.

Jocks also seem to think it’s okay in particular to make fun of any listener stupid or greedy enough to call when nothing’s actually being given away. For the most part, however, the bulk of the losing callers are doing the thing a station told them to do—listen longer and call to win.

I always feel bad for the caller-before-the-correct caller. I particularly feel bad when there’s any level of sadism on the jock’s part. That might just be me. Listeners love prank phone calls. I don’t want to hear the person on the other end squirm, even when they’re an actor and it’s a set-up.

Beyond that, after enough “you didn’t win” phone calls, I also find myself wondering about the message being sent.  Do enough of those unintentionally brand a station as the place where people don’t win money? Isn’t radio station money supposed to be easier to win than, say, Powerball money? I hear an increasing number of stations during a big Powerball jackpot making fun of the unlikelihood of winning.

So, what’s the right balance between milking excitement and sending the wrong message?

For starters, I’ve come to believe that if you’re taking caller number 109, there should always be a little something for caller 108. And, maybe for caller 110. Station swag would do it, but imagine what message a modest, unexpected cash prize (before the big one) would send about your station. You’re not just giving away money, you’re giving away extra, unsolicited money. Think of Oprah Winfrey and the power of unexpected winning.

I’ve also come to think stations aren’t getting enough from the actual winner. In many cases, the jock briefly tries to negotiate a scream from the winner-who-can’t-scream-because-they’re-on-the-job. Maybe there’s a quick “so what are you going to do with the money?” or “who are you going to take with you to the concert?”  Then they’re gone until the winner promo, and you’re back to hearing the other callers.

One station that got me thinking about the power of having the winners hang around is CFXL (XL103) Calgary. Like a lot of other “Greatest Hits” (or Classic Rock) stations, their signature promotion has become the daily payroll game in which a winner continues to rack up cash until somebody else hears their name called and displaces them. The contest isn’t new, but XL gets more out of it than many stations I’ve heard.

Often, middayer Buzz Bishop and afternoon host Bob Steele effectively make the current winner into the hour’s co-host. You get to know them. They are often coached into doing talk-ups over intros that are sometimes better than our own first airchecks. They do shtick with the next winner after being “fired.” By the end of the hour, they are “people just like you” who won money.

The payroll game structure lends itself to a winner sticking around, of course. But who’s to say that anybody who just won cash wouldn’t be happy to visit with the host for a few more breaks? The callers aren’t necessarily people with inherently mesmerizing on-air personalities, but the same work that goes into extending a contest payoff with losing callers goes into making the winners sound great.

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of the above article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Editorial: The Perfect Break

JohnLund_200By: John C. Lund
The Lund Consultants, Inc.
www.lundradio.com

Programmers and talents often discuss what makes a perfect break. We think it’s the proper mix of branding, engagement, and commitment – measured on the audience’s terms.

Branding is essential to get ratings credit, even with PPM. Learn from the masters like Coke and Starbucks, where being top-of-mind is everything. Sell your brand and tattoo your station on the listener’s mind. Be consistent with how your brand is sold.

Engagement covers many areas. It’s content that listeners want, and it’s the companionship that makes a station essential to each user. For content, begin with the essentials (morning time checks, song information, weather, and listener’s plans) and add the other items that register with your audience. This is where content gets tricky. Aim for your target and not what your talent thinks is interesting. Get to the point and pay off quickly. Your time to engage or lose interest is measured in scant seconds. Don’t waste it with silly filler or meaningless inside talk. Engage quickly (3-seconds!) with a “hook” that builds continued listening.

Commitment includes teases of more reasons to listen, returning for another tune-in, and building partisanship. This is where you “buy” your next tune-in for improved ratings. Is your station a utility for that listener or a daily “requirement?” Building commitment is the key to growing your audience from within. Think about listener benefits here.

The Lund Marketing and Promotion Guide offers over 100 no-cost promotions and gives details on executing promotions and strengthening your branding. Sharpen your marketing focus with our marketing checklists and worksheets.

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of the above article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Editorial: The Radio Road Trip Lives

Sean Ross webBy: Sean Ross
Sean@RossOnRadio.com
Twitter: @RossOnRadio

You don’t have to go on a road trip to hear small-town radio anymore. Not every small-market station streams, but I come across interesting small-market stations in my various listening apps on a regular basis — often discovering them in the course of searching for some other station.

You don’t have to listen to small-market radio if you go on a road trip. If you’re a satellite subscriber, it’s likely that you’ve cheerfully given up on futzing around for a new station every hour. We drove from New York to Florida in December, and the song I’ll remember the trip by was not a current or developing hit, but “When I Was a Boy” by Jeff Lynne’s ELO, then being showcased on Sirius XM’s triple-A The Spectrum channel.

But, I recently drove the 5-1/2 hours from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City. Both ways. Without satellite. Without streaming. That means about three hours each way with only small-market music FMs. Many people wouldn’t consider doing that now, but if you’re reading a Ross on Radio column, there’s a better-than-average chance that you would.

Just as there is still excitement in hearing an “oh wow” song on the radio — even if it’s a song readily available on your phone — there is still excitement in hearing local radio locally. A few weeks ago, I surfed across a station in Hazard, KY, talking about the difficulty of finding younger coal miners. There was ample and fascinating “sense of place” there, but it was still somewhere else. Large or small-market, it’s different knowing what you’re hearing represents the place you are.

To that point, there was also excitement in scanning across “Bohemian Like You” by Dandy Warhols, never a consistent hit on U.S. radio, in St. George, Utah. That moment of wondering “how would this song end up on the radio here, of all places,” was barely diminished by figuring out that it was the Dixie State University alternative station, KXDS (Radio Dixie 91.3), operating with a translator in the commercial frequencies. (To drive the Mountain West is to rarely have the frequency on your car radio match the dial position being given by the station.)

The Dixie State station had its own sense of place. The ads were for campus organizations. One tried to recruit students for chemistry club by promising, “You could be the next Walter Wh…,” before the announcer trailed off, and allowed that nobody would actually be breaking bad.

Some other observations from 5-1/2 hours spent largely off the grid:
There are always the stations covering multiple positions by necessity. CHR, Adult Top 40, and Hot AC are closer than ever, but KLGL (Eagle 94.5) Richfield, UT, which was positioned as a Hot AC, still played “Undone (The Sweater Song)” by Weezer, “Please Forgive Me” by Bryan Adams,” and “Alright” by Janet Jackson in the course of my listening.  To Eagle’s credit, it all flowed well. I kept listening for some provocative segue that I could include in “Radio’s Best & Worst,” and barely found one until “Alright” went into Thomas Rhett, “Die a Happy Man.” Weezer went into OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars,” which wasn’t jarring at all.

Radio road trips used to be defined by the unavoidable current song, or better yet by the developing song discovered in market after secondary market. That changed with the tightening of major-group-owned radio in medium markets, and although I certainly heard “Stressed Out” enough times, you are as likely to remember the trip for hearing “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar, or some other reliably testing library title more than twice, even in the major-markets.

But, you also hear the records that have disappeared. I’ve heard “Getting Jiggy Wit It” three times this week. I heard “Say You, Say Me” by Lionel Richie more than once. Of course, your chances of the latter have been bolstered by the recent boost in super-soft ACs. Las Vegas and Salt Lake City have had the format for years. But St. George has one, too. I heard at least four supersoft ACs.

You also really notice the rise of the Classic Country format on a road trip. It was the thing most often encountered on the handful of music AMs I came across, but it wasn’t only on AM. I would have been happy with either “Love’s Been a Little Bit Hard on Me” by Juice Newton or “Baby I Lied” by Deborah Allen. Within an hour, I’d heard both.

When you do hear recent songs that you wouldn’t hear in the major markets, they tend not to be brand new but mid-chart records that other stations have dropped. Ellie Goulding’s “Something in the Way You Move” disappeared almost instantly from major-market stations. I heard it repeatedly on this trip.

Some things don’t change. There is always that hour-or-so stretch where your only choice is one Country station and one station playing choral religious music. Also still true, the first other station you find after that sounds really good. Even if you’re traveling during the week, there will always be the station you can’t hear in regular format. I heard a “Greatest Hits” station playing Scott Shannon’s countdown on Sunday night. When I came back 24 hours later, it was running Tom Kent.

The biggest change is the consistent availability of big-sounding imaging. On a road trip of the past, a great legal or promo always helped establish a small-market station as something special, even if a weak part-timer came along to kill the vibe a few songs later. These days, everybody has good imaging, and you won’t necessarily hear any part-timer in a small-market or any part-timer in a large one. That said, one of the trip’s happiest moments was turning on KLUC Las Vegas at 8:35 on Sunday morning and hearing it hosted.

In fact, while there have been road trips where the small-market radio made the larger-market stations sound bad, just by being more essentially radio, the market sizes were pretty evenly matched this trip. Salt Lake City radio, in particular, impressed me. After decades as the most-overradioed market in America (the geography of Provo and Ogden essentially gave it enough radio stations for three cities), it’s a rare instance of competition truly making everybody better, not just bankrupt. I’m also prepared to declare KZHT vs. KUDD (Mix 105.1) the best CHR war of the moment.

That holiday drive to Florida was a disappointment, from a radio standpoint, because it didn’t stack up to similar versions of that trip from my formative radio years. This drive put me back in touch with some of the things I used to love about radio road trips. The marathon drive was more than worthwhile.

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of the above article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.