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Star 100.7 Becomes Jack 100.7
Every day when my wife drives home from work (here in San Diego) she tunes in to radio station Star 100.7 to listen to a show called 'The Daily Dirt' (which is basically entertainment gossip). Today she was surprised to discover that the station had abruptly switched to a 'classic rock' format that randomly plays songs from the 80's, 90's, and the present. Plus, it was no longer Star 100.7. It was now Jack 100.7. Even the DJs were different. She thought it might be some kind of belated April Fool's Day prank. But when she got home we did some research and learned it was no prank.

Apparently this is happening to radio stations across the country (and in Canada). Suddenly the management will fire all the staff, rename the station something like Jack or Bob or Doug FM (it's always a guy's name), and switch to a random-play format. Audiences aren't given any warning, so they often think it's a prank.

I think this is a scheme cooked up by marketers to maximize profits. The management tries to spin the random-play thing as them being daring enough to 'play whatever they want', but in reality they're just saving money by having a computer in shuffle-mode pick the songs. Then they fire all the staff (except for the morning show usually), and replace them with lower-paid substitutes who mumble phrases from a corporate script in between the songs.

I never listened to Star 100.7 that much, so the change won't affect me in any way. But it does seem strange that all these stations are being renamed Jack or Bob or Doug and transformed into glorified iPods on shuffle mode. I figure that it must be one company behind it all, but I don't know who it is.
Radio
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 07, 2005
Bill B. said:

"Our pop-rock station became metal-rock, the pop-rock station became country. That was an interesting change because for the first month, while they were switching to the new format, they played Garth Brooks 24-7."

In the radio business, that is known as "stunting." It is done for one or both of two reasons. The first is to draw public attention to the fact that the station is doing something odd. The second is to confuse the station's competition as to exactly what format the station is changing to.

As you can imagine, it's often important to stations that the competition be kept in the dark as to what it is about to do so that the competition can't make its own format change to blunt the impact of the move.

Typically, the song or artist that the station plays continuously has nothing to do with the format that the station is actually going to. That's so there's no "hint" of what the station really plans on doing.

In your case, it seems that they weren't worried about the competition finding out that they were going country, hence the 24/7 Garth Brooks.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Fri Apr 08, 2005  at  03:22 AM
Must be a conspiracy to numb your minds.
Or maybe the gay scene is getting into radio, hence the male names.
Either way: don
Posted by Beasjt  on  Fri Apr 08, 2005  at  06:20 AM
"Hi, you have reached Homophobes 'R' Us, Beasjt speaking"
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Fri Apr 08, 2005  at  06:47 AM
The one in Albuquerque is Ed FM, which used to be Fred FM. They were being sued for using the name Fred, hence the shortened name.

I think their computer plays good stuff.
Posted by delkcerf  on  Fri Apr 08, 2005  at  10:12 AM
This happened to a radio station in my area too, i forget what it used to be called (my sister listens to it, I don't) but it recently turned to doug f.m. and started playing completely random oldies (it used to be a pop/rap station)
Posted by Just a random guy  in  in a hospital, out of a long coma  on  Fri Apr 08, 2005  at  10:36 AM
They just recently had the same thing occur in Philly. Y100 used to be punk rock/ Alternative rock and suddenly switched to hip-hop.

I'm OK with hiphop but Y100 was the only station of that format in the area. Now it has joined the 5 other hihop stations. Doesn't sound like a good move to me since the market is already saturated.

Lame.
Posted by ike  in  Philly  on  Fri Apr 08, 2005  at  01:08 PM
>>In your case, it seems that they weren't worried about the competition>>

There were two other country stations in the city then -- one FM and one AM. The FM one focused on the traditional older country music. The new station was aimed at younger country fans. Garth was kind of the symbol of those fans in the 80s. So you're probably right. The station is still country, and still aimed at younger listeners. You can check out the "Cowgirls" at their website for proof of that: http://www.q104kc.com/

I listened to my Jack station last night, and it doesn't sound like a computer shuffle. They do have DJs, though they don't take requests.
Posted by Bill B.  on  Fri Apr 08, 2005  at  03:52 PM
In Columbus, OH, Eagle 103.9 (a mixture of '70s and '80s rock) became Ted-FM a few months ago. It follows the typical Jack/Bob/whatever format, but with more of a "soft rock" bent than my experience with the others. It does have DJs as well, though most of them are parobably pre-taped save for the morning show (which appears to be live and local).

And no, they don't do requests either.

On another note: "Stunting" formats, in addition to clearing out the old listeners, also generate publicity for the station. In 1992, oldies station WCOL (92.3 FM) abruptly ceased broadcasting save for a computerized voice counting down from 30,000 or something like that, which got all of Columbus talking. When the countdown finally reached zero (which took almost three full days), the station had adopted a country format that it retains to this day.

More recently, in Washington DC, there was a "Survivor Radio" format (based on the quintessential reality show) that lasted a full week, with different people being able to "program" the station for a full hour using their MP3 playlists. Listeners were invited to call in and vote one of the "PDs" off the air, along with their format. Though not a rigged contest, the station's new format had already been decided; each person's playlist was merely a slightly different variation on the "dance" or "rhythmic CHR" format. But it got the publicity the station wanted for its new format.
Posted by Anonymous Reader  on  Sat Apr 09, 2005  at  04:26 PM
Where I live there is an "80's, 90's and today" station which was previously top 40, and played nothing but Dave Matthews the first day, Dave and U2 the second, Dave, U2 and Matchbox 20 the third, etc. It has no DJ's or morning program.

Recently, one of the hip-hop station switched to "Bob FM." It's the weirdest mix of songs I've ever heard (well, outside of college radio). Suddenly it was "Tubthumping" sandwiched between "Tiny Dancer" and some Sara McLachlan song. No DJ's either. For a day or so, I imagined some guy named Bob at the radio station, throwing together random songs. But it's not quite eclectic enough not to be a marketing ploy.
Posted by hippievet  on  Sat Apr 09, 2005  at  09:43 PM
They did that to E-105 here in Kansas City too! >=( I was severely pissed when I found out. That was my favorite radio station.
Posted by Mewtaila  on  Sun Apr 10, 2005  at  02:51 AM
hippievet said:

"For a day or so, I imagined some guy named Bob at the radio station, throwing together random songs. But it's not quite eclectic enough not to be a marketing ploy."

Trust me, there ain't no "Bob." These things are always "marketing ploys" in the sense that they are designed to increase interest (and listenship) in the station.

They may SEEM haphazard, but trust me again, they're every bit as tightly structured as any other format in radio.

To address the person who said that his station probably had "pre-taped" DJ's, a lot of stations these days do what they day "voice tracking" where the DJ digitally records all his "breaks" (when you hear him or her speaking) sometimes days in advance. There's a good reason a lot of stations don't take requests: there's no DJ there to take them!

"Voice tracking" is often done remotely, even from a different city hundreds or thousands of miles away from where you are listening. ISDN lines allow him or her to send the voice tracks to the station you're listening to. A computer inserts the breaks where they belong inbetween songs. Frequently, the person you hear on the air is heard, via voice tracking, on several stations at once.

There was a story about voice tracking where it was revealed that an air personality heard in Boise, Idaho was actually in San Diego and had never been to Boise in his life. This despite the fact that he would often talk about places in Boise as if he had recently been there or was planning on being there soon (information is given to the voice trackers about the cities they are heard in so that they can seem "local"). Oh, he'd also talk about "callers" he had just spoken to as it he was physically in Boise, callers that didn't exist.

Kinda sleazy, huh?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sun Apr 10, 2005  at  04:04 AM
I dunno, it could all just be coincidence, ya know?

Like four or five guys happened to inherit their family's radio empire at aboot the same time, and name it after their dog...

Seriously, it's all coincidence.

And CMG's just nuts. There is no way in hell that someone could do what he says, and not be somewhere he says he's not. How could someone actually be miles from where he says he is?
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Sun Apr 10, 2005  at  05:05 AM
\/\/\/\/\/\/
Sarcasm


Yes, that's a bad ascii representation of sarcasm dripping from the above post.
Posted by Rod  in  the land of smarties.  on  Sun Apr 10, 2005  at  05:10 AM
I never REALLY thought there was a guy named Bob... grin
Posted by hippievet  on  Sun Apr 10, 2005  at  11:11 AM
Gotta keep this short...corporate eyes are watching...

I work for JOE FM in Edmonton, AB. Power 92 (JOE FM Predecessor) was not making money. It was the number one station in the market for years but started slipping down the ratings ladder. The decision to switch to JOE FM was purely out of self preservation. The staff was not fired (except for a few on air folks that were bad in the first place), although I think on air folks should be swept out in a format change. Anyway, we all kept our jobs and things went on as per normal. Now we are the number one FM station again in the market. To be fair, a lot of research went into the format change...it just wasn't a "flip of a coin" choice. The demographics in Edmonton showed that a JACK format would be infinitely more popular and they were right. Plus, with six new stations opening in Edmonton in the past year, not flipping formats would have been the final nail in the coffin.

I can't speak for other cities and their reasons for changing formats but I can only assume it was a money/survival technique. I prefer the JOE format to the old Power, anyway.

Uh oh! Big Brother is coming over to my desk. Got..to...look...casual...what's that pink paper in his hand?
Posted by JOE FM  in  Edmonton, AB  on  Sun Apr 10, 2005  at  03:35 PM
This happened in Reno recently too - the station was calling itself "the new" 97.3 and decided that since people had called in and pointed out that they weren't really new, they'd start this competition to name the station, and what should they turn up with? 97.3 Bob FM. I thought this was mildly odd until I saw this thread, but they don't seem to have really changed their format noticeably so I wonder if they just tried to use the same idea for the publicity and not as an excuse for a format change?
Posted by Anne  in  Reno  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  12:50 AM
Rod said:

"And CMG's just nuts. There is no way in hell that someone could do what he says, and not be somewhere he says he's not. How could someone actually be miles from where he says he is?"

You're right. What WAS I thinking?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  03:32 AM
Anne said:

"This happened in Reno recently too - the station was calling itself "the new" 97.3 and decided that since people had called in and pointed out that they weren't really new, they'd start this competition to name the station, and what should they turn up with? 97.3 Bob FM. I thought this was mildly odd until I saw this thread, but they don't seem to have really changed their format noticeably so I wonder if they just tried to use the same idea for the publicity and not as an excuse for a format change?"

Anne, I'd be willing to bet money that no REAL listeners called in to say that. Very few REAL listeners care that much about what a station calls itself.

If you actually heard callers talking about this on the air, again I'd be willing to bet that they were employees of the station or friends of employees. I've personally seen that kind of thing done.

Oh, another sleazy radio secret for ya: You know those things you sometimes hear on stations with "listeners" saying things like, "It's my favorite station!" or "I listen to it every day at work" etc.? You can actually buy CD's with people saying those things for use on the air. They're offered by companies that sell production audio. Another bubble burst, huh?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  03:38 AM
Joe FM said:

>> reasons for changing formats but I can only assume it was a money/survival technique. <<

I think you are probably right. The one here in KC had already been through a couple format changes within one year; it was trying to stay afloat.

Cranky Media Guy said:
>> You can actually buy CD's with people saying those things for use on the air. <<

Maybe you can, but not all, (maybe not even most)stations, do that. I've had friends who were DJs. One guy, who did a lot of remotes, constantly carried a DAT and often recorded those little things which were put together into the ads. This girl I dated was often one of the voices. They weren't spontaneous exclamations; they were scripted. But they were real people.
Posted by Bill B.  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  10:32 AM
Bill B. said:

"One guy, who did a lot of remotes, constantly carried a DAT and often recorded those little things which were put together into the ads. This girl I dated was often one of the voices. They weren't spontaneous exclamations; they were scripted. But they were real people."

I don't doubt you at all. No, I'm sure some stations actually record people. I just thought that some readers here would be surprised to know that a lot of those "listener" things are commercially-available sound cuts.

Even the way your friend did it, though, is a wee bit sleazy. After all, the listener is supposed to think that they are real, unrehearsed responses.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  04:13 PM
>> and what should they turn up with? 97.3 Bob FM.
> Anne, I'd be willing to bet money that no REAL
> listeners called in to say that. Very few REAL
> listeners care that much about what a station
> calls itself.

I would tend to say bob is a good indication of a name chosen by people who don't care.

The story goes: When the new Canadian territory Nunavut was being split off of the NWT (Northwest Territories), it was decided that the remainder should be renamed. The government held an informal poll as to what it would be renamed to, with the top 5 suggestions put on a referendum for the citizens to vote on. The informal poll allowed suggestions to come from anyone, even people who live outside the NWT, via phone, fax, email, and letter. Some disorganized groups online took action and tried to get "Bob" on the short list, achieving second place (far behind the first place suggestion, of keeping "NWT"). This embarrased the Naming the Western Territory Sub-Committee so much, that they "ignored" the 2nd vote getter and chose #1 #3 and #4 for the ballot (or they cancelled the vote alltogether). This spawned later more organized groups like bobcanada.com (website gone, check archive.org around late 2000).

How true is it? There isn't much information online, it is mostly referenced in things like "Bob Canada" t-shirts and mentions on joke pages. This appears to be one the original "Bob" proponents: http://www.ualberta.ca/~mbeaudoi/Bob.html (and the page existed as far back as November 1999, but the split happened in April 1999).

However, a post on usenet dated Oct 25 1997 is a claimed reproduction of a Wall Street Journal article titled "Who is bob?" by Andrea Petersen, does lend some credence. However, to search the wsj.com archives you must subscribe, bah! (but they do tell you the archives go back to 1996).

What does this have to do with bobFM? Nothing! enjoy.
Posted by Splarka  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  06:37 PM
Huh...wait...alex...slow down.........No more Star 100.7???? That was my favorite station in San Diego! Are Jeff and Jer still doing mornings, because I think I'd cry if they ever got taken off the radio in San Diego. Seriously, it sounds stupid but I've been listening to them since I was a little kid.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  08:33 PM
Jeff and Jer are 'on vacation'... a previously unannounced vacation that began the day after the format change. It remains to be seen whether they'll return.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  08:38 PM
Alex said:

"Jeff and Jer are 'on vacation'... a previously unannounced vacation that began the day after the format change. It remains to be seen whether they'll return."

I have no specific information about the Jeff and Jer situation, but "vacation" has long been a euphemism in radio for getting canned.

There was a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer who had a running joke about radio people going on "vacation."

I've been "vacationed" a few times myself. It really kind of sucks; even a low-rated show will have SOME fans that it would be nice to get to say good bye to.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  09:04 PM
Just my two cents--but I loved listening to Star 100.7!! The morning show and afternoon were AWESOME--so funny, but genuine and informative too! Has anyone tried listening to the new Jack FM station--it stinks--it's not innovative or cutting edge at all--nice try!! Have the big wigs of Jack FM lost their minds!??! More money to big execs equals less and less common sense!! Who put those morons in control?! Those on the losing end, besides the public who LOVED listening to STAR, are the djs who lost their jobs--Jeff, Jer, Laura, Anita, Jen, etc, etc. I hope they were given advance notice at least!! Jack obviously has no idea of what they lost when they changed STAR's format and let the dj's go! They should have their heads examined and/or hire someone with common sense like myself!! Thanks for listening!! San Diego Suzy
Posted by Suzy  in  San Diego  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  10:04 PM
i want jeff, jer, tommy, randy, laura, greg, and jen back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by cf  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  10:15 PM
Glad to see I'm not the only one who doesn't like the new station. I thought I must have missed something when I heard 'Jack FM' for the first time.

Checked the station website and it claims Jeff and Jer will be back on April 18 - guess we'll see.
Posted by Amy  in  San Diego  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  10:35 PM
my favorite station 92.1 independent radio became a country station over night. My question is why don't they notify the listeners about the switch? I would like to have some closure for these stations who abandoned me on these cold and lonely nights.
Posted by Matthew  in  Encinitas California  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  10:38 PM
I can see why the "random" playlist gets listeners. The station I listen to most often only plays about 20 songs and really.... I get sick of it and turn it off. I would probably welcome a change to Jack/ipod shuffle, just to hear some OTHER music. On my way home today I changed from that station to the next one on the dial and they were playing *the same song*.

KROCK is okay, but their DJs have uhhhh... let's call it too much personality.

lately I've been listening to to Sirius (husbands car) and I'm beginning to think that that's the way to go with radio. They have actual shows (college radio style) and the DJ picks the playlist.

My only gripe about them is that it's a pay service. Everyone started to pay for cable tv way back in the stone age and it had no commercials. Now we pay even more for it and have just as many commercials as the broadcast stations PLUS infomercials. It may be only a matter of time before Pay-Radio bugs me too :O
Posted by m  in  ny  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  10:52 PM
I have a feeling that even if jeff and jer get canned from 100.7, another station will "buy" them. Afterall, they have been rated as the number one dj's in san diego for many years running (can't remember which magazine it is that does that). I know that over the years I have followed their show from 3 different stations. Although, I think they started on Star, then got moved, and then moved back to Star, though I'm not positive. I just hope they don't leave for another city.

Today's a sad day for me. I'm going to go sit and mope....
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Mon Apr 11, 2005  at  11:29 PM
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