SSAR: Variety stations fill in for the average (white person’s) iPod

If the oldies stations don’t play music from the 1990s or early 2000s, and neither do contemporary stations, then why can you turn on a radio in any radio market and hear Train’s Meet Virginia?

This is where the rise of the variety station comes in. These stations started popping up near the turn of the century. In LA and other markets, the stations are referred to by a brand name “Jack”. In other places they show up as stations calling themselves something like “The 90s and now”, sometimes “with no rap” appended to the name to make sure you don’t accidentally hear any Kanye. I polled 4 such stations:

  • 93.1 Jack FM (Los Angeles)
  • 96.5 Jack FM (Seattle)
  • Mix 104.1 (Boston) “Boston’s best variety”
  • 104.7 (Charlotte) “More music, better variety”

Firstly, let’s take a look at what time periods are played. These stations fall into two categories according to their average time period. Jack stations skew much older:

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SSAR: What music sticks around on Oldies and Classic Rock stations?


In the previous installment I analyzed what I called contemporary radio: Top 40, Hot Adult Contemporary, and Modern Rock stations. Those stations play older songs with an exponentially decaying frequency, to the point where songs from just two years ago almost never get played. But now we look at the other end of the spectrum, stations that only play old songs: oldies and classic rock stations.

The three stations sampled were:

  • K-EARTH 101 LA (oldies)
  • WNCX (Cincinatti’s classic rock)
  • K-Hits Chicago (classic hits)

As before, I recorded every song play during the year and when the record played (day and time), including repeats.

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Introducing the IdolAnalytics Database

You may notice a new page link at the top of this site to Idol DB. That’s where you can explore the database I use to maintain this site. The database holds a record of every performance, every contestant, every song ever sung on American Idol, along with all the statistical variables you could ever want about those things, from Nielsen ratings of shows to performance approval rating, Dialidol numbers, and Votefair popularity. Contestant records show every song that a contestant sang along with biographical info, pre-exposure, and a pic of the person. Each song is linked to a database of songs that contains the Billboard Chart performance of the song, the original artist, how often a song is played on the radio, and more. It isn’t the only Idol Database on the web, but I believe it is the most complete.

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The database in all its glory.

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