Thursday, June 7, 2007

Big Hair, Metal & New Wave

83° - Sunny & Windy at 2pm

Forever it seems - many classic rock PDs have been reluctant to move the classic rock timeline forward and add music from the late 80s and 90s and into the current decade.

Its hard to mess with success - but at the same time the format is dealing with aging demos and some wonder how we're going to attract a younger audience without blowing out the core.

There was a time when I couldn't conceive adding Def Leppard or Guns N' Roses on a station playing Van Morrison and CSNY.

Adding "Sweet Child Of Mine" and hearing it on the air for the first time was an uneasy moment for this classic rock PD. Or anything by Ozzy beyond Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" or "Iron Man".

I still recall my anxiety - just for a moment everytime I hear Bowling For Soup's "1985" and the line "When did Motley Crue become classic rock?"

That said - some PDs have elected to move even further - perhaps testing the waters - with specialty shows featuring newer music - at least in "classic rock years". Here's a few great ones I've come across:

Denver's KRFX/The Fox has had a long-running show every night at midnight called "Midnight Metal Mass". A typical night's playlist might include Mr. Big, Krokus, Telsa, Warrant, Winger, Jackyl, Europe - lots of 80s and 90s stuff...majority in the pop metal realm.

The Fox also expands this for two hours (as "Metal Mass") Sundays 10-Midnight.

In Buffalo, WGRF/97 Rock just launched a new Sunday Night Show "Home Of The Hits" - focusing on new wave tracks from The Clash, Ramones, Talking Heads, Fixx, Billy Idol, etc.

This past Sunday the show played U2's "Gloria" and Elvis Costello's "Radio Radio"...very tasty!

I give WGRF credit for trying an overlooked genre that might be labeled as "classic alternative". And yes, I did make it once to CBGB back in the mid 70s; a fringe benefit from my days at CBS.

Whats classic rock to your listeners?

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