Bob Shannon – The station use to be “oldies” and began back in the early 1970’s playing mostly 1950’s hits. With the years, the station adjusted – and today, we play the hits of 1980’s, the ‘70’s, some 60’s and very little, if any of the 1950’s.
Mr. Pop – And that was inevitable. As the population gets older, stations such as WCBS-FM and, as another example, K-Earth in Los Angeles, have adjusted the hit music they play as they move forward in time.
Bob Shannon – That’s correct. It’s all about reaching the age groups advertisers love – 25-54. A few years ago, so-called “oldies” stations went away and along came “classic hits” which added more of the 1980’s.
Mr. Pop – Bob, what about mixing the 1980’s with the other two decades, mostly 1970’s? It seems to me, it’s not as easy.
Bob Shannon – That’s correct. It is more difficult. The key is picking the right songs; the common denominator songs.
Mr. Pop – Not to sound cliché, but you began in radio back when top-40 AM stations had their music audience grip. Back when DJ’s talked more. A time when there were hardly music sweeps. It was play the song, perhaps a jingle… then DJ talk into a commercial – DJ talk, perhaps another jingle and into a record and the DJ talked over that intro. Then repeated. There were no so-called commercial sets either. You had to be on top of your game. Now, here it is – and you’ve survived in this crazy business.
Bob Shannon – I guess I’ve adapted to each change and each era. Today, I’m a mix of all of it. Having done a variety of approaches, I would say it’s not, “today vs. before.” I think it’s, “today incorporating the best of before.”
Mr. Pop – Well said. And technology now lets us listen to stations such as WCBS-FM almost anywhere.
Bob Shannon – That’s correct. A great example of that is an e-mail I received from somebody listening on a lake in Europe.
Mr. Pop – There’s talk now that radio, as we know it, is on its way out. I don’t believe it. Do you?
Bob Shannon – There’s always going to be a place for it. Especially if it offers what it does best – immediacy and a local feel.
Mr. Pop – Bob, it’s apparent to me that you have a lot of fans. I know you no longer do a website – so how do you keep in touch – or let listeners know what’s on your mind?
Bob Shannon – They can go to the WCBS-FM website www.wcbsfm.radio.com and find my blog. It’s a great way to stay connected. And, I have a terrific audience.
Mr. Pop – Has the new method of ratings – the PPM audio method, affected how you do your show? What do you think of the technology?
Bob Shannon – Well, it’s like anything new. Some believe it to be more accurate then the older diary method because it’s in real time. Others say no, because it measures what you’re hearing – and it’s not necessarily from your radio. Again, as I said before, you just have to adapt and keep an open mind.
Mr. Pop – And so far from what the ratings tell us, your show and the station are doing just fine under the new technology. One final question: Do you plan a sequel to your groundbreaking “Behind the Hits” book of the 1980’s?
Bob Shannon – Probably not. My book partner and I decided that so much artist and story information is available on the Internet – that it just wouldn’t make sense.
Mr. Pop – The book is fascinating and it’s hard to believe it was before all of this. Thanks Bob for your time today!