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80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

80s Forum: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"
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  1. #1
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    80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    from a link at www.fark.com

    '80s tunes become the new oldies

    NEW YORK - The music blaring from the speakers of a small pub on a recent Friday night seemed like typical oldies fare: Aretha Franklin's "Respect," the 1970s tune "Disco Lady" and the 1950s surf instrumental "Tequila." Then, "Karma Chameleon" ó the 1983 hit by Culture Club ó came on.

    The music was from WCBS-FM, a New York-based station that used to rely on songs from the '60s and '70s, and occasionally, the '50s. Now, like similar stations around the country, WCBS has deemed music from the '80s as the new oldies.

    Not that the station calls them oldies ó "Classic Hits" is the favored term.

    "We discovered the word 'oldies' symbolized music from the jukebox-era," said Brian Thomas, the station's program director and vice president of Classic Hits programming.

    Station executives say the decision makes perfect sense considering the changing demographics of radio. Research found that the traditional oldies audience was moving out of advertisers' coveted 25-to-54 demographic, and that adding '80s would be a good way to maintain that lucrative audience.

    The result: "Let's Hear it for the Boy" (1984) and "Caribbean Queen" (1985) share air time with more traditional oldies like "The Way You do the Things You Do" (1964) by The Temptations and "Proud Mary" (1969) by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

    Oldies stations across the country are evolving for similar reasons. WQRV-FM in Huntsville, Ala., formerly an oldies station, changed to Classic Hits two years ago. They dropped the '60s and now play '70s and '80s. KQLL-FM in Tulsa, Okla., converted to a Classic Hits station last year. They no longer play early '60s music. The format changes were ratings successes.

    Thomas says the incorporation of '80s music isn't that different from the station's original oldies days.

    Changing to Classic Hits is "like the Senior Tour in golf now being called the Champions Tour," he said. "It's the same age group, but they don't consider themselves seniors."

    The origins of the format switch date back a few years.

    WCBS-FM started in 1972 and grew to become the nation's No. 1 oldies station and New York's No. 8 in Arbitron ratings. But in 2005, the station changed formats to "Jack." Considered to be the hot trend in radio programming, "Jack" was designed to attract a younger crowd by playing songs from the '70s through the most recent releases at the time.

    But the station's ratings plummeted.

    "I only listened to WCBS-FM from July 1972 until June 3, 2005," said Cara Sieden, 52 of Floral Park, N.Y. "I was crushed ... I felt like someone in my family died."

    The station scrapped the "Jack" format last summer in favor of "New York's Greatest Hits." The new format seems to be working: The station jumped to No. 3 in the ratings a few months after the change.

    Michael Harrison, founder of TALKERS magazine, a radio industry publication, says programmers are dealing with two interpretations of the term oldies.

    One is literal, meaning it's music from years ago. The other defines it as a genre ó specifically '50s and '60s rock.

    Bob Shannon, one of WCBS-FM's popular on-air personalities, said the term may be obsolete.

    "Music is everywhere now ó it's in commercials, movies, on the Internet," said Shannon. "It's not just about good times and good memories anymore. It's about good music. It transcends the time period."

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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    I dont consider 80s music "OLDIES" I dunno.......

  3. #3
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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    Well in New Zealand 60s music rarely gets played on the popular stations now. Times are changing.

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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    In some ways it's sad that the oldies era has got the boot. Let's not forget that the 80's era was based on the 60's, so it's a little bit hypocritical.

    If a Classic Radio station is truly classic, then it should play a mix of music genres across all the decades and then maybe have regular dedicated time slots for just one era IMHO.

    This is what local radio have been doing in my neck of the woods and it works great.
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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    There is a local seattle station that has NEVER used the term "oldies". It has always referred to itself as "Seattle's Classic Rock Station". In the 80s and 90s you'd hear songs from the 60s and 70s on that station. In the last 5 years or so, it has added 80s rock to it's rotation. That station is KZOK 102.5 FM.

    I find myself listening to KZOK more often then I used to.

    It's not uncommon on that station to hear a playlist like:
    Iron Butterfly
    Beatles
    Van Halen

    Seattle also has a "Jack FM" station (96.5 FM) and Chooch LOVES that Station!

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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    You hit the nail on the head there Diofan, why on earth did so many radio stations play every decade BUT the 80's is quite beyond me. These are the same stations that have suddenly decided to play the 80's in rotation, but in all honesty they should be totally ashamed of themselves for denying the listener the opportunity to appreciate one of the best decades ever for music.

    Only slowly are stations beginning to separate the rather cliched image the 80s has in the eyes of the media and critics from the actual reality.


    Quote Originally Posted by Diofan View Post
    There is a local seattle station that has NEVER used the term "oldies". It has always referred to itself as "Seattle's Classic Rock Station". In the 80s and 90s you'd hear songs from the 60s and 70s on that station. In the last 5 years or so, it has added 80s rock to it's rotation. That station is KZOK 102.5 FM.

    I find myself listening to KZOK more often then I used to.

    It's not uncommon on that station to hear a playlist like:
    Iron Butterfly
    Beatles
    Van Halen

    Seattle also has a "Jack FM" station (96.5 FM) and Chooch LOVES that Station!
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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    Quote Originally Posted by Chasey View Post
    You hit the nail on the head there Diofan, why on earth did so many radio stations play every decade BUT the 80's is quite beyond me. These are the same stations that have suddenly decided to play the 80's in rotation, but in all honesty they should be totally ashamed of themselves for denying the listener the opportunity to appreciate one of the best decades ever for music.

    Only slowly are stations beginning to separate the rather cliched image the 80s has in the eyes of the media and critics from the actual reality.
    I have a theory for why they do that Chasey. I can't speak for British stations or Canadian Stations, but it seems like here in the USA, a Song must be at least 20 years old for these stations to consider them a Classic Rock song.

    Just yesterday they were playing Songs from Guns N Roses' "Appetite For Destruction" album (Which came out in 1987....21 years ago)

    That would mean that in about 2012 we can probably expect to start hearing Nirvana songs on these stations right alongside Judas Priest.

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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    We used to have an "oldies" station here that played '50s, '60s, & '70s. A few years ago it changed to Bob FM and now plays the '60s through today. It's bad for the people who like the '50s because they no longer have a station to listen to. It makes you wonder if eventually as we get older, the '80s will be culled out of the radio station's playlist.

    You know you are getting old when...your top hits of your childhood become "classic hits". LOL

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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    Itís funny, I love 80ís music but when Iím listening to the radio I always play Q107, Torontoís classic rock station and one of the biggest in North America. They play hits from the 60ís to todayís music but sadly very little of their play list is comprised of 80ís music. The rest is rock hard and kick ass, so I never change the dial. When Iím online I listen to 977 The 80ís Channel.
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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    You are going to regret the day when 80's music became labeled as "Classic" by radio stations...because this marks the point when you will get to hear the same handful of songs again and again.

    For example, you might think that some artists which were quite big in the 80's had only one hit, because only one song will be played again and again. And not only once, but twice or even three times per day. Given the fact that airplay is also a key for chart notation, it's pretty strange that they are not entering the charts again.


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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    That's pretty much the way it is here in New Zealand now.

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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    Quote Originally Posted by Recker View Post
    That's pretty much the way it is here in New Zealand now.
    Now? That's the way in Germany since the end of the 90's...that's why I'm rarely listening to all these "best music of the 80's, 90's and today"-stations anymore. I know that Nik Kershaw had more hits but "The Riddle" and more excellent tracks like "Radio Musicola", just to name one example.


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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    Hell yeah. "Radio Musicola" (possibly his best song in my books) never gets played. Same with "Wide Boy" another favourite of mine. Just "The Riddle" and "Wouldn't it be good".

    I'd say it's been like that (as with Germany) here since the late 90s too. It's just the same stuff regurgitated all the time, which is why I tend to listen to CDs rather than the radio stations.

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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    I have been told for years that an 80's radio station was a ratings bust, even during the "80's revival". Why is the format doing so well now?

    I listen mostly to Sirius now, they have whatever I'm in the mood for set aside for me.
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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    KZOK seems to be doing pretty well ratings wise. It plays (IMHO) the best 3 decades of rock (60s,70's & 80's). You are pretty much guaranteed to hear at least 3 or 4 80s songs an hour.

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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    I guess the secret is the mix of 80's with older stuff.

    One of the best stations on Sirius is Classic Rewind, playing rock from about '75-'95.
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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    Love the Classic Rewind station!

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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    Quote Originally Posted by nolanbuc View Post
    I guess the secret is the mix of 80's with older stuff.

    One of the best stations on Sirius is Classic Rewind, playing rock from about '75-'95.
    According to Radio Ratings Company "Arbitron", Out of 35 Stations in the Seattle market rated, KZOK is at number 8, "Seattle's Best Rock" rated at Number 11 (Probably because it's excuse for "Best Rock" is newer stuff from the 90's and today). KZOK Ranks Number 6 in All FM Stations in the Seattle Market, and #1 in all Rock Formats in the same market.

    Stations ahead of KZOK are primarily Talk/Sports Radio Stations. However I guess Seattle's musical tastes really suck because at #2 is a Rap/Hip-Hop station (KUBE) and a Soft Rock Station at #1 (KRWM)

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  19. #19
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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    What's wrong with hip hop? I wish Erie had a hip hop station. I'm tired of the same old crap on the two rock stations. Led Zeppelin had more than just 3 songs. As did the Beatles and Stones and Floyd. We have two country stations. I love country but the 2 stations, including the one I work at play the exact same songs. I want hip hop in Erie, give me a choice. I'd settle for CHR/rhythmic. When I'm in my car and the radio is on it's usually news talk, sports or religious talk.

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    Re: 80's "classic hits" the new "oldies"

    Quote Originally Posted by djdaffy1227 View Post
    What's wrong with hip hop? I wish Erie had a hip hop station. I'm tired of the same old crap on the two rock stations. Led Zeppelin had more than just 3 songs. As did the Beatles and Stones and Floyd. We have two country stations. I love country but the 2 stations, including the one I work at play the exact same songs. I want hip hop in Erie, give me a choice. I'd settle for CHR/rhythmic. When I'm in my car and the radio is on it's usually news talk, sports or religious talk.
    Nothing at all if you like Hip-hop (I don't...Just my opinion). Interesting to note though, you work at a country music station Daffy, KMPS, Seattle's biggest country station ranked #3.

    Just fyi, here's the most recent top 15 Seattle stations (ones that play 80s music in bold)

    KRWM-FM
    Soft Adult Contemporary
    5.6

    KUBE-FM
    Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio (Hip-Hop/R&B)
    5.3

    KMPS-FM
    Country
    4.9

    KIRO-AM
    News Talk Information
    4.1

    KOMO-AM
    All News
    4.1

    KWJZ-FM
    Jazz
    3.9

    KCMS-FM
    Contemporary Christian
    3.8

    KZOK-FM
    Classic Rock
    3.5


    KING-FM
    Classical
    3.3

    KKWF-FM
    Country
    3.3

    KISW-FM
    Active Rock
    3.0


    KBKS-FM
    Pop Contemporary Hit Radio
    2.9

    KJR-AM
    All Sports
    2.7

    KJR-FM
    Classic Hits
    2.7


    KPLZ-FM
    Hot Adult Contemporary
    2.6

    If you want to see how your stations rank, Click here and in the "Market's" Menu, click on your nearest city in the list (That's the market you are in).

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