FM rock radio in 2020. Finally dead? Yes.
I do wonder how long it's going to be before all FM radio stops broadcasting over-the-air.
In my latest podcast, I talk about FM rock radio. WAAF, specifically, which formerly broadcasted on 107.3 FM out of Massachusetts.
I have another article about WAAF in the works, but I can't publish it now is because there's a specific thing I'm waiting for in the mail. Once received, then I can publish that article. I do talk about that thing in the podcast.
For now, what I'll say about FM rock radio is I'm seriously amazed any FM rock station is still in business. A rock station is a really hard sell for advertisers - especially stations without a nationally syndicated show.
Commercial broadcast radio itself isn't dead. Far from it. Talk formats work. Whether it's sports talk, political talk, financial talk or what-have-you, people do regularly listen to talk radio. The audience may not be huge, but it is dedicated, predictable and advertiser-friendly.
As for the rock format, the audience keeps dwindling, they're not dedicated, unpredictable, and that makes it not friendly to advertisers. If I had a local business, the last thing I would do is advertise on a rock radio station.
As for the music on rock stations, it's all old. As in '90s old. Barely anything new is ever played. That tells me rock stations are purposely targeting middle-aged guys just to retain what little listenership they have left. That's not what rock is supposed to be about. Rock is and always has been for the younger generation.
FM rock stations should just rename their format to "modern classic rock," because that's what it is (and I'm sorry but "active rock" just doesn't cut it anymore.) This would be a smart move because it would make the station more advertiser-friendly due to a more clearly defined listener demographic, and listeners would better appreciate it.
However this wouldn't be enough to pay the bills. If these stations can't get a national syndicate show, they need to go old school, find good deejays with good on-air personalities that people like and allow them some freedom in the broadcast room. Doing the automatic all-robot thing just doesn't work. Real deejays need to steer the ship because it's necessary.
Yes, that's a risk, but one worth taking. If that risk isn't taken, then rock radio really is truly dead.