Got Back To Where They Once Belonged
After a two year experiment with the "JACK" format, WCBS-FM, the New York-based Oldies radio station, reverted back to their roots yesterday. Much fanfare accompanied this event, and I admit I am mostly happy about the change as well.
The JACK format did appeal to me in principle because of its broad and varied playlist. One of the reasons I can't stand listening to pop radio anymore (i.e., since around 1982) is that, with very few exceptions, I don't like to hear any song more than about once a week. On JACK-FM, there was even less risk of repetition than on my beloved classic rock stations. But with more diversity also comes more chaff, and when I would tune in JACK, I found myself not enjoying at least half the songs. From what I've heard so far*, the new CBS hits a fairly good balance between variety and quality.
Another strike against the fully-automated JACK format is that I do tend to enjoy DJ patter - by which I mean emphatically NOT Zoo-crew crap, but interesting and humorous commentary on the music and bands being played. Maybe it comes from having been a DJ myself in college, or maybe it's just a matter of taste, but JACK always sounds somehow flat and empty, like a radio station missing its soul. When I want pure, un-commented music, I'll put on a CD. On the radio, I like a good jock.
So CBS is back - more or less. Because of course, these aren't quite your older brother's "oldies" anymore! What passes muster for that category now, at least on the old-new WCBS, is "The music of the 60s, 70s, and 80s". Goodbye Chuck Berry, hello Boy George. So long Elvis Presley, say hi to Elvis Costello.
The music of my young adulthood is now "Oldies". Oy, do I feel ancient! Crank up the rock, and pass the Geritol.
(*Note: My custom is to avoid non-live music only during the Nine Days, but not the Three Weeks)