Thursday, July 13, 2006

"Train-wreck" radio - a return to free-form?

"It's like listening to a middle-aged drunkard's iPod set to shuffle, but the Jack FM radio format is spreading across the dial," says Wired magazine in an article about the increasingly popular format, heard in Phoenix on stations like The Peak.
The article suggests one key to the format's success - particularly among older listeners - is its "liberal use of 'train-wreck editing,' allowing songs from completely different genres to play back to back -- Deee-Lite followed by Steve Miller Band, for example.
"Edison Media Research's Sean Ross says train-wreck editing was initially thought to alienate listeners, but is today seen as part of Jack's appeal.
"'When done well, these segues are a throwback to some of the great radio of the 1970s,' he says."
The article goes on to say, "It's in sharp contrast to conventional programming logic, where small, genre-specific playlists are thought to attract specific target audiences, and songs are repeated over and over so as to become quickly familiar to listeners."

What do you folks think? Can the eclecticism of early 70's FM be replicated with a large library of tunes set to what seems like a random shuffle? Do you ever get that same feeling, listening to your own iPod on "shuffle"? Or is there a lot more to the equation than that?


Mariah Fleming said...

"Edison Media Research's Sean Ross says train-wreck editing was initially thought to alienate listeners, but is today seen as part of Jack's appeal. ‘When done well, these segues are a throwback to some of the great radio of the 1970’s.’ ”

With astonishing arrogance, Ross compares this automated “genius” to the great radio of the 1970’s, when Program Directors like WEC used knowledge, creativity and passion to make great radio.

Leave it to the corporate bullies to decide that creativity is an unpopular asset. These marketing chameleons have no doubt been paying attention to free form internet radio, but they've cheapened it and named it something else and so they can take credit for their fake 'visionary' approach.

It's at least a flicker of light when someone begins to see that Radio Free Phoenix and stations modeled like it are leading the way in their unconventional manner. But getting 'corporate radio' to admit such influence is being wielded by the gutsy, brilliant 'heart and soul' internet stations like RFP will happen when pigs fly!

The term "train wreck editing" is an insult to music lovers. The music loving public holds radio "legends" like WEC and RFP’s Andy Olson in high esteem. The proof? How many radio personalities/stations recieve and share the kind of listener feedback that RFP engenders?! How many blogs do you think will be dedicated to keeping the memory of 'Jack' radio alive in 30 years?

Hacking into RFP's wonderful feedback forum was some small minded idiot's way of trying to put Jack back in the Box. It's tough for the 'good old boys' to admit that guys like Andy Olson obviously know "Jack" while the coroprate suits have proven without a doubt that they don't know "Jack #&%!" 

Fran Bennett said...

It should come as no surprise in a culture almost wholly distracted by such insipid drivel as Idol, Survivor & Apprentice, (who gives a $%#@ about Paris Hilton) that soulless corporate nobodies perpetually in search of the NBT would think a computer can randomly play multiple genres as appealingly as a human with a passion for the material.

Clueless...just clueless. said...


I made TWO careere out of that statement - one in Radio, the other as a party DJ. Forty years of putting that story together to be heard by the public and racking up as much as $500 per night doing it. "JACK??" - A pre-recorded drop-in for computerized personalities that get shaken into saleable boxes and marketed. There is no place for imagination OR CONNECTION BETWEEN THE DJ AND THE AUDIENCE.

JACK is NO TALENT and is the product of a COMPUTER PROGRAMMER who MIGHT sort choices according to BPM, genre, or even era. That can be done well and can even pass for talent within the lobotomized brains of the sheeple.

I don't mean to rave and lament because there are a FEW creative compositional minds still on the air - Andy Olson being one. In fact I place him as a GOOD MATCH for the talents of William Edward Compton EXCEPT that Andy has thirty years more of music to choose from.

THE MUSIC TELLS A STORY, DAMMIT! and when we ignore or forget that there was a Beginning and there will be an End and where we all LIVE is in between....... We have forgotten how to Love. THAT cannot be taught.

"There Goes The Last DJ" - Tom Petty.

Ronco said...


One thing is fer sure --- you don't KNOW Jack.