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Boston radio less amped up than it used to be

Nick Benevenia mourns the loss of Amp 103.3, converted a couple days ago to a mindless Big 103, which somehow promises "music unleashed" despite having no DJs.

Now Benevenia spent six years at Amp 103.3, moving from producer to "on-air personality" to "imaging director," so he might have particular reason to miss a station with actual people working at it, some of whom even went out and did interviews and stuff at bars, but he also questions how Entercom could abandon a youth station in a town full of college students.

It’s easy to say “Millennials and GenZ don’t listen to radio” but it’s important to consider what radio has offered those generations. Beyond the AMP brand, there has not been another radio format committed to youth culture. Without representation on air, they’ve turned to podcasts, TikTok, and YouTube. Radio has been writing off young Americans, and in turn, they may have written radio off. If Millennials and GenZ don’t grow up with radio, they may never discover what makes the medium special. If the twenty-year-olds today don’t listen to radio in their thirties, the commercial radio industry will collapse.

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Comments

...is as dead as a doornail. Give it up.

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Voting closed 10

Inaccurate. Just appealing to different demographics. I suggest you read the media trades.

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I'm an older millennial and I listen to the radio every day for news and music. There are a lot of stations that just play the same stuff over and over, but there are others that play music I haven't heard before. I also listen to music online, but it's nice once in a while to have someone else picking their favorite songs to share.

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I didn't even notice AMP Radio was gone. I do like their subchannel, Channel Q. I better check to make sure it's still there. Great outlet for music and LGBT news and entertainment.

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Have seen some chatter that "Big 103" is a stunt/ placeholder of some type for another format

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Boston has the best College radio scene in the US. (Not saying much, but still.)

Commercial radio has long been dead. The only place radio lives is on college stations and NPRs.

Commercial radio died when they got rid local music directors with the power to actually select the songs that get aired. But that change was completed by the 90s.

As for automated stations, that's something the FCC should prohibit. It's a waste of public spectrum.

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Boston isn't really a college town.

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Embedded that clip at the top of the story.

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WERS is awesome. So is WUMB. However Boston is the largest market in the US without an Adult Urban Contemporary station. Ironic considering we are filled with bean counting liberals who get excited about every racial slight, real or imagined. I wonder why one of our college stations can't program itself to serve the minority community.

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What would you consider "Adult Urban Contemporary" music? How contemporary? There are at least three channels that play hip hop and R&B covering the 80's through today.

I do agree that it's lacking compared with places like L.A. I've only visited twice, but every channel had good music that was different from every other channel. We definitely do *not* have that here.

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Voting closed 9

Those are Rhythmic stations. They’re far from Urban.

Urban Station player contemporary music and songs with a lower BPM. The imaging is different, and features more black voices. Urban station have more closets call in and discuss community issues and events-not just their own promoted events. Urban stations have a wider playlists, more aggressive mixes and play more local music.

This is just fact: stop trying to have your head in the stand. If you look up urban radio Boston you will not find one Mainstream Urban it Urban AC.

Yea, it’s racism. And yea I know what I’m talking about.

Read:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_adult_contemporary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhythmic_contemporary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_contemporary

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Voting closed 2

I'm glad you submitted your post because it's clear you aren't familiar about the format and I can elaborate.

Urban AC is not hip hop. Quite the contrary. There is a wide variety of music forms that attract black audiences, but the stereotypical hip hop has a low profile on Urban AC. Try soul, funk, jazz, neo-soul. Old school R&B. Gospel on Sunday mornings.
Urban AC also includes news casts and public affair programming.

The stations you mention in the Boston market are decidedly NOT Urban Adult Contemporary. You mention R&B covering the 80's through today, No, that's not the case. Rather they program "crossover" R&B from the 80's through today. Crossover meaning it also appeals to pop audiences. If it doesn't appeal to suburban listeners you will not hear it on Hot 96.9 , Jammin 94.5 or 97.7 the Beat.

Instead review WBLS in New York, Majic 102.3 in Washington, WDAS in Philly. Even New England has an Urban AC in New Haven, WYBC. In fact it is often rated that market's top station:
http://www.stationratings.com/sr_ratings.aspx?market=62

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The black population of metro New York is 18%. In Washington it’s 26%. In Philadelphia it’s 21%. New Haven: 13%. In Boston it’s 7%. These are all percentages for the metro areas, just as radio ratings are based on metro areas.

In order to get the ratings you speak about in these other cities, a Boston urban station would probably have to draw 2 or 3 times as many non-black listeners as the stations in these other cities. That's why Boston stations are programmed differently.

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Only a few companies own nearly all commercial radio stations in the US. So a small number of people, mostly based in NY and LA, get to decide what every market in the US is going to hear or not hear. You're right that they base it on expected ad revenue and not variety or catering to minorities. They could be wrong but they're not ones for trying something out for a few years to see if it gets a following.

There was a time when it was illegal for any group to own more then a two media outlets in each market. It was a good law which ensured there would be diversity of programming and news. So Congress got lobbied and they changed the law to better reflect corporate interests.

In a country where non-corperate citizens come first, it would be mandated that radio stations must be owned by people whose primary residence is within the stations broadcast radius and 75% of programming locally produced. If such a law was passed, Boston would get Urban stations. (Or least more Urban programming.)

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Voting closed 9

Boston doesn't need two NPR affiliates. If WGBH and WBUR are so concerned about communities of color like they announce to us ad naseum, there's no reason they couldn't coordinate for one to support an urban and especially an urban AC format. Instead they both program to the almighty white liberals.

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Who do you think donates to them?

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I completely understand that the Telecommunications Act that allowed 900 radio stations to be owned by one company destroyed a great deal of what people used to love about radio. But even in the old days, Boston’s radio stations were programmed for the masses. Only a few AM daytime stations like WILD catered to the urban contemporary audiences. The way to get more urban programming is to license low-power stations that will target a small geographical area. If you have a license to serve the entire Boston metro area, you’re going to want to win ratings in that area, whether you are iHeart or a single-station local owner.

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97.7 was doing something very similar to Urban AC before going in a more retro R&B/dance/hip hop direction as The Beat.

The cities where Urban AC does best have larger black populations.

Amp was doing surprisingly bad ratings-wise, considering it had a strong signal and played nothing but proven hits.

As much as commercial rock radio sucks and has for a long time, I'm a bit surprised that they didn't try to fill the hole left when 92.9 dropped new music and WAAF got sold.

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I was going to post something snarky about why I can't stand WERS, especially vs. FNX, but I'm glad it has an enthusiastic fan in you.

I can't see how a white run college full of white college kids (this describes all of our locals) is the right choice to run a minority serving community.

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(pun intended)

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When I was in college (early 90s), college radio was great. It was people my age playing music that mattered to them. If you wanted to hear new/interesting/offbeat stuff, or find out what bands were coming to town, etc., college radio was it.

Now that I'm in my late 40s, though, "college" radio still seems to be run by people my age! I was in a band that played live on WMBR a few years ago, and I think the DJ was even older than me!

Last time I had an FM radio, like a decade ago, WRBB (Northeastern) was the only one around where the DJs were all actual college students, and they were actually playing music that was relevant to college-age people. Everyone else -- WBUR (nominally BU), WERS (Emerson), WMBR (MIT), WZBC (BC), etc. -- were all playing stuff of/by/for old people like me.

LOL I just looked at the Emerson station's website, and it is touting their morning show. It features an image of a DJ with a grey beard and it says "Featuring deep cuts from the likes of Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Radiohead". Like... what? Is it actually 1992 right now? They might as well be playing Buddy Holly and the Dave Clark Five.

I'd be very surprised if there are more than a handful of actual college students today listening to "college" radio. Why would they?

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I'd agree somewhat although not completely. WMFO (Tufts) is mostly college students. As is UMass Lowell although I can't get reception here. WZBC is a mix. There's a good number of students shows at WMBR but the students there tend to focus on things that aren't generally considered college music. Lots of students on WHRB but the station won't let them play rock until after 10pm. BU has a student-only station (unlicensed WTBU) but it's mostly talk and top-40.

There's a bigger problem: There are fewer young musicians. 20 years of cutting music education in public school and changing attitudes mean it's less likely for students to form bands in the first place. Not suggesting music is dying by any means but you can find a strong linkage between number of guitar stores and number of college DJs.

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I know what you mean, especially about WMBR. They've got DJs that have been entrenched there for over 40 years, playing old dad punk. It's like so much of Boston college radio has never moved on from the Rat era of 40 years ago. It has nothing to do with today's college students. WMBR needs to clear out the cobwebs and let a fresh wind blow through.

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Bring back oldies.

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is putting another nail in the coffin. Far fewer people commuting, who listens to radio broadcasts now outside of the car? Sad, we will really lose something with the end of radio. But I have to admit, it's years since I tuned in to anything.

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there I said it! Now its in your head to!

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Should play Ruggles.

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of Muggles.

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If they bring their puggles.

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Magoo listens to WUPU. Magoo.

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Stream it. Also WZBC-Boston College has some good shows, ERS, UMB, etc.

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came across this site:
http://www.bamlog.com/bostonlp2013.htm

a lot of pirate radio in boston.

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A kid I knew had his own pirate station. His tag line was "We'll keep rockin' til the FCC comes knocking"

After a few years of doing this they did.

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"If Millennials and GenZ don’t grow up with radio, they may never discover what makes the medium special. "

Aren't Millennials already grown up? This guy is out of touch. Commercial radio is passe. Or at least commercial music radio. Stop beating a dead horse.

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I can’t figure out why the new station is betting on building an audience without any people behind the microphone. They tried that with Amp and it didn’t work then. Now with everybody isolated during a pandemic, you’d think that human contact would be just what people want to hear between the songs. We can all listen to Spotify and Pandora and all those streaming things if we want wall to wall music with a lot less commercials. Local radio needs more local human voices.

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Demand bennies and paid vacations. The Fields (the family who runs the publicly traded Entercom) can't and won't pay that.

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These "variety hits" type formats are often place-holders. Amp's ratings were abysmal and they couldn't keep paying DJ salaries (low as they already were) when revenue plummeted due to Covid.

They probably have a more permanent format in mind, but they don't want to begin the hiring process until advertisers start coming back.

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It is possible to do 2 things at one time!

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There is a low-power noncommercial radio station playing in Boston on AM and FM, owned by one guy. It's got an eclectic 'oldies' format that is likely to play anything from the 50s to the early 00s. And it's only on the air -- no computer stream.

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