Once upon a time, FM Radio was important. People listened faithfully and formed personal attachments to the music played, the on-air personalities, and the daily routines to which those stations adhered. Rivalries sprung up between competitors, and listeners took sides. Behind the scenes, advertisers were discouraged from buying time on rival stations. Sometimes it got nasty.
Sounds quaint these days, innit? With big media companies buying up entire markets and replacing local talent with national programs, it’s hard just from hearing content to tell one city from another, let alone any city’s radio stations. As one commentator noted years ago, “The airwaves have been homogenized.” And in an era with literally thousands of choices, from satellite radio to internet listening, Spotify, Pandora, etc. to play-your-own-on-your-own-smart-phone, who pays attention anymore?
So news that south Florida station WMXJ — Majic 102.7 — recently laid off a bunch of long-running deejays in anticipation of a format change went practically unnoticed.
Sources at the station say the firings are the beginning of a change in format for the station, which specialized in Classic Hits. Magic 102.7 was acquired in July by Entercom Communications Corp. from previous owner Lincoln Financial Media for $105 million as part of a package of 15 stations around the U.S. (including AC WLYF 101.5 Lite-FM, Alternative WSFS 104.3 FM The Shark and the Sports WAXY 790 AM The Ticket). —mediaconfidential
End of an era.
I don’t listen to MXJ anymore, but I did for a long time. Back in 1985, they oldies they featured were from the 50s and 60s; now it’s the 70s and 80s. It was always a very clean and professional operation on-air; smooth transitions between songs, confident deejays with melodic inflections who never inserted themselves clumsily into the programming, consistent but not redundant playlists, etc. For the 30 years of which I’m aware, it has endured as the most consistent and dependable listen on the FM dial.
That’s all about to change.
I don’t know what makes me sadder — that’s it’s about to go belly-up and vanish, or that I don’t really much care anymore. Multiply that last sentiment by thousands of listeners — make that former listeners — and you see the problem.