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May 16, 2005

As the Dial Turns

A couple of radio stations have made some format changes that you might call "iPod-inspired".

KISW, the local rock station, has started a program called the Sunday Shuffle. From 7 am to noon on Sunday they play a random selection that they claim is from every song they have ever played. They even market it as the "big-ass KISW iPod" (see photo at left).

Meanwhile, the former KRQI at 96.5 is now KJAQ. That's not an inside straight draw, it represents their new format, "Jack". The idea behind Jack (which evidently originated in Canada) is that instead of being limited to a certain genre, the station plays any music from the last 40 years or so. It certainly is eclectic -- this morning I heard "Car Wash" ("You might not ever get rich"--that song) and my RBDS promised "Van Halen next!" Not a lot of stations play "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor and "Cherub" by Smashing Pumpkins. As part of this they booted off all their DJs (including Howard Stern wanna-be Andy Savage) and currently just play music, which is fine with me. What I don't know is if the music is truly random, or programmed but chosen from a huge potential playlist.

KRQI was called K-Rock, but it was only that for about 18 months, when it switched from being KYPT "The Point". The KYPT to KRQI switch happened the same time that KNDD (The End) decided that the current new music that is was obsessively playing kinda sucked, so it went back to its roots and issued its Alternative Declaration, in the process booting off none other than Andy Savage. Actually KYPT had only been The Point for about three years, before that it was KYCW "Young Country" (a brief history of the oft-repurposed 96.5 is here).

Jack is an interesting format idea, but I don't listen to it much. If I want truly random music I'll listen to KEXP. And if I want random music that I know I'll like...I can listen to my own iPod.

Posted by AdamBa at May 16, 2005 09:14 PM

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Sure, the KEXP daytime programming tends to be a little more predictible (they have to appease the morning faithful) but the evening shows like WoPop, Swingin' Doors and sunday mornings Preachin' The Blues...oh man those shows just knock my socks off. Wild stuff...

Posted by: Mustsleepmustsleep at May 16, 2005 11:49 PM

Apparently, the JACK fm brand spread like a virus up here in Canada. Being in Victoria, we're probably as far away from Ontario, the source of all power in Canada, as anyone, but we got hit too. CHTT (I think), 103.1 FM, decided, in a day, to change to JACK. They gave all their DJs an afternoon's notice. No one I know listens to them.

Posted by: Jason at May 17, 2005 06:03 AM

Here's a source of info on the state of radio and also some info about this whole Jack format.


Posted by: Richard L. at May 17, 2005 08:34 AM

I was driving through Spokane a couple weeks ago and was listening to something similar. They called it "Bob" and I think it is a similar format as "Jack."

Posted by: at May 17, 2005 08:51 PM

Interesting link, Richard. I wonder if the Vancouver JACK station (the original one) went to #1 just because it became trendy to listen to because people actually liked it more.

It's still not clear if the JACK format is random or programmed. I could see if it was random AND it had no DJs, it would be cheaper to run. Or not exactly random, but doing an automated selection based on some classification of songs into categories, making sure to spread the songs around among different artists and styles.

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at May 17, 2005 09:34 PM

I found "JACK" by chance and immediately set it in the no. 1 spot on my car radio. Not because it's trendy or hip, but because I really like the blend of music, and best of all...No Annoying DJ'S!

Posted by: Kat at May 25, 2005 11:29 AM