The declining fortunes of rock format radio has been a topic of discussion recently. My pal Andrew at funferal has some observations based upon a discussion with staff at our local student-run commercial radio station that recently switched from a basic modern rock format to a more freeform approach they call “No Rules Radio.”
He mentions that the DJs there are not paid, which is news to me. I think this might be a change that accompanied the format switch. At least as of a few years ago DJs were paid, though not well. I believe it was a sub-minimum-wage justified by calling the positions internships.
But that was when the station was as tightly playlisted as any other commercial rock station and DJs–aside from a couple of specialty shows–had no more autonomy than the voice-trackers on a Clear Channel station. Now that the DJs have much more flexibility and freedom I guess the station figures it no longer needs to pay them, in that the work is the reward. Whereas, there’s little reward in pushing pre-programmed buttons with no more free will than an automation system.
I will say that I’ve listened to that station a lot more since it changed formats last year. There’s a lot less repetition, a lot less nu-metal and more alt. rock classics from my college radio years. In fact, the station sounds a heck of a lot more like good old fashioned college radio, which is a good thing.
Except, too many DJs still try to sound “professional” and the commercials are just as annoying as they ever were. It’s disconcerting to hear a track from Spearhead right before a sexist ad for a campus frat bar pushing binge drinking specials.
Eh, it’s better than more Linkin Part and Limp Bizkit.