When i first began KB Radio strictly as podcasts, I started using the tag line “What Radio Used to Be.” So the first question is of course is, what did Radio used to Be like? It goes back to an era, somewhere between the dawning of rock and roll dj’s and the brutal corporate rape of the industry. Through the 70’s and 80’s the entire music scene was very different. There were generally only a couple of options to get your music from. You either played vinyl, either 45’s or 33 RPM albums, cassette tapes would reach a peak during these era’s as well, or people turned on the radio. Yes there was still some 8 tracks and reel to reel was used by some, but not by the majority. Now if you had a social gathering in your home, quite often it came down to listening to the radio. Playing 45’s, too much trouble, having to change the record every 3 minutes or so. Albums, much longer playing, but not everyone enjoyed the no hit tracks on albums. They wanted to hear music they recognized, and since most could relate to what was playing on the radio, knew those tunes, that’s what would be playing in the background. It was there, it was perfect or close to it anyway because it filled so many voids. Your morning show, news, weather, maybe traffic a bit of light entertainment. Music in the middle of the day, for those working to listen to or the family members at home raising kids etc. Afternoons the same as the mornings and repeat at night with mostly music to entertain. A simple formula, but you also know when you turned on the radio you could listen to it and let your kids do the same.
That last line starts to make me sound old, but I have to question many or our values in society where you can turn on the radio, and hear songs talking about beating your woman, dropping the N word, and shooting and killing enemies, cops, whoever. I don’t care who tries to explain, i will never understand how a derogatory word, again starting with N, what was created in hate towards a race or culture, can now be used by that very same culture. Explain a song that uses that term and talks about hate and being repressed by “the man” or society? It is completely asinine. It would be like PETA campaigning about abuse to animals while eating a Big Mac. So you will never hear that kind of music on KB Radio. It is counter productive in my opinion and if you disagree, that’s fine too. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and free to express it.
So when you tune in KB Radio I want people to be able to first of all, relate to the songs, recognize most and be able to listen to it no matter what the circumstances. Out for a walk or run with a ear buds in, it should work. Sitting in the car chatting with your passenger, it’s on in the background not brash or disturbing your train of thought. At home with a group of people, and playing in the background again, or up loud for everyone to enjoy depending on the type of gathering. It won’t ever be everything to everyone, I am not naive about that, but I want it to be there for those who like using music in those ways. Many radio stations now, stick to a very tightly formatted sound. Most are basically franchises, and if you go from Major city to major city, at least in North America, you will find, as an example Virgin Radio in London, a Virgin Radio in Toronto, and in 50 or 100 other cities in Canada and the US. I remember traveling to Ottawa once a couple of years ago. When I left I had a “Bob FM” station on. As I went down the highway, on about a 7 hour drive, I switched from one Bob Fm to another all the way there. I don’t remember the exact number, but it was 6 or 7 stations. Every one sounding the same, except with different voices announcing the tunes.
The other problem with these tight formats is the limited number of songs they play. A radio station that plays hit music, repeats the top songs if not hourly, almost every hour. That is what everyone want to hear. The balance of their music is other current songs, slightly less frequently and the odd past hit, splashed in maybe one every couple hours. They may say they have 300 hundred songs in the rotation, but only a handful would be played repeatedly through the week. The balance is the fillers, and they as i said, only get played ever couple hours. To give a better idea, here’s the math. Lets say they have 250 songs in the older music pile, where 1 gets played every 3 hours. That means 8 songs a day, and to go through the entire pile will take 30 days before they start to repeat the list.
Here is where KB Radio is different. I am not playing songs in high rotation. I work off of a playlist I created myself, music that probably 90% who listen will recognize every song. That list is approximately 3000 songs that play Monday to Friday. These songs will take probably 8 days to go through all of them, but you are hearing them back to back. Not a song you know and love every 3 hours. Besides, if you like a song and have your radio on, do you really want to hear that song played 7 or 8 times in an 8 hour work day plus in the car driving, five days a week. After 1 week, hearing a song 50 times, it tends to wear thin. But if you put on the radio and listen for 8 hours and every song that comes on, makes you smile. Than you start hearing songs you havent heard for a while, forgotten songs that come back to you when they begin playing.
I than add independent music into the mix. These are the artists that are busting their butts making music, but haven’t reached the stardom level. Some you may recognize a name, they had a minor hit somewhere, but the majority will be new to you. These songs i have play more frequently and they will average about 1 time per day. But the hours are different, so maybe in your work environment you will hear that song on a Monday but not again till Thursday, but someone listening in the evening on Tuesday got a chance to hear it. I firmly believe that with this style of play, songs become more recognize while not being driven down the listeners throat. The music again, is not aggressive and fits inside the mental mold I have created. Many wouldn’t know the difference if played back to back as an example and independent artist and say an artist from another country whose music wasn’t available in your country. What difference would it make which was which anyway. they will both be good tunes that the listener will hopefully enjoy.
Am I an expert on radio programming, not by any means. But here’s the simplest way to explain everything. I am an average person. Logic tells me if i like something that the average person will like it too. Sorry if you are high maintenance or high-end, maybe I am not for you.
The next part is the live shows. I host shows and try to present them in a free style manner that is not offensive, is light-hearted and maybe informational, though I stay away from news, hot political discussions etc. I like to find odd ball kinds of stories about the insanity that is mankind, and share them with you. Not serial killer insanity, but Robin Williams, laugh at the world and how silly we are sometimes. I try to stay active on social media, and respond to everyone who emails, messages etc. I do it all alone, which is not a complaint, but KB Radio is me, Al Yardy.
My final thought is that weekend music follows the same type of format but is all country music. When I did the podcasts, my Sunday night live show was a country music show and it had a very large following also. So when I first started the station, I made weekends country music. I don’t know yet how well this truly works, but I am watching numbers and statistics to see the differences. Only time will tell whether it stays like that, or evolves into something else. Maybe even a 24 hr country music station too? Just a thought.
As always I welcome comments and feedback if you care to. thank you for taking the time to read this. Cheers