Product Thursday

Normally at this spot of the week I am talking about something great that I love and enjoy or that my kids love and enjoy.

But this week I want to talk about a product that had disappeared.

Those of us in the Chicagoland area know Q101. In the 80s and 90s, it was the pop station to listen to with crazy man Robert Murphy at the helm.

Former Q101 morning hosts Sherman and Tingle, image from Illinois Entertainer 08/2008.

In the last few years the station has been Alternative Rock which really appealed to people who like rock with a harder drive to it. My kids played the station all of the time; it was on their alarm clock coming on at 6:45 a.m.

However, the station has been bought by Merlin Media and is making a change to being all news. All of the DJs have been fired and replaced by feel-good names from the past. For now the music is what parents of the former listeners listen to until they can get the news stuff set up.

For me the issue is where can music that Q101 used to play be found on the radio now? There are plenty of stations that play music geared for aging baby boomers in our area. But anything outside of that pop/adult contemporary realm is getting slimmer.

In Chicago we have 1 country station. We have 1 station that plays alternative music of all genres. We have 1 classical station. We have 1 station that plays hiphop or R&B music. And God forbid if any of these stations veer out of their comfort zone.

I could go into “when I was a kid stations played a little of everything.” But I am not sure that was true then. I knew about Aretha and Marving Gaye because they were big enough to crossover. Same for Reba and Alabama.

What I really want to get into is how by not having an alternative station, where will those listeners go to find their music. I know that Q101 is going to a web-based station and I saw on the site that all old DJs are invited to return.

However, this leaves a bunch of fans wondering where to find the music of their choice. Perhaps the listenership means nothing to the new owners who are really working on an axe to grind with a former employer. But these “kids” or young adults or fans of harder driving music were right in that ideal media share of 18 – 54 year old males who like to buy stuff.

Trust me, it worked in my house. Especially when my boys wanted to go to the Jamboree hosted by the station every year in June. We bought them and two friends tickets for the all-day event plus gave money to buy food, drink and souvenirs.

I hope that some station in the area is looking at what they have, not liking it and thinking they can make a change. If you are an easy listening station that is the lowest in the ranks, maybe it is time to make a change. There is a market share without a radio station. Doesn’t someone want to claim them?

While I do not miss the music personally (nothing like getting awaken by the song ‘Nightmare’), I miss it for the boys who really loved it.

Have you ever lost a radio station you really loved?

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