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Greg Solk and WXRT/WJMK

I'm just curious what anyone/everyone thinks Solk will do (or not do) for either of these soon- to-not-be CBS stations.
Responses (14)
  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, April 20 2017, 09:02 PM - #permalink
    Solk will run the stations under the direction of the owners/management.

    In other words, if they're happy with sales and the profit then why rock the boat?
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  • Accepted Answer

    Saturday, April 22 2017, 04:51 PM - #permalink
    Things I've noticed so far since Greg has been there:

    -ID'ing the station as 93WXRT, in addition to 93XRT. When it started, you could hear the air talent sometimes struggle with it, to the point of it sounding a little awkward at first. Not sure if it was intended, but for me, 93WXRT Chicago's Finest Rock has sentimental value. It's miniscule, but I like hearing the W in XRT.

    -Audio processing changed (for the better). Thank you!

    -Jock breaks sound slicker, and tightened up now (not sure if I like it yet, or not). Even Frank E. Lee, when he's on, sounds very streamlined (so glad to still hear Frank every once in a while). Very interesting.

    -Numerous times now, I've heard Lin Brehmer play extended music sets, without back-announcing. I can understand why, but I'm not a fan of it.

    -Might be my imagination, but the station doesn't sound as sleepy as it used to. I'm hearing more tunes that rock, and I definitely like that.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Sunday, April 23 2017, 03:24 PM - #permalink
    I've noticed the same things. The music selection is better, but "93WXRT" sounds clumsier than "93XRT" and doesn't match either of the logos the station has used for about 30 years. I'm not a fan of more streamlined jock breaks. While XRT has always been about its music, its on-air personalities have still been an important part of the station, and they should get to talk a fair bit -- even Jason Thomas.

    But overall, I would say Solk has been great for XRT.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Monday, April 24 2017, 08:17 AM - #permalink
    I think Mr. Solk has been doing a good job with WXRT and WJMK.

    Terestrial radio (as its now called these days) should not try to compete with satellite radio. And online based, subscription services arent even in the same class. With terestrial radio I dont pay a fee, in exchange I listen to commercials. Its a fair trade off to me. But there are just far too many commercials. Make your product good and limit the number of minutes of ad time. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If I'm an advertiser, that is in the middle of programming free, 8 minute non-stop set of commercials (back to back and all in a row)....not many will recall my message. The clutter has listeners mashing down the button to something else.

    The biggest advantage to terestrial radio is live and local. I want to hear about the artist, some interesting information about the song, or perhaps a tour that coming to the area. The weather coming up, a sports score, something local thats going on. I think this is where Greg Solk exceeds.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Monday, April 24 2017, 09:38 AM - #permalink
    Now just get rid of the Pittsburgh national VO guy.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Monday, April 24 2017, 09:52 AM - #permalink
    WXRT listeners are loyal, but the demo the station tries to reach also means their listeners are the ones most likely to try alternative technology. With the commercial load CBS forces on them, they have to do whatever they can in other areas to quicken the pace a bit. People are used to Spotify et al not announcing anything, you lust look up the list when you have a sec.

    Once in a while a clever pairing of tracks may make some back-announcing sense but otherwise it seems like technology is making back-announcing somewhat redundant. If you really want to know what song is playing and your radio doesn't show you, the average music-intensive listener will use SoundHound or go look up the playlist on the XRT website.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, April 25 2017, 08:08 AM - #permalink
    >>>If you really want to know what song is playing and your radio doesn't show you, the average music-intensive listener will use SoundHound or go look up the playlist on the XRT website.<<<

    Seriously, who has time for that? I sure don't! If I'm listening to your station, whichever one it might be, you've got me. Inform me. Talk to me. Communicate to me. 'XRT was never a background station. Don't piss me off by making me search out info that you could have told me, right then and there, when you had me as a listener for that hour. If I were a programmer, that would be what I would tell my airstaff. Find other ways to send your listeners to your website, not over songs that were just played, that you easily could have told your listeners what they were.

    WXRT was always about nuturing and building relationships with new artists. Perfect example, Midnight Oil. In the days when that band was just getting 'XRT exposure, the band, and/or, song, was always announced. This in turn built a loyal audience with the band. When it was time for an 'XRT presents show, BAM, the audience knew the band, and had already formed a relationship with it, from the exposure on 'XRT. The station would be foolish to mess with that formula. I still 100% support back and front announcing everything. Nothing should ever be left out. It can be brief, but it still must be done. If that's a tuneout for you, then you're listening to the wrong radio station.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, April 25 2017, 09:38 AM - #permalink
    @russ:

    I agree with you.

    If I'm listening to one of those I know I'm going to see artist information, AND an ad placed nearby. And depending on a lot of factors, the ad might be relevant to me at that time. Terestrial radio cant do that.

    Online streaming services and terestrial radio are different technologies, in a certain sense.


    @hauser:

    And your point is spot on. The product is not very well developed when you play a song and then send your listener to your website to find out who sang the song. Its about building a relationship with the listener. Talk about the song and let me know there is severe weather on the way. At least at the moment, online streaming and satellite radio cannot compete with that.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, April 25 2017, 11:52 AM - #permalink
    >>> I still 100% support back and front announcing everything. Nothing should ever be left out. It can be brief, but it still must be done. If that's a tuneout for you, then you're listening to the wrong radio station.

    I disagree. WXRT-FM doesn't need to do this up to a point. Usually their music express features will feature announcing of new music and a hint of a classic songs from their archives. These mystery songs are the glue which holds the listener through 8-minute commercial breaks and are most welcome.

    The majority of 'XRT's listeners don't need to hear the title and artist of every song played on their airwaves. Especially twice. A great deal of it is familiar music. Many Classic Rock artists tour extensively during the summer and this is ideal for promotion.

    Punching up the station's website to catch a song you're not familiar with is not a big deal. In many cases, there's the option to buy that track. People are armed with smartphones these days. It takes all of 30 seconds. WXRT's site is very easy to navigate. I have it bookmarked on my phone.

    Unless ratings and revenue vastly improve, WXRT may not be around much longer as we know it. Hats off to Greg Solk and the fine adjustments he's made thus far. The station is beginning to get back on track where it should be.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, April 25 2017, 01:06 PM - #permalink
    >>>The majority of 'XRT's listeners don't need to hear the title and artist of every song played on their airwaves. Especially twice.<<<

    I assumed everyone knew what I meant, and that is, if you don't front-sell the songs/artists, then that info should be back-announced. Both front and back selled, of the same info, would be overkill. What I'm saying is that the title and artist should be told to the audience at least once. Really, is that asking too much? I get it. We're now living in the PPM world, and every minute is examined under a microscope, and research shows that most listeners don't want to hear talk on their music stations. I'm familiar with all of that...but, this is 'XRT we're talking about - a heritage rock station that's been in the market, full-time, almost 50 years now.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, April 26 2017, 05:23 PM - #permalink
    "Heritage" doesn't mean they shouldn't change with the changing times (to quote a dB's song). 87.7 hardly announces song titles at all and they are purposely (and successfully) trying to attract an older demo.

    I get it, you're used to crunch-and-roll and it's jarring when you don't hear it. But crunch-and-roll might actually be off-putting to listeners under 30 who are USED to looking stuff up on their phone immediately instead of waiting 8 minutes for the DJ to tell them the information.

    I follow the download charts frequently. At least 3 songs a week are complete left-field tracks to me - good songs but their appearance on the charts make almost no sense: How did "Ride Away" by Roy Orbison (1965) or "Sour Cherry" by The Kills (2008) become hits in 2016? They were used in 30-second TV commercials - people were using SoundHound to look up that information in 5 seconds. (And they were obviously purchasing the tracks.) The TV commercials NEVER front or back announced the song titles and artists - proof positive that front and back announcing aren't as important today as we once believed they were.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, April 27 2017, 08:15 AM - #permalink
    TV commercials that use music beds have never announced the music that they play. The main reason being, is that they're there to sell you a product, not the song that they're playing with their commercial. Yes, as a byproduct, TV commercials also sell music. If viewers want to know the name of the song, they have no other choice, but to search out the song that was played during the commercial.

    Musically programmed radio stations are all about, well, playing music. You actually have an announcer relaying information, and communicating with you. So then (radio) why not continue to do what you've been doing for decades - continue to announce the artists and songs that you play? Have we really reached a point in life where we don't want to hear another person's voice? I don't think so, as people love to watch movies, and TV now has hundreds of channels. So why then is music radio backing off on talk? Morning radio shows (with multiple members) are still very popular. They usually talk a lot. OK, so after the morning show is over, all talk on music radio stations is now limited? That truly may be the current trend. Still, for me personally, I don't listen much to radio station jukeboxes, unless, the music programming is so unique, that I *have to* take the jukebox, along with the unique programming.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, April 27 2017, 01:47 PM - #permalink
    The question is, do you want to connect with your listeners? If the answer is yes, one of those ways to do that, is through supplying, verbally, title and artist. The name of the game is connecting to your listeners. It's probably not as important to give title and artist on a radio station with a 100 song playlist, but that's not 'XRT.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, April 27 2017, 02:23 PM - #permalink
    Interesting conversation. If you're listening to XRT for any length of time, waiting for the backsell isn't an issue. If you're a casual listener, a button pusher, then you're probably not going to hang out to find out what was played even if you like it. People like to know what they're hearing, and research indicates that generally, they do want song title and artist info from the DJ. DJ's kinda forget this... because they already know title and artist info and or assume the listener is as familiar with the track as they are which in most cases they are not.

    I'm not a huge fan of laundry list backsells of several songs for the reason I mentioned above. Unless you're a dedicated listener... you might not stick around to hear the list. My preference would be frontsells and backsells more frequently and an emphasis on announcing new and more obscure music vs. the obvious tracks. Just my 2 cents.
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