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Music and the Broadcast ExperiencePerformance, Production, and Audiences$
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Christina Baade and James A. Deaville

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199314706

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199314706.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 January 2021

Radio Formats in the United States

Radio Formats in the United States

A (Hyper)Fragmentation of the Imagination1

(p.235) Chapter 10 Radio Formats in the United States
Music and the Broadcast Experience

Ron Rodman

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the proliferation of formats on radio in the United States since the 1980s, which has resulted in a highly fragmented radio audience. Once a monolithic medium, the rise of format radio in the 1950s and 1960s splintered a once-homogeneous audience into many smaller demographic units. The cultivation of an audience for radio formats is the consequence of stations attempting to “assimilate” audiences with listeners “affiliating” with a specific format or station. This chapter traces these processes for the formats of country and rock and pop genres such as CHR and nostalgia/oldies. The resulting fragmentation of the audience was noted in 1988 by Ken Barnes, who listed twenty-four musical formats. In the twenty-first century, cable and internet stations like Music Choice and Sirius/XM have created a “hyperfragmentation” of radio formats, with hundreds of formats, and internet services like Pandora providing listeners the ability to create their own, individual stations, raising the potential for millions of “formats.”

Keywords:   CHR, country, format, Music Choice, nostalgia, oldies, Pandora, radio, rock, Sirius/XM

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