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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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Radio Formats in the United States

Radio Formats in the United States

A (Hyper)Fragmentation of the Imagination1

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

Ron Rodman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199314706.003.0011

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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