Earlier this semester in class we were asked to research five local radio stations near our hometown, and write a brief little summary on one station you found that stuck out to you. We brought our findings into class and shared and discussed what we found. We each put our five radio stations on the white board in class, categorized both by their format and ownership. Examining our findings shed a lot of light on where the current state of radio is and how the industry is changing.
My five stations were WADB Asbury Park, WBJB brookdale community college public radio, WFJS Domestic Church Radio, WHTG Eatontown and WJLK The Point. WADB was the station I brought forth and shared. I thought I would share it with the class being that its history is quite interesting. WADB started as WCAP licensed to the city of Asbury Park. It was purchased by the Asbury Park Press and it would do fifteen minute newscasts at the top of each hour along with various different show formats. In 1989 the station was sold to Devlin and Ferrari Broadcasting Company of New York for 12.5 million dollars. It bounced from Oldies, Big Band/Swing and Country music formats. In 2007 the station became a full time ESPN Deportes Radio Affiliate. Six months later it was bought by Fox Sports Radio and broadcasted the minor league Lakewood Blueclaws games. In 2014 WADB converted back to newscasts and Oldies while continuing to do the broadcasts of Blueclaws games.
I think WADB is an example of a radio station desperately trying to adapt to the trends of the industry. Over the years they have shuffled back and forth from just about all of the modern mainstream radio formats. As we discussed in class there is a trend of stations switching formats to reach a more mainstream audience. Along with an overall consolidation in show formats, the diversity of ownership among radio stations have been greatly reduced. The majority of radio stations in the country are changing to Pop/contemporary, classic rock and country formats to increase their ability to compete and grow. While it is hard to blame them, I think this is having a drastic effect on the industry. More of the same radio formats are causing more and more stations to be purchased by bigger stations. For example, we found in class that internet radio and streaming is quickly purchasing the majority of radio stations on the air. Iheartradio was by far the company that were reported as owners in our class discussion with twenty tallies.
This class assignment showed me that radio as an industry is changing quickly and in many ways it is dying. Technological innovation is progressing faster than the players in the industry can adapt. Internet services are receiving all the growth. Most of us are using our smart phones and tablets to tune into some light entertainment, not dialing in radio programs. Like many other fields, radio is becoming obsolete due to technological advancements.