Ben FM/Jack FM - You're kidding, right? 'Radio without rules'? C'mon - that's joke, right? 95.7 launched a new station in Philly (a similar station was also launched in LA), and the entire premise is that it's fascinating like a trainwreck. They keep telling me it's 'radio without the rules' and the 'DJs are playing their favorite song, like your iPod on shuffle'. Well, sorry, but Eric Clapton and Genesis are NOT on my iPod. And neither is the "Electric Slide" or C&C Music Factory, and while it was interesting to hear Howard Jones and New Order in the middle of this mess, I think that if Michael Stipe were sitting next to me he'd be asking for a machete after he heard "Losing My Religion" into "Still the One". And how can it really be 'the DJs are playing their favorite songs' when there aren't any DJs (they fired the x-Mix 95.7 DJs yesterday)? If I have to hear them one more time in their production bragging about how cool it is to segue from "Back in Black" to "Play that Funky Music White Boy", I will pour a bath, get in, and see if my radio will reach. 'It's like we brought a bunch of CDs to the radio station, cause we did', this shit is inane. Ooh - there's Madonna, then ELO, then Marcy Playground. As my friend Pat said, how is it that only radio can manage to make iPods UNCOOL?
'Freeing us from all the shackles of ordinary radio' - well, if that freedom means getting to hear The Rembrandts play the "Friends Theme" 3x per week - woo hoo - count me in! The Ben FM phenomenon (the format is generally referred to as Jack, as this was the name of the early adopters to this format up in Canada where it started) is based on being shallow and wide - "we're so crazy we'll play anything!" as long as it was a #1 hit, and even if it sucks. No, especially if it sucks. Corporate radio is so lemming'd out - remember "Jammin' Oldies"? Or the All-80s format? Both launched, climbed, and crashed and burned within 18 months in the past 5 years. And when I say launched, I mean, after one ambitious company (usually non-corporate but actually creative) tried the format somewhere and it worked, soon every city HAD TO HAVE ONE. And here in Philadelphia we've got Ben FM... like Ben Franklin. Get it?
I have no doubt this will be a big hit in Philly... and that makes me sad.
Source: Jim McGuinn