The other day we received a note from Michael Graham, Boston Herald Columnist and former Host on WTTK 96.9 FM Talk. The Boston station recently switched from Talk to a Hip Hop format called Power 96. The change led to the exit of Graham and the rest of the FM Talk staff. Mike’s note thanked us for supporting his afternoon program through the years. – We will use this spot to return the appreciation, as it was Michael’s talent in telling our story that played an important role in building the Reeds Ferry brand. Thank you Michael.
We realize the radio landscape is always changing so another format change is hardly a surprise, but as many better informed commentators have pointed out this particular format change was odd.
If nothing else, as the only Talk format on the FM dial 96.9 was unique. Fans of the station would say it provided a forum for the exchange of ideas and its detractors likely felt the exchanges further highlighted our divide. (Both are correct; sharing opinions is a messy business.) Yet seeing that the political leanings of the various hosts ran the gamut from progressive to conservative questioning the format change is less about where you stand on politics and more simply a question of why? Why did they eliminate a platform in the public square and replace it with another jukebox for the Jersey Shore set? Who thought it was a good idea to add another pop music station playing 13 in-a-row?
Good question… The answer of course is “follow the money”, (or at least someone’s attempt to make more of it). WTKK’s ratings were not at the top of the heap so it’s likely the same type of focus group research that led Coke to change their recipe led WTKK’s management to believe switching formats would lead to higher ratings and greater financial success. Perhaps it will, although in our case we never advertised on WTKK because of its ratings or audience size; rather it was the quality of their audience. We found that people who give serious thought to the issues of day also give serious thought to the products they purchase; therefore choosing our shed was the logical outcome.
We are confident Michael, Margery, Jim and the others will land squarely on their feet; smart people always do. And because nature abhors a vacuum the void left by the departure of WTKK will likely be filled by another radio station down the road. – Until then we will briefly stop on the new Power 96, (and with admitted pretentiousness), we’ll scratch our head and wonder if the phrase “hip-hop culture” is an oxymoron.
–The Shed Ferry