About a month ago I wrote this post about KGBY, my favorite Sacramento radio station, firing all their DJs and switching to a completely automated format. Its still a point of curiosity to me and this post on radiomatthew.com reminded me that it had been exactly a month since my last post which seemed like a good time for a follow up.
This is barely tech related so I'll ask forgiveness as I stray a bit.
The first thing I have to grudgingly say is that I don't think the mix is that bad. I don't know how much user input had to do with it but the station does manage to produce a good song more often than not. Beyond that the station hasn't changed much. Its still just songs with a robotic voice following each song to tell you what the song was and who was singing it. I thought they'd try to mimic JackFM more in that Jack does a really good job of imbuing the station itself with personality (using sly ads with callers who call in to say random things to "Jack") but My92 seems to think the completely automated approach will work instead. We'll see.
On the website, it has changed quite a bit.
One of the things Clear Channel has done right (at least conceptually) is to create some generalized content and then create local web sites around that content. Most music news for example is universal no matter where you live so there's no point in having each station make their own web site.
That said, I think its a mistake in My92's case. If you are going to push your station as an interactive one and specifically mention your web presence than you need to have a specialized web site.
So that, in a nutshell, is what I think of the new My92. Still a poor excuse for everything it said it was trying to accomplish but not a terrible radio station when all is said and done. That said, there's an old adage in the radio business that says people claim they want radio without DJs but always stop listening when the DJs are taken away. My92 isn't a bad mix but I'm not sure its dramatically better than its competition and its competition has actual people on the air. So I'm real curious to see the ratings book for the next quarter.
Addendum: I wanted to throw out a couple things that just really shocked me while listening but were too random to fit the flow of the post...
Things that surprise me
Employing former DJs in lesser positions: I don't want to be too critical of this, it is nice of them not to put her out on the street, but I have to admit to feeling a little weird about the former mid-day host Heather Lee now being the traffic reporter. Its sort of like firing your Senior VP and then offering to hire them back as the Janitor. There's nothing wrong with being a Janitor but if you used to be the Senior VP in the same company it feels more like kicking sand in the person's face.
Former DJs doing Commercials: Call me crazy, but if I'm going to fire all the DJs from a station then I'm also going to get my sponsors to re-record their Ads even if I have to pay for it out of my own pocket. Listeners already feel a little disloyal for not leaving the station when their favorite DJ was fired so having the disembodied voice of that DJ on a commercial every 1/2 hour only exacerbates the guilt. I know it made me want to turn the station off.
Contests: Something about having no people on the air and still having contests seems contradictory to me. Contests and DJs are sort of interlinked and having contests without DJs seems to draw attention to the mechanical nature of the station.
My Midday MyPod: The station's primary contest seems to be the "Midday MyPod" where a listener gets to pick 5 songs that are played at noon. I find it kind of funny that a radio station is tying its branding so closely to the iPod being the reason most people rarely listen to the radio anymore is because they have iPods. Seems counterproductive to me. (on top of that, the one time I listened specifically for this contest they didn't start until about 12:15pm which is just sloppy)
The Asian My925: The station goes by "My925" but a quick trip over to www.my925.com shows the domain is actually owned by a jewelry store in China. They actually re-branded their station, which is supposed to be interactive with a focus on the web, with a name that they couldn't get the web address to. That's stupid.