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Variety Hits Mailbag

August 10, 2005

From: Stacey Upson
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: Aug 10, 2005 5:49 PM
Subject: Jack-FM in Regina

Hi Lou:

Just recently, our "classic rock station" (how Nickleback is classic rock is beyond me) flipped to Jack FM. I was quite surprised at this as I didn't realize that the previous format was doing that badly. So, I've spent some time researching this Jack FM. I found one site indicating that if a station is to become JACK FM, that several terms must be met, including that disc jockeys are not to be used for at least the first few months of the format.

Just wondering two things:

a) Do you know what some of the other terms are?

b) Would it be possible to change this page to say "province of Saskatchewan" instead of Providence of Saskatchewan?

Thanks,
Stacey Upson


Lou: First off, I wouldn't classify a station that plays Nickelback as a classic rocker. But that's what I was told the previous format was on CKCK in Regina.

As for stipulations for JACK-FM stations, there isn't a list of specific rules that I have ever seen. There's not a universal rule against DJs; consider KFMB-FM in San Diego, which retained its morning show (Jeff & Jer) when it switched from Star 100.7 to 100.7 Jack FM. Also, WBUF in Buffalo has Howard Stern mornings, though that is in place only because of contractual obligations with the show dating back to when WBUF was a Hot Talk station (or actually before even that, when the station was a Talk/Rock hybrid).

I think Bob Perry (the originator of JACK-FM) put it best: "Never assume anything about JACK." What can you expect, generally speaking? Music from 1974-present (with that era sliding forward as the years pass, so generally take the current year, subtract 31 from it, and you have the range), with only Top 40/CHR hits that appeal strongly to Adults 35-44. The major target demographic is what in radio terms is abbreviated as P25-54, which is short for Persons 25-54 (Persons/Adults is an interchangable thing when you're talking about adult demographics). P25-54 tends to be the top billing demographic, which is a major reason that the Variety Hits format, and the JACK-FM brand in particular, has been so successful to this point.

My personal opinion is that you do need personalities to help develop a long-term bond with listeners, but that does not mean DJs for the sake of DJs. Inane DJ chatter is a personal annoyance of mine; that's the sort of thing that we mock on the Bubba The Love Sponge show, where I work as a producer. But good DJs can connect with the audience in a special way, furthering both the music and the overall listening experience.

Thanks for the tip on the error on province. It has been fixed. I know that Americans often look stupid when it comes to knowledge of Canadian provinces (or Canada in general), and I'm embarrassed that I furthered that stereotype by my typing error. Incidentally, I'm personally hoping that JACK-FM lands on one of the Canadian stations with call letters that begin with a V, just so we can have one of those on the list.

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