The Death of New York Rock Radio

WRXP-FM (101.9) Becomes All News WEMP-FM

Commercial FM album rock radio is dead. Period.

That slow death began when WPLJ-FM flipped to CHR in 1983. It has been in a steady decline since then. The WRXP-FM flip to all news in August confirms that no station programmer can succeed in New York in the capturing of a dedicated rock listening audience large enough to satisfy the bosses.  These behemoth, chain radio station owners care about three things and they are: ad dollars, ratings and demographics.

The remaining rock commercial stations in the tri-state area: WAXQ-FM (NYC Classic Rock) , WBAB-FM (Long Island Rock) and WDHA-FM (Dover, NJ Rock) play the same rotation of old songs, with few new artists mixed in, so how is that going to attract new listeners? Satellite radio (narrowcasting), ipods and streams have hastened that death.

But the real underlying reason is, is that kids are not being introduced to rock n’ roll for the most part, except through the few parents who know how important it is to explore music with their children. Otherwise they will listen to the junk that all their friends listen to. Rock n’ roll has lost a generation of listeners that I fear cannot be recovered. The few young people who do listen to rock, are the exception.

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