Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ahhh, urban radio

I dedicate this post to what is wrong with WPGC 95.5 in Washington D.C.  If you don't know much about me is that I'm an avid listener of terrestrial radio (even in this day and age of  mostly corporate-owned radio).  Anyways, CBS Radio's former urban flagship is still suffering from the same problems plaguing it back in 2007 when the Portable People Meter (PPM) system was introduced to the Washington, D.C. radio market.  (PPM is a system of Arbitron ratings that records instantaneous measurements of how many, often, and how long people listen to a particular radio station.)

Apparently, there back to the same place they were some 4 years ago in the DC market overall 6+ Arbitron ratings.  As of December 2012, the station is currently 14th overall in the market.  It kind of embarrassing considering CBS hired Jason Kidd, a DMV local to be the station's program director and turn the tide of this wayward ship in 2011.  Prior to Kidd's tenure, WPGC began to reintroduce some pop songs only spun on rhythmic contemporary hits radio stations like Z100 in New York, B96 in Chicago, and Power 96 in Miami.

Although the station has officially moved from the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop panel to the Rhythmic panel in July, its ratings have remained stagnant with only occasional influx of marginally higher overall ratings.  The results display that their problems lay with playlist which is a mixture of contemporary hip-hop, R&B, and pop songs.  However, the station's mixture of contemporary hip-hop and R&B is mostly chart topper songs from either genre rather than a wider variety of such found on most other urban stations.  Although their promotional events like "For Sisters Only" and concerts of the hottest hip-hop and R&B artists mainly targets 25-40 year black particularly black females, but the all-over-the-place playlist is main deterrent.   Basically, they have given their core audience, 18-49 year old blacks, a reason to look elsewhere a significant portion of the time.

My solution, it's time WPGC goes back to its roots of being an urban contemporary radio station that occasionally spins pop or dance music but focuses primarily on R&B and hip-hop song titles.  However, the DC region hasn't changed to the point that it would warrant them to attempt to sound like Z100 in NYC because the region has a larger than average black population.  Also their numbers are abysmal and there needs to be some serious soul-searching on the station's core demographic group (which has always been 18-49 year old blacks).  It's bad when Radio One's WKYS is eating their lunch like it is going out of style in the 18-34 demographic group overall.

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