A Case For A New Alternative: “Rock of the ’10s”

In March 2010, I wrote some commentary about KROQ and KYSR in Los Angeles and where “Modern Music” is headed.

Sadly, it headed into the dumper. But did it?

So-called Alternative music stations aren’t Alternative anymore. Nor are they modern. Most are now Classic Rock stations for Gen-X.

Yet there’s product out there. Somewhere. KCRW/Santa Monica offers some. Xfm 104.9 in London offers some. Even WFNX/Boston does.

That’s why I can’t stop thinking about this — we are reliving 1979-80 all over again when it comes to the future of rock music.

Some programming consultants will tell you Rock is dead.

I don’t believe it.

Even with large multiethnic audience, music cycles have proven rock will return.

We also forget that in Latin American markets like Lima, Active Rock never died. Same goes for Bogotá. Mexico City had a very successful Alternative station before it was ultimately shut down for a variety of reasons (98.5).
 
What I find fascinating is that the current trend of Modern Music skips over the 1990s, as if all the music I thought “destroyed” the format (Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Green Day, Pearl Jam, etc.) are non-factors. Listen to some of the sounds from acts like Cut Copy, Arcade Fire and Matt & Kim – the influences are there.
 
So I experimented. What would a radio station sound like that focused on new music yet embraced the “cutting edge of rock” of the 1980s?

What market could it work in, successfully enough to start a trend?
 
Here is what I came up with:
 
107.5 THE POD
What’s Next For Houston
 
 
 
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE  You Got The Love
WEEZER Hash Pipe
A SILENT FILM You Will Leave A Mark
KEANE Under Pressure
MUMFORD & SONS Little Lion Man
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS Could You Be Loved?
KINGS OF LEON Sex On Fire
DEPECHE MODE Policy Of Truth
HURTS Wonderful Life
SILVERSUN PICKUPS Panic Switch
 
PHOENIX Lisztomania
NINE INCH NAILS Head Like A Hole
MGMT Kids
DIRTY HEADS f/ROME Lay Me Down
SPOON Got Nuffin
VAMPIRE WEEKEND A-Punk
THE XX Crystalized
NEON TREES Animal
CELEBRATE THE NUN Will You Be There?
 
GORILLAZ Feel Good Inc.
CEE LO GREEN Forget You
MUSE Starlight
MARINA & THE DIAMONDS Hollywood
FRANZ FERDINAND No You Girls
TIESTO f/TEGAN & SARA Feel It My Bones
UNDERWORLD Born Slippy
 
COLDPLAY Viva La Vida
BRANDON FLOWERS Crossfire
SUBLIME Badfish
ARCADE FIRE Ready To Start
CURE In Between Days
LINKIN PARK New Divide
M.I.A. Paper Planes
JULIAN CASABLANCAS 11th Dimension
 
MARK RONSON f/AMY WINEHOUSE Valerie
GOSSIP Heavy Cross
WEEZER I Want To
JANE’S ADDICTION Been Caught Stealing
MINUS THE BEAR My Time

________________________________________________
 
Here’s the problem: This may be cool for a person in their 30s seeking new music, a “Hot Adult Alternative” if you will.
 
But I cannot figure out how to program a Modern Music format for 12-34 year ols. Their is not enough product – or none at all – that could possibly lure them unless there is a heavy nostaglia movement going on. 
 
Yet perhaps “Hot Adult Alternative” is a way for stations in markets where there is heritage for Alternative and listeners have aged beyond the demo of the current station.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to get your feedback. Please leave them below.

ADAM R JACOBSON
Hispanic Market Media Strategist

One thought on “A Case For A New Alternative: “Rock of the ’10s””

  1. Well, Cox Radio in Houston reacted and 106.9 The Point is no more.
    In its place is an 80s/90s classic Alternative station.

    So it’s sort of what I was advocating, but not really:

    http://1069thezone.com/splashpage/index.html

    Sample Hour:

    10 AM
    10:59 AM PRETENDERS Don’t Get Me Wrong 1986 G
    10:55 AM DAVE MATTHEWS BAND What Would You Say 1994 G
    10:46 AM OASIS Wonderwall 1995 G

    10:42 AM DEPECHE MODE Enjoy The Silence 1990 G
    10:38 AM STONE TEMPLE PILOTS Interstate Love Song 1994 G
    10:33 AM PETER GABRIEL In Your Eyes 1989 G

    10:29 AM SEMISONIC Closing Time 1998 G
    10:25 AM CURE Love Song 1989 G

    10:15 AM B-52’S Love Shack 1989 G
    10:11 AM DUNCAN SHEIK Barely Breathing 1996 G
    10:06 AM CULT She Sells Sanctuary 1985 G
    10:03 AM BECK Loser 1993 G
    10:00 AM U2 Desire 1988 G

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