As we become more attuned to analyzing PPM numbers, it's looking more and more that well-branded and well-positioned Classic Rock stations should do very well in a metered world. Of course, many operators of Classic Rock stations have experienced two decades of pretty consistent success, playing the best rock from the '60s, '70s, and '80s.
But there are some stations that do an especially good job of repackaging the music to create memorable special programming. I call this "shuffling the deck" because it involves playing many of the same songs but in a different format. The now-famous "Classic Rock A-to-Z" is a good example, as is the ubiquitous "Top 500 Countdown," typically scheduled over Memorial Day Weekends.
One station that always seems to come up with clever specials is Entercom's Eagle in Sacramento. Curtiss Johnson, Brian Lopez, and their veteran staff have become experts at melding Classic Rock with a little old school theater of the mind. This week, they're taking another "Classic Rock Road Trip," cruising across the country (forget those high gas prices) to feature music from many different cities and towns.
Maybe this all sounds simple, but the reality of putting together something like this (and doing it well) is that it takes several staff meetings and brainstorms, storyboards, show/prep scripts for each state and city on the tour, and a great bit of writing and production that makes "Classic Rock Road Trip" come alive. The feature generates a huge audience reaction, fueled by the fact that many Eagle listeners moved to Sacramento from somewhere else.
My favorite Eagle stunt, however, is "Woodsquawk," a virtual/fantasy music festival that is always entertaining, colorful, and enhanced by great personalities like Bob Keller, Tom Nakashima, Charlie Thomas, Kat Maudru, and even syndicated hosts, Mark & Brian.