Commercial-Free Radio
  • MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2007

  • Posted by:

Score 1 for Clear Channel! The radio monolith is trying a unique tactic in
Dallas, TX, where they’ve decided to cut all commercials from the KZPS station (92.5 FM if you’re in the area, and Lonestar925.com if you aren’t).
In place of the 12 to 16 minutes of commercial programming that traditionally occurs during an hour of radio broadcast, KZPS will hawk its advertisers in short, 2-minute spurts of “integration.”
Here’s the basic routine: the DJ will “promote the product conversationally,” slyly pushing such sponsors as Southwest Airlines and Coors Lite, and then the music will resume. Two minutes per
hour. No more inane jingles for local car dealerships. Quick, easy, and painless.

"It has been a dream of ours for some time but only now can we bring it you the way it was meant to be heard," reads a statement on the station's website. "Musically, we are like no other
station around AND we have broken the mold on radio commercials." J.D. Freeman, Dallas' market manager for Clear Channel, explains things further. “We got extraordinary support from corporate,”
he tells Radio and Records. “They completely insulated us and told us to break all the rules. So we broke them in programming, we broke
them in advertising, and we broke them on the Web.”

This move isn’t 100% new. Three Long Island stations recently tried the same thing under the ownership of Morey Organizations, but all three ultimately returned to traditional advertising.
The same thing happened in Boston. But if KZPS does succeed, it’ll be a big success for the Clear Channel company, which has been facing newfound competition in a modern world of
satellite radio and iPod-equipped vehicles. How long will it be until cars start receiving direct internet streams? How long will it be until cars starting coming with built-in iPods? Radio
stations used to compete with only tape-decks and CD players for the driver’s complete attention, but the rules of the game are rapidly changing. Kudos to them for figuring this out - and
for taking steps to circumvent the problem.

Taking away commercials might also increase the power of local DJs, who’ve seen their job security steadily
decrease as stations make way for pre-programmed playlists. With approximately 10 to 14 extra minutes of non-commercial programming per hour, stations should be able to give their
able-voiced spokespeople a little more time on the air. Of course, it's all speculation until KZPS put things into action. The station launched today, switching from its previous classic-rock
format to a Texas-flavored hybrid of country and Southern rock 'n' roll. Stream the station here.

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