A Century of Radio Stories
by Alex Cosper

The 2019-2022 era marks the 100th anniversary of commercial radio as a mass medium. Historians may disagree which year should be treated as the birth of this era, but the consensus tends to be KDKA/Pittsburgh's broadcast of 1920 Presidential Election coverage as the beginning. Playlist Research will treat 2020 as the 100th anniversary with interviews of current radio and music professionals as well as industry legends. The theme song of this series, now available through Apple Music, Spotify and other streaming services, is "A Century of Radio" by my San Diego recording project, Sunsetrip.

One of the reasons I created this project is I worked in the radio industry myself from 1984 to 2006, mainly in Sacramento, but also in San Francisco, Milwaukee and Palm Springs. As the KWOD/Sacramento Program Director, I led the independent company to becoming one of the highest rated alternative stations in America during the format's heyday in the 1990s. I went to several radio conventions and met hundreds of high profile radio industry pros who had great stories to tell about how they used radio to affect their communities.

Another reason why I've put this interview series together as a tribute to radio's 100 year anniversary is because so many radio personalities have come and gone who became big names in their towns. Radio hosts traditionally have been friendly familiar voices you can turn to for information and entertainment. But now in the automation age the radio industry has downsized air staffs mainly for economic reasons, as the industry has struggled to deal with big mergers that led to huge debt. Automation has helped these companies cut costs, but at the expense of air talent careers.

Between 2010 and 2019 I've noticed many radio personalities who haven't found work following the downsizing have sadly passed away and haven't gotten the credit they deserve for being leaders in their communities. So a big part of this project involves acknowledging their talents at holding the attention of thousands of listeners. Ideally this project will be a reminder to the radio industry that its greatest times were built on the contributions of local air personalities.

Past Playlist Research Articles by Alex Cosper

Social Music Talk Interviews: Includes 91X/San Diego radio legends Michael Halloran, Max Tolkoff, Bryan Schock, Nicole Sandler, Dwight Arnold, Rob Tonkin and more

Interview with All Access Founder Joel Denver
Interview with R&R Founder Bob Wilson
American Radio History
The History of Freeform
History of Famous Radio DJs
Interview with Radio Legend Dave Sholin
Top College Radio Stations in America
Rolling Stone Introduces Charts
History of the Music Industry
KDKA Kicks Off Broadcasting
How Early Radio Became Popular
Landscape of Early Radio Economics
Nationalization of Radio Networks
A Brief History of WHFS
Timeline of National Radio Networks and Music Shows
Rise of Alternative Radio
KWODumentary: 90s Alternative Radio
Freeform/Rock Radio: The Legend of KZAP/Sacramento 1968-1992
New York City Radio History
Los Angeles Radio History
Chicago Radio History
San Francisco Radio History
Interview with Radio Consultant Lee Arnold
Interview with Radio Consultant Dennis Constantine
Interview with KRXQ/Sacramento Long Stay Rocker Pat Martin
Interview with Radio Consultant John Sebastian
Interview with Michael Halloran About 91X/San Diego Programming
Interview with Radio Host/A&R Executive Bruce Ravid
Interview with San Jose Radio Programmer Dana Jang
Interview with Radio/Music Pro Roland West
Interview with Tony Cox About Radio History
Interview with Chris Collins and Kill R Bee of the KSFM Morning Zoo
Interview with LA Radio Personality Mimi Chen
Interview with Bonnie Stacy-Canelakes on Radio Promotions
Interview with San Jose Radio Personality Jona Denz Hamilton
Interview with KZAP Cat Logo Designer Bill Styler
Interview with Drake-Chenault Music Director Kristi Rohlfing
KROY Stories: Interviews with Johnny Hyde, History of Top 40 Radio
Interview Series with Dann Shively, KCRA/Sacramento Radio Pilot
Interview with Alternative Radio Programmer Bruce McDonald
Evidence Playlists Have Replaced Albums
History of Offensive Lyrics
Anniversary of the Telecom Act
Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone?
Interview with Beatles Album Cover Designer Kosh
The Meaning of Misleading Music Research
Seeds of Playlist Industry Have Been Planted
How Playlists Could Create a New Industry
How Apps Became the New Pop Culture
Why Football Is More Popular Than Music In America
How Electronic Effects Became Overdone in Pop Music
40 Million Bands Competing for 40 Radio Slots
Principles of a Beatles-Based Business Model
Why College Radio Still Matters
Preparing For the Internet Broadcast Invasion
Be Your Own DJ




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