“We’re going back to the way radio used to be,” he said. “There’s lots of listener interaction, and since we’ll program all the music here, we’ll take requests and play dedications.”
It’s a marked change for Moore, whose experience with corporate radio structure included stints at KRXO, KTOK and KYIS (then KZBS).
Deregulation of radio in the mid-1990s was designed to foster competition in local markets, but that’s not what happened. Instead, major corporations like Clear Channel and Cumulus swept in to dominate markets such as Oklahoma City.
And corporate ownership has changed the structure of radio.
The morning show remains the holdover, the anchor of the day for a radio station. Tradition makes it an important part of the system. However, even with the unique personalities on during morning drive time, Moore said, the umbrella corporations still select the music played.
“Outside of the morning shows, a lot of radio stations in this town and across the nation use voice tracking, which is a method of saving money doing the shift via a computer five or 10 states away,” Moore explained. “When radio began to get so corporate- and stockholder-driven, it really took a decline in what came out of the speakers.”
At one time, radio disc jockeys were local celebrities, fieldiing phone calls and requests from fans while entertaining listeners with stories. Blake Wolney, who operated under the name the Bladerunner on KATT-FM, believes that mentality is gone from radio now.
“If you listen to anyone on the radio anymore, outside of morning shows, it is syndicated people like Ryan Seacrest or Delilah,” Wolney said. “If you listen to anyone local, they just come out of a song, talk for a second, and then go into a spiel about being out at a car lot or a concert coming up. And then it goes to five commercials about the car lots and concerts.”
Wolney said that he thinks corporate radio will implode in the next 10 to 15 years. Either it will go back to the way it used to be or it will end up eliminating local DJs completely.
That is something Moore doesn’t want to see happen.
“The problem with that is there is nothing local about it anymore,” he said of the corporate model. “If Mustang wins the softball championship, [KZLS] can talk about it. A listener can smell a prerecorded program a mile away.”
Moore said the introduction of satellite networks like XM and Sirius — along with the popularity of Internet radio — also impacts local radio. With so much competition, a local DJ taking phone calls and accepting requests from listeners might make a difference.
“I started at a small AM station in Arkansas with a control room the size of a walk-in closet in 1978 and a box of LPs,” Moore said. “Now, I am doing the exact same thing I did then, where I have the freedom to pick and choose what I play. If someone requests it, I can play it, unlike almost every other station in town. It is returning to the most fun aspect of my job, by picking what I play.”
Moore pointed to the fact that, on his first show after returning to the morning, he took a lot of calls right off the bat from listeners requesting songs. He said this is a big deal because his listeners get to hear their voice on the radio choosing the next song that plays, and that is a “step into show business.”
“Local radio, with the exception of traffic and weather, has no entertainment value in it,” Wolney said. “Maybe someone like Eggman can bring some of that passion back.”