A few weeks back, a friend of mine sent me a link to a contest for Duran Duran tickets in Washington DC. At the time, I glanced at her note briefly, and then saved it for later when I had more time. As I looked at it later, two things caught my interest: one, it was a radio call-in contest, and two, the radio station is located here in the greater LA area.
I have a clean record when it comes to radio contests. I haven’t won a single one. Now, I can say that with a chuckle because it’s true, and because I don’t dare take them seriously. I don’t have hours to listen to the radio each day, and I definitely don’t have time to continuously speed dial, so they’re hit or miss with me. So while it is true that I haven’t won, I also haven’t tried that often!
Mostly, I thought it was interesting that an LA radio station had a contest for Duran Duran tickets to a show that is being held on the other side of the country. I don’t know if this contest included airfare, but I believe it may have. Not a bad deal. As I looked closer at the contest and thought about the station hosting it though, I started wondering why this particular station was involved.
The station was K-EARTH 101, and as I understand it, they’re one station of an entire group of them from coast to coast. That makes more sense. What threw me initially though, was that I have always known K-EARTH to be an Oldies station.
I realize the term “oldies” can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. In my head, when I say “oldies”, I mean that it’s music my parents listened to. In fact, my mom still has the station programmed as a pre-set in her car stereo.
So then I wondered why on earth (ha!) this station would be having a contest for DD tickets. I mean, it would make no sense, right?? I thought about that for a bit and then something took my attention away until my mom came over last week for Thanksgiving. She and I were talking, and she gleefully told me that she’d heard about those Duran Duran tickets on K-EARTH. When I mentioned my puzzlement about that stations listeners and why they’d give away Duran Duran tickets on an oldies station, she stopped, looked at me, and smiled. “Why Rhonda, they play your music on that station! They play Duran Duran. I heard Rio the other day!”
After I picked up my head from the table, I openly cringed. Does this really mean what I think it means, I thought to myself. No way!!! It was an ego-crushing moment, and whats more, I think my mother enjoyed watching my reaction!
So today I did some research on K-EARTH. I needed to know what was going on there, because the last I’d checked, they were playing anything from Elvis Presley to 70’s era Elton John, and the world was happy. Could it really be that oldies now means…well…I can’t even type it. So I went to the internet (because everything you read on the internet must be true, right?). Turns out, K-EARTH has slowly been evolving their format from 50s-60s to 70s-80s, and now people are noticing they are even playing 90s music, and a lot less of the 50s and 60s. And I’ve just been sitting here, happily ignoring progress!
What’s more, one of the blogs I read on the station explained that the “mean audience” for K-EARTH was about ten when Reagan was elected.
That is me. I was actually nine, but I turned ten later that same year.
I was all set to write a blog about how I am not really sure Duran Duran really understands their audience, because on one hand – they are playing all of these festivals to appeal to a younger crowd, but on the other hand they’re offering tickets on an oldies radio station, never ONCE considering that I may in fact be one of the “oldies” to which they are appealing! It’s been a rough morning.
The fact is, I knew this was happening. I know that in the past they’ve had promotional contests on other stations that I thought seemed a little out of their demographic, only to find out later that no, it’s that I’m still insisting I’m in my 20s when I’m really not. It’s just a brutal truth, and the first person that points out that age is but a number is liable to get punched in the nose.
So instead of the blog I had intended to write, I’m lamenting my age and questioning how this happened. I don’t think I’m particularly vain, until it comes to music, obviously. I don’t listen to K-EARTH, obviously. I still listen to healthy doses of KROQ, sometimes JACK-FM because they don’t follow “rules” and I can hear anything from AC/DC to Michael Jackson in a single sitting, and even Star 98.7 in slightly smaller chunks of time. But K-EARTH? Good Lord no. They play oldies!
Somehow, I suspect my children say the same thing. About my music.
To round out this happy little blog post, I have to wonder how the band must feel. On one hand, they’re trying their best to get that younger audience, and I still say that at some moments – they do it at the expense of the audience they’ve always had. But on the other hand, they’re considered an oldies act. Most of their biggest hits are from nearly 40 years ago now. Yet, they have music that is nearly brand new, and its style is current. The more “nostalgic” radio stations have formats that won’t accommodate their new music, and the more current stations won’t play the band because they’re played on those oldies stations. It’s a quandary, and it is one reason why many of us have not heard music from Paper Gods get air time.
In the meantime, I am going to sit back and attempt to come to grips with my place in this world…likely by watching a few Duran Duran videos.