"Stunting" is a standard procedure when a radio station changes formats. Some gimmicky music -- Christmas tunes in May, for example -- replaces the old format in an attempt to signal the death of the old station, and to provoke interest among potential new listeners.
But the former "smooth jazz" WJZX-FM (106.9) has now been stunting for eight days after its apparent attempt to jump to a top-40 format was trumped by WQBW-FM (97.3). The station formerly known as "The Brew"dumped its rock format to become "Radio Now" and aim a version of top 40 at female listeners that lie between the female target of WXSS-FM (103.7), better known as "Kiss FM," and WMYX-FM (99.1), better known as "the Mix."
That all happened last week.
And, still, 106.9 is stunting.
First it was a funny play on Tiger Woods' problems called "Tiger Radio," which played songs about cheating. That was dumped earlier this week by an endless loop of Beatles songs that keep on playing and playing and playing.
Writing about these radio format changes since 1994, I've learned that their impact is very focused. Unlike television stations, which are all sampled by most viewers, radio stations have a very specific audience. If you don't listen to a station, you don't care about it and are unlikely to know, or care, that it's gone.
Unless you listened to smooth jazz before, you're unlikely to have noted the demise of the old WJZX. This stunting marathon on 106.9 FM makes it more likely that a buzz will be created for the new format.
Saga Communications, which owns the stations, hasn't much to lose as it keeps up with the stunt.
And the guessing continues on what the new format will be.
Don't expect anything shocking or surprising. We're talking about commercial radio here, which has a simple formula: find a piece of the audience, generally some chunk of listeners, between 25 and 54, and offer them something that will yield a big enough crowd to sell to advertisers.
I'll keep an ear on this today and over the weekend, and you can check OnMilwaukee.com for any updates.
Looking for a TV food show host: A TV production company is searching for a "dynamic personality who is extremely passionate" as a host for a new show about food.
The casting people are looking for food bloggers, chefs, food critics, cookbook authors or home cooks "who can speak enthusiastically about food."
If you're interested, send a photo, contact info and a short biography to email@example.com.
On TV: One-time WLUM-FM (102.1) deejay Todd "Bubba the Love Sponge" Clem may get a TV show, according to Broadcasting & Cable, which reports the shock jock is in line for a syndicated show that could air next year.
- Starz is working on a new version of "Camelot," with Joseph Fiennes as Merlin and Eva Green as sorceress Morgana. It should air next year. ex-Bond girl's first TV role.
- ABC isn't going to revive CBS' canceled "New Adventures of Old Christine," despite talk to the contrary that Julia Louis-Dreyfus' sitcom could live on, says EW.com's Michael Ausiello.
- "ThunderCats," the 1980s animated series, is coming back in an anime version being made for Cartoon Network. The new version should debut next year.
Remembering Rue: Only Betty White remains from "The Golden Girls" after this week's death of Rue McLanahan, at 76.
Here's a little something to remember her by:
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.