Kid Carter, 98.1 WQSM Fayetteville NC | May 29, 2003

Comments by Steve West:

Here’s a format hint: Any station which uses the slogan, “Today’s Best Variety” is Adult-Contemporary. Perhaps that’s why an adult like me likes the music.

WQSM goes by the name “Q98″, which implies a CHR format. Yet, for all intents and purposes, this sounds like Top 40 in many ways… that’s the joy of this flavor of HotAC, we older kids think its a Top 40 station that we like because we can tolerate the music. It sounds young, the formatics sound like one of our old 80s CHR stations – but to a point.

But this is not CHR, Top 40 or any kind of traditional Hit Radio format of any kind. Its funny how age sneaks up on us. We don’t even realize how many years have gone by. Q98 has a produced liner at the end of this aircheck that says, “Q98 OWNS the 80s”. Well, yea fluffy, it does. The 80s are OLDIES to this generation of young people, the same as the 60s are to some of us. And that, perhaps, is the best explanation of how a CHR station from the 80s and 90s still sounds like one to us today, even though it’s technically morphed into an AC station. Its about the money… the station has loyalty in the adults that grew up with the format, and that translates into advertising dollars.

Sure, this is an over-simplification of the explanation of a HotAC format vice a CHR, but for anyone, say, 45 or 50 years old… have you tried listening to a Rhythmic CHR station lately? Nuff said. Many of our radio listening habits were formed in the 70s and 80s. Radio and the music don’t even resemble what we remember.

This is Kid Carter’s evening show, and about 10 minutes in, Carter signs off for the night, leaving the computer to run the station for the night. There’s not enough tape left to hear if another voice comes on, but even in 2003, the growing practice was to go ‘jockless’ after 10pm or midnight… whenever the evening jock was done. Now, its usually voice-tracked after 6pm, or syndication (like Billy Bush, or Delilah, or John Tesh)… or even jockless. Evening ‘drive’ isn’t a drive-time anymore, and there are very few night jocks left, those that are are usually mp3 voice tracks on a hard drive somewhere in the bowels of a radio studio.

I guess I’ve taken this opportunity to opine away about what happened to our radio stations at the expense of what is a very good sounding station here. Let not what I write take away from the value of a good aircheck in an era of bland radio stations. In 2003, it wasn’t all bad, but that giant ‘flushing’ sound wasn’t the bathroom at the end of the hallway – it was the heart and soul of radio going down a drainpipe as the 2000’s wore on.

Its sorely missed.


Steve West

Airchexx Webmaster, Radio DJ, News Anchor, producer and resident geek.

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