For the last four decades or so, 103.9 WRCN has been playing rock music. In that time, there hasn’t been much variation in their formula. In the mid-1980’s, they tried adding alternative songs into the mix, but the audience wouldn’t have Depeche Mode next to Led Zeppelin. They might not have been aware that they were being a little ahead of their time. When Nirvana exploded in 1991, it was okay to follow Led Zeppelin with Soundgarden or Pearl Jam. The ratio of new and classic rock favored the newer side for pretty much most of the 90’s. Then, one day, in either 1998 or 1999, someone (who shall remain nameless, because I don’t know their name) had the big idea of switching the format to classic rock. No new music, whatsoever. Essentially, they became a clone of WBAB. Was this a good idea? Why would they do such a thing? Well, they must have had some success with it, as they kept the classic rock format all through the 2000s.
That changed today. This afternoon, WRCN started playing “everything that rocks”:
Update 8/27: WRCN has shifted from Classic Rock to Mainstream Rock focusing on music from the past 25 years. New branding of “Everything That Rocks” in place. The first song after change was Metallica’s Master of Puppets.
The question “why” comes up again. Was classic rock music becoming too old? They’ve been playing a lot of 90’s tunes today, which aren’t exactly new, but not exactly old, either. Tool, Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, Everclear… but there’s also been the occasional Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC, and Who cuts. Oh, and there’s Kings of Leon (which got played twice in a three-hour span… darn that automation computer). So, yes, it looks like their trying to draw in a younger demographic. Another reason may have to do with their current ownership. Previously, they were owned by Barnstable, a Massachusetts-based company who recently sold off the last of their radio stations. Current owners, JVC, are Long Island based and focused. Fresh minds, fresh ideas? Or did they remember how much better the station did in the 90’s? Time will tell how “everything that rocks” will do.
Now, what of the possible rock format coming to 94.3? That may not happen, in light of these events. Perhaps they have another trick up their sleeve…