It’s been many years since I’ve listened to Rockline. It’s been even longer since I worked on their AOL presence (and unofficial web site). Recently, I found out that Rockline will be ending its run after 33 1/2 years:
[Bob] Coburn, longtime Rockline host as well as owner of the show, stated “The world has changed from an innovative, unique idea back in 1981 to a one of near constant exposure for artists in 2014. With the Internet, Twitter accounts, hundreds of television channels and a more sophisticated press, artists are now literally at the fingertips of their fans. Rockline is no longer the invaluable tool to connect fans with their Rock & Roll heroes, it has become but one of many.”
The last shows will be broadcast on Wednesday, December 17 for the classic rock edition, and Monday, December 22 for the active rock edition. 33 1/2 years is a long time (some might call it an eternity), but I guess all good things do come to an end.
Back in 1981, there was a greater “distance” between performer and audience. While it is true that social networks and other present day media (both social and traditional) have shortened that distance through speedy communication, there’s still something special about actually talking to an artist you admire. It’s one thing to read what Alice Cooper has to say on Twitter, and it’s another to ask him what inspired him to write “Billion Dollar Babies” and hear his answer in his own voice.
I never got through the phones successfully, but I still have happy memories of listening to the show throughout the years. You didn’t have access to everybody’s personal news feed back then, so it really was essential listening.
Good night and good luck, Rockline, wherever you may go.