RIP, the Buzz 103.1 -- Long Live Sexist Radio Formats?

Whatwomenwant.jpg
CBS Radio to women: We know you are thinking about Lady Gaga to Lady Antebellum.
There was a huge online response yesterday that continues today with the news of the Buzz 103.1's sudden exit from FM on Monday and the subsequent switch to Now 103.1 in West Palm Beach. 

With another South Florida rock station erased from the airwaves, there is a petition and a Facebook boycott page and a threat of an occupation. And there are a few who just repeat the familiar mantra "corporate radio still suuuucks!" Someone even quoted Korn.

But there's another strong strain of discontent coming from female Buzz listeners. The news release announcing the format switch includes this language: "Women in West Palm Beach have been searching for an alternative to cluttered, talky radio stations. NOW promises to deliver on this need. Finally, there is a choice that both mothers and daughters can agree on."

I've never taken a feminist theory class, and I've been heavily scolded for never reading The Feminine Mystique, but there's definitely some wonky gender (and race?) politics mixed in with this market-research-motivated shift. "Im sorry but both my mother and I will not be listening to this new "NOW"!!!" writes a commenter named Megan. "We are both equally very mad about this! Bad move for CBS." And she's not alone.


"This is a natural fit for our station mix," Operations Director John O'Connell says in the news release. "We are confident that after listening once that today's women will make the switch to NOW 103.1." No word on whether O'Connell has gender-specific ESP after getting shocked in his bathtub.

Not according to this female commenter: "John O and [Senior Vice President] Ben Hill are out of their minds! My daughter and I loved the Buzz and hate your new station! Way to screw up!"

According to CBS Radio's local PR person, Karyn Barone, who wrote the news release, this sort of confidence by the company comes from a range of market-research sources on a corporate level, including listener data collected by Arbitron.

But even she has noticed that a lot of the people leaving negative comments about the shift on Facebook are women. "Why is that?" she says. "I thought about it, and I think that it would be interesting to look at some of the statistics there. I think there are just more women who are actively commenting online on Facebook." She adds that most of the phone calls she has received since Monday afternoon complaining about the Buzz changing to just an online format have been men.

As it turns out, Barone, who has children too young for suggestive hip-hop lyrics, is the only woman we've heard from thus far who happens to be looking forward to a "diverse" playlist of hit music aimed at a female demographic "ranging from: Lady Gaga to Lady Antebellum." How convenient that both artists have "Lady" in their name! And even she used the phrase "a compromise" a few times to describe this format.

"I actually get actively offended by what marketers perceive as being 'for women' because it is often watered-down and bland," says Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston, a colleague who digs her fair share of pop and rock -- in spite of many misogynist leanings of so-called "active" rock superstars like Axl Rose.

Johnston's concern certainly applies to Now 103.1's "today's best hits without the rap" format, which has already fallen into the familiar commercial radio pattern of a tiny playlist repeating songs ad nauseam on its first full day on the air. Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks," Adele's "Someone Like You," and Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" have each gotten four plays between 5 and 11:30 a.m. alone.

Here's another one that we'd recommend:


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19 comments
Crystal Morris
Crystal Morris

I didn't listen to the buzz much I'm a radio station hopper as i like to call myself (yes i am female). I listened to the buzz alot when I wanted to remember something great about my step father. He raised me on the buzz and the few good memories I have of him are driving somewhere with him and listening to the buzz and he would tell me what it was like when he was growing up and how music has changed but the music on the buzz was all he could listen to. Every time a favorite song of his would come on he would tell me about the artist and what the song was about and I loved it. Thank you to CBS radio for taking away the only good memories I had of my father and the music I grew up on and learned to love. You guys are so GREAT for taking those things from me (oh and just in case you couldn't tell that was sarcasm)  You are a bunch of jackasses in my opinion and for the record I completely removed the new NOW 103.1 from my settings. I tried listening to it and I just couldn't I hated just about every song you people decided to play. I don't know if you polled all of the listening areas for that radio station or just west palm beach but almost every single person I know HATES you for  pulling the buzz off air. 

April Ruiter
April Ruiter

Hey, CBS... You don't know FL girls!  We want our BUZZ back!  (Not the BUZZ of the last 6 months, the REAL NEW ROCK ALTERNATIVE.)

Denak16
Denak16

The Buzz was the ONLY decent rock station in the West Palm area!!!  And what the heck are they talking about the mother daughter and lyrics BS!!!!  Have they listened to the rap CRAP they play on the radio?????  PAAAALLLLEASE!!!!!!!  BRING BUZZ BACK!!!!!!!!!

Tamisue1230
Tamisue1230

Me and my daughter loved the Buzz!! And this new crap station is so similar to 105.5, 79.9, and 104.3!! Why take away the one station that was different?!?! We have enough of the monotonous stations that play the same stupid songs over and over!!! This was such a mistake and I guess we will start listening to CD's on the road. RIP BUZZ!!!!!

HBC1
HBC1

RIP Buzz.  Please stay dead and buried, where you belong.

Mike Linder
Mike Linder

Its all market research, radio is a business, its based on who they can sell advertising time to, and thats it.  This is obviously the easier demographic to market to.  What CBS Radio is saying is that, they dont want the type of listeners that listen to rock, they consider them low class and dont want their clientele.  So dont listen to them, Prove them wrong by not listening to the radio at all! Listen to music on your smart phone, or invest in satellite

Katprowlr
Katprowlr

Bring Buzz back!! Bring Buzz back!

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

So they market only to women and little girls..when there is a ton of that already ON the dial.  There are a lot of men down here, as well as women, all who listen and love rock music.  Do these corporations just forget about this large demographic?  I live in Lauderdale and remember ZETA and ever since that went away, I was stuck listening to CDs unless I was heading north far enough to pick up the Buzz signal.  Now there is not even that.This is a bad move all around.

Pissed Off
Pissed Off

The buz HD2 online has also changed music format.  it was some sort of lite alternative carp (bar a song or so) i have never heard of.  Pure crap. Why is he trying to feed us that crap. "it is not gone, just changing".. yeah  it changed dramatically..And WHAT ? Those who want to listen will find a way?  Why make it hard on those who want to, complexed or expensive! Smart phones PLEASE, be for real!  What about the Moms and Daughters that wanted to listen... they did not try hard enough so you brought it to them?  Or So they think? So why not bring something in for the other demographic.  my oh my how discriniative! This directed at CBS and Barone!  I want Rock and the Buzz back!  

Fago
Fago

women will listen to whatever i tell them to listen to, and I tell them to listen to their hearts.

HBC1
HBC1

KEEP THE BUZZ AWAY!  KEEP THE BUZZ AWAY!  Thank you CBS!

HBC1
HBC1

Playing same songds over and over?  Didn't the Buzz do the exact same thing?

Jack
Jack

Mike, I hear you. But, what are they basing their research on? And how many Mom and Daughter teams filled the stadiums at all of the hugely successful Buzz Bake sales?

I agree, vote with your ability NOT to listen to them.

Another point. How in the world did their research show them that trying to compete in a VERY saturated market demographic was going to be successful? I mean, what is their niche? Certainly their music line up now more original than 97.7 or any of the other pop stations....

Good luck with that one, John O.....

Jack
Jack

I agree.........

From a business perspective, what the hell are they thinking?

Sounds like their research sucks and is really flawed.

What, women don't rock? And men don't buy or pay for concert tickets? 

Oh, I get it......their "research" shows that there are already way too many Male focused Rock stations and what is really needed is a Mom and Daughter music station. That's the ticket! A niche music station that appeals to a huge money spending demographic.

Really?

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

Thanks to the loss of all rock radio in South Florida, we are losing all the rock concerts.  There are only a few that are not going to Hard Rock and once they are gone, thats it.  You should really think before you said anything.

Buzzie
Buzzie

Dear HBC1, Since you already have about 5 radio stations that play the music you prefer, why don't you just leave it alone?  Do you really think that EVERYBODY should listen to the music YOU like?

Jack
Jack

I meant to say "not more original than 97.7"

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