Monticello Media launches ‘Tom@107.5′
Only a month after acquiring Clear Channel's six Charlottesville radio stations, Monticello Media Group is already heralding change in the local radio market. At 5pm today, they launched the new Tom@107.5, based on the idea that they will play "Anything. Anytime."
"Tom is anything but traditional," heralds a press release. "Tom may play a U2 song, followed by the Bee Gees, then Matchbox 20, Lou Rawls, Def Leppard, Madonna, Nickelback, then Earth Wind & Fire."
According to Monticello Media general manager Dennis Mockler, the station is not intended to fulfill any particular niche, but the mix of genres is simply a response to what the local market says it wants. "We asked people what they liked to listen to, what they thought of current stations, and this is what they told us they wanted– a diverse selection of music," he says. "So we've acquired a catalogue of 1,500 songs. I challenge anybody to come close to that."
With an estimated library of 3,300 songs and counting, Charlottesville Radio Group's 106.1-FM The Corner has achieved success since its launch a year ago with the similar idea of a format that defies genre. However, Corner programming director Brad Savage perceives a key difference that could allow his station and the new kid on the block to co-exist. "It seems like they are less concerned about introducing new artists and more concerned with playing well-established artists who are different from each other," he says.
Specifically, Savage says it sounds to him like the new station falls into the burgeoning "Jack" format– which focuses on playing the hits from a broad range of eras and genres on the same station.
"These kinds of stations might play Metallica's 'Enter Sandman' followed by Rick James' 'Superfreak,'" explains Savage. "Both are big hits, but it's surprising to hear them juxtaposed on the same station."
According to Edison Media Research, the format has gained traction in markets like St. Louis, Portland, Oregon, and closer to home in Norfolk. However, the experiment has failed elsewhere, most ignominiously when longtime New York oldies station 101.1 WCBS renamed itself "Jack FM" in 2005, only to revert back to the old name and format two years later.