I thought it was just because Seattle radio sucks donkey balls compared to NYC, but according to the Wall Street Journal, this is the wave of the future:
Faced with growing competition from digital alternatives, traditional broadcasters have managed to expand their listenership with an unlikely tactic: offering less variety than ever.
The strategy is based on a growing amount of research that shows in increasingly granular detail what radio programmers have long believed—listeners tend to stay tuned when they hear a familiar song, and tune out when they hear music they don't recognize. . . .
The top 10 songs last year were played close to twice as much on the radio than they were 10 years ago, according to Mediabase, a division of Clear Channel Communications Inc. that tracks radio spins for all broadcasters. . . .
"[T]aking risks is not rewarded, so we have to be more careful than ever before."
Aiiigggh! (And double-aiiigggh! because that last quote is from someone who works for an NYC radio station.)
Ok, now that that's out of my system: That seems to be another common effect of digitization, right? I mean, that's definitely what's happening to publishing--the traditional publishers are getting more and more risk-adverse.
I guess it's OK as long as there are ways for indies to make money--it's harder for musicians to get top-40 radio play nowadays, just like it's harder for writers to get tradpub contracts, but if they can make money selling on their own, who cares?
I just hope my iPod never breaks, you know? I actually wound up listening to the radio in my sister's car during the holidays, and I heard maybe one song I didn't already know--and it's been almost a year since I stopped.