1. Computing

What Makes BigOldiesChicago.com So Big? A 5000 Song Playlist

Dateline: 03/02/08

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BigOldiesChicago.com Logo

BigOldiesChicago.com Logo

BigOldiesChicago.com is an Internet radio station which pulls its playlist from the very late 50's, 1960's and early 70's. It plays at least 20 in a row every hour and models itself on classic Top 40 giants like WLS, WCFL, KHJ, WABC and others. One more thing: in a world of "tight" playlists, BigOldiesChicago.com boasts one that contains 5000 songs.

I recently stumbled upon BigOldiesChicago.com and posed a few questions to its owner and Program Director, Cliff Edwards.

Corey: You run commercials so you’re not one of the “hobby” broadcasters on loudcity.com. How’s that working out?

Cliff: We're not hobby broadcasters, nor non-profit...although that is how it seems sometimes.

What we have done is to bundle internet radio along with a local print product (Local Mailers) so the advertiser gets tangible results from printed coupons redeemed, along with the "sizzle" of radio.

Corey: BigOldiesChicago.com has such a real “Chicago” sound. How did you recreate that?

Cliff: What we have also done was to get some of the old WLS and WCFL guys to do some promos for BigOldiesChicago.com. Alot of people here grew up listening to Clark Weber, Kris Erik Stevens, Bob Dearborn...well they were kind enough to do some promos for us. Its amazing the feedback that got us.

Corey: Describe your programming philosophy.

Cliff: Most FM oldies stations have a playlist of between 400 and 500 songs and also which is why listeners get tired of hearing the same songs over and over and over again. I also think that is why FM stations with oldies formats are up and down, then up, then down again in ratings. Listeners burn out on those 400 or 500 songs and try other formats...they don’t hear anything they like, so the come back to those 400 or 500 oldies....until they burn out again.

There is a crazy programming saying that really irks me. "Its not what you dont play that can hurt you" If you think about it that why those 400 or 500 songs are "safe" oldies. Nothing too dated, nothing too heavy, nothing too black... nothing outside the safe zone.

We have a 5000 song playlist. Now all do not get played with the same frequency but we are playing tons of stuff you just wont hear on FM.

Featured Songs

BigOldiesChicago.com also plays a "Featured Song" every half hour. Cliff describes these as "great songs that FM oldies stations just won't play". For a list of some of the current week’s featured songs, visit the Featured Song page.

Listen to BigOldiesChicago.com.

Note: for aspiring Internet broadcasters, loudcity.com offers a package for hobbyists and professional broadcasters. See more at community.loudcity.com/broadcast)

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