The new Play 98.7: Does anyone actually want 'today's best hits, without the rap'?
In case you missed it, here's a link to Eric Deggans' story about Play 98.7 FM, a "new" radio station that began broadcasting today in Tampa Bay. WSJT's new adult-alternative-pop format replaces smooth jazz, which last year replaced hip-hop when Wild 98.7 became Wild 94.1.
Forget the radio-dial musical chairs for a second. One line from CBS Radio's official announcement especially stood out to us. From the news release:
Tampa's new hit music station, Play 98.7 will broadcast "today's best hits, without the rap" and feature popular music from artists such as Katy Perry, Kings of Leon, Train, John Mayer, Maroon 5 and Rob Thomas, among others.
Seriously? "Today's best hits, without the rap?" Do you realize how old and out of touch that sounds?
We realize it's just a tagline, and we shouldn't read too much into it, but still: Why burn calories slagging off an entire genre of music like that? Saying "without the rap" is just a snooty way to say, "Look, Pop-Pop, here's some music that won't frighten and confuse you." You don't want to play Young Jeezy or Rick Ross? Fine. There are other stations that will, and they don't resort to promising "today's best hip-hop, without all those noisy guitars."
But you can't promise to play "today's best hits" and not expect to hear a few verses broken down every now and then. Rap IS popular music. (No one knows that better than Wild 94.1's Orlando Davis, one of hip-hop's heaviest hitters in Tampa Bay, who will also serve as Play's program director.)
Coldplay recorded with Jay-Z. Maroon 5 golden boy Adam Levine sang with Kanye West. The biggest song of the year was Katy Perry's California Gurls, featuring Snoop Dogg. And is the station really refusing to play anything by genre-spanning artists like Alicia Keys, Ke$ha, Bruno Mars or Black Eyed Peas? What's gonna happen when Justin Timberlake releases a new album? Kings of Leon may not have a rap song now, but who's to say what can happen in the future? (After all, their tourmates the Black Keys put out a hip-hop album.)
In fact, looking at their recent playlist, they've already played songs by R&B-leaning artists like Mike Posner, Mario, OneRepublic, not to mention Kid Rock and Lady Gaga. And oh, hey -- there's California Gurls, too.
Click here to listen to Play 98.7. And here's a fun game: See how long it takes you to hear someone rapping.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*