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Boss Angeles

May 09, 1993

In "Back When Jocks Were Boss," this tells it all: "A frequent (disc jockey) ploy is to take off the headphones while the music is playing so they don't hear it."

Can't blame them. The target audience must be thought of as brain-dead by any station that repeats only the most popular records in a quasi-jukebox form with no relief, no variation, no conceivable deviation, over and over again, as if these were the only records that mattered.

In reality, these records and literally thousands more rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll records had various levels of impact during the 1950s and '60s, but to the two leading "FM gold" stations (KRTH and KCBS), only a small percentage of these discs are worthy of being heard.

Why is this? These records "test" well. They're the lowest common denominator, the safest songs least likely to cause tune-out, thus bringing maximum ratings. Is that what we deserve? Is that radio's real role?

As a rock 'n' roll historian and as someone who for almost a decade tried to bring some variation on rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll roots to an appreciative public radio audience, I know for a fact that management doesn't care what's played as long as listeners listen. They want the bodies, the numbers. For them, all rock rolls the same.

STEPHEN C. PROPES

Long Beach

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