Last week I wrote a story called “Will playing edited songs work?” This was about the Calgary radio station CKMP better known as AMP Radio, who changed format on 1 August to play edited versions of songs. AMP was rating poorly (11th out of 17 stations) in the Calgary market that is already crowded with 2 other top 40 stations, so AMP needed a shot in the arm.
I originally wrote a story with the title “Why playing edited songs won’t work” and logically set a number of well thought out points as to why this was a bad idea. But before I got too far into the story I heard from Steve Jones the VP of Programming for Newcap. I put a number of questions to Steve and suggested to him that this was a clever publicity stunt. Steve assured me that it was not and that they were in this for the long term. So after talking to Steve, I decided to modify the story and give him and AMP radio the benefit of the doubt. I concluded that story by stating that “only time will tell if this is a short term tactic or a successful idea that grows in audience and then could be expanded to other stations.”
Well, the edited songs tactic lasted just 18 days in Calgary and AMP has now reverted back to the original Top 40 format, so perhaps this was a publicity stunt after all. But I am now hearing the reason Newcap dropped the format was because of the threat of some serious legal action by the music industry who were not at all amused about a radio station editing their artists’ work and playing shortened versions of songs. It also seems that the Vancouver company who came up with the idea and sold it to Newcap and some other stations in the USA may not have done their homework and did not have the required agreements in place.
However, as they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity, and I have to think that a few thousand people in Calgary and beyond would have tuned into this station to check it out. But did they stay and did they like what they heard? We may know the answer to the first question when the August PPM data for Calgary is released. It will be interesting to see if there was any bump in tuning, and how many of those listeners they managed to hang onto.