September 25, 2023

Is Rock Radio Dying or Not?

There’s been much talk in the radio industry blogosphere about the health of rock radio.  (Read my concerns here).

Not everyone agrees with some of these Chicken Little assessments as consultant Sean Ross points out in his weekly newsletter.



“It’s ironic that the ‘new’ WHFS (WWMX-HD-2) Baltimore appeared this year just in time for the latest slew of ‘rock radio is dead’ headlines. WHFS’ switch from Alternative to a Latin Tropical format in 2005 set off its own spate of press stories, many of them wrongheaded. WHFS had a successful direct competitor in Washington, D.C., its primary market at the time. Its format switch said as much about the priorities of owner CBS Radio, which switched it in a pre-PPM era when major groups were on a Spanish-language building boom. But WHFS was a brand name to the consumer press and totemic for the format.

“The ‘rock radio is dead’ stories took on a new life last week with the rock-to-talk flips of WHTQ (96 Rock) Orlando, Fla., and WYSP Philadelphia. Whatever the travails of the Alternative format, and more about that in a minute, you would be wrong to extend them to all of Rock radio…”

Read the rest of Sean’s defense of Rock radio here.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37097 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “Is Rock Radio Dying or Not?

  • Nooo! My band still needs a couple years to make it on to the scene, we will revive rock n roll. You and I are mortal, but rock and roll never dies.

  • Rock Radio is alive and kicking
    Its Alternative Radio that has been dead for a long time.
    When you hear Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, Dead Can Dance and Massive Attack on the Radio let me know.
    Then we can discuse the future of Alternative Music On The Radio
    Till Then ROCK ON! ( Buddy Holly lol ) or Keep Poring black and black Suger on Me, while I'm on the high way to hell, Liveing on the Edge lol!

    This doesn't smell like the teen spirt of radio.
    Is It Robots who are doing the Talk Radio ??


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