It wasn't that long ago that rock oldies, particularly songs from the 50's and 60's, was a mainstream, popular format in radio.
But faced with the realization that their listeners were rapidly aging out of the so-called "money demo", powerful FM oldies stations have had to make major adjustments to even survive.
Locally, it's often said that Clear Channel oldies WMJI/105.7 has still done well for two reasons - a gradual nudge of the music mix into the songs of 60's and 70's, but mostly due to the station's powerhouse morning icon, John Lanigan. Many local radio observers expect when Lanigan retires at some point down the road, WMJI's days as an oldies outlet may be history.
We've got another sign of The Imminent Doom of Oldies - Jim Zippo.
The name may be familiar to some Northeast Ohio listeners. Zippo was the program director of ABC Radio's 24/7 format "Pure Gold" (known on air as "Oldies Radio"), and thus, his "Zippo in the Morning" show on the network was heard locally on Wooster's WKVX/960...the AM sister of country WQKT/104.5. (WQKT/WKVX switched from ABC to Westwood One's similar formats a few years back, but Zippo had already left the building in Dallas.)
Zippo, usually regarded as one of the better satellite jocks, landed at Clear Channel Las Vegas oldies outlet KQOL/93.1 "Kool 93.1", which itself has also moved into the 60's and 70's music-wise.
He's no longer there, and a question on a local message board got us to searching for his current whereabouts...mornings/program director at another Clear Channel "Kool" oldies outlet, KPKY/94.9 "Kool 94.9" in Pocatello ID.
No offense if there's anyone reading from that part of the world, but how does a nationally heard morning host (even if he's on one of the 24/7 formats) end up doing a local morning show in a small Idaho city at a station known as the home of "Southeast Idaho's Superhits"?
Our guess - after Leaving Las Vegas (that'd be a good name for a movie), Zippo found the oldies radio pickings slim. Very slim. With many stations turning to the "adult hits" format known in incarnations as "JACK FM" and the like, that means less job opportunities for those who might fit in with that kind of anti-format...since most of those stations air only one voice, the snarky "station voice" known as Jack, or Bob, or whatever. The format has even supplanted traditional oldies in places like New York and Chicago.
There may be other factors that led "Zippo in the Morning" to small-city Idaho, such as lifestyle issues, but that's certainly got to be one of them...and we also wouldn't be surprised to see "Majic 105.7" dump the oldies whenever John Lanigan decides to hit the golf course...