Written by Aaron-Michael Fox.
Christmas 2023 was a special time for Americans of the “Rock N’ Roll Generation.” The Rolling Stones had the top rock album, the Beatles had the top single, and Cher had the top Christmas album.
People who grew up with the artists of the 1960s and 1970s have not aged out of that music and young people coming up are enjoying it as much as their parents and grandparents.
It’s time to let go of the stereotype that young people don’t like “old people” music. Millennials and those younger have arguably the broadest tastes in music of any generation in history as they have the whole catalog of recorded music at their fingertips.
If you’ve tuned in to 97.9 FM The River in 2024, you’ve no doubt noticed that the hits of the 60s and 70s are back on the Tri-State airwaves with many of the original DJs back behind the mic. That is, except for Friday and Saturday nights when the hits are interspersed with archival broadcasts of the legendary “Wolfman Jack Show.”
This format change is yet another investment in the community from the station’s parent company, Kindred Communications, located at 5th Street and 5th Avenue in downtown Huntington. Kindred Communications is the organizing sponsor of the “9th Street Live” summer concert series on the 300 block of 9th Street.
“Locally produced radio continues to maintain its audience,” said Kindred president Mike Kirtner. “It’s all about interaction with our community. Kindred Communications is proudly a member of our Tristate Community.”
In the face of rising digital competition, overall, terrestrial radio remains strong nationwide, compared to other “traditional” medias like cable television. As of 2023, 82 percent of Americans over the age of 12 reported listening to the radio at least once a week. This is only a 10 percent decline since 2009. Viewership for cable television, on the other hand, has declined by 20 percent since 2014.
The market data is clear; people like local radio, especially while driving in the car. People like local on-air personalities who know the culture, can pronounce the towns, and send their kids to the same schools as the listeners. Let’s all give a shoutout to Kindred Communications who has spent decades doing a great job representing our community on the radio
Independent journalism can be expensive and requires the financial support of the community to stay free and accessible to as many people as possible.