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Radio lingo 101

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This handy reference list of terms used by radio grunts will make certain wonky parts of our interview with Bob Kevoian crystal-clear.

12-plus: The broadest demographic measured (until recently); all radio listeners, male and female, aged 12 to dead. The broadest demo has expanded to all potential consumers from the age of six on up.

Break and/or stopset: When the music stops and the talent starts talking.

Cart: A cartridge of continuous looped tape (like an old 8-track cassette) that contained either commercials, station IDs or even songs. A “cart deck” or “cart machine” was the slotted device that played these tapes. The tape would stop when triggered by a tone recorded onto the tape that the deck could recognize.

Consultant: Usually some jackass from a city 2,000 miles away who’s been hired by management to tell a radio host how to talk to a market the consultant usually knows nothing about.

DJ or jock: Disc jockey — once upon a time people played records, not computer files.

Flanking station, flanker: a station designed to “split” the competition, to keep a demographic from leaving a cluster of stations. Part of X103’s initial success was its ability to attract 18-to-34-year-old males who didn’t listen to Q95 as Q’s audience aged. Both Q and X were (and are) owned by the same company, along with 1260 WNDE.

Marconi: Guglielmo Marconi, the guy who invented radio, and whose name graces the industry’s biggest trophy.

Trades: Trade publications; actual printed matter that once contained “help wanted” ads.

BOB: The exit interview


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