What happens when DJs are told to shut up and play the playlist?
In 1998, KLZR, the FM rock station in the small town Lawrence, Kansas was voted by Rolling Stone to be in the “Top 10 Stations that Don’t Suck.” Within a year the station was sold and the format was changed to sound like every other station on the dial. Listeners protested but it was too late. This scene was happening everywhere across the US. Small towns and large cities were losing their local voices because Congress had just made massive radio consolidation legal through the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Why is Jewel holding the number five? At any given time, there were 5 local bands played in regular rotation on her local rock station 91x in San Diego. These artists were mostly unknown before they were given air-play (Jewel was homeless at the time). Local DJs built a local critical mass behind these acts that launched some of them to grace the rest of the nation and the world. A local DJ can raise awareness for a local charity, a civic concern or a band. That ended when control of local radio was taken over by out-of-town conglomerate bosses.