Providing a fresh reevaluation of a specific era in popular music, this book contextualizes the era in terms of both radio history and cultural analysis. "Early '70s Radio" focuses on the emergence of commercial music radio "formats", which refer to distinct musical genres aimed toward specific audiences. This formatting revolution took place in a period rife with heated politics, identity anxiety, large-scale disappointments and seemingly insoluble social problems. As industry professionals worked overtime to understand audiences and to generate formats, they also laid the groundwork for market segmentation. Audiences, meanwhile, approached these formats as safe havens wherein they could reimagine and redefine key issues of identity. A fresh and accessible exercise in audience interpretation, "Early '70s Radio" is organized according to the era's five prominent formats and analyzes each of these in relation to their targeted demographics, including Top 40, "Soft rock", Album-oriented rock, Soul and Country. The book closes by making a case for the significance of early '70s formatting in light of commercial radio today.
Kim Simpson, PhD, teaches a course on Popular Music in American Culture at the University of Texas at Austin.
Introduction: American Pie: Slicing Up Radio Consumers in the Early Seventies; Chapter 1: Watching Scotty Grow: The New Top 40 and the Merging Spheres of Adults and Preteens; Chapter 2: Pillow Talk: MOR, Soft Rock, and the "Feminization" of Hit Radio; Chapter 3: All the Young Dudes: Progressive Rock Formats and the Taming of the American Male; Chapter 4: The Agony and the Ecstasy: The Soul Radio Crisis and the Crossover Cure; Chapter 5: What Is Truth: Country Radio's Growing Pains; Conclusion: Never Ending Song of Love: The Continuing Legacy of Early Seventies Formatting; Bibliography; Index.