Lack of information is viewers' top complaint


October 26, 1990|By Steve McKerrow


* In view of Media Monitor's continuing solicitation of reader concerns over the level of taste on television these days, what do you think dissatisfies viewers most about TV?

Fooled you. It is neither foul language nor sexual content, which were cited by just 7 percent and 4 percent, respectively, of respondents to the Gallup Poll's "Mirror of America" study (as reported in the current issue of the trade publication Electronic Magazine).

Instead, the largest number by far (34 percent) complained of a shortage of informative and education programs on the tube.

The irony here, of course, is that such programming exists all over the place -- including network news and public affairs shows, numerous PBS series and such cable services as The Learning Channel and The Discovery Channel. Yet with the rare exception of a "60 Minutes," such fare simply does not draw big ratings.

Thus the problem with polls: People don't always say what they do, or do as they say.

* If you suddenly notice increased airings of such oldies as "Spanish Harlem," "Sixteen Candles," "The Monster Mash" or "Road Runner" on WQSR-FM 105.7, it is because the originators of those hits are among the headliners of the station's fifth "Let the Good Times Roll" concert tomorrow.

Two shows are scheduled, at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Among the featured stars whose careers have been revived by the popularity of the oldies radio format: Junior Walker & The All Stars ("Road Runner," "Shot Gun"), Ben E. King ("Spanish Harlem," "Save the Last Dance for Me"), Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge ("Sixteen Candles"), "Danny & The Juniors" ("At the Hop"), Ruby & The Romantics ("Our Day Will Come"), The Five Satins ("In the Still of the Night") and Bobby "Boris" Pickett ("The Monster Mash").

* And speaking of radio formats and polling data, what do you think is the most popular format across the country? According to analysis of spring listening patterns by the Arbitron Company, the leading radio ratings service, it is the blend of up-tempo vocal hits known as adult contemporary (such as WMIX-FM 106.5 and WBSB-FM 104.3 locally).

Such stations, aimed at the 25-54 age group, command almost an 18 percent share of listeners nationally, followed by the venerable Top 40 format (with a 14 percent share, and sometimes called contemporary hit radio). The only other format to draw more than a 10 percent share is news/talk (11 percent).

Ranking downward, in order, are these formats: album rock (9.8 percent), country (9.7 percent), urban (9.1 percent), oldies (6.5 percent), Spanish (4 percent), easy listening (3.6 percent), classic rock (3.5 percent) and adult standards (3.5 percent). All others commanded a 2 percent or smaller share.

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