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JACK and the Red Scare


Webster’s dictionary defines it as “behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess.”

Hysteria is what our industry is diving headfirst into thanks to the much talked-about JACK format.

Now this argument isn’t meant to diminish JACK, not at all. I believe in the format wholeheartedly. But let’s get real. JACK is not a panacea. JACK is not guaranteed to be a number one format – or even a top-five format – in every market. JACK is a terrific left-turn in our stale old thinking, but it does not represent a sea-change in what all listeners want of all radio stations.

If you are reacting to JACK – particularly if one doesn’t yet exist in your market – then I submit that you are OVERreacting.

If you are generalizing the value proposition and “attitude” of JACK to your station and your format, then I submit you may be taking the wrong medicine for what ails you.

If you are considering a new name for your station, the list does not begin with “ADAM” and end with “ZACH.” What was once clever and fresh has rapidly descended into cliche.

Hysteria is what happens when everywhere you turn, you see a communist. It’s what happens when you buy Netscape because, no matter how much the stock costs, everyone keeps talking about how much more momentum it yet has. Hysteria is “irrational exuberance.”

JACK is a great format, but just because it plays everything doesn’t mean it’s for everybody. It’s not fair to the format to expect that, and it’s sure not fair to your listeners to engage in a rabid panic without considering their interests first.

Calm the Hell down.

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