Shuffle FM

I rarely listen to commerical radio (usually in the car), but I’ve noticed a new(ish) radio station here in the Boston area, 93.7 Mike FM. Their motto is “we play everything”. This means you’ll hear Loverboy, then Jim Croce, then Ashlee Simpson. I’m guessing the new format has something to do with the rise of shuffling on the iPod and other similar devices (are there other devices?).

I have two reactions to this: a) well, that’s sort of cool. At least they’ve broken out of the commercial radio mold of playing the same 12 songs a day. And b) is this just background sound for people that don’t like music? A sort of “Russian Roulette”, where the station bets on playing something that you’ll like… eventually? What’s the demographic they’re going after?

Another observation is that this particular station has no DJs (from what I gather). Just pre-recorded station bumpers, commercials and random songs. I imagine this keeps the cost of running a station like this to a minimum. Just hit shuffle and go.

I also wonder: are there similar “shuffle style” stations popping up in other parts of the world?


  1. Another questions is how do potential advertisers know whether or not the station is a good fit for pitching their product? For an industry that’s solely driven by advertising, you’d think it’d be important to have a clear demographic.

  2. Adam Hopkins says:

    In detroit we have 93.1 Doug FM

  3. Marc says:

    I’m not sure how long you’ve lived in this area, but that particular FM frequency has been 3 different “stations” in just as many years.
    My girlfriend and I were just chatting about this the other day after seeing a t.v. commercial for “The New Mike FM”. She was reminding me that when she came here for college, it was one format of music with particular call letters (easy listening I believe?), then after returning back here for a new year, she was a tad surprised to learn it had changed it’s format, name, and call letters to become some sort of softcore-rap-pop station.
    Now, as you mention, it’s Mike FM, and “they play everything”.
    I stick to my iPod and it’s lovely playlists.

  4. Jack says:

    They should have an hour dedicated to random podcasts :P

  5. Chris says:

    Yeah, that format is getting pretty popular.
    I’ve also heard of a Bob FM that is the same format, but don’t recall the city.

  6. Dave Simon says:

    Portland, OR has Charlie FM…
    Common theme is they all have male names: Charlie, Jack, Bob, Mike.

  7. Tom says:

    There is some new station in the SF Bay Area that I see advertising “we play whatever we feel!”. I haven’t check it out furter, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was something similar.
    Now if they would just take requests online and play the 100 most requested as their rotation, we’d have a Radio Free Hawaii-like format, which I grew up loving.

  8. Josh says:

    We have a “Jack FM” station here in Nashville.

  9. David Yeiser says:

    We have one that just showed up in Louisville, KY. 100.5 FM. And now that you mention it I haven’t heard any DJs. But I don’t listen to it that much.

  10. andr3 says:

    Well, not around here (Portugal) — at least not that i know of –, but we do have some “Repeat Style” radio stations instead of “Shuffle Style”. ;) :P

  11. benry says:

    Here in Canada the station is called JACK FM ( Has worked well in Vancouver, but has bombed in some other parts of the country. Success comes with advertisers and they operate like a category killer — people who don’t like ABBA will put up with one track so they can then listen to yet another spin of TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS by the Guess Who.

  12. Kunal says:

    Josh – we have a Jack FM here. The parent company that owns Jack also owns KROQ.
    Some stations here in LA, like KROQ, do the shuffle on the weekends for a couple hours (especially during flashback to the 90′s). But I think they’ve been doing this gimmick for years.

  13. penar says:

    re: are there similar “shuffle style” stations popping up in other parts of the world?
    i remember in albania (eastern europe, post-communist) there was a number of radio stations playing ‘gold’ music around 4-5 years ago. the idea was that they played the best music of all time. they aren’t completely a random shuffle, but very close: no dj’s, no live shows.
    target audience? people who like music, but don’t really know what they like. my sense is that this demographic is pretty big in countries that are not english speaking (and these stations play a lot of american ‘hits’).

  14. andrew says:

    “I also wonder: are there similar “shuffle style” stations popping up in other parts of the world?”
    Other parts of the world? Not sure. But in the US, this is probably one of the biggest developments in commercial radio in the last couple of years. There’ve been a few stories on NPR about it–a good one was on the Marketplace show a couple of months ago.
    There’s one of these stations in most markets at this point–usually with some single-word male name like “Bob” or “Jack” or “Doug.” The playlist strategy, such as it is, is to essentially be “like an ipod on shuffle.”

  15. Rob L. says:

    @ Chris:
    Bob FM is here in Austin, TX.
    What’s so distastful is that it purports to have some sort of indie-hip cred: “Bob is just a guy with a big record collection. He likes everything. He’ll play anything,” say the constant prerecorded station breaks. (Anything = anything that was a top 40 hit in the past 40 years.)
    This slew of guy’s-first-name-tagged, “we play anything” stations in so many major markets suggests there ain’t nothing indie about this trend, of course…
    They let robots operate the station (BobFM has DJs — really lame ones — at a few peak traffic hours a couple days a week but other than that, no live on-air people) and squeeze every freaking penny out of the operation. Like most of the vapid pop they play, the stations are completely and utterly soulless.
    I love radio, so I hate to see this happening. Way of the world, I guess.

  16. Oliver Zheng says:

    We have Jack FM here in Vancouver as well. But like all other stations (on my radio dial anyway), they only play the “hits”. No one will particularly like those stations that play absolutely everything. It would be nice to have stations that played a certain genre, but with a variety of songs. I really don’t get why radio stations do not do this. After all, what they are doing essentially is buy the CD and only play the one (overrated) song. Underground bands should be introduced too.

  17. Mike says:

    We have a Jack FM (96.5) in Seattle. It changed to this suddenly one day without any warning to the staff of K-Rock. Took my favorite morning show off the air too…

  18. Ryan says:

    We’ve got the “we play everything” Mike FM here in Richmond, VA… It seems there are no DJ’s here either, wouldn’t be amazed at all to find it’s the same music feed with different ads.

  19. Bigabytes says:

    We have a very similar station here in Salt Lake City. It not that great of a station I find the one here tries to just plays a lot of bad music interrupted by commercials and voicemail messages from listeners.
    If your into streaming music to your computer while working check out The history of the station is very interesting; they started as a terrestrial radio station in the 80′s now they’ve made the switch to Internet only. The selection of much is pretty unique too.
    Sorry if this sounds like an advertisement its not ment to be just wanted to share with those who might listen to streaming music while working.

  20. Same here in Seattle -> Jack FM.

  21. Steven Chan says:

    Hi Dan, I’m a fan of your work. :)
    Anyways, yes, the radio station format has popped up around the world. Read a brief history of the Jack radio format on Wikipedia. (Other newspapers have taken notice of this … I don’t have links for those at the moment, but try digging newspaper archives for this format.)

  22. jeff m. says:

    Across Canada, we have Jack FM.

  23. Raphael says:

    Of course there are other, better, devices. iPods are like bellybuttons, everybody’s got one, so do yourself a favor and buy another, better device like an iRiver ;-)

  24. Here in Maine there is a Frank FM.

  25. Bob says:

    One of the first was 92.9 Dave FM here in Atlanta, which also happens to be owned by my employer, Infinity Broadcasting, which also owns many of the Jack-FM and newly-minted Free-FM stations across the country. It’s a very popular format that succeeds in attracting people who are tired of hearing the same three songs in rotation every half-hour. And yet, I fear the harder it tries to break the mold, the more it’s creating its own mold that will soon become tiresome. Time will tell.

  26. Well, that sounds better than what we have here in holland. Here it’s all the same commercial trash, played over and over and over again!

  27. Luke says:

    I live in Surfers Paradise, Australia and all our big name stations are starting to take on the randomised, shuffled feeling. 102.9 Hot Tomato’s station ident just says “1029 Hot Tomato… on shuffle… you never know what’s next” and it is spoken by a variety of voices… quite cool, you also never know if they’re going to play a song you like, granted, I still like my iPod in the car on long trips.

  28. Jonathan says:

    Here in Madison we’ve got “Charlie” FM. I hate radio DJs, so I’ve embraced this new format.

  29. Scott says:

    Q101 in Chicago has been promoting themselves as a shuffle station for a few months now. But they still have DJs.

  30. Mr Pants says:

    They have something similar here in Calgary. They start with no ads or DJs and then slowly introduce them as support for the station grows. Eventually they’ll be just as annoying as every other staion on the dial. Long live college radio!

  31. Tony says:

    There is a similar channel on Sirius Satellite Radio called Super Shuffle.

  32. Jesse says:

    I wonder if the public acceptance of “Whatever Radio” has more to do with our short attention spans, or our recognition that most of the music being played on commercial radio is indistinguishable within genre.
    Incidently, I’ve got a Jesse 99.9fm. Sadly, the broadcast radius is only about 18 inches from my car.
    Hooray iTrip.

  33. Jason says:

    Indianapolis has 104.5 Jack FM. I actually like the station, but I also have a very diverse musical list. For me, it is somewhat like hitting shuffle on my iPod and going. Only I had nowhere near the amount of money to buy every song that I liked growing up in the past three decades. They really upset some people around here though because they replaced the old Gold 104.5 FM which was an oldies station. It’s pretty funny though because they’ll record calls from upset people complaining and just keep doing what they’re doing. The worst part about it is the DJ’s and other station staff that lost their jobs because of it’s “plug-n-play” operating structure.

  34. Eric says:

    My friend works for Mix 98.6 and HATES Mike FM. They are completely automated with no DJs. Here’s a Wired article about Jack:,1412,67727,00.html
    BTW keep up the great work
    Eric in Somerville

  35. Sam says:
    Here’s web site devoted to this phenomenon. We have Max FM here in the Cincinnati area.

  36. Chris says:

    Dallas, TX has had Jack Radio (100.3 on the dial, for over a year now and have similar motto of “playing what we want”

  37. Greg says:

    The wasteland of Des Moines Iowa has “The Bus”; You don’t know where it’s going to take you.

  38. Jack hit New York City, WCBS 101. area not too long ago. Big back lash in the beggining (it took over a popular oldles station), but not so much anymore.

  39. Yeah, Jack hit Dallas a while back. I recently heard that the “Jack” format actually came out of Canada. It does seem to be one last desperate try to keep radio relative, but they’re fighting an uphill battle in the long run.
    Death to Clear Channel.

  40. dave texidor says:

    Yeah, Phoenix AZ has one of those too, except it’s mostly rock, but from all generations. I’ve heard AC/DC followed up with Neil Diamond (if you can call him ‘Rock’). Nice thing about it though is it’s not commercial. It’s privately owned and funded. Talk about giving to the community!

  41. Angie says:

    I live in Portland where, as Dave Simon mentioned, we have Charlie FM. I do kind of like this format, paricularly when a song I haven’t heard in years comes on. But I’ve noticed that I never stay on the station for long. I usually go back to my CDs or iPod (depending on where I am), or back to one of the stations with my favorite DJs.

  42. Edd says:

    Virgin Radio in London is like this and has been around well before Ipods. Needless to say ‘shuffle’ or randomizing of playlists has been around even longer than that.

  43. Noah says:

    We recently gained JACK FM here in Indianapolis (though, I view it as a loss). It replaced a very popular oldies station. While I don’t listen to much oldies, it was clearly very popular with an older demographic.
    JACK FM’s slogan is “playing what we want” and they pound on the idea of not taking requests. I absolutely hate the station and it was recently reported that it’s ratings have dropped from 4th place to 10th place in the city–a clear sign, IMHO, that is isn’t what Indianapolis wants.
    It is in the ‘shuffle’ format, but I highly doubt there is any randomness to it. Sure it seems random to the listener, but I’ll bet my cornfield every song and its order is hand picked.

  44. Jacob says:

    In Philadelphia we have 95.7 Ben FM “Playing Anything We Feel Like”, although it seems like it’s all classic rock.

  45. cboone says:

    God, how horrible. Jack, and Bob, and Mike, and even Doug? Wow. I had no idea.
    Okay, to answer the question: up here in central Vermont / New Hampshire we have an excellent independent, low-power FM station called WXND. It did in fact — not in marketing fiction, like those other stations — start as one dude’s record collection, put on shuffle; and, for the most part, that’s still what it is.
    One of the best music stations I’ve ever heard.

  46. Ah, they use that system here in Greece for a long time. Our music is quite strange, there’s the traditional songs, the underground traditional songs (rempetika), the new pop-crap (dogsongs), the tasteful pop and the foreign songs. There are stations that mix all of them; Clubs and Cafes also mix them.

  47. stephen says:

    i think someone already mentioned the bob fm here in austin, tx., so i’ll add this…
    when it started it was just like you described, but recently they’ve began having some on air dj’s and other more locally focused between song banter (traffic reports, etc). i’m guessing this development is based on advertiser feedback, as traffic reports give them something to sponsor.
    the other interesting thing is how it’s effected the “non-bob” stations in town. for example: the local classic rock station has changed format to what it calls “world class rock” and now plays a bob-like mix, but with more emphasis on classic rock.
    some other local stations have also allowed their formats to bleed around the edges a bit as well.

  48. JAbbott says:

    This Rolling Stone article from July covers the topic nicely. There was also a great article in Blender around the same time called “Who Killed Rock Radio?” that covers shuffle radio along with the shift of rock stations and their economic pressures (not available online).

  49. I haven’t heard of this sort of station before, but it sounds like it might work. Then again, how popular is it going to be compared to carrying your own iPod around that does the same thing?
    To be honest, I only listen to the radio in the car. And in a week, when I’m finally living in the Boston area without a car, riding the T with my iPod, I doubt I’ll listen to it at all.
    Maybe I’ll give Mike a try though, I heard he was a good guy.

  50. A. Meyer says:

    JACK FM here in Minneapolis as well. It’s one of my presets only becuase it replaced a station that used to be on the preset, and I have been too lazy to change it. Occasionally they play something I like, but I rarely leave in on that station for long.

  51. Tom Parson says:

    “(are there other devices?)”
    Oh my God, yes there are.

  52. Chris says:

    Here in Sydney, Australia I know of at least two commercial radio stations that have recently embraced the shuffle format. Nova 96.9 actually has a segment called – you guessed – the ‘Nova Shuffle’, complete with obligatory Apple iPod shuffle giveaways.
    Another local station Triple M has recently been advertising the fact that they have appointed Barry, the chimp, as station music director. An interesting take on the shuffle concept.

  53. DecimusZero says:

    I live in the Tri-Cities, in Washington state and we have gotten a station exactly like this. Except its “95.7 Bob Fm” – Its EXACTLY like what you described, no Dj’s and everything prerecorded. Their slogan is “80′s, 90′s and Whatever.”
    I have a slight hunch that these two stations might be owned by the same people. I mean, who names a station “Mike”, or “Bob” ?

  54. Kurt Lach says:

    In Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Radio has a station called “The Current” that plays some excellent “current” music. It is very eclectic. I would suggest checking out their web stream.

  55. Robert F. says:

    Yeah, here in New York City, we’ve got Jack FM. Really, to me, it seemed like the epitome of commercial stations – Only pop, tons of commercials, no thoughtful planning of a playlist, and brainless or no DJ’s. It’s all pretty sad.
    Radio in general in my area has hit an all-time low. The only New York Rock station is switching formats to all-talk. Which means that all we have is a classic rock channel, no other rock at all. No Jazz or Blues stations. Lots of talk. I don’t get it, do people really listen to talk radio? I’ve never heard people listen to talk radio, expect maybe the occasional political commentary. Maybe it’s just the people around me.
    The stations say it’s because of the rise of iTunes and Satellite radio. But there really aren’t nearly enough satellite radio users to hit radio. And iTunes doesn’t give us what radio did – exposure to new music. I would think it would be in the best interest of artists and recording companies to keep radio stations going and playing music.
    Guess they’re spending all their money suing mp3 downloaders, eh?

  56. We have “The Lake” in Buffalo. It popped onto the air all stealth-like a couple years ago, with no DJs and a crazy mix of tunes. One thing that I particularly like about it is that they play some live recordings of songs that you typically only hear the studio recording of on other stations.

  57. josh says:

    Ultra variety… From the mid to the late 90′s, my wife and I were stationed overseas in Germany… we were subject to this on Armed Forces Network radio, as well as Bayern (bavarian) radio stations. AFN provided a good service to the soldiers who varied in preference on a grand scale. Not sure what was going in with the Bayern stations, however…
    Who were they marketing? My wife… she loved it. I’m not sure what demographic she falls in, regarding target market audience, but I guess it can be said that there is a market for just about anything.

  58. Mark says:

    NY has Jack Fm also… revenge of the shuffle.

  59. Shawn says:

    #33 & #43 ~ Yeah, Indy lost “Gold” 104.5 when Jack FM rolled into town and took over that frequency. Gold 104.5 had been hailed as one of the top oldies-format stations around, but that format doesn’t make much money. So, what did Gold’s station owners do? They played Christmas music 24 hours a day from mid-October all the way to New Years’ day, then cited the crappy 4th quarter numbers as a reason to change formats once March rolled around. Pretty Shady. I’ve written on it in my local paper and on my blog here and here.

  60. Seuss says:

    Ben FM 95.7 (also a recurringly failing dial spot in this market)Here in Philadelphia. Also playing “whatever we feel like”.

  61. Leo says:

    In The Netherlands we have Sky Radio. They have no DJ’s, no talking inbetween, no commercials except before and after the one-hourly news…the bad thing is they only play “disco classics” and Celine Dion…

  62. KTS says:

    103.3 Ed FM in Albuquerque, it was Fred but it got changed to Ed.

  63. Matt says:

    Here in the Washington DC area we have WRNR 103.1. Freeform they call it, basically the DJ’s get to control the play lists, so at different times of the day you have completely different genres. I think it’s really great for the local startup bands to get noticed. It sort of has that older 1990s college radio feel to it but with a HUGE selection of music.
    I predict that this will be the prevailing format of free FM radio in the future.

  64. Jason says:

    The St. Louis area has had a station like that for about 3 years now, 93.3 the X. It is all alternative though, but does the shuffle and pre-recorded sound bytes by a DJ.

  65. Dave P says:

    These things are popping up all accross Canada. Hell, in three of four cities, (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto) they’re all called “Jack FM”.
    I thought it was rather nice the first few months, but now I realize it has become mediocracy overload.
    They rarely play any new music of any kind… and surprisingly, I’m actually dissapointed in that.

  66. patrick says:

    Yes, Jack FM killed our beloved Arrow 93.1 here in Los Angeles. Now instead of hearing the Doobie Brothers, Neil Young, Journey, Manfred Mann and Hendrix, I get everything from Vanessa Carlton to Depeche Mode.
    Maybe I am the only one in LA without an iPod. meh.

  67. Tom says:

    In Atlanta, they have 92.9 Dave FM, and in NYC I’ve found they also have Jack FM. I don’t know who the brand strategist is behind all this, but they tarded. I can only assume its a way to put a face (name) on the randomness of the playlist, like some average schlub sitting around pulling records is what we relate to. I remember hearing Take On Me by Aha and then a Dylan song. Uggh. Just glad I can get KEXP on my Apple radio.

  68. eddmun says:

    Over here in the UK we don’t have jazzy things like that. Or at least I cannay find them on my “Radio Dial”. :(

  69. With all the hubbub, I’ve now launched Josh FM, in my office — playing whatever the heck I want.

  70. Ted says:

    Holy smokes, I had no idea there were so many Jack radio stations. There is one in Denver, KJAC but I don’t tend to listen to it much. It doesn’t seem to be part of a national chain of radio Jack’s, though, and I think they have DJs.
    Much prefer their sister station here, KCUV in part b/c I know I’m not going to hear Loverboy. Don’t think either would play Ashlee Simpson b/c, well, she just sucks. KCUV though is a great great locally owned station…sorta like what KBCO and KTCL were once like in the ’80s, pre-Clear Channel days. Recent songlist:
    10:57 am – Raitt, Bonnie – That Song About The Midway
    11:02 am – R.E.M. – Welcome To The Occupation (1987)
    11:04 am – Jack Johnson – Breakdown
    11:05 am – Lone Justice – Shelter (2003)
    11:08 am – Beatles – Martha My Dear
    11:11 am – Lone Justice – Shelter (2003)
    11:15 am – Ray LaMontagne – Jolene
    11:20 am – Eric Clapton – Meet Me Down At The Bottom
    11:27 am – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Ain’t No Easy Way
    11:29 am – Black Crowes – Jealous Again
    11:35 am – North Mississippi Allstars – Meet Me In The City
    11:39 am – Little Feat – Long Distance Love
    11:42 am – Keen, Robert Earl – Furnace Fan
    11:49 am – Frank Zappa – Dont Eat The Yellow Snow
    Anyway, the Boston Mike station doesn’t sound too appealing. I don’t get the feeling that “whatever radio” is around to stay or that people even like it but I suppose all that really matters is the ability to sell advertising dollars and make money. If people don’t listen (and/or record companies don’t pay enough to get their music played) it will go away.

  71. Aidan Maconachy says:

    Shuffle FM is a good name for this phenomena.
    Benry said …
    “Here in Canada the station is called JACK FM ( Has worked well in Vancouver, but has bombed in some other parts of the country.”
    I’m in Canada also and I heard of Jack and I’m not surprised it bombed.
    I really dislike this impersonal music-feed concept. Ok well, if you were sure that the station in question will be playing tunes you like, then great. But having to suffer through music that grates on your nerves, without even a DJ to alter the mood now and then is a little harsh, especially on the drive back from work when your nerves are frazzled as it is.
    In this increasingly automated world, I think there is still room for the occasional human. So I will definitely be passing on Shuffle FM.

  72. Alain says:

    Gotta say, listening to a station called “Frank” or “Ed” just doesn’t do it for me. Now, if it we’re something like “Sigiwald” or “Cletus” or “Fausto” FM, I’d be ready to rock.

  73. Jason Johns says:

    Time Magazine had a pretty interesting piece entitled “You Don’t Know Jack”(or Bob as its known in Oklahoma City) in their August 15th issue. You can access it online here:,10987,1090892,00.html
    While I don’t really care for the music, the background is interesting as is the potential of the technology behind it.

  74. Darrel says:

    There’s nothing special about this new format. It’s just your typical pop-40 station minus half the staff. Same crap + smaller payroll = bigger profits + crappier radio.
    We used to have a ‘real’ ‘shuffle’ station, Rev105:
    It was pretty much like JackFM…except they played a real range of music (not just 80′s and 90′s top-40) and had a staff of intelligent, passionate, music buffs.
    (and DAMN…wikipedia has info on EVERYTHING!)

  75. PM says:

    it’s known in the industry as bob-fm, although depending on where you are, it could be jack, steve, or dontrelle. it’s latest rage and is in direct response to all of the new choices we have at our disposal for listening to music. will the last radio listener please turn off the lights (and the radio)?

  76. Hrunting says:

    Bob FM is different from JACK-FM, but the concepts are the same. Our local Austin Bob FM, 103.5 KBPA, which I think is actually out of San Marcos about 30 minutes south, started off with the DJ-less format. It’s added DJs recently.
    I believe the business plan is basically dump the DJ-less format into the market and see how it does. If it performs well enough to start paying for more personalized service, start spending the money. The Bob FM here actually does fairly well, maybe because Austin is an iPod-happy town, or maybe because over the past five years, the local pop/rock radio stations (KLBJ, KGSR, Kiss-FM, Z-102, KROX) have gotten a bit stale over the past half decade.
    Is it a bad thing? I don’t know. When the radio is my only choice and the local NPR affiliate doesn’t have anything exciting on, it’s definitely preferable to the same group of top-40 hits or 100 classic songs. I mean, the second best thing to my iPod is someone else’s right?

  77. joel says:

    I think that this shuffling thing is coming around. I used to live in a very small centre in the prairies in Canada, and when I got back from a trip overseas, all of a sudden, there was a radio station that proclaimed it played, “Whatever we want, whenever we want!”
    Around the time that I was away, there was a bit of backlash in the music industry — some concrete findings that radio stations had been bribed by record companies, or somesuch.
    I figured that had something to do with it…
    I think they called it “jack in the box,” which sounds like a play on the previous names mentioned above. =\

  78. Jeff Wheeler says:

    In Austin, we have Bob FM. It tends to be pretty good, but I prefer KGSR, which plays more local music instead.
    I didn’t realize that Bob FM was a national chain. It kind of makes it less cool.

  79. Jeff says:

    The Wikipedia article posted above gives the most info.
    Anyone using the actual Jack FM licensed format is required to not have DJ’s, at least for a few months.
    Mike FM here in Boston is a clone, so they are not limited by the same rules – although it’s a similar format. Tune in 106.3 out of NH (You should be able to get it in Salem I think?) and you’ll hear Frank FM – but it’s “classic” songs. I think it started as pure classic rock, but now plays stuff from the 60′s etc like Beatles that might not fit the normal classic rock mold.
    BTW, if you haven’t checked out 92.5 The River, give them a shot! One of the only independent stations in the Boston market, you’ll get quite a range of good music that you won’t hear of any of the commercial (ClearChannel, Infinity etc) stations.

  80. David says:

    Here in Knoxville, Tn I saw a billboard ad for a radio station stating “We play what we feel like.”
    So, probably just like the station you have in Boston.
    I think it’s a good idea. Most people like a large variety of music.

  81. Chad says:

    Yep, here in Indianapolis, IN we have HANK FM, “he plays anything country!” is their slogan.

  82. Mizzou says:

    That seems a little off, I hadn’t heard they couldn’t have DJ’s where did you find that?

  83. Ryan Hayes says:

    I live in Chicago and I’m sad to report that we’re experiencing the pandemic, too.

  84. says:

    Good observation. I hope there will be more of those shuffle stations.

  85. Sharif says:

    In Richmond, Va, we just got Liberty FM. Don’t listen to the radio that much but it seems OK. Hit or miss, I guess.
    It seems to be a little different than the named channels… in that they play “anything” and not just “what they want.”
    Apparently, this type of station is on the rise, as they’ve got a website dedicated to tracking them.

  86. In Columbia, SC we have Steve FM
    There is no target market. Down with FM. Sat Radio is where it is at. I have Sirius and XM. Sirius is a little mainstream while XM is a bit more like a college station, you never know what you are going to get.

  87. Lionel C. Bethancourt says:

    Down here in Brazil that would be a cool breeze, indeed.
    We got lots of music to listen to, but are systematically reffered to the same old jokes (both national and international) by almost every radio station jock that you link to.

  88. Colin says:

    Jack (Toronto), Bob (London, Ottawa) & Dave (Cambridge) have taken over the Ontario airwaves… (I’m sure there’s bunch more…)
    Bob & Dave are not pure Jack-format stations and do have DJs and morning shows, etc. Bob FM in London and Dave FM in Cambridge launched the new formats around the same time two years ago and originally had the same slogan: “80s, 90s, Whatever.” Dave ended up having to change its slogan to: “80s, 90s, Anything we feel like” after complaints from Bob.
    The DAVE-FM team still insist on acting as if there really is a guy named Dave running the station (there isn’t) but, then, these are the same guys who call their overnight DJ robot “Les Taulk”.

  89. Dan says:

    RE: #83, Yeah, thanks for giving us Kevin Matthews! God, what a creep, totally screwed up a good morning show here in Grand Rapids – WLAV. I can’t listen to them, it’s drawl and I really don’t like listening to his creepy “extras” like DeVon the alien brutha and Jim Shorts. Blech!
    Yes, we too have a shuffler now, 96.1FM WVTI – Max FM. It was a pop station which went a bit toward newer alt-rock, but decent. Now it blows, but at the most inopportune times during the day. 4:00PM, here’s the playlist:
    All for You – Sister Hazel
    She’s A Beauty – Tubes
    Friday I’m in Love – Cure
    I’ll Wait – Van Halen
    Black Betty – Ram Jam
    Hella Good – No Doubt
    (unlisted info) – Night Ranger
    Tom’s Diner – D.N.A. / Suzanne Vega
    Once Bitten Twice Shy – Great White
    You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC
    Now, when I go out to pick up my kids from daycare in an hour, it’ll start showing crud like Celine Dion, Neil Diamond, Willie Nelson, Bobbie Brown, and Cyndi Lauper.
    I can’t BELIEVE that the advertisers would put up with that! Of course, maybe they save so much on not hiring DJs that they can take the cost of advertising down to make it look enticing… ?

  90. Phoat says:

    Here in Greece, the radio station VillageFM is actually advertising an IPod Suffle weekend where they will play all their content off the IPod.
    Promotional stuff yes, as people will be winning IPods all weekend, but I thought it was interesting.

  91. Daryl says:

    Phoat, that sounds cool…
    I almost got a live2air DJ to play a song from my iPod, but he was worried about the latency of pressing play…
    To one of the early posters (#11 I believe), Taking Care Of Business is Bachman-Turner Overdrive… get your Canadian music right! =)

  92. garrett says:

    Well I’m just starting up a radio over at and all I’m using to run that is a special playlist which is shuffled, I think the benefit there though is all the music falls into the same genre so there’s very little risk the tracks will class in style/genre.

  93. pamela says:

    ha! We have one of those here in Springfield, MO (only it does play commercials). My boyfriend and I place high stake bets with each other on what they will play next. So far, neither one of us has ever guessed correctly.

  94. speck says:

    In the early 80′s in Portland (OR)/Vancouver, there was KKSN – AM, that billed itself as “Brave New Radio” – it had DJ’s and commercials, but no set playlists. DJ’s were encouraged to play whatever.
    I thought it was great, especially for a crappy little AM station.
    The best part is that I remember one of the more popular radio stations in town was running a contest in which you could win “his n hers” Porches. KKSN decided to run their own contest, in which the winner could win two porches – ha!
    Alas, I don’t think they lasted more than about 18 months…

  95. Mike says:

    Like someone said before, Jack FM 104.1 in Minneapolis, and their slogan is “A bunch of songs in a row.” Now their commercials go on forever when they play them, and ‘Jack’ does talk between each song (although it is just a recorded message, where they have no DJ) but I personally love the sation. Now I hate rap, and well, they haven’t played any. All they really play is songs that no one else plays, like old songs from the 60′s-now, except no the mainstreem ones, or songs whitch used to be mainstreem, along with other songs whitch never hit it big. But Jack is a station whitch I never change from. They play all the songs whitch I like, and well, they do open me up to songs whitch i have never discoverd before. My only big problem is that I never know the name of or the band whitch plays the song. But its good. I like it, but its not for everyone.

  96. gozomj says:

    The Chicago area has both 9 FM (on 3 frequencies) that claims “We play anything,” and Jack FM that goes by the motto “We play what we want.”

  97. Creativerse says:

    Wow…how crazy. I live in Houston, but went to school in San Marcos, so I listen to BobFM from time to time. Truth is, I thought it was pretty cool until I read this post. Kind of like Juke Box Roulette. You just never know what you are going to get.
    Now, it just seems like some lame marketing gimmick.
    Now, it’s funny because 103.5 used to be an entirely different station (oldies maybe…out of San Antonio?)

  98. Gord says:

    Born in Vancouver, Canada, the Jack FM format has a pretty good write-up over at Wikipedia:
    It’s now about 3 years old here and has very annoying TV ads.

  99. Alex says:

    They started JACK FM in Baltimore, MD… I refuse to listen to it, since they took away one of the most popular Morning Shows in Maryland (one that actually had live traffic information via helicopters(!) as well as good humor) simply because it was an oldies station. Can’t find anything close for my commute, now.
    It got a lot of backlash, but it’s one of those things that the “people” just can’t do anything about. Gah, corporate America.
    I think the “we play what *we* want” is offensive – how about playing what *I* want? In any case, I listen to the radio for a reason … and that reason is generally tied to the radio personalities as well as the music. If I just wanted music, I’d pop in a CD or flip the station (I’m a notorious channel flipper). Otherwise, I want traffic, or humor, or information in addition to music.

  100. WeeBee says:

    Joining the chorus of “We have one here, too”, I’ll pass along that “we have one here, too” in Albuquerque: “Ed”. Started out as “Fred”, got into some licensing fray, then slightly renamed.
    I’m of two minds on this topic: I really hate to see automated stations cut out broadcasts by and with actual people. Although typically I’d refrain from saying “Soulless”, it has to be true here, as what can be more soulless than some automated, randomized song-spewer?
    Well, I’ll tell you what: something that should have a soul, but doesn’t. Can you say Clearchannel? Most of the stations around here are owned by ClearChannel, or another large media corporation. So, there is very little interesting going on musically on commercial radio. At least with “Ed”, I know it’ll be a few days before I hear the same song again.
    The few quasi-independent stations are either so low-powered as to be non-functioning, or have their head stuck up their pretentious arse so far, positively basking in PC-ness or some misguided need to be hipster-cool, that they are much too annoying for listening.
    Thank God for mp3 players …

  101. Rabbott says:

    I live in East Lansing Michigan; we have the same station here but its ’101.7 Mike Radio’. What a terrible station. It was bad back when it was Z-101.7, but I still had it in my presets, not anymore! Thanks Mike…

  102. Pat Collins says:

    We have just become a victim of this soulless radio in Pittsburgh. It’s called Bob FM as others have mentioned. Personally, it replaced my favorite classic rock station, and I am very mad about it.
    So mad, in fact, that I have started a web site about it:

  103. Jacob says:

    This format started up around five years ago, I believe. It’s really just a new version of “adult contemporary” that plays less ballads and is meant to appeal to people in their 30s.

  104. SFBlue says:

    The “we play whatever we feel like” Bay Area station to which Tom is referring is also MaxFM at 95.7. Not bad for background music when you’ve exhausted the iPod and in-car CD collection and they promise you won’t hear the same song repeated on the same day. The same promise doesn’t stretch to the same week, though. I heard “Pour Some Sugar On Me” three times last week!