1. I think your definition of new music is different than Craig's. Radio stations still play new music when they feel the songs played have a great chance of becoming a hit. Just like in the old days when the Beatles or Supremes came out with a great new song, radio stations today play new songs by Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo and Katy Perry in CHR; by Darius Rucker and Sugarland in Country; by Monica and Drake in Hip Hop. It's no different at all from how radio has always been.
I didn't expressly say so, but I was thinking of all stations who play any sort of "vintage" music format, such as oldies, classic rock, moyl, etc.
2. Just because we now have iPods, Internet radio and other ways to get music, people are still people. By that I mean that humans still like to hear familiar music. All the technology in the world is not going to change that. Those who happen to be more interested in different types of music now have ways of getting that, but that's a minority of listeners.
Anyone who says "more interested in different types of music" clearly doesn't get what I'm talking about. A different "type" of music would be a totally different genre of music, like saying a classic rock station would do better if it also played polkas. (OK, hyperbole mode was on for that last sentence.)
That's where the lack of understanding about music betrays too many PD's. "Familiar" music doesn't mean "only the same few songs". People who know the "hits" of a any classic rock artist would find much of their other album cuts "familiar". Hell, I slipped a Rutles song into a Beatles mix tape, and many people who heard it thought it sounded "familiar". But you radio guys keep talking about being "interested in different types
of music" when we listeners are talking about wanting the same type of music we really and truly love, just new songs that sound as good as the songs we already know.
Since I've started popping CD's into my dashboard instead of mix tapes, I've been discovering that albums that contained some of my favorite radio hits also contain other songs that sound familiar yet new. I like them. I liked Paradise by the Dashboard Light, but other cuts on the album Bat Out of Hell were just as good. Listeners who liked "Piano Man" before it was overplayed to death would find "Worse Comes to Worst" and "Stop in Nevada" to be "familiar but new". Of course, "If I Only Had the Words (To Tell You)" is a real downer, and wouldn't fly, but that's why a good PD needs to be able to do more than just read printouts and test reports.
That same reasoning applies to classic R&B, country, and every other vintage music format.
3. You said top 40 stations used to go deep with the artists they played in the 60's. Top-40 radio has always played a very small list of songs. When WABC in NY was #1, it was playing the top 25 over and over. The difference, and what you're confusing, is that in those days, there were very few formats. Therefore, most people who liked mass music listened to top 40, and top-40 stations played the Beatles and the Supremes along with Frank Sinatra and Al Hirt. So they played more types of music because so many different types made the top 40. However, they still played the same 40 songs over and over and over. In that regard, it was no different than today. Top-40 stations just had a much greater mix of demographics than the format now has due to the proliferation of music formats on today's radio. But there was no difference in the programming philosophy of having a tight playlist.
No, I never said that Top 40 stations "used to go deep with the artists they played in the 60's". Of course Top 40 stations never went "deep". The deepest cut possible for a Top 40 station was a "B" side. I was saying that stations that play "vintage music formats" should go deeper with the artists they currently play.
But you raise an issue that proves my point. In the 60's, since each station competed with every other station because there was no multi-station ownership, each station did try to be all things to all people. But when FM became more popular, and albums started outselling 45's, the format rules changed to reflect the change in the times
. To some PD who was stuck in 1965 like a fossilized bug in amber, the new and different things that his counterparts on FM were doing with AOR must have struck him as stupid. I wonder how many Top 40 PD's of the 1960's couldn't manage to hang on past the 1970's because they couldn't make the transition to a new paradigm. I'd guess the same number as the ones from the late 1940's who couldn't accept that radio was changing in the 1950's from broadcasting scripted programs and live music performances from their studios to jukeboxes.