Who let the ’90s out?
Star 94 did in February, launching a weekly all-’90s weekend. Nirvana, Sir Mix-A-Lot and Alanis Morissette fueled a break-out success. The station in June was No. 2 among 25 to 54 year olds on weekends, only behind V-103. In June, 2010, with its regular mix of music, Star ranked in a tie for 17th.
“For our target audience in their late 20s and 30s, it’s their own personal nostalgia,” said Scott Lindy, Star’s program director. “And while we are targeting women, our male listening has gone through the roof, too.”
For experts who watch demographics, a ’90s movement now is predictable. In the early 1990s, “classic rock” stations focused on the 1970s were in vogue (and are still hot to this day). Around 2001 and 2002, 1980s stations were briefly the rage (Atlanta had 105.3/The Max for two years). In 2011, the cycle begins again – with an eye toward social media.
Over on TV, VH1 this October is reviving “Pop Up Video,” a snarky program that aired from 1996 to 2002 and featured running commentary about music videos using pop-up bubbles on the screen.
Those pithy statements were, in a sense, a precursor to Twitter and Facebook, noted Karla Hidalgo, an executive producer. “At the time, it was groundbreaking,” she said. “Now it’s truly the way people communicate.” The network plans to pump out 60 new episodes with 300 videos. Showing how VH1 has changed from the late 1990s, the program will now feature hip-hop videos.
For more juvenile observations, the 1990s featured MTV’s ‘Beavis & Butthead.” The 30-year-old network, which is perpetually focused on youth (and will not even acknowledge its 30th birthday on August 1 on air), is bringing the two animated idiots into the 21st century without aging them a day or rewarding them any added IQ points. And instead of commenting on Madonna or Metallica videos, they now crack wise about fellow MTV shows “Jersey Shore” and “Teen Mom.”
“They give us a chance to have a taste of our own medicine,” said Chris Linn, executive vice president for programming for MTV. “Older ‘Beavis & Butthead’ fans will be excited to check them out again and be part of our audience. But I think they’ll be relevant to our core audience, too.”
Below is a four-minute trailer shown at Comic Con:
On a more innocent scale, there’s TeenNick, which this week began airing Nickelodeon’s most popular 1990s shows late at night, among them, “Clarissa Explains It All’ starring a teenage Melissa Joan Hart and ”Kenan & Kel” featuring former Atlantan and current “Saturday Night Live” star Kenan Thompson. Many have not been seen on TV in a decade or more. Ratings the first day doubled for the network from midnight to 2 a.m. slot.
Keith Dawkins, general manager for TeenNick, said the idea bubbled up from interns and younger staff members at the channel, who noted the number of fan sites for the shows. Reaction has been even bigger than he expected. “It was a less cluttered marketplace than it is now,” he said. “Nickelodeon means something powerful to them. It was truly a network for them.”
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog