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Classic Hip-Hop Formats Playing Tupac Shakur, Public Enemy and Snoop Dogg Are Saving Commercial Radio Stations

by Shawn Christ   Dec 28, 2014 18:51 PM EST

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Commercial radio is suffering. Satellite and streaming options that link directly to mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular because of the diversity and lack of commercial interruptions. According to The New York Times, one format is incredibly hot right now - classic hip-hop. Stations championing Tupac Shakur, Public Enemy and Snoop Dogg are sprouting up all over the country. Radio One, Cumulus Media and iHeartMedia are all jumping at the opportunity.

KROI in Houston is the case study used in the article. Two months after the news station switched over to classic hip-hop, it was rebranded as Boom 92 and its listenership jumped from 245,000 to 802,000. Radio One, which owns Boom, is working on expanding the brand in Dallas and Philadelphia.

Atlanta's market has been flooded with the format. A total of three stations popped up during one week in November - Old School 99.3, OG 97.9 and Boom 102.9.

"I went to work with one, I came back with three. Who's going to outlast who? I have the least overhead. I have the least amount of debt. It's crazy," Steve Hegwood of Old School 99.3 told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "This format hits the sweet spot of 35 to 49 year olds, which advertisers love."

Saturation is a problem though. One of the Atlanta stations changed to an all-urban format only two weeks after flipping to classic hip-hop.

Check out a sample of Atlanta's OG 97.9 below.

Arrested Development - “Tennessee"
Eve and Gwen Stefani - “Let Me Blow Ya Mind”
Coolio - “1-2-3-4″
Ja Rule - “Livin’ it Up”
LL Cool J - “Loungin’ ”
2Pac - "2 of Amerika’s Most Wanted”
Ginuwine and Nas - “You Owe Me’"
Nelly - "Ride Wit Me"

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