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Monday Memo: Yes, Oldies

| November 21, 2022

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — I found an old aircheck from when I was a very-1970s Top 40 DJ doing nights on WPRO, Providence. I chuckled when I heard “Magic,” the ‘74 hit by Pilot. Even if you’re too young to remember it as a current, you know the melody from the TV commercial urging diabetics to “ask your doctor about Ozempic.”

‘70s music is everywhere. In “The Martian,” stranded-but-confident astronaut Matt Damon strides out of the Hab’ to “Rock The Boat;” and we hear ABBA and Donna Summer and David Bowie.

Rewind to the 1960s, for Earworm #1 lately: “Every Beat of My Heart” by the Du-Ettes, soundtrack of a TV spot you’re seeing now. You won’t remember the song, because lots of 1964 one-off USA acts got lost in the din of the British Invasion. But its vintage sound – and teen-crush lyric utterly unrelated to the commercial’s message – had me Googling it. And I’m not alone.

  • When Lucius posted “Who else out there looked for this song after watching the Whole Foods commercial?” he got 2000+ Likes and 306 Replies.
  • Lashell – GenZ, based on her thumbnail picture – posts: “WOW!! The majority of us searched this song due to a commercial. The sound grabs your attention and makes you get up to dance. I know I find myself grooving to the beats. Truly a hit!”
  • Dohnsen posted: “The 1960’s has a boatload of forgotten gems! This is one.”

In challenging times, we’re wistful

I speak from experience about the ageless appeal of 60s music. In 1995, when I was living in DC, I amused and horrified my friends there – who only knew me as a corporate media suit – by dusting off my WPRO act, doing fill-in work on “Washington’s Sixties SuperStation,” WBIG-FM Oldies 100.

Because we targeted monied Baby Boomers, I was – at first – surprised by how many teens and pre-teens were on the request line, until I realized the obvious: These songs were crafted FOR teens and pre-teens, people now my age, lifelong AM/FM radio users forced to find this dear music on satellite radio, or the handy TuneIn smartphone app that Bluetooths into my dashboard.

Broadcast radio is leaving money on the table.

For too long, radio suffered the conventional wisdom of 25-54, notwithstanding that older listeners control SO much retail spending. On YouTube, search “Holland Cooke Grey Is Gold: How Radio Advertising Can Score With The Biggest Spenders.” It’s a sales meeting in a box that will have reps scribbling-down leads, and on-air talent mindful of who advertisers want as customers.

With FMs (already) in all-Christmas mode, witness the irony that many stations only expose the stars who sang  the soundtrack of summer…in winter. “Little Saint Nick” is a perennial hors d’ouvre from the Beach Boys, whose smorgasbord of sunshine and surf would be darn welcome six months from now.

Holland Cooke ( is the author of “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books; and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and the E-book and FREE on-air radio features “Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins.” HC is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke

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Category: Advice