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12 July 2006
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Dueling Demos

It is my privilege to be in an area, or "market" as it's called in the advertising biz, with a great number of radio stations.  Despite the seeming vast wasteland that is NYC radio, a number of stations have things to recommend them.  For example the "classic rock" giant WAXQ plays the syndicated "Little Steven's Underground Garage" program.  Despite the name, it's a rock and roll show rather than a background of footsteps with slap echo and menacing music.  And the legendary Vin Scelsa has a Saturday night show on WFUV.  However it is the smaller, regional stations that tend to be more fun to listen to on random weekdays.  Two of my local stations are WDHA and WXPK (which styles itself "The Peak").  WDHA is in suburban New Jersey, WXPK in, as they put it, "New York's back yard," the affluent Westchester County.  WDHA is closer to me and therefore has a stronger signal.  But I can receive WXPK during most of my commute and tend to listen to it in the car. 

WDHA is a pretty straightforward rock and roll station.  WXPK has a more expansive R&R music format - they play a lot of current music, but also dip into more obscure oldies than does DHA.  Both stations are part of "groups" and neither seems to be a hippie haven like those with which we were truly blessed in the late '60s through the '70s.  Even so, they're both listenable, and XPK in particular delivers an oldie with which I'm unfamiliar every few hours, for which I silently congratulate them.  But all of this is background and not the reason for this blogitem.  (If you live in the area, WDHA is at 105.5MHz and WXPK at 107.1MHz.  They both have web streams.)

The actual reason is that I wanted to have a brief babble about the differences in the advertisements on these two stations.  Although I'm unaware of any enormous disparity in age or demographics, it would seem that WXPK listeners have far more ailments, both physical and social, than do those of WDHA.  If you listen to DHA, you would kick yourself for not attending all of the assortment of bars and restaurants they tout.  And you would have plenty of alternatives for buying a car and, especially, getting it repaired so you could get to these places.  If you listen to WXPK, you would be unable to kick yourself because you would undoubtedly suffer horribly from plantar fasciitis, and conservative treatments wouldn't have worked.  Therefore, you must go, immediately, for ESWT* to make your feet usable again.  And that's just the start!  Emergency hospital treatment?  Heart attack?  Cancer?  Have they got the radiology center for you!

Another benefit of WXPK is that one is never more than minutes from an advertisement for a divorce lawyer.  Speaking as someone who never made the same mistake once, I have no need for these ads any more than I have for the beer ads that make me feel guilty since I don't use the product.  But listening to this station, one would think that Westchester County is an unhappy and very sickly place.  (Did I mention the liability lawyers?  Have you had an accident?  It must be somebody else's fault!)  To be fair, WDHA has run some ads for the local hospital.  I understand it's a great place to be if you have a heart attack.  But all in all, I think I'd rather patronize DHA's advertisers than those of WXPK.

If I had to guess at the real reason for this disparity, I would say that maybe WDHA listeners are somewhat younger than those of WXPK, and perhaps migrate from the bars and greasy spoons of the former to the hospitals and other medical treatments of the latter, perhaps as a result of the former's ads.  And the divorce and tort lawyers?  I don't think we're actually broke out here in suburban NJ, but if you're a doctor or lawyer who wants to specialize in problems of the rich, you'd better consider a move across the river.


*Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy.  You can see why they abbreviate it.

2006
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