Since radio was first challenged by the advent of television back in the 1950's, formats have became a successful way for stations to stand out and excel by focusing on a specific target audience. In fact over time, formats have gottten more specialized, fragmented, and splintered.
Of course, this has been amped up by the creation of Sirius and XM – satellite radio networks offering even more finely-tuned niche programming. Add to that the myriad audio streaming options, and it seems like there's audio programming for pretty much anybody. At last count, there were well more than 400 channels on SiriusXM, serving virtually every need.
Except, of course, if you're a cat. Sylvester, Stimpy, Garfield, and even Top Cat have had to do without their own radio outlet.
Composer David Teie is trying his hand at composing compositions designed to keep your cat chill while on the way to a traumatic appointment at the vet. According to Mental Floss' Shaunacy Ferro, Cat Calm Radio from cat food-maker Whiskas plays the perfect mix of stress-free, commercial-free music for cats suffering from stress of any kind.
The station features a 45 minute, no-repeat loop (the average time it takes to get to the vet?), and is PPM compliant. (In fact, there's a constant “purring”-like sound that should encode well in the Nielsen system.) There have always been those nagging rumors of panelists strapping their meters on pets. Now with Cat Calm Radio, at least feline respondents have something to listen to while they prowl around the neighborhood.
The vital signs for a station like this are good – there are an estimated 86 million cats living in the U.S. – more than there are Millennials (69 million). This is clearly a format that promises strong CTSL with low turnover.
While a little lax on the occasion setting, Cat Calm Radio could be the next scalable format, offering royalties-free music (take that, Sound Exchange) thank to composer Teie's original compositions. At last check, it is still available in Fresno, Cedar Rapids, and Pensacola, but is obviously no longer clear in the Catskills or Katnmandu.
You can listen to it here, but it is not (yet) monitored on either Mediabase or BDS. You have to wonder how Sean Ross will review it.
Like any new format, it will very likely take this station time to work the bugs out, find its voice, settle in, and start working on its second act. Clearly, music testing will be a must. Can you imagine an auditorium test with 100 felines in one room?
It would be like herding cats.
Wonder if they need an app?
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,200 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.
Fred was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2018.