Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Jack off into Oxford

The slightly bemusing Jack radio format, which is often described as "whatever radio" or "like an iPod shuffle but on radio" is coming to Britain this month. Oxford, in fact, which means Morse will be turning in his grave.

The basic idea of Jack, a station with revolving music instead of fixed playlist, sounds appealing. But the trouble with an iPod shuffle is its attractiveness depends on who's filled the device, and it's clear that the people suggesting the Jack playlist are the same people who produce more standard radio playlists. After all, this is what the BBC says Jack in New York played one hour:

Queen - Fat Bottomed Girls
Adam Ant - Goody Two Shoes
The Killers - Somebody Told Me
Fleetwood Mac - You Make Lovin' Fun
Van Halen - Jump
Hootie and the Blowfish - Good Times Roll
Cars - Good Times Roll
Gary Numan - Cars
Billy Idol - Eyes Without A Face
Blondie - Heart of Glass
Guns 'n' Roses - November Rain
Boston - Peace of Mind
The Police - Every Breath You Take
U2 - Vertigo


(BBC News points out that "in the end, it will be the listeners who decide if they'd rather Jack - even if it does play Fleetwood Mac.")

This might look like a radical playlist if you've spent a month with your head trapped in a box with Magic for a month, but a load of mostly MOR light-rock isn't really risk taking. And if the attraction of a station is it's like putting your iPod on random... wouldn't you be better off putting your iPod on random and avoiding the adverts?