Towards streamlined broadcasting. The Changing Music Cultures of 1990s Finnish Commercial Radio.
doi:10.5429/2079-3871(2010)v1i1.8en

Heikki Uimonen

Abstract


The deregulation of broadcasting in 1985 Finland introduced competition between two different systems: the European public service tradition and American commercial radio. Because of the rivalry the music contents were changed both in commercial stations and in the publicly funded YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company). Freedom of speech, musically diverse, unconventional and almost uncontrolled program policies dominated radio from the mid1980s. Five years later the form and content were changed. Special music programs hosted by individual disc jockeys were converted to streamlined broadcasting and the variety of music genres diminished. American-style format radios were introduced with automated music control, rotation clocks, playlists and audience music testing. The changes were fostered by the increased competition caused by the change of broadcasting regulations, the unexpected economic recession and technical innovations such as automated music jukeboxes. These business policies form the foundation on which contemporary Finnish commercial radio still rests. The article deals with the change of music culture of the early 1990’s commercial radios. It focuses on the following main questions: How was the process of music selection and radio music management changed? What were the economic, technological, organisational and cultural constraints that regulated the radio business and especially radio music in 1990s Finland? The questions will be answered by empirical data consisting of interviews with the radio station personnel in the 1990s and music copyright reports supported by printed archive material.

Keywords


radio, music, deregulation

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