Media and Money

However, no medium showed the impact of the big-business mindset more than radio. In the early years of rock, radio had been an important part of the music’s outsider image—Alan Freed in the fifties and “underground” FM stations in the sixties. In the seventies, however, the most significant new trend was  AOR (album-oriented radio) . In this format, disc jockeys could no longer choose the songs they played. Instead, program directors selected a limited number of songs designed to attract a broad audience while offending as few as possible. Often stations bought syndicated packages, further homogenizing radio content. Free-form radio all but disappeared, and so did the adventurous spirit that it symbolized. As a result, distortion was out; tunefulness was in. Acts like Barry Manilow, the Carpenters, Stevie Wonder, Chicago, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney and Wings, and, above all, Elton John got a lot of airplay and topped the charts.

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