South Florida's Oldies Authority Loses Its Leader (Papvysiwyg://3/http:,I/www.radiodigest.conVmi 032299 wmxj scarboroughl.htm

Neil, who now works part-time for The Coast (WFLC 97.3 FM) in Miami, could be heard as recently as this past week in the familiar morning-drive spot, filling in for vacationing Ken Cortes at WFLC. Neil was the most recent morning host at Majic and was replaced by Rick Shaw. Shaw is the legendary market icon whose career goes back to the days of AM radio in the early '60s and the legendary days of rock 'n' roll at WQAM.

The ratings for Majic dipped a bit of late, but oldies radio stations from coast to coast are facing increasingly difficult positioning dilemmas, and many have seen their performance seesaw for a slew of reasons. At press time, it was not possible to obtain any official comment from either Scarborough or management at Majic about the situation, but speculation on the future of the station and its current air staff, as well as Scarborough himself, is already circulating.

One source tells me that Scarborough likes to be near the water. Could a city by the bay be in his future? San Francisco? San Diego?

As for Majic itself, the 102.7 frequency in South Florida has been used for many different formats through the years, and no other format has come close to the success of oldies; it would appear unlikely that the station will change format now. Plus, the nucleus of talent now at the station would appear to indicate that major changes are unlikely there as well. In addition to Shaw, longtime market veteran and national commercial voice talent Ron St. John handles afternoon drive.

One of the internal options to fill the programmer slot could be as simple as segueing Shaw into the chair. Shaw, in addition to his high-profile on-air work, was the programming maven at WAXY (105.9 FM), for years carrying dual responsibilities. Through most of those years, Shaw did afternoon drive and left mornings in the hands of Greg Budell. During one period, Shaw tried to resurrect the career of the late Robie Young. Young, a native of the South Florida radio wars, was the infamous jock who broke format and caused a national stir at WABC in the late '60s when he played up the rumor that Paul McCartney of the Beatles was dead. Young had to be removed from the studio while on the air in the middle of his show that day.

In this reporter's opinion, a change at the helm isn't going to have much effect on the station. Spring books are usually up for FM music formats, and it wouldn't surprise me to see a rise in the spring Arbitrons for the station. I think the staff and execution under Scarborough's direction at Majic made it one of the best-sounding oldies stations in America. The overall presentation at Majic is very similar to most of the heavily consulted and research dependent "good times and great oldies" radio stations elsewhere, and most of them perform predictably in cycles of up and down ratings periods depending upon particularly specific market conditions and competition.

Wherever Scarborough lands, I am certain of one thing - the new station will be fortunate to have him. Programmers of this ilk do not stay unemployed for long, and they are hard to find.

Good luck to Scarborough, and good luck to Majic 102.7. Both are class acts.



March 22, 1999

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