Adult Standards

Adult standards is a North American radio format heard primarily on AM or class A FM stations.

Adult standards (also sometimes known as the nostalgia format) is aimed at "mature" adults, meaning mainly those persons over 50 years of age, but it is mostly targeted for senior citizens. It is primarily on AM because market research reveals that only persons in that age group listen to music on AM in sizable numbers. Adult standards first became a popular format in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a way to reach mature adults who came of age before the rock era but were perhaps too mature for adult contemporary radio or too young for beautiful music. A typical adult standards playlist includes popular music standards by artists such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, some "easy listening" numbers from Roger Whittaker and others, and softer tunes from the oldies and adult contemporary formats. The format once included big band music, particularly from the 1940s and 1950s, though the oldest songs have been de-emphasized on most stations. Younger artists who record in the big-band era style, such as Harry Connick, Jr. or Diana Krall, may be played as well; some stations will occasionally include former old-time radio series programs such as Fibber McGee & Molly or I Love a Mystery as a change of pace. Some adult standards stations air When Radio Was, a daily old-time radio retrospective currently hosted by Greg Bell.

At one time there were several hundred such stations, a number that has declined to approximately 200 as of 2012. Because the adult standards audience has increased in age to the point where many of its listeners have either died or are no longer attractive to advertisers, and because AM radio (long the province of the format) has itself been in severe decline, the format as it is known today (much like the contemporary decline of oldies and smooth jazz formats, along with the earlier demise of easy listening) is likely to die out. Most independently programmed former adult standards stations have transitioned to other formats such as oldies, classic hits, or adult contemporary music that have similar music but skew toward more modern songs.

Read more about Adult Standards:  Satellite Delivered Formats, Adult Standards Artists, Adult Standards Terrestrial Stations, Satellite Radio, Internet Radio

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