Pete Tong joins Beatport and Premiere Networks partnership to expand ‘Evolution’ and change American radio
With high risk comes great reward; this is something legendary English DJ and global tastemaker Pete Tong knows all too well. American commercial radio has long been viewed as a safe and repetitive medium, embracing the theory that the average American listener possesses a limited, even stubborn attention span. In a Billboard exclusive, Pete Tong not only disagrees, but also argues against this notion.
“When you look at what intelligent television channels are doing, creating these incredibly deep series from Breaking Bad to House of Cards, that couldn’t happen in the UK… That’s actually happened in America, where there’s supposedly so much short-termism and conservativism, so why can’t we do that with radio? There must be a place for it, it’s just a case of finding the right fit.”
Pete Tong understands the states’ thirst for more meaningful, deeper and honest radio engagement, and has announced a plan of action with Clear Channel and SFX Entertainment’s respective subsidiaries, Premiere Networks and Beatport. Rebranded The Evolution Beatport Show with Pete Tong, the English dance icon will extend on his already popular Evolution program, to feature an expanded two-hour format, exclusive content, breaking music news and releases, DJ chart updates and Beatport’s top dance records. Not to mention Tong will also continue presenting his signature essential new tune of the week, as well as routinely exciting feature guest mixes.
Clark Warner, Beatport’s executive creative director, expresses the significant impact of the program’s Beatport chart tie-ins comparing the integration “to a DJ set with what’s hot, what’s shaking the dance floor, and what’s going to make things change.” All parties involved seem to know their place as well as how their particular strengths benefit the anticipated program, from Pete Tong’s influential and selective ear to Beatport’s scientific approach to gathering industry data for trend prediction and beyond.
Though always fond of American radio’s initial playback, Tong goes on to describe his frustration that “you hear the same 15 minutes every four hours.” It’s a cringe worthy truth that has dissatisfied many for a long time. The American radio broadcast model lies heavily on safe practices in order to maintain the largest audience possible. Tong aims to bring his unique BBC Radio 1 ideals to the new program, with a focus on the youth market and as a platform for new music discovery. This very well may be “exactly the right time” for a fresh Evolution to introduce and advance the America’s perpetuating commercial tastes to the “next layer down” of dance music.
“I believe the American public has more intelligence and more savvy than to be so short term that they’re gonna hit a button every time they’re uncomfortable.”