Classic Rock, Classic Hits, and Adult Hits Reach Men and Women 35 and Older

[Please keep in mind that when we are talking about large groups of people, there are many counter-examples. Not every member of every demographic group listens to the same kind of music and radio programming. Descriptions of demographic groups should never be used as the basis for stereotyping.]

If your ideal customers are adults over the age of 35 that tend to live in the suburbs, then radio formats that are slightly rock-leaning, and play almost exclusively long-established hit songs, are a good choice. 

There are three formats in Oklahoma City that fit that bill. They are:

  • Classic Rock

  • Classic Hits

  • Adult Hits


The author with a fan at a KRXO remote in the late 90s.

Classic Rock Radio Format

The classic rock radio format, as we know it, was launched in the mid-80s, by Fred Jacobs, on an AM station in Dallas, Texas. It was a variation of the then-popular Album Oriented Rock, or AOR, format, which, KATT-FM 100.5 offered in OKC at the time. 

This format was launched to serve aging baby-boomer rock fans that were turned off by more strident modern rock. 

In 1987, KRXO-FM at 107.7 FM switched to Jacob’s new classic rock format. It remained a classic rock station until July of 2013 when station owner, Tyler Media, moved the classic rock format to an HD/translator combo at 104.5 FM and made KRXO a sports talk station using the moniker, The Franchise

During KRXO’s classic rock run in OKC, from 1987 to 2013, it was a ratings and financial success under program directors, Dan Balla, Jeff Couch, and Buddy Wiley. Popular personalities on the station included Mark Shannon, Greg “Eggman” Moore, Ron “Spinozi” Benton, Lisa Mirick, David Kelso, Matt Garrett, and Lee Roberts. 

Classic rock radio stations play familiar rock songs that usually cover a generational band ranging from as early as the early 1970s to the 2000s. Some classic rock stations lean older, some younger, and some attempt to play a broad generational variety. 

On the older end of the format, core artists often include Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The younger end of the format’s music mix often includes artists such as Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Guns and Roses. 

Classic Hits Radio Format

The Classic Hits format can alternately be described as a lighter version of the Classic Rock format, and/or the natural successor to the Oldies format, which played the hits of the 1950s & 1960s. 

The music selection focuses on hits, beginning in the late 1970s or early 1980s, through the 90s and sometimes beyond. Tonally, this format avoids strident rock music that you might hear on an album oriented rock (AOR) station. 

Many Classic Hits stations, including KOMA in Oklahoma City, were Oldies-formatted before migrating to their current format. As Oldies listeners aged out of the most desirable advertiser demographics, Oldies stations lost ratings. In order to regain listenership levels, they adjusted by adding new music, in order to attract a younger listener. 

Classic Hits-formatted radio stations often share listeners with Classic Rock and Hot AC stations. 

WCBS-FM, in New York, is one of the most listened-to Classic Hits-formatted stations in the United States. 

Adult Hits Radio Format

The Adult Hits format, in its current form, is relatively new. 

Adult Hits-formatted station play a broad mix of popular songs that you might also hear on Classic Rock, Classic Hits, Hot AC, AC, and even Oldies stations. Music decades can run from the late-1960s through 2010. 

This format usually employs a large library of songs in a way that no single song repeats frequently. It is common for the average song rotation on an Adult Hits station to be longer than 24 hours. 

It is common for stations in this format to brand themselves with a person’s name, such as Jack-FM or Bob-FM; and use a slogan like “We Play What We Want!” 

Classic Rock, Classic Hits, and Adult Hits Stations Serving Oklahoma City

The aforementioned Classic Rock-formatted 104.5, now owned by Tyler Media, continues the legacy of 107.7 KRXO, The Classic Rock Station, albeit on a weaker signal. 

KQOB, Alice-FM is an Adult Hits-formatted radio station, owned by Champlin Broadcasting, and leased to Cumulus Media for operation. 

KOMA-FM, 92.5 is a Classic Hits-formatted radio station, owned by Tyler Media. Like many Classic Hits radio stations, KOMA was an Oldies-formatted station before transitioning to Classic Hits.