Morning zoo(Redirected from Zoo format)
Morning zoo is a format of morning radio show common to English-language radio broadcasting. The name is derived from the "wackiness and zaniness" of the activities, bits, and overall personality of the show and its hosts. The morning zoo concept and name is most often deployed on Top 40 (CHR) radio stations.
A morning zoo typically consists of two or more radio personalities, usually capable of spontaneous comic interaction as well as competent delivery of news and service elements. Most morning zoo programs involve scripted or live telephone calls, on-air games, and regular contests.
The first morning zoo program, focusing on the zany interactions of two hosts, was conceived and performed in 1981 by Scott Shannon and Cleveland Wheeler of WRBQ-FM in Tampa, Florida, known at the time as Q105 FM. Wheeler had been serving as the personality DJ hosting the morning drive program for the station's previous four years. Shannon was the new operations manager in 1981. The two decided to break with tradition and work up a wilder show together, founded on their own playful, irreverent and provocative interaction, with spontaneous bits of parody and comedy leavened with straight news. They called the show the Q Morning Zoo, and it quickly became a hit. At its height it had 85 people working to produce it.
(Prior to this development, radio station KZEW in Dallas was known as "the Zoo" because of its call letters. Beginning in September–October 1976, morning DJ Charlie Kendall hosted a zany show initially named Zooloos In Your Morning, the name being a wordplay on the Zulu people. However, Kendall's was a one-man show, not a "zoo" with multiple radio personalities.)
In July 1983, Shannon left Tampa to reinvent WHTZ "Z-100" in the New York City market, based out of Secaucus, New Jersey. On August 2, Shannon hosted the first Z Morning Zoo at WHTZ, soon settling into a team which included straight man Ross Brittain, newscaster Claire Stevens, public service director Professor Jonathan B. Bell, 22-year-old "Captain" Kevin on the phones, and production manager J. R. Nelson. Shannon's popular new format brought WHTZ from last place to first in just 74 days, and put longtime #1 morning DJ Don Imus in second place. When WHTZ became a huge ratings success, the name and format of the "Morning Zoo" was copied by stations across the USA.
We borrowed the 'Morning Zoo' moniker from our New York sister station Z-100, which borrowed it from WRBQ in Tampa, which borrowed it from a station in Australia.
Tampa's WRBQ continued to run the morning zoo show after Shannon left; Wheeler teamed with Terrence McKeever and others to keep the show a success. Other US stations that adopted the morning zoo program in the early-to-mid-1980s include KKBQ-FM in Houston in 1982, WRVQ in Richmond, Virginia, in April 1983, KMEL in San Francisco in early 1984, KFMB-FM in San Diego, California, by late 1984, WZOU in Boston by November 1984, WGTZ (Z-93) in Dayton, Ohio in March 1985, WKPE-FM in southeast Massachusetts in early 1985, WKRQ "Q102" and WEBN's Dawn Patrol in Cincinnati by October 1985, and WNVZ in Norfolk, Virginia in September 1985.
In Quebec City, CJMF-FM 93.3 had Le Zoo du 93 from 1985 to 1990. Not only does the show still hold a number of records in terms of ratings and market shares (a quarter-hour of 148,000 listeners), but it also skyrocketed the station to now unreachable numbers, with 573,200 listeners on a weekly basis (according to the BBM summer 1987 survey).
In the UK, Steve Wright (currently of BBC Radio 2) is famous for revolutionizing British radio by introducing the format when in 1981 he started his Steve Wright in the Afternoon show on BBC Radio 1 which featured his "posse" of co-presenters. Chris Moyles and "Comedy" Dave Vitty also used the zoo format with great success. Their audience was measured at eight million listeners by RAJAR.
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