Active rock

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Active rock is a radio format used by many commercial radio stations across the United States and Canada. Active rock stations play a mix of contemporary and classic rock songs, normally with an emphasis on the hard rock end of the spectrum.[1]

Format background[edit]

Sean Ross, editor of Billboard Airplay Monitor, described active rock in the late 1990s as album-oriented rock (AOR) "with a greater emphasis on the harder end of the spectrum".[2]

An active rock station may include songs by older active rock artists due to popular demand whereas an alternative rock station would not (e.g., Helmet, Toadies, CKY, Third Eye Blind, Seven Mary Three, Type O Negative, Monster Magnet, Prong, Candlebox, Oleander, Corrosion of Conformity, Stabbing Westward, Biohazard). Conversely, an active rock station also plays music by popular demand of new and recent hard rock and heavy metal artists, which are also usually absent from modern rock or classic rock radio playlists (e.g., Karnivool, Parkway Drive, Nothing More, Islander, Devour the Day, Failure Anthem, From Ashes to New, Sleepwave, Shattered Sun, Nothing But Thieves, Modestep, While She Sleeps, Northern Faces, Kyng, Twelve Foot Ninja, Code Orange).

A pioneering station of this format in the late 1980s was WIYY "98Rock" in Baltimore, Maryland. Other early adopters of this format by the beginning of the 1990s include stations WIIL "95 WIIL Rock" in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, KISS-FM "99.5 KISS Rocks" in San Antonio, Texas, WLZX-FM "Lazer 99.3" in Northampton, Massachusetts, WXTB "98Rock" in Tampa, Florida, KRZN "96.3 The Zone" in Billings, Montana, KEGL-FM "97.1 The Eagle", in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, and WJJO "Solid Rock 94.1 JJO" Madison, Wisconsin. Satellite radio channels include Sirius XM Radio's Octane, and the gold-based Ozzy's Boneyard channel, also on Sirius XM Radio. Former counterparts prior to the November 12, 2008 Sirius/XM channel merger were XM's Squizz and Sirius's BuzzSaw. Australian radio network Triple M Network also uses this format.

Active rock stations in Canada also include CFPL-FM in London, Ontario, CJAY-FM in Calgary, Alberta, CFBR-FM in Edmonton, Alberta, CFGP-FM in Grande Prairie, Alberta, CHTZ-FM in St. Catharines, Ontario, CJKR-FM in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CFXY-FM in Fredericton, New Brunswick and CHKS-FM in Sarnia, Ontario

See also[edit]

  • Classic rock – some tracks heard on active rock will also appear in the classic rock format, especially tracks predating the 1990s.
  • Mainstream rock – similar to active rock, it is a mix of classic rock and modern rock, though it tends to feature a higher proportion of older tracks
  • Modern rock – some tracks heard on active rock will also appear in the modern rock format (more so from tracks featured on classic rock)


  1. ^ "The State of Rock Radio – Part One". RadioInfo, August 19, 2012.
  2. ^ Toby Eddings, "Active rock finds an Asylum at 93.5," The Sun News, Feb. 7, 1999.

External links[edit]