America's Best Music
|America's Best Music website|
America's Best Music is the on-air branding of an adult standards 24-hour radio network, known internally as Adult Standards and formerly known as AM Only, currently owned by Westwood One. It was one of the original Transtar networks. The format is no longer exclusive to AM stations and is carried on some FM stations too.
The target audience of the format is persons 35 to 64, with 40 percent of music from the 1960s, 30 percent from the 1970s, and 15 percent each from the 1950s and since 1980. Artists include Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, The Carpenters, Johnny Mathis, Barry Manilow, Celine Dion, James Taylor, Elton John, Anne Murray, Andy Williams, Engelbert Humperdinck, Linda Ronstadt, Nat King Cole, Captain and Tennille, and Simon and Garfunkel. The format also incorporates "new standards" material by artists like Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Michael Bublé, Steve Tyrell, Rod Stewart, Bette Midler, Carly Simon, and Renee Olstead. Also, the network plays continuous Christmas music beginning in mid-December through Christmas Day each year.
The current lineup of DJs as of December 2013 includes Jeff Rollins, Carl Hampton (a former Music of Your Life and Jones Standards personality), and John Gleason on weekdays, as well as Pat McNulty and Wayne Yafee  on weekends. Former DJs include Nick Gerard, Ed Brand, Joe Daniels, Mark Haden, Rick Wagstaff, Rick Garza, Lou Simon, and Peter Doeblin. Chick Watkins, the format's program director, was also a DJ for many years.
AM Only was created by Transtar Radio Networks at a time when AM radio was no longer highly regarded as a place to listen to music. The format was promoted only to AM stations, though it was not long before some FM stations used it as well.
The format was (and still is in some stations' on-air imaging) promoted on-air as "Great Songs, Great Memories". One affiliate used an ad which stated the following:
Ray Charles lives here. So does Rosemary Clooney, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, The Lettermen, and The Nelson Riddle Orchestra. At WFEA we play the original hits of the 40's, 50's and 60's. All day, every day.
After a February 1987 debut with Chick Watkins as program director, AM Only had 157 affiliates by the end of 1993. Growth of the format was helped by new material from Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis, and artists such as Harry Connick Jr., along with movies such as Sleepless in Seattle. KJUL jumped to number 3 in the Las Vegas market, and KOY became the number 5 station in Phoenix, Arizona.
In 2000, over 240 radio stations used the adult standards format which was being distributed by this time by Westwood One.
In the first decade of the 21st Century, the format added more uptempo material from the oldies and adult contemporary formats and promoted "A New Variety of America's Best Music". In recent years, though, the commitment to older songs has been renewed, with titles by artists previously dropped from rotation such as Patti Page, Doris Day, the Ames Brothers, Gogi Grant, Joan Weber, Perry Como, and Ella Fitzgerald, being re-added to the playlist.
On October 1, 2008, America's Best Music absorbed Jones Standards, a short-lived format created by the now-dissolved Jones Radio Networks, as a result of Jones's purchase by Westwood One. Many, though not all, Jones Standards affiliates switched over to America's Best Music. Westwood One's subsequent purchase of Waitt Radio Networks added a second adult standards/MOR-based format to the syndicator's portfolio in the form of "The Lounge", formerly distributed by Waitt and now discontinued.
A partial list of America's Best Music/Adult Standards-affiliated stations includes:
- Abilene, Kansas - KABI
- Albany-Corvallis, Oregon - KSHO "Unforgettable 920 K-SHOW"
- Alturas, California - KCFJ "570am"
- Apalachicola, Florida - WFCT "The Coast"
- Appleton, Wisconsin - WNAM
- Bucyrus, Ohio - WBCO
- Cambridge, Ohio - WILE-FM
- Cheektowaga-Buffalo, New York - WECK "Timeless"
- Clinton, Illinois - WEZC
- Cobleskill, New York - WSDE "AM 1190"
- Columbus, Ohio - WMNI "AM 920"
- Cottonwood, Arizona - KYBC
- Cumberland, Maryland - WTBO
- Dixon, Illinois - WIXN "AM 1460"
- Ellsworth, Maine - WDEA
- Escanaba, Michigan - WDBC
- Fairfield Bay, Arkansas - KFFB-FM
- Florence, Oregon - KCFM (AM) - 1250 AM / 104.1 FM
- Franklin, New Hampshire - WFTN AM 1240
- Fredericksburg, Virginia - WFVA "AM 1230"
- Fort Wayne, Indiana - WGL "The River"
- Hamden, Connecticut - WQUN
- Hibbing, Minnesota - WMFG-AM
- Hudson, New York - WHUC "AM 1230"
- Jacksonville, Florida - WJAX
- Laporte, Indiana - WLOI
- Lansing, Michigan - WXLA
- Madisonville, Texas - KMVL
- Modesto, California - KVIN "Vintage 920 The Vine"
- Mojave, California - KTPI (AM) "Magic 1340"
- Montgomery, Alabama - WNZZ
- Mountain Home, Arkansas - KTLO-FM
- Ogallala, Nebraska - KOGA (AM) "930am"
- Peoria, Illinois - WOAM "Peoria's Hometown Radio"
- Plymouth, New Hampshire - WPNH AM 1300
- Redding, California - KLXR "1230am"
- Rushville, Illinois - WKXQ
- Salisbury, North Carolina - WSAT "Memories 1280"
- Sandusky/Port Clinton, Ohio - WLEC
- Savannah, Georgia - WSEG
- Show Low, Arizona - KVSL "Star"
- Spokane, Washington - KEYF-AM "The Key"
- Stevens Point, Wisconsin - WPCN
- Syracuse, New York - WTLA
- The Dalles, Oregon - KODL
- Uniontown, Pennsylvania - WMBS
- Vancouver, Washington - KKOV "Sunny 1550"
- Vero Beach - WOSN "Ocean"
- Wausau, Wisconsin - WXCO "Sunny 1230"
Sample hour of music (1993)
- "Tenderly" - Rosemary Clooney
- "Oh Lonesome Me" - Don Gibson
- "Misty" - Erroll Garner
- "He" - Al Hibbler
- "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" - B.J. Thomas
- "Red Roses for a Blue Lady" - Bert Kaempfert
- "We Need a Little Christmas" - Percy Faith
- "Talking in Your Sleep" - Crystal Gayle
- "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" - The Platters
- "Que Sera, Sera" - Doris Day
- "I've Got You Under My Skin" - Frank Sinatra
- "Little Girl Blue" - Nancy Wilson
- "A Worried Man" - The Kingston Trio
- "Kiss Me in the Rain" - Barbra Streisand
- "I Can't Stop Loving You" - Ray Charles
- "What Did I Have That I Don't Have" - Eydie Gorme
- "Come Saturday Morning" - The Sandpipers
- "Sail Along Silv'ry Moon" - Billy Vaughn
Three sample hours of programming (1999)
- "Tonight I Celebrate My Love" - Roberta Flack/Peabo Bryson
- "Give Me The Simple Life" - Rosemary Clooney
- "Last Date" - Floyd Cramer
- "Oh Baby Mine" - The Four Knights
- "Old Cape Cod" - Jerry Vale
- "That's What Friends Are For" - Dionne Warwick and Friends
- "Born To Lose" - Ray Charles
- "Take Five" - Dave Brubeck
- "Right Time Of The Night" - Jennifer Warnes
- "Moonlight Gambler" - Frankie Laine
- "Unchained Melody" - Al Hibbler
- "Once Upon A Time" - Tony Bennett
- "Come Softly To Me" - The Fleetwoods
- "Cry" - Johnnie Ray
- "If I Loved You" - Barbra Streisand
- "Exodus" - Ferrante & Teicher
- "You're Breaking My Heart" - Dean Martin
- "It's A Sin To Tell A Lie" - Somethin' Smith and the Redheads
- "Looks Like We Made It" - Barry Manilow
- "This Is My Song" - Ray Charles Singers
- "I Love How You Love Me" - Bobby Vinton
- "You, You, You" - Ames Brothers
- "The Poor People of Paris" - Les Baxter
- "Calypso" - John Denver
- "All the Way" - Frank Sinatra
- "Stormy Weather" - Michael Crawford
- "Carefree Highway" - Gordon Lightfoot
- "On the Sunny Side of the Street" - Keely Smith
- "Love Letters" - Nat King Cole
- "That'll Be the Day" - Buddy Holly
- "'S Wonderful" - Ray Conniff
- "Sing" - The Carpenters
- "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" - Glen Campbell
- "Stranger In Paradise" - Johnny Mathis
- "So Much in Love" - The Tymes
- "Holiday for Strings" - David Rose
- "The Look Of Love" - Dusty Springfield
- "The Best Is Yet to Come" - Tony Bennett
- "Spanish Harlem" - Ben E. King
- "Mr. Sandman" - The Chordettes
- "Days of Wine and Roses" - Andy Williams
- "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" - Frankie Valli
- "Rainy Night in Georgia" - Brook Benton
- "Hurt So Bad" - The Lettermen
- "Shadows in the Moonlight" - Anne Murray
- "Saturday Night Is the Loneliest Night of the Week" - The Spitfire Band
- "Dream Lover" - Bobby Darin
- "The Way You Look Tonight" - Henry Mancini
- "Cry Me a River" - Julie London
- "I'll Get By" - Jerry Vale
- "Scarborough Fair" - Simon & Garfunkel
- "How Little We Know" - Frank Sinatra
- "Somewhere" - Matt Monro
- "Petite Fleur" - Chris Barber's Jazz Band
Sample hour of programming (2010)
- "Vincent" - Don McLean
- "More" - Andy Williams
- "You Decorated My Life" - Kenny Rogers
- "Come Saturday Morning" - The Sandpipers
- "Weekend in New England" - Barry Manilow
- "Why Should I Care" - Diana Krall
- "Unchained Melody" - The Righteous Brothers
- "The End" - Earl Grant
- "I Just Can't Help Believing" - B.J. Thomas
- "Summer Samba" - Walter Wanderley
- "Touch Me in the Morning" - Diana Ross
- "Morning Has Broken" - Cat Stevens
- "Make It with You" - Bread
- "Things" - Bobby Darin
- "Always on My Mind" - Willie Nelson
- "Westwood One Radio Networks - Westwood One Radio Networks". Dial-global.com. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
- [dead link]
- "KTLO, Classic Hits and The Boot - KTLO-FM". Ktlo.com. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
- "97.1 Ocean". Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
- "Sunny 1550 KKAD". Retrieved 2009-02-26.
- "Westwood One: Adult Standards". Retrieved 2009-02-26.
- "WFEA History - 2000+". Retrieved 2009-02-26.
- "WFEA History - 1990s". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
- Borzillo, Carrie (Dec 25, 1993). "PD of the week: Chick Watkins". Billboard 105 (52): 99.
- Doreen Oken, "K-JWL flaunts title as number one station nationwide," Business Journal Serving Fresno & the Central San Joaquin Valley, May 8, 2000, p. 1.
- Mike Conklin, "Music Your Parents Always Said You'd Listen To," Chicago Tribune, October 16, 1999.