Not Resting Titles - What If...?
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  1. #1

    Not Resting Titles - What If...?

    It has been stated that one difference that CHR has adapted is not resting popular songs after their initial run, but letting them drop into "recurrent" status. I got to thinking about this and wonder what would've happened if this was done during the height of Beatlemania. Just counting #1 songs by the Beatles and not their plethora of classics that didn't do that well or the catalogs of other British Invasion artists, or American artists from the period of 1964-66, there were 14 songs that had they not been rested, would've been all over the radio, taking up space generally intended for current releases. The MOR category would probably have been gone completely, for lack of room and who knows what else? Am I overthinking this?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by semoochie View Post
    It has been stated that one difference that CHR has adapted is not resting popular songs after their initial run, but letting them drop into "recurrent" status. I got to thinking about this and wonder what would've happened if this was done during the height of Beatlemania. Just counting #1 songs by the Beatles and not their plethora of classics that didn't do that well or the catalogs of other British Invasion artists, or American artists from the period of 1964-66, there were 14 songs that had they not been rested, would've been all over the radio, taking up space generally intended for current releases. The MOR category would probably have been gone completely, for lack of room and who knows what else? Am I overthinking this?
    In my experience, we did not categorize current songs by categories, such as MOR, crossover, etc. It seemed to be less structured, as in "there are too many Motown songs" or "there are too many ballads" and we adjusted the playlist accordingly.

    The classic case was the "turntable hit" which often (the Drake stations raised this to an art form) a song or several songs played to balance the playlist when all the "happening" tunes tended to be going in one direction.

    Ever since I have used a recurrent category, the general rule has been to push the oldest or weakest songs by a prolific artist to gold and to keep a single artist at no more than, say, 10% of a recurrent category. Before Selector(tm) we figured out that anything more would now allow for proper artist separation, so we simply changed the song from one "color" to another.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEduardo View Post


    In my experience, we did not categorize current songs by categories, such as MOR, crossover, etc. It seemed to be less structured, as in "there are too many Motown songs" or "there are too many ballads" and we adjusted the playlist accordingly.

    The classic case was the "turntable hit" which often (the Drake stations raised this to an art form) a song or several songs played to balance the playlist when all the "happening" tunes tended to be going in one direction.

    Ever since I have used a recurrent category, the general rule has been to push the oldest or weakest songs by a prolific artist to gold and to keep a single artist at no more than, say, 10% of a recurrent category. Before Selector(tm) we figured out that anything more would now allow for proper artist separation, so we simply changed the song from one "color" to another.
    There are so many ways to go with this! Your third paragraph would seem to suggest that as many have claimed, people heard what stations played instead of stations playing what people wanted to hear. Otherwise, we would be inundated by songs that were still popular, chasing away newer songs with slow but steady growth, probably creating a whole new format in the process! I have a feeling we haven't even begun to tap the surface of this. By the way, when did they add the recurrent category, reducing the space for currents?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by semoochie View Post
    There are so many ways to go with this! Your third paragraph would seem to suggest that as many have claimed, people heard what stations played instead of stations playing what people wanted to hear. Otherwise, we would be inundated by songs that were still popular, chasing away newer songs with slow but steady growth, probably creating a whole new format in the process! I have a feeling we haven't even begun to tap the surface of this. By the way, when did they add the recurrent category, reducing the space for currents?
    Semoochie: I first heard of recurrents in the very early 70s. Even without the name "recurrent", listening back to airchecks, I hear stations like KYA in San Francisco and KHJ in Los Angeles in the mid-to-late 60s playing songs and mentioning "from earlier this year". Finding a Julian Breen memo from his days as PD at KYA, he called it "Recent Gold".

    I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that it reduced space for currents. Some stations might have blown off a current slot to create one in the clock for recurrents. Others might have ditched a gold instead.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by michael hagerty View Post
    Semoochie: I first heard of recurrents in the very early 70s. Even without the name "recurrent", listening back to airchecks, I hear stations like KYA in San Francisco and KHJ in Los Angeles in the mid-to-late 60s playing songs and mentioning "from earlier this year". Finding a Julian Breen memo from his days as PD at KYA, he called it "Recent Gold".

    I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that it reduced space for currents. Some stations might have blown off a current slot to create one in the clock for recurrents. Others might have ditched a gold instead.
    Thank you. I would think that to actually be a recurrent, a given song would have to have more plays than a gold but fewer than a current. Playing a lot of songs from "earlier this year" wouldn't accomplish that, only borrow from the gold category, which I presume they did. Still, it seems reasonable to think it was an evolutionary process to get to where they are now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by semoochie View Post
    Thank you. I would think that to actually be a recurrent, a given song would have to have more plays than a gold but fewer than a current. Playing a lot of songs from "earlier this year" wouldn't accomplish that, only borrow from the gold category, which I presume they did. Still, it seems reasonable to think it was an evolutionary process to get to where they are now.
    That evolution began when folks like Todd Wallace and Jack McCoy started doing callout research in the mid-70's.

    Among the findings was that currents are current as long as they get good positive scores. This started many an argument with record ducks who wanted stations to go on the "new single" twelve or thirteen weeks after the previous one even when the older cut was still red-hot.

    Another finding was that currents did not drop off in popularity... they faded. Sure, a few burnt to a crisp and were over forever. But most just needed a slower rotation.

    The biggest finding was that there were never even 20 true hits and "hitbound" songs. I recall Jerry Clifton at one convention saying that there were never more than 17! The call-out tended to show that, and made it obvious that songs had to be played based on strength vs. all other songs.

    So, if anything the importance of recurrents increased as research showed that there were fewer real hit currents and more strong recurrents. Gold was where the survivors went to live until they were pushed out by better testing songs... something we became aware of when music testing of the whole library became prevalent.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEduardo View Post


    That evolution began when folks like Todd Wallace and Jack McCoy started doing callout research in the mid-70's.

    Among the findings was that currents are current as long as they get good positive scores. This started many an argument with record ducks who wanted stations to go on the "new single" twelve or thirteen weeks after the previous one even when the older cut was still red-hot.

    Another finding was that currents did not drop off in popularity... they faded. Sure, a few burnt to a crisp and were over forever. But most just needed a slower rotation.

    The biggest finding was that there were never even 20 true hits and "hitbound" songs. I recall Jerry Clifton at one convention saying that there were never more than 17! The call-out tended to show that, and made it obvious that songs had to be played based on strength vs. all other songs.

    So, if anything the importance of recurrents increased as research showed that there were fewer real hit currents and more strong recurrents. Gold was where the survivors went to live until they were pushed out by better testing songs... something we became aware of when music testing of the whole library became prevalent.
    Jerry said 17....Buzz Bennett said there were only 7 (seven) real hits at any given time.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by michael hagerty View Post
    Jerry said 17....Buzz Bennett said there were only 7 (seven) real hits at any given time.
    That doesnt even make sense - he must have some freak definition of a hit.

    In this wks top 15 there are:
    8 songs that hit #1
    1 song that hit #2
    2 more songs that will probably hit #1 or #2.

    Thats 11 songs #1 or #2 songs.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by dcowboy7 View Post
    That doesnt even make sense - he must have some freak definition of a hit.

    In this wks top 15 there are:
    8 songs that hit #1
    1 song that hit #2
    2 more songs that will probably hit #1 or #2.

    Thats 11 songs #1 or #2 songs.
    Different times. Songs faded away faster. Buzz' philosophy was that hits were the hottest songs right now, and that apart from the hottest seven, you had a few that were once among the hottest seven, but that were on their way down, and songs that weren't yet among the hottest seven and might not ever be.

    It was 1971 when Buzz said that. Follow this link (http://americanradiohistory.com/Arch...1971-06-05.pdf) and scroll to page 56. You won't find 11 #1 or #2 songs in the top 15.

  10. #10

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    The recurrent idea really coming of age in the early to mid-1970s certainly jives with my memory. As I recall, a number of stations referenced all non-currents as gold and it seemed to really depend on the daypart just how far back they went, usually around 5 years in the evening but up to about 15 years during midday. Of the stations I recall, oldies were sometimes positioned before or just after newscasts.

    I recall by the mid-1970s especially a couple of small markets you could dial in living in the Dallas suburbs, played no gold. They only played recurrents although both would go back about 5 years in AM drive but certainly no later than about noon. Recurrents and new adds tended to be in the 2nd and 4th quarter hours. The 'currents' seemed to be substantial enough produce a rotation on the Hots at around 2.75 to 3.25 hours and the 'mid range' repeat anywhere from about 3.75 to 4.25 hours. While I was just a radio listener then, I used to try to 'crack' the hot clock and it was obvious to me that those currents relegated to afternoons and evenings seemed to be replaced by oldies from up to 5 years back. I considered them to be somewhat of the Michael Joseph 'Hot Hits' pioneers because many top 40s were playing only about 40% to 60% currents back at that time. One station, in fact, ran 15 currents, 2 recurrents and 2 'image songs' (image being a crossover or maybe an album track) per hour. I recall they never let currents stay longer than 4 weeks, broke lots of new songs, rested currents before they became recurrents. They ran a 70 minute rotation on the 'Hots'. In fact, their PD said they concept was to play the hottest artists, going on their songs as fast as possible and burning the audience out on them by time the same song hit the hot rotation on their competitor. Remember when it was cool to play the song before your competitors?

    I am guessing each of these stations was running about 30-35 currents in the Hot and Middle with maybe a dozen recent adds. Most recurrents were rested about 3 months before reappearing and were always never more than 9 months to a year old with very, very few exceptions.

    What I always thought was unusual was KVIL, a powerhouse by the mid 1970s through the rest of the decade, had a very small base library and what they termed currents were actually recurrents. It seemed once the top 40s and AC stations dropped them from the hot rotations, KVIL would add them. The record reps hated that (I worked in a record store then and ordered inventory). I got what they were doing, playing only well known familiar songs versus breaking new music.
    Last edited by b-turner; 05-27-2016 at 05:51 PM.

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