Boring/stale playlists?
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Thread: Boring/stale playlists?

  1. #1

    Boring/stale playlists?

    While many stations rotate their music selection, are there some stations that you've found have become "stagnant" and keep playing the same songs day after day, year after year, with minimal change? My local "Jack" station is a little like that; in the past, they have rotated more, but lately stays the same. WZYP is another station I can think like that, as their recurrents/golds have stayed the same for years. What say you?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by tall_guy1 View Post
    WZYP is another station I can think like that, as their recurrents/golds have stayed the same for years. What say you?
    I took a look at WZYP's music on Mediabase,, and their oldest recurrent is from the summer of 2017. Their oldest Gold is 2015. And Gold is not a category that gets much play. They played a few Halloween songs this past week like Thriller, but it was just for this week. This is a station that's got a high percentage of currents, which is appropriate for a CHR station. Classic stations, on the other hand, tend to stick with a lot of the same songs, and that's why people listen.

    Any currents-based station must play a certain percentage of currents in order to qualify for trade reporting status, which is important for contesting and promotion.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by tall_guy1 View Post
    While many stations rotate their music selection, are there some stations that you've found have become "stagnant" and keep playing the same songs day after day, year after year, with minimal change? My local "Jack" station is a little like that; in the past, they have rotated more, but lately stays the same. WZYP is another station I can think like that, as their recurrents/golds have stayed the same for years. What say you?
    There have probably been dozens of radio hobbyists who have made the same complaint on this same board. You coming on and b*tching about some artist or station playlist for the sake of starting a topic, isn't unique either.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by tall_guy1 View Post

    Boring/stale playlists?
    You forgot to add the word "Safe" to your description. ;-)

    No one aims for a boring or stale playlist. But "safe" lists tend to be boring and stale.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Wimmmex View Post
    But "safe" lists tend to be boring and stale.
    The way to be safe is play well-researched gold all the time. But if you're a currents-based station, there's nothing easy or safe.

    Typically you have to add songs before there's any research.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post

    Typically you have to add songs before there's any research.
    You can't do an auditorium test, but there are others kinds of research that can help you make the decision.

    Adding currents "right out of the box" is the easiest way to get into trouble.

  7. #7

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    Please see all of the 1800 threads on this board on the subject of "why doesn't radio play everything ever recorded since the beginning of time"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wimmmex View Post
    You can't do an auditorium test, but there are others kinds of research that can help you make the decision.

    Adding currents "right out of the box" is the easiest way to get into trouble.
    There is no proven way of adding currents except depending on the programmer's skills.

    There are, of course, considerations that weigh in. All things being equal, a song by a superstar gets added before one by a person with a shorter track record of hits, while the newer hitmaker takes preference over the unknown artist going for their first hit.

    That still leaves stations with five, ten, twenty times the number of new songs as the number of playlist positions to be filled. So the songs are all culled based on whether they feel like hits and fit the station sound.

    If the release came today, there is no way of seeing who else added the song. But if it's a major release... good song, very strong artist... we are likely to give it first chance at any playlist opening. Ones that we are less certain about may wait to see in BDS or MediaBase who added them. If we see a consensus in stations we respect and feel are "like ours" we go for the song. Then we may find an occasional song that nobody has gone on but we feel strongly about. We may ask a number of people in the station to listen, or we may have a committee that does music meetings... but we get second opinions.

    But there is no research that shows us the song is good or a stiff. We may get confirmation using "callout" (which is likely to be online today) but it takes several weeks of play for the results to be meaningful. We may see download and on-demand data, but that is not always correlated with our own cume. So it's risky. About half of our picks stiff out. They are not bad songs, they just are not hit songs.

    And there are very few new adds in the radio of the last few decades... WHTZ in NYC adds an average of 7 songs a month. That is out of probably 50 to 100 songs that come across the desk each month (I do a new release service for CHR in Latin America for Radio Express, and I review about 50 to 60 new releases each week... more than 200 a month!).

    Record companies have long been after a way to test singles to know what to release. That would save them the expense of releasing the 85% to 90% of their songs that never even become small hits. But so far, there is no way to pre-test songs that works in the real world. And radio stations which serve small slivers of the population are even more challenged to pick the hits.

    Adding the right currents right out of the box is the way to keep listeners who like current and new music happy and it helps preserve a fresh image for the station. It's up to the programmer or the program department to pick the right songs, or to, at least, know what bigger, more proactive stations are adding. And, of course, to check the song a few weeks in... either our own callout or seeing if other stations increase spins or drop the song.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Wimmmex View Post

    Adding currents "right out of the box" is the easiest way to get into trouble.
    Depends on the format. There are lots of early indicators for songs these days.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post

    Depends on the format. There are lots of early indicators for songs these days.
    Depends on a lot of things....time, format, group, history, and as David stated above...the skill of the programmer.

    But when you look at failed program directors, IMHO, this is where they fumble.

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