A morning personality on a successful Classic Hits station asked for help getting the PD to loosen a relatively tight music library because it was boring for the show. This is a common complaint in all formats because talent often assumes listeners share their fatigue of playing “the same old songs every hour.” It may be easier to get excited about playing different music, but it should never be a battle of Personalities vs. The Playlist

Watch the video below to hear how I answered the question. If you’d rather read it, a transcript follows.

Personalities vs. The Playlist

Question: I’m on a music station, and it’s like the songs repeat day after day. It’s just not interesting enough to be excited about or interact with. It’s painful for me and has to be the same for listeners. If I’m going to work to come up with fresh ideas, shouldn’t the PD programming the music also keep things moving with the playlist? How can I hold an audience when the music is boring? I want to take this up with the PD and Consultant without creating a problem, so how can I approach it? I challenged the PD about music a few years ago, and it got nasty.

Tracy’s Answer: It’s easy to fall into a rut, and this is a common concern from personalities. Sometimes, the music is not on target but could also be your perspective.

You don’t listen to the radio like a typical listener. You’re listening four or five hours a day, every day. That’s 20 to 25 hours a week, not counting the times you tune in when you’re not on the air. How much do your best listeners hear you? Maybe 90 minutes a week, if you’re lucky. And that’s the superfans. Non-P1s tune in a couple of times for five minutes or less.

Plus, you pay far more attention than the average listener. They’re usually listening in the background while doing something else, so they’re not hearing the repetition like you do.

Tighter playlists are the way to go if the station is dialed in and songs are rotated properly. It could be that the math isn’t right, so Beyoncé’s Single Ladies plays between 7 and 8 am four times this week. If that’s the case, it needs to be addressed because the station may be limiting the perceived variety of music.

But here’s the thing. Your show will be much more popular by playing the biggest hits, which I assume are the songs you are complaining about. Playing even one of your favorite songs hundreds or thousands of times takes the excitement out for you, but not for the audience. They love their favorite songs.

Every station’s ratings improve by trimming the playlist, not expanding it. By the way, the same is true for your content. Performing great content more often instead of including some “filler” segments would be a better listener experience, too.

When you have the conversation with your PD and consultant, ask questions and try to get some understanding of why the music is constructed as it is. It may help you perform better. But whatever the outcome, your job is to be a pro and make every song sound great as if it’s the first time you have played it and can’t wait to share it with your audience.

Think of it as your responsibility the way an actor in a hit play performs the same lines day after day for years. The content is the same, but the audience is different. Remember, the music library isn’t built for the personalities. It’s constructed for the listener. Your job is to give the listener an experience.

Subscribe to Receive the Latest Radio and Personality News