Programmers: Programming Effective Rotations For New Music

Programmers: Programming Effective Rotations For New Music

by Tracy Johnson

A lot of programmers aren’t going to like this, and many won’t agree with it, mostly because they don’t want to agree with it. It’s about new music, one of the most controversial topics in radio programming.

Lots of programmers and music directors got into radio because they love music. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. But passion for music often leads to making music decisions that aren’t in your station’s best interest.

In a head to head battle between playing familiar hits and breaking new music, what wins? 

The familiar, if somewhat burned, hit? Or that new song your “gut” thinks will become popular?

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Here’s the thing:

Those who crave music discovery, meaning those people actively seeking new music on the radio, is in the minority. It’s not mainstream. It’s niche.

Most listeners react positively to their favorite songs, mixed with a few (very few) up and coming, yet still familiar, songs they have already decided they LIKE.

That’s why, if you’re a contemporary station (CHR, Hot AC, Hot Country, some alternative, etc.) station, the most powerful categories in your library are songs you’ve already moved to recurrent, and a small number of power currents.

Even online services such as Pandora, Spotify and iHeart’s app are discovering the power of familiar music. Have you noticed your streams are much more hit-driven than they once were? That’s not a coincidence.

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The Appetite For New Music

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