Playlist, Broadcasting, Radio

11 Playlist Theme Ideas for Your Radio Station

While genre and time-based (decade, era, year, holiday, etc.) themes for your playlists are great, it is a good idea to make a variety of playlists with different topics and themes to keep your content fresh. Playlists don't have to just be a compilation of songs, they can tell stories and convey emotions. So, to help you with creating some themed playlists, we've compiled 11 playlist theme ideas!


1. Emotions

Every song expresses some kind of emotion, whether that be one single emotion or a mix, so you can gather songs with similar emotions and put them into a playlist. Some examples of emotions that you can create a playlist around are nostalgia, love, loneliness, hope, fear, happiness, sadness, regret, passion, and so on.

2. Movie/TV Show Music

There are tons of songs that have been featured in movies and TV shows and even songs that have gained all their popularity from being featured, so consider making a playlist full of those songs.

3. Soundtrack of Your Life

Create a playlist of songs that really represent your life. These can be songs that have resonated with you throughout the different phases of your life, songs that either remind you of or specifically speak to things you've been through, songs that you have loved throughout your life, and so on. You can then decide whether you want the songs to be mixed around or in chronological order. This kind of playlist can also be a great way to give your listeners a glimpse into your life.

4. Instrumentation

Selecting songs with specific instrumentation can make for a really cohesive playlist. You might consider making a playlist around songs that have strings, brass, a guitar solo, a drum solo, and so on.

5. Place of Origin

Making playlists based on where artists are from can make for some great content. Select a city, state, province, region, nation, or even continent and select songs that all come from artists that are from that same place.

6. Current Favorites

Creating a playlist full of what you're currently listening to can be a great way for your listeners to get to know you better. Ideally, your current favorites playlist would be largely made up of more recent music, but you can always throw in any songs that are really speaking to you at the time.

7. Sounds

Songs have different sounds that you can then categorize into playlists. Some sounds that you might consider making a playlist around are upbeat, acoustic, repetitive, soulful, harmonic, immersive, and so on.

8. Events & Activities

Events and activities often call for a particular kind of music. This is where a playlist can come in handy. You can create a playlist for weddings, holidays, fundraisers, concerts, music and art festivals, world movements, and so on. Some activities that you might consider creating a playlist for are swimming, dancing, working out, dinner and drinks, sleeping, gaming, road-tripping, and any other activity that you can think of!

9. Moods

A lot of people listen to music based on their mood or desired mood. That's why creating some playlists around moods can be a great way to organize your music. You can make a playlist around just about any mood, but some moods to consider are calm, pump-up, focused, reflective, and relaxed.

10. A Through-Line

You can make a really diverse playlist by selecting songs that all have one specific thing in common. For example, you could make a playlist of songs that mention a particular city or that all have the same featured guest artist.

11. Life-based

Similar to playlists around emotions, moods, and events, you can also make playlists around specific aspects of life. For example, you could make a playlist with songs that speak about tradition, learning, personal development, growing up, relationships, life and death, dreams, or family. A lot of music revolves around the self and society, so a life-based playlist could be a really great direction to go.


There are so many possibilities for playlists that you could make, so whenever you have a theme that speaks to you, make a playlist! You will never actually run out of playlist themes and it is always a great idea to make new playlists often to keep your radio station fresh. You can make a playlist around pretty much anything, so get creative!


Tip: If you decide to make some pretty specific themed playlists, you can always title your playlists appropriately and create a schedule of your playlists for your listeners so they know what kind of vibe to expect when they tune in. Please note that in order to be DMCA compliant, your schedule cannot disclose the titles of specific songs, the names of albums, or the names of artists to be played.

Note: When making playlists, remember that your playlists must be DMCA compliant. The Live365 platform checks your playlists for DMCA compliance, but it is always a great idea to be mindful of the rules when creating your playlist so that you can ensure you make a playlist that is awesome, but also DMCA compliant. For more information on DMCA compliance, check out our help desk article here.


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Article Image: Glenn Carstens-Peters via Unsplash.

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania