Tutorials, Broadcasting, Getting Started, Playlist

Music Selection and Playlist Creation

A common goal for most, if not all, music radio stations is building an audience and increasing listener satisfaction. Even though stations can greatly differ (think Classical vs. Top 40 vs. Blues), the strategies to achieve this goal are very similar.

Regardless of the type of station or genre, a station needs to play the best music possible for their audience. What are they interested in? What do they like? Some songs will be well-known and expected, while others are new -- allowing the listener to discover new music. This blog post aims to help radio DJs appeal to their audience through music selection and playlist creation.

Shake things up. A balance of styles, eras, tempos, and textures will draw an audience in. Playing all sad, slow songs will get old fast, while constant upbeat and energetic songs might get to be a bit too much.

Libraries vs. Playlists
Creating a library is incredibly important, since playlists (either automated or hand-selected) are derived from libraries. However, creating “just a library” isn’t enough since all songs aren’t equal. After building a library, songs should be categorized. Why? In order to create the best playlist rotation -- to play the essentials most often, to avoid repetition, and to provide variety.

Optimizing a music library means getting the most out of it. It all starts with identifying the essentials for a station’s audience -- often the most popular or important music. Popular music shouldn’t be avoided, but at the same time a station shouldn’t try to be too obscure. (It’s important to note, however, that internet radio stations have a lot more freedom to create niche playlists than FM stations.)

Maximum audience appeal starts with a hit song, but the ”Oh, wow!” factor comes from something complementary but unexpected.

Over the next few weeks, we will discuss the principles of programming music radio. Next week's blog post will expand upon optimizing a music library through music rotation calendars, so stay tuned!

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Article image: Leo Wieling via Unsplash.

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About Sarah Osborne

  • Pennsylvania