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Fewer Songs, More Often! How Top 40 Radio Keeps You Listening

Thursday, January 23, 2014

To keep you listening, programmers at Top 40 radio stations are playing the biggest hits, like Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines,' more frequently, since people don't tune out something familiar. To keep you listening, programmers at Top 40 radio stations are playing the biggest hits, like Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," more frequently, since people don't tune out something familiar. (Courtesy of the artist)

Are you sick to death of "Blurred Lines?" When it comes on the radio (again), do you tune out and go stream something else? If so, you could be a part of the problem.

Radio programmers at Top 40 stations are desperate to keep you tuned in and listening to ads; that’s how they pay the rent. So they’ve done some homework, and they think they might have a way of competing with music streamers like Spotify: Play fewer hit songs, more often.

In a conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, Hannah Karp explains this surprising new FM strategy detailed in her recent piece for The Wall Street Journal.

Guests:

Hannah Karp

Comments [1]

John from Manhattan

Back when WHFS was commercial station in the Washington DC/Baltimore MD market, they repeatedly denied any form of "play list". This was logically proven absolutely false when I called in request an song that was "current" the year before. The dj responded, not sure I can play that one since it was played by someone else yesterday morning. I asked, why is each dj repeating the same 4 or 5 songs each shift but the requested song cannot be repeated in two days? Was it not on the "play list"? He had no response.

Jan. 24 2014 11:36 AM

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