Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What if we programmed Country like an AC?

I can't believe those words came out of my mouth? Those who know me, know I love the straight-ahead, full-throttle sound design that goes with an entertainment -based Country Music Radio station. This has to do with emulating AC/Hot AC's music clocks. I was chatting with Radio Crunch's Anthony Acampora last week and he said, "What if we looked at our clocks in Country a different way?" We are still dealing with the disconnect.

Former KNTY PD Bob McNeil chimes in "You mean if we treated Country as an adult format not CHR? Like if it depended more on library than currents? Adults don't always know what they like but they always like what they know. My, what a concept. Am I the only one who remembers the last time we tried to make "Young Country" work? I did it in Dallas...it doesn't work. You can't fractionalize the country listener base. I did a study based on P1s of country years ago and there are very good reasons why it doesn't work. Sounds great...doesn't work."

Should CMR should have the same music clocks as AC/Hot AC? Meaning prolific power currents and recurrents and the rest gold. AC/Hot AC is now able to focus on over 30 years of music, from the 70's to today. We have never been able to do that with Country Music Radio CMR. Why? - Consultant reflective clocks have been built around current music. Did you know that CMR is second to Top-40 in the new music that is exposed? We expose it to adult females, who really are not that concerned with all the new music trends. The masked PD says: "I'm looking forward to reading the article. I think there's a lot of validity to that idea. There's too much unfamiliarity coming out of Nashville these days. In uncertain times, people want comfort food, and that's true in music, too." Bob adds: "So perhaps you could explain why the average age of the Country listener is 42 and has been for 15 years? Perhaps younger people are coming into the format? Country is about life experience and when you're 20 you don't have any."

Songs should easily play as powers past 1,000 spins in Mediabase and BDS. Music is and will always move too fast for my taste's in Country Music Radio. Just as P-1's of the station, the loyal fans are getting to like a song, it's gone. Same thing happens with bad songs that play because of charts, they don't like them, but our Nashville musicologist programmers continue to play them. It sucks when a stiff gets played for 26 weeks. The Cox stations have always been super hit-based, like Dayton and Orlando. Just a thought, familiarity breeds favorites - Notice that network television has stopped all of the myriad of new shows every year. They only go with powers and hits. John Michaels from The Bear in Big Sky Country adds:  "I remember sitting down with a very successful Major Market CHR programmer & he wondered why country moved their hits through so fast & didn't play alot of recurrents. That mindset mixed with your top testing gold & how can you go wrong. 2 power currents, 1 medium & 1 new current, 3 power recurrents & 2 regular recurrents & 5 golds per hour...Watch your TSL grow". That reminds me of when I first started in Country Music Radio in 1997, they would be done with the current song and it would move to recurrent and the records companies would demand an add for the new song, the next week. I thought this sucks ass, these are developing songs. They called it The Bob Raleigh Rule on and gone in 12 weeks. I had come from Active Rock and CHR, where songs would test power for a year. In the 80's we played No One Like You by The Scorpions for a year and change as a power. It tested in the 100's every week with under 20% burn. Don't ignore the research - If it tests well with your audience, play it. Ignoring research to facilitate music industry flavors is not good.


POWER (2x hour) 9 TITLES (45 plays per week)
STRESS CURRENT (1x per hour) 5-7 TITLES (25-30 plays per week)
STAY CURRENT (2x hour) 7-9 TITLES (30-35 plays per week)
RECURRENT (2x hour) 11-15 TITLES (20-25 plays per week)

POWER GOLD 2000 (3x hour) 48 titles) (10-15 plays per week)
POWER GOLD 90-99 (2x hour) 48 titles (5-10 plays per week)
MEDIUM GOLD 2000 (1x hour) 48 titles (5 plays per week)
MEDIUM GOLD 90-99 (1x hour) 48 titles (3-5 plays per week)

Thought, ideas and comments, if we don't discuss it, no one will know what's on our minds!

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