The Radio Game

Are the Local Radio Stations All That Different From One Another? 

By Melissa Minners


            Every time I turn around, one of the local stations changes its name or song format.  There are some stations that vow to play the top 100 songs.  They repeat songs so often, you find yourself searching for other stations.  Another station, used to play everything except rap.  That station has recently expanded their music library and added songs from the seventies and eighties to give the station more variety.  The once hard rock station is now a free rock station.  They have a free rock weekend where your average everyday Joe Schmoe plays DJ.  However, that’s just on the weekends!  The rest of the week, the format is talk radio – BLAH!  Then, there are the lite stations.  It wasn’t enough to have a few lite stations.  Now we have to have lite stations that imagine themselves to be different from everyone else.  This one plays elevator music, this one plays more contemporary music, this one plays only the recent lite, this one plays oldies, etc.  Let’s not forget the hip-hop stations – they would happily bust a cap in you if you did! 

            Each of these music stations vow that they will be different than all of the others.  Each one states that they have more variety with less talk.  They all love to tell us how much better they are than their competition.  We give away more stuff!  We play more music!  We have a better morning show!  We play this kind of music…”your kind of music”!  They all claim to be different.  If they only knew the truth! 

            The fact of the matter is that none of these stations are really different.  Each and every one has a morning show where folks chat and play music and interact with their listeners.  They all try to play longer music sets without the talk.  They all have traffic, weather and news reports.  They all claim to play “your favorite music”.  What makes matters worse is that the music they play isn’t always all that different.  In the past couple of days, I noticed that scanning the radio could cause you to hear the same song repeatedly in a half hour period!  The rap-free music station is playing the same music as the contemporary and lite music stations.  They are even playing the same music as the top 100 station.  What’s even more shocking is that they are also playing some of the same music as the hip-hop stations – they just cut out the rap parts!   

            Don’t these guys actually pay attention to what the other local stations are doing?!  I change from station to station and find the same song on three different stations at once!  Today, I listened to Chasing Cars on two different stations in 10 minutes, Suddenly I See on two stations in 5 minutes, The Reason on three different stations at the same time...Enough is enough!  You can’t claim to be different if you are playing the same songs within seconds of each other!!  For crying out loud, pay attention!  If you take a two-sentence rap segment out of a song, you are still playing the same hip-hop song everyone else is playing.  Every one and their mothers know the words to Irreplaceable because every single station – lite, non-rap, hip-hop, top 100, you name it – is playing it!  Give me a break!   

            A message to all you radio stations out there: Get your acts together!  The general listening public is on to you!  If you are going to play the same songs, give away the same prizes, conduct the same goofy pranks on the phone, etc., then you have no right to call yourselves different!  Stop advertising on television about how different and innovative you are and just play the music.  We’re tired of the ads – we just want to hear something entertaining.


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