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radio in the 21st century
Old 12-01-2019, 11:20 AM   #1
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radio in the 21st century

While testing a repair to a radio, for a couple hours I left it turned to a local FM station. I've not listened to broadcast radio for many years. What I noticed was not so much that they were playing Christmas music already, but that the same renditions of the same songs would be repeated within an hour. It seemed they played nothing but 20 particular songs, over and over, merely scrambled in order. I flipped the radio back on today. Same small set of songs! Who would listen to that for long? How can this attract listeners and advertisers?
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Old 12-01-2019, 11:26 AM   #2
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I found Sirius XM did the same thing, we took a 3 day drive and listened to the same songs every day.
It did seem to me they repeated every 24 hours, but it might have been more often as I would turn it off after a while.

Now I have a thumb drive with about 30-40 hours of music on it, and I just play that on trips.
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Old 12-01-2019, 11:57 AM   #3
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I think they figure that most people listen for a short time in a car, so repeating songs do not bother most people. I don't think this is new. It seems a top 40 radio station will play the current most popular songs every hour.

The problem is compounded by the media giants who own many of the stations. I believe they dictate what can be played. In some cases, I've heard a fairly obscure oldie, and switched to a different station, and heard that same song within an hour. Most likely they had the same owner and were told to play that song that day.

Christmas music is the worst. It seems they think that people want to hear more "modern" versions, even if modern means 50 years old. I like Christmas music, but I stopped listening to stations that, on my typical 45 minute drive into town, could be counted on playing "Santa Baby" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" no matter what time I drove. I never liked those songs, and hearing them over and over makes it worse.

Like Sunset, I've gone with a 32 GB thumb drive with music I like. It means I don't get exposed to new music as much, but if I hear music I like in a movie or TV show I'll look them up and buy them.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:39 PM   #4
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I think in many markets, radio stations subscribe to play lists--depending on their formats. And in the Christmas season, the play list is short.

I was listening to a station in our local market of 600,000 people, and they actually had a disc jockey talking between songs. He seemed to be playing what he wanted as he actually knew the names of the singers.

When we're in the car, I listen extensively to the radio--conservative talk radio. Within the area, there must be 50 or more FM stations with strong signals--within 50 miles. I just wonder how many listeners many of these stations have--10 or less. And we do have one station that broadcasts Swap Shop and also Today's Funerals.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:47 PM   #5
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I suspect short playlists are somehow related to a defective station ratings system. Advertisers will pay more for more listeners, but the system to determine number of listeners might be based on surveys that ask what stations the person tuned to during a day, not how long they listened. So, by playing nothing but the top 20/40/100 it's more likely for a person to pause and listen to that station for a few minutes. That would boost the station's rating, even if each listener does not stay very long, and thus is actually not appealing to advertisers.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
While testing a repair to a radio, for a couple hours I left it turned to a local FM station. I've not listened to broadcast radio for many years. What I noticed was not so much that they were playing Christmas music already, but that the same renditions of the same songs would be repeated within an hour. It seemed they played nothing but 20 particular songs, over and over, merely scrambled in order. I flipped the radio back on today. Same small set of songs! Who would listen to that for long? How can this attract listeners and advertisers?
I thought this thread was going to be about something different!

I have been an avid radio listener throughout my adult life. The trend you noticed is not new. Its quite old IMO. I presume many people do not listen for more than 20 minutes or so at a time.

What I find fascinating is the unlimited (HD radio stations ,satellite,and streaming) options for music, podcasts, etc., etc. I listen to some very old "radio classics" from the 40's and 50's. Sometimes the advertising is more entertaining than the programming. When I listen to sports broadcasts, I sometimes switch between the home and visiting team broadcast. Just like TV offerings, there is way more content than available time.
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Old 12-01-2019, 01:13 PM   #7
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I have a favorite local FM station. It's called an Adult Contemporary station, "Today's hits and yesterday's favorites". They play a big enough selection and the morning show has fun banter, a daily game and local news.

Every year they get earlier and earlier for the 24 hr Christmas music. Much smaller selection and too many repetitions of songs. After about 2 days I've had enough.

Turns out they also have an HD channel with NO Christmas music and NO COMMERCIALS!. Also, no on air personalities, news or games, but the music is what I enjoy. I never knew about this until DH told me to try his HD radio from the thrift store. Now I wish I had HD radio in the car.
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Old 12-01-2019, 02:07 PM   #8
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I thought TV killed off radio.
I mean, why listen to radio in your car when you can watch TV?
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Old 12-01-2019, 04:47 PM   #9
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Another interesting (to me) phenomenon is that I get better reception when streaming sometimes vs over the air. The stream sometimes has unique ads and they can force you to hear an ad before connecting the stream. I listen to a good bit of local radio from around the country.
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Old 12-02-2019, 02:01 PM   #10
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I like to listen to college radio that's student run but that is getting rare to find. Most have turned to NPR outlets and must have a professional program manager to qualify for federal moneys.

A nearby Community College still let's the student program and even some periods let's high school kids run the show. Makes for diverse and interesting music choices.
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Old 12-02-2019, 02:10 PM   #11
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I found a local talk station that actually discusses local news and issues. I don't always agree with the hosts and the guests, but at least I get an idea of what is going on in my town. They also talk about state issues.

Everything is not about Washington D.C, and the president.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:18 AM   #12
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I have an old 1947 Philco desk top radio (AM of course) that I listened to back in the 60s when I was in high school. Nothing like listening to old Rock-n-Roll on an AM radio. I like music on vinyl records too. Since I can't tune in a station that plays the same music as back then it is rarely turned on anymore.


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Old 12-03-2019, 07:58 AM   #13
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Public radio stations are usually pretty good.


WXPN is my favorite - no repetition except for a couple of shows that might be rebroadcast at some later dates.
WHYY is my 2nd favorite, mostly for news and in-depth stories


Commercial radio... I find really hard to listen to.



Fortunately I get both locally for when I'm in the car, but I listen to them over the internet as well.
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
I think in many markets, radio stations subscribe to play lists--depending on their formats. And in the Christmas season, the play list is short.
Never-changing play lists are to radio what unmanned checkout lines are to Wal-Mart: a lazy, cost-slashing shortcut that disregards the consumer.

I used to tune in one particular radio program in the mornings because it was syndicated all over the Southeast so I could find it anywhere whether on my regular commute or on the road. The show featured humorous skits and call-in contests at repeatable times.

I had to turn them off years ago when I couldn't take any more of the same old stuck-in-1978 music breaks.
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radio in the 21st century
Old 12-03-2019, 09:13 AM   #15
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radio in the 21st century

Between the corporate playlists, excessive commercials (largely for paycheck loans and ďHAMMERĒ lawyers), and the inane drivel, I rarely tune in. There is a college jazz station in Denton thatís tolerable. On the road, itís mostly talk and/or religious programming. Just shoot me...

Luckily, I have over 10,000 songs on my phone, and, for travels, I also download podcasts. And, though in my youth I ALWAYS had music playing, silence is another oft-used option...
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:20 AM   #16
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Never-changing play lists are to radio what unmanned checkout lines are to Wal-Mart: a lazy, cost-slashing shortcut that disregards the consumer.

I used to tune in one particular radio program in the mornings because it was syndicated all over the Southeast so I could find it anywhere whether on my regular commute or on the road. The show featured humorous skits and call-in contests at repeatable times.

I had to turn them off years ago when I couldn't take any more of the same old stuck-in-1978 music breaks.
Same here. I never listen to radio unless I’m in a car, and I often just turn it off. But DW insists when she’s with me, so she picked all the station presets. It wasn’t long before I noticed all of them were playing their own same playlist over and over. I hadn’t heard Britney Spears “Oops, I Did It Again” in years (and didn’t want to then or now), now I hear it along with many others almost every day...

We gave up on landlines, newspapers, magazines, single use plastics, and cable/satellite TV years ago. Maybe radio will be next.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:15 AM   #17
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I gave up on FM stations in my metro area. They are the worst. Now either talk radio or Pandora. If heavy traffic itís Pandora so I donít blow a gasket
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:24 AM   #18
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Never-changing play lists are to radio what unmanned checkout lines are to Wal-Mart: a lazy, cost-slashing shortcut that disregards the consumer.
I've wondered about that but don't see how a fixed, narrow play list is cheaper. Surely the station equipment, electricity, and on-air talent are far more costly than having a playlist of thousands of songs rather than dozens. The song royalties are cheap, all are digitized by now, and a computer can just as easily play one from 1000 songs as it can from 36.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:29 AM   #19
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+1 on the the playlists.

A local soft rock oldies station went to 100% Christmas music at the start of November. Really? November? And, it's the same 20-30 Christmas songs like Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives or the goofy modern songs. Pathetic.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:29 AM   #20
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I've wondered about that but don't see how a fixed, narrow play list is cheaper. Surely the station equipment, electricity, and on-air talent are far more costly than having a playlist of thousands of songs rather than dozens. The song royalties are cheap, all are digitized by now, and a computer can just as easily play one from 1000 songs as it can from 36.
Why do you need on-air talent if you’re running a playlist loop? I assume that’s where the savings are for stations relying on repeat playlists.

My understanding is royalties are blanket payments nowadays (not by song) so a 1000 song playlist costs the same as a 36 song playlist. Even if was by song, it would still cost the same to play 1000 songs as to repeat 36 songs 28 times to fill the same amount of time.

I don’t know, just thinking out loud...
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