July 26, 2019

How important is it for programmers when making music choices to make an effort to bridge the gap between airplay/chart driven options and local consumption/metric options?

Jonathan Shuford, WRVW: When making music decisions I think it’s key to keeping the medium top-of-mind with millennials and although we’re obviously not benefitted by playing every big streaming hit, we need to spot the ones with the ability to gain mass appeal and penetrate the Pop ethos. It allows us to cast a wider net and attract a new generation of radio listeners. Top 40 at its core is a collection of songs that are the “best of the best,” regardless of format, and technology is allowing us to spot the best songs more easily and quickly.

Java Joel, WAKS: Super important. So many didn’t put a massive pop culture monster like “Old Town Road” in power because it “didn’t call out?” That’s just weird.

Mike Miller, WZFT: Very important. It’s key to look at and use all the tools combined that give you the best picture of your market.

Jonathan Reed, WNOK: It’s important to balance it all but I need to manage my market and my radio station.

Brian Mack, WXXL: Important for consumption/metric: because in a world of supply and demand business, how do you not use demand measurements in your investment strategy? Important for airplay/chart: mostly to ensure you’re not completely weird way off the deep end from what’s happening in Top 40.  I’d say it’s a 4:1 ratio metric/chart.

Josh Wolff, WAEB: It’s about meeting your audience’s expectations.

Jeremy Rice, WBLI: Smart Brand Managers know how to achieve success using art and science.

Dom Theodore, Radio Animal Media Strategies: The problem with following charts and consumption metrics is both are subject to significant manipulation. I still put my faith in actual music research, since Nielsen ratings are the metric by which we are judged, and research still most closely aligns with that methodology.

Chris Michaels, FM100: Now more than ever, we are looking at both local consumption/streaming metrics, airplay on stations that we look at, and the chart every week when making music decisions. There have been quite a few times where a song is raising its hand because of the local streaming metrics, where the chart hasn’t caught up with it yet. We’ll step out on those records if we think it makes sense for us.

Sassy, WKXJ: While I think it’s important to factor in streaming numbers, you can’t play everything that’s streaming out there. Some songs you see pop really quickly with sustained impact, those are the ones you need to deal with first. Lil Nas and Blanco Brown come to mind as being very obvious. But there are others that aren’t as obvious and you have to be cautious about those, and be selective.

Buster, WIOQ: Balance is key to the sound of the station. Charts have their place. But consumption is everything and is gut so you’re not just playing a bunch of streaming records that your audience doesn’t know. Know your audience first!

Orlando, WLLD: Very important, in the info age we’re in.  In the 90s/00’s, we didn’t have that info, so the national scope was what we went by.  Now with 8 to 10 sources of local appeal, I can curve the national story and cater to my audience and their wants.

Toby Knapp, WASH: Can programmers trust the chart anymore? Really? In any format? That thing is as lawless as the Wild West! Give local programmers local research and data/metrics. Let the listeners bridge the gap. Then watch what happens!

Kobi, WNRW/WLGX: Very important. But be sure to use every piece of information and your gut to set rotations.

Jeff Hurley, WLAN: I never use the chart to guide music decisions. It’s unreliable and not supported by data.  Streaming consumption is a nice piece of data, but it’s only part of a much larger overall picture about a song.  It’s important to use your research and play the strongest hits for your audience.

Valentine, WBHT: If you want to be relevant in today’s multi-media atmosphere, especially with the younger end, with all of the other streaming options available, absolutely yes. It’s extremely important.

Jon Zellner, iHeartMedia: Programmers should use all data points available to them. Looking solely at the airplay chart is never a good plan. In some cases, what you add can be more about gut and what you think fits. What you move up and down in rotation should always be about data and metrics.

Sue O’Neil. WKSE: We should do a shot every time someone says consumption or metrics.

Buzz Knight, Beasley Media Group: In today’s media consumption world we should take multiple factors into consideration when considering our decisions.  Every metric has value for each situation and a programmer has to weigh everything when reaching a final conclusion.

Max Volume, KOZZ: Very important. Always play to your audience. Otherwise you just sound like a national chain store!

Matt Johnson, KSLZ: You have to blend your experience as a programmer and knowledge of the market with the consumption / streaming metrics locally and make an educated gut call from there. You have to know how to apply the metrics intelligently enough for your particular situation. Everything is a drop in the bucket.  As a programmer you have to figure out how much weight each drop has for you.

Kobe, WWHT: It’s important to acknowledge what’s trending musically and sometimes these moments in Pop culture will gain enough traction to compete for new music slots and warrant airplay to some extent. I deal with these types of records at nights and monitor local reaction. I think you get more credit that you think by playing them one or two times between 7-midnight than most people realize. That said, typically the hits nationally are, more often than not, the hits locally.

Rick Vaughn, KENZ: It’s important to look at both, but when you’re talking about weighting, you have to look at the different age demographics. Regarding radio exposure, sales, etc., we’re talking about 35-45-year-olds.  While the younger demo is what drives streaming numbers. So you essentially have upper demo metrics and younger demo metrics. You need to balance them overall relative to your demo target and appeal. Both are equally important, and if we’re going to have any future as a medium you better pay attention to the behavior of the younger audience.

Justin Chase, Beasley Media Group: It’s very important for programmers to use as much information as possible when making music decisions for their brands.  While it’s important to consider all of the accessible data, you will need to put more weight on certain metrics.

Joe DeTomaso, WAQX: I think it’s crucial. The charts are fine to use as a guide, but your local metrics are what’s really important. If a song has strong local metrics, you should play it regardless of where it sits on a chart. We base our music decisions on local metrics more so than chart position and it’s been working out pretty well.

Kevin Kash, WWEG: It’s important to look at both aspects. Having access to information a valuable tool. Use that information to create a balance that works best for your situation.

Next Week’s Question Of The Week:
What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
e-Mail your responses to: jodorisio@fmqb.com or bburke@fmqb.com