Clear Channel’s WMZQ/Washington’s 3.8-3.6 October-November 12+ ARB trend of course can’t be attributed to any one thing, but the station’s 3.7 (July)-3.9 (August)- 4.3 (September) moves in the wake of going commercial free every Tuesday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm since August, among other things, may underscore that keeping a station constantly fresh, even when you’re doing something you know listeners really love is an important part of the game.
Is it saying that they even get used to a full day commercial free and it can become old news after a couple months? If so, can ANYTHING be kept fresh and top-of-mind enough??
With that in mind, a client PD asked me this week if A&O has an "oh wow" oldies list for country after reading online about the pros/cons of maintaining freshness of destinational formats by maintaining/platooning spice songs in and out.
We do, and also could, of course, start a comments thread in reply to this thought of the many, many country novelty songs, could-a/should-a been's and one hit wonders of the format over six or more decades.
There are hundreds of them.
But, country is a transitional format with a constant need to keep a great balance of male, female, 18-24, 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 appeal, let alone the right mix of “P-1” music vs “P-2” appeal songs, I recommend looking for “oh wow” songs from new music rather than opening up marginal gold songs that one age group might find exciting to hear but another group will simply not get the musical reference point from before they came to country music.
The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young,” which of course has turned into a breakthrough #1 hit for an exciting new group started for me as an “oh wow” song which added a nice quality of freshness to our sound because it was so different from everything else when it first came out 30+ weeks ago.
Zac Brown Band, Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Chris Young, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum and many others got their first traction on country playlists with an “oh, wow, what/who was that?” song. Taylor Swift’s “Tim McGraw” not only did that on radio, but also on the ACM Awards TV show when she went into the audience and sang it face to face to Tim.
Now, THAT moment was a WOW.
Look at the playlist of some of country’s most-successful PPM stations and you’ll see “buzz record” new music being used very cleverly.
Consultant playlists, by definition are “safe,” since we build our national recommendations on consensus research, but A&O sometimes adds new music right into heavy rotation when we hear music that creates sizzle.
So, for me, country’s “oh wow” category is built most often on exciting new songs that resonate with the values and universal life stories of all the ages we need to energize every age and gender.
How about you? What songs do you use to keep your rotations fresh? How do you play them?
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