Horizontal songs can hurt usage if they are played back to back or even too close together. These require coding and policies to make sure they add "surprise" and "variety" to the radio station's sound. Too many of them and you get off target.
They are the spice in the recipe. Program them like salt in your soup.
Vertical tunes - for most radio formats music testing reveals that there are fewer than 300 of them - are the target listener's "bulleye" and the only risk of playing too many of them in a row is that the music mix becomes predictable and boring, which of course can also hurt usage.
Some programmers opt not to play any Horizonal songs, but that decision means in a competitive situation you need to test all of your golds at least quarterly.
Horizontal content often can be a personality's most viral and popular bits. The Senseless Survey. War Of The Roses. Phone Scam. Second Date Update.
Listeners love them, but too many in too short a period of time can be like having too many pieces of candy at one sitting. It can make you sick.
Horizontal content is very promotable at "benchmark" times, driving habitual usage of more days per week. It's not "the show." It's a special event. Too much of it, too often and it's not special anymore and stops accomplishing what it was originally designed to do.
Vertical content reinforces the character and values created by your best material but is the show. It's the more routine content you do which listeners find informative, fun useful and helpful.
The challenge of executing vertical content is doing it with a fresh feel, passion and creativity each time. No one is going to stop you at the Mall to tell you that they loved that clever intro of Tim McGraw's new song, but elements like it are the glue that holds everything together.
Great talent, formatics and programming begins by recognizing the difference between horizontals and verticals. It then, requires the art of understanding precisely how often, when and where to perform them for maximum impact and minute-by-minute/day-by-day utilization.
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