Tip of the Week - 2016 07 12: Music Programming - First Steps

Music is such an essential part of our radio station’s programme. We need to get it right!

When starting up, many stations make this mistake with their music:

  • they add a whole lot of songs to their station’s shared hard drive
  • the music is not sorted, and covers many genres and styles
  • announcers are given free rein to choose whatever songs they want for their daily programmes

What’s wrong with this? Everything!

It will result in a radio station with a disjointed music focus; there is little chance for the listener to become familiar with the music; each announcer’s programme will have annoyingly different artists and styles; and there will be such a variety of music that no-one is reached.


Firstly, we need to know and understand the music tastes of our target audience (the people we want to reach).

Secondly, and here’s the bad news…we need to audition all (yes all) of those songs, and choose which ones will suit our target listener. The songs we choose go into a folder that we call the Music Library. And make sure that the people auditioning the songs are either in the target audience, or understand the target audience well. Think this task is too big? Here’s a question for you…do you want an ordinary station or a great station? No brainer. Get auditioning!

(By the way, don’t delete the rejected songs, you may need them one day).

Thirdly, make the rule that announcers may only play songs that are in this Music Library.

Fourthly, keep adding new songs to your Music Library (but only the best new songs, and ones that will suit your target audience)

Fifthly, choose a small group of your best and/or newest songs, and create a rotate playlist. These songs are played more often than other songs. These songs are changed regularly. I’ll continue next week by describing this in a little more detail.

In the meantime, happy auditioning!


PS: To learn more about this topic, check out our series Managing Music for Radio.



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: Monday, July 11th, 2016

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