Staying On Track

31 Jul

If I seem to be in a bad mood it’s because I’ve spent the past few days looking for happy music.

Let me tell you it’s hard work.

We have a major retail client with a new brand that is very careful about the music played in their stores. In this case everything must be happy, singable, bright, and upbeat plus there are a few more requirements.

That sounds easy, but it’s really a very tall order.

We go through hundreds, sometimes thousands of songs to find a hundred or so ‘perfect’ tracks. Every song gets a thorough review and then some.

Then every song is EQ’ed to make sure the audio quality is up to standard.

Nothing is left to chance. We check and double check our work.

This client would never accept what passes for ‘good enough’ at many radio stations.

Recently a friend asked me to monitor his country station. It has a solid rating history, except recently the trends have not been so kind and he’s trying to figure out why.

So he asked for my thoughts.

I think we’re still friends after the review.

Lack of attention to detail is almost always the reason a winning station starts to slip in the ratings.

The station lacked variety with similar sounding artists playing back to back.

In the past the station always had a singable quality to it, but now many of the songs were simply big on the charts. They were no longer being as selective as my retailer client, which is what made the station work in the past.

I questioned how much time is spent editing the logs. For example; two or three females played together followed by two or three Toby Keith type songs. Again, there was no variety.

The nice recorded liners done by artists for the station played into the wrong artists.

The live DJ did a plug for the morning show that was nothing more reading a liner staying “set your alarm to wake up with the morning show”. I asked shouldn’t a live person be more creative than that?

I could bore you with more of the details but here are some of the key points.

  • Review your music log for variety. Are you using your tempo and texture well?
  • Variety is style change. Up to down, Male to Female, Pop to country.
  • Don’t play the chart game. Play the songs that are right for your station. Forget the rest.
  • Have written music rules as to why you add and drop songs. Stick to them.
  • Spend time editing the Selector/PowerGold/MusicMaster Log
  • Spend time editing Prophet or Scott or whatever system you use.
  • A PD should consider him/herself as the station ‘producer’ review all details before they air.
  • Check for crossfades on commercials, music and imaging. Are you as tight as you can be?
  • Is your imaging placed properly?
  • Can you tighten your imaging by hand to make the station flow better? This might be a daily exercise.
  • Are you listening with a log and music log to see where you need to improve the flow?
  • When was the last time you asked someone from outside your station, a friend to review your work?
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Posted by on July 31, 2008 in Radio programming


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