Because radio stations were regionally operated, not national conglomerates. Bob Seger shirt. Back then, a local DJ had a shot at making hits. Now a computer and six guys at a boardroom table decide what you will like. Right? I bring this up whenever people talk about how music used to be so much better. Not really. If you distill any decade down to its best 30 songs, of course, it will sound better than Top 40, which is playing the best 30 songs of the last two months. I don’t think Sirius/XM has better playlists, just more focused. The channels I listen to still seem to have 4-hour rotations until I hear the same songs again. I think terrestrial radio is the term you’re looking for and you’re right – it abso-fucking-lutely sucks. I take such pleasure in not listening to that shit anymore.
Radio guy here. Bob Seger shirt. The reason is that it works. Always has and always will. Our job is to get ratings. Short, often repeated playlists get ratings whether its oldies, Top 40, country etc… You think you’re tired of those 100 songs! Try playing them every day. We are not in the business of expanding musical minds. Its a business and our bread and butter are ratings. Trust me if radio operators thought to expand their playlists to a larger group of songs, they would do it. It is been tried and it does not work. Most people listen to the radio for very short time periods. You play songs frequently so those “passive” listeners will hear their favorites when they tune in. If I had my way, we would play 1000’s of songs, but I would fail in the ratings and revenue game. Hope that helps a little with your understanding of the process.
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When you’re asking why a company would do something that seems so stupid and you hate it, Bob Seger shirt. It’s because you’re not their target audience. Same thing with “news” being so celebrity-minded and not paying attention to important international issues. It’s not their job to inform people. It’s their job to sell ads, which means showing what people want to see/hear. Ehh, music can still be pretty regional. In my city, good acts often come through and don’t sell out, but there’s a cover band that sells out its shows every two months when they play. Obviously, they’re not gonna be huge nationally, but they put on a banger. Seger (and others) also built up their fan base organically by playing at high school dances and similar venues in the area for years before getting on the radio and going big.
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The only thing I listen too. One day it can be rap, then the next its video game soundtracks. Bob Seger shirt. The day after that could be K-pop and PSAs on the dangers of autoerotic asphyxiation. Never know what you’re gonna get. This is the reason I no longer can listen to commercial radios anymore. If a new song is released and it’s something I really don’t like, it’s guaranteed to play once an hour until it gets to a point where I switch stations to either have it play there too or the station playing the genre of music I don’t care too much for. I think so much new music historically grew out of little pockets of isolation, where musicians and their fans were part of some very local scene which served as a crucible/incubator for their sounds. I think a lot of it was driven by boredom with the local status quo and have no alternative other than one they made themselves.