Category: The State of CHR

Contemporary Hit Rankings

| November 19, 2012

By Mike Kinosian
RadioInfo
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELESOver all of last week, RadioInfo detailed challenges facing contemporary hit radio programmers; differences between mainstream CHR and rhythmic CHR; intricacies of taking on an entrenched format player; and the function of talent in today’s contemporary hit radio.

The critical element of ratings performance is presented in the sixth and final installment of this CHR special.

In order for a station to qualify in this thorough, multi-faceted recap, it needed to appear within the top 20 (6+) in any of Arbitron’s 48 PPM-measured markets (October 2012).

Listed is each station’s 6+ performance over the last four (4) PPM monthlies.

Tremendous care was taken to properly categorize each station below, although we fully realize debates could be made regarding several facilities.

It is also essential to mention that some stations that most likely would have qualified from a ratings standpoint are omitted, owing to subscriber-related issues with Arbitron.

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Hot-Rocking, Flame-Throwing Memories

| November 16, 2012

By Mike Kinosian
RadioInfo
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES Present-day baby-boomers who didn’t mind hearing their favorite tunes accompanied – if not routinely drowned out – by static on their treasured transistor radio could haul in giant signals of legendary AM pop stations from around the country.

Three uniquely gifted communicators who will long be remembered for their priceless ability to strike a nerve with their listeners discuss past format wars and the function air talents have in today’s contemporary hit radio; one recollects a genuine piece of radio history.

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Big Stakes Top 40 Tale of Two Cities

| November 15, 2012

By Mike Kinosian
RadioInfo
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES Even though there is tremendous temptation to ascribe “David & Goliath”-like analogies to what took place in contemporary hit radio on consecutive months nearly four years ago, some glaring holes would make such a comparison a bit misleading or inaccurate.

Perfectly precise however is that younger demo listeners in the two largest cities in America were consistently endorsing two Clear Channel-owned mainstream CHRs as their radio station of choice.

In terms of ratings prowess, brand familiarity, and overall image – Los Angeles’ KIIS (“Kiss-FM”) and New York’s WHTZ (“Z100″) justify the enormous industry and general-market audience respect they each command.

Neither juggernaut facility had a head-to-head format foe in their home metros, although Emmis-owned WQHT (“Hot”), New York and KPWR (“Power 106″), Los Angeles are potent rhythmic-leaning rivals.

Given its vast resources and phenomenally capable programming minds, CBS Radio is hardly chopped liver or a “David”-like character cast in the role of challenging a behemoth at ridiculously unrealistic, hopeless odds.

With an apparently strong conviction that “Z100″ and “Kiss-FM” were vulnerable, CBS Radio took action.

Representatives of each company offer their viewpoints of the Los Angeles and New York City confrontations.

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Programming Quintet Furnishes Format 411

| November 14, 2012

By Mike Kinosian
RadioInfo
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES A trio of expert, frontline programmers and two esteemed consultants gather for the third installment of our CHR special feature article.

This superstar-programming panel deals frankly and freely with issues and concerns of today’s contemporary hit radio.

One of the toughest challenges of programming a CHR station these days is remaining as up-to-speed as possible on social media.  “It just might be the greatest moving target of all time,” speculates Rob Roberts, operations manager of Cumulus, Atlanta – which includes mainstream top 40 WWWQ (“Q100″).  “It is always moving, changing, and evolving.  Talk about a format that demands that you stay young.  I think I am the only male in my demographic among the people I hang around with who actually has a Twitter account.”

Most of Roberts’ friends are a bit nervous that he tweets as much as he does, but as the “Q 100″ program director comments, “That is part of what makes a CHR programmer these days.  It is all the things that we used to do – plus, plus, plus.”

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Part of a Rhythm Nation

| November 13, 2012

By Mike Kinosian
RadioInfo
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES It was becoming more and more apparent circa 1995 that all contemporary hit radio outlets were not necessarily created equally.

Some, of course, were in the traditional framework of mainstream top 40, while others had a texture that seemed best described as “rhythmic.”

Continuing to have stations with diverse approaches of playing contemporary hits categorized under the same umbrella format description (“CHR”) was certainly counter-productive, so publications such as the venerable Radio & Records (R&R) isolated “CHR/pop” outlets in one grouping and “CHR/rhythmic” facilities in another.

Programmers of two of the country’s most successful rhythmic-leaning contemporary hit radio properties explain the nuances of that facet of the format in the second of our multi-part CHR special.

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CHR – Where Making Connections
Helps Ratings

| November 12, 2012

By Mike Kinosian
RadioInfo
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELESFrom Maroon 5 to Black Eyed Peas to Pink to Chris Brown and other musical hues in between, today’s contemporary hit music paints with broad strokes on a welcoming radio canvas to reflect the tastes of a discriminating, yet ever-changing palate.

A different set of ears in 2012 likes its music “Gangnam Style” from those partial to the mid-1990s “Macarena.”

Whatever the fad or fancy, Lady Gaga or “Lady Marmalade,” Justin Bieber or the Backstreet Boys, or to the delight of some and the disdain of others – disco – it becomes mainstream contemporary hit radio’s domain.

Not all #1 or top five smash hits however can be accurately prognosticated.  Some songs that ignite listeners’ hot buttons come from nowhere or they are performed by artists not instantly perceived as format-compatible.

Programmers, often times themselves out of the bulls-eye of the target demo, are challenged to keep centered so they may bond with their audience to satisfy listeners’ wants and needs.

Over the next several days, RadioInfo will spotlight CHR’s past, present, and future through the collective eyes and minds of a stellar panel of experts.

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