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February 20, 2021 6:10 pm  #1


An interesting report on the downward trend for CHR radio formats

I thought this was fascinating, given what's happened in radio the past few weeks. With job losses,  format changes at TSN, more centralized programming being aired in one location but being picked up in many markets, plus the loss of conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh, the proliferation of podcasts and financial uncertainty this past year, the radio business has probably never been at such a crossroads moving forward.

This report talks about one of the most popular radio formats being in decline, to a point that it might mean future changes, downsizing of personnel and so on.

Have a read...it is from Edison Research on the sharply declining listenership of the "CHR" format and it also mentions classic hits and classic rock formats increasing. I am wondering if that's because with all the uncertainty in the air this year, we long for the past, when life was simpler, less complicated and fun.

 https://www.edisonresearch.com/chr-contracting-hit-radio/?fbclid=IwAR1maMw3zUJUuwhhOB1wlZIDwrOzW5nWKSb6hRM4B8ttCvtfMXj293lEtUo


Feel free to share your views on...

1. The article

2. Where you feel radio is headed

3. What you would like to see happen in the industry.


Cheers!

P.S.If this was posted before just simply delete it R.A. It's all good.

Last edited by Muffaraw Joe (February 20, 2021 6:11 pm)


The world would be so good if it weren't for some people...
 

February 20, 2021 6:37 pm  #2


Re: An interesting report on the downward trend for CHR radio formats

Clearly, more consultants most be hired. The businesses are rudderless. Only those young recent grads who can see the forest through the trees can be the balm for the wounds of aged institutions. They cannot be paid enough for their great contributions.

 

February 21, 2021 1:07 am  #3


Re: An interesting report on the downward trend for CHR radio formats

Streaming is killing radio and underpaying artists so why not team up?  If I was the CEO of iHeart I would make exclusivity deals with record labels like MTV did back in the 80’s and 90’s where for 48 hours or maybe a week new singles are available exclusively to terrestrial radio and not on Spotify or YouTube.
Of course people will record the songs and share them online but that’s fine. You’d have Ryan Seacrest front selling the song and saying it’s a world premiere only on Kiis FM being shared all over the internet. That would be great marketing.

Last edited by Prod Guy (February 21, 2021 1:14 am)

 

February 21, 2021 9:58 am  #4


Re: An interesting report on the downward trend for CHR radio formats

Personally, I do not believe the quality of the music is an issue. There are a lot of good songs at CHR radio. The big issue for me is the lack of variety. Songs stay in rotation for months which leaves little to no room for new music. A really big hit might last as much as six months, but someone came up with the idea that people want to hear the same music several times (often 15 or 16 times) a day every day for as much as a year and a half. In the meantime, music that people want is not getting airplay. Streaming and sales charts have all kinds of songs at or near the top that have received no attention at CHR radio. One recent example is Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License”. It was the most streamed song for several weeks before CHR latched onto it, and this is not a rare instance. Of course, now that CHR is on it, we will be hearing it at least until the fall of 2022.

What CHR needs is programmers and music people with imagination (and people in the executive that will let them). Dump the recurrents, cut the number of times a song is played during the day to a reasonable number and play the current hits and the new music which, at the moment, people seem to be finding on their own. And bring back some rock music. Rock music disappeared from CHR radio when Hedley went suddenly out of favour. “Trouble’s Coming” by Royal Blood, which is huge at rock radio, is a prime example of a rock song suited for CHR radio.  

 

February 21, 2021 12:01 pm  #5


Re: An interesting report on the downward trend for CHR radio formats

Storm wrote:

Personally, I do not believe the quality of the music is an issue. There are a lot of good songs at CHR radio. The big issue for me is the lack of variety. Songs stay in rotation for months which leaves little to no room for new music. A really big hit might last as much as six months, but someone came up with the idea that people want to hear the same music several times (often 15 or 16 times) a day every day for as much as a year and a half. In the meantime, music that people want is not getting airplay. Streaming and sales charts have all kinds of songs at or near the top that have received no attention at CHR radio. One recent example is Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License”. It was the most streamed song for several weeks before CHR latched onto it, and this is not a rare instance. Of course, now that CHR is on it, we will be hearing it at least until the fall of 2022.

What CHR needs is programmers and music people with imagination (and people in the executive that will let them). Dump the recurrents, cut the number of times a song is played during the day to a reasonable number and play the current hits and the new music which, at the moment, people seem to be finding on their own. And bring back some rock music. Rock music disappeared from CHR radio when Hedley went suddenly out of favour. “Trouble’s Coming” by Royal Blood, which is huge at rock radio, is a prime example of a rock song suited for CHR radio.  

Lots of good points in Storm's post.  I agree the quality of the music is not the issue.  There is a lot of great music being produced but for whatever reason radio seems slow playing a lot of it, and many times doesn't. This is why when I visit Ottawa, I like the hit/non hit mix on FM.  Stations are obligated to play new material, or album cuts and some of the non hits are the most interesting music.  The non hits I heard fit perfectly with the rest of the format.  And I bet some of it is from the Spotify charts, cuts that radio doesn't play or chart.   Not that stations can play everything from the Spotify list, and shouldn't but CHR does miss out on a lot of music that people find popular and are listening to. 

Bang on about rock on CHR.  What happened?  Rock songs are not playlisted anymore and haven't been for years.  That used to be the beauty of top 40, they could and would play almost anything.  Now the music is more specialized, and some "radio hits" sound so formatted, almost like 3 minute jingles. 

However,  just playing music will only get you so far.  The truly successful station will always need to have the personalities that connect with the audience, and a sense of fun and excitement to keep things entertaining.

Many top 40 or CHR stations made a mistake dumping news/sports altogether.  A good radio station needs proper surveillance material to engage the audience and this includes some brief occasional and straightforward news/information breaks.  It is wrong to assume that since your audience is younger. they are not interested in the world around them.  They are, and this younger audience is not always looking for just the infotainment fluff. They actually crave some of the real thing too!   Nothing lengthy and not all day but some real news including some local should absolutely be part of the mix.  This gives the station the opportunity to widen it's demographic appeal a little. 

 

February 21, 2021 2:38 pm  #6


Re: An interesting report on the downward trend for CHR radio formats

One quick thing worth mentioning is that it isn't radio that doesn't want to play new singles.  It's the record companies waiting to release new singles so they can extend the life of an album and make the most money possible.

 

February 22, 2021 1:39 pm  #7


Re: An interesting report on the downward trend for CHR radio formats

paterson1 wrote:

Bang on about rock on CHR.  What happened?  Rock songs are not playlisted anymore and haven't been for years.  That used to be the beauty of top 40, they could and would play almost anything.  Now the music is more specialized, and some "radio hits" sound so formatted, almost like 3 minute jingles. 

There's not a lot of mainstream current rock music out there to pick from right now. The mainstream rock stations that are left are more-and-more gold-based, and Alternative is having to get some of its own currents from CHR. Looking at the Canadian Mainstream Rock chart, there are only two acts I would even consider trying on a CHR (JJ Wilde and Beaches.) The Rock situation for international acts is even worse. Wouldn't touch any of it.

The biggest issue hurting CHR is the last year is tuning habits being turned upside down. The format relies on a large CUME tuning in for shorter listens multiple times a day. The CUME is strong, it's still the most tuned format, but those occasions are gone. It's not a leave-on-all-day-at-home format. You could loosen the rotations a little, but the releases have slowed to the point where you'd have to play some real garbage. You could go more gold-heavy for a while, but that would have to be a station-by-station decision. For example, if you're Virgin 99.9, you'd steer yourself right into CHUM.
 


 
 

February 22, 2021 1:59 pm  #8


Re: An interesting report on the downward trend for CHR radio formats

So this story is dancing around it, but really refuses to flat out say it.   18-34 demos are now more fragmented than ever before.   They have other platforms outside radio like streaming services to get their music.    This translates to less listening.   Older demos tend to still turn to radio for their music needs alone.    I have to agree the music quality isn't the same in CHR as it was a few years ago, but I think they need to bring in stats from streaming services in the music format to see the overall picture.   Some stations also need to get back to giving listeners personalities that appeal and offer entertainment as that's what sets radio and streaming apart.    Hard to do with budget cuts non-stop.      Music isn't the main reason under 40 listeners tune in to any station. They can get their music online.   They can't get personality, local and other things radio can..  

 

February 22, 2021 2:02 pm  #9


Re: An interesting report on the downward trend for CHR radio formats

radiokid wrote:

Some stations also need to get back to giving listeners personalities that appeal and offer entertainment as that's what sets radio and streaming apart.    Hard to do with budget cuts non-stop.      Music isn't the main reason under 40 listeners tune in to any station. They can get their music online.   They can't get personality, local and other things radio can..  

Yes. Hot 89.9 in Ottawa played 10 songs total in their morning show today, and would likely still be #1 if diary ratings were still a thing.
 


 
 

February 22, 2021 2:26 pm  #10


Re: An interesting report on the downward trend for CHR radio formats

RadioAaron wrote:

radiokid wrote:

Some stations also need to get back to giving listeners personalities that appeal and offer entertainment as that's what sets radio and streaming apart.    Hard to do with budget cuts non-stop.      Music isn't the main reason under 40 listeners tune in to any station. They can get their music online.   They can't get personality, local and other things radio can..  

Yes. Hot 89.9 in Ottawa played 10 songs total in their morning show today, and would likely still be #1 if diary ratings were still a thing.
 

Funny, I have been listening to Hot 89.9 for 90 mins and they sound great.  Over one o'clock they were taking requests, and if these were the requests, their listeners have great taste.  Lots of fresh, interesting and different music.   I take that they likely slide in more non hits in the afternoon, however I really like what they are playing. I am glad that they are having success with this format in Ottawa which is a great and competitive radio town.  In some ways a better city for radio than Toronto. 

And one of 89.9's main competitors, JUMP played 20 songs from 6am-9am, and even stacked some cancon 6 to 6:30am, which 89.9 didn't do.  So does Brooke and Jeffery not talk as much or is JUMP just void of a lot of commercials?  When I have listened to B&J they sound disjointed from the music and never reference any songs, and all of their breaks sound pre recorded somewhat staged and some breaks over modulated.  Even their calls with listeners sound too set up almost rehearsed and not natural.  

Last edited by paterson1 (February 22, 2021 2:56 pm)