PLAYING THE ‘HITS’ HAS DIFFERENT MEANING, CROSS-FORMAT.
July 25th, 2016 by Inside Radio
Classic hits, adult hits…what’s the difference right? Just play the oldies! (If you’re a radio programmer, that’s meant to be a joke.) The two goldies formats have plenty of musical crossover but, as Billy Joel covers in “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me,” they each still have a distinct persona.
“There are differences between the two formats, not necessarily because of what the two audiences like as much as what they’ve been trained to expect from the stations,” offers Edison Research VP Sean Ross. “At classic hits, one Duran Duran song is a reliable hit. Adult hits plays five, and if they’ve been built around variety as a selling point, it doesn’t matter to some PDs how the other four test.”
Still, it can be tricky to define—and refine—the format’s signature since gold-based formats must constantly evolve to pinpoint their audience sweet spots. And to make things all the more difficult, there are more than a few of those Duran Duran or “Jack and Diane”-type hits that serve both. This makes differentiating classic and adult hits risky business, although savvy players say they’ve “got this.”
“In Syracuse, I call it the Steve Miller Syndrome. You can hear ‘Fly Like an Eagle’ on no less than five radio stations in this market,” says Mimi Griswold, brand manager at Galaxy Communications. “What plays before and after that song on a classic hits station vs. an adult hits station vs. a classic rock station is what defines the station profile. It’s feel.”