When I listen to most American music radio these days, especially in PPM markets but even in smaller locales, I hear many elements that are designed for minute-to-minute, or even second-to-second optimization. The music is almost always being selected based on music research, or at least based on emulating the combined wisdom of the industry by tracking playlists of other stations. Fewer and fewer new songs are introduced, because the same analysis shows that people tune out from new and unfamiliar tunes.
While the ad breaks are obviously way too long, they are ideally placed for PPM optimization – sweeping across the quarter-hours in an attempt to get the needed “five-in-15” minutes of listening to count. Jock-breaks are usually tight as a drum – influenced by detailed analysis of PPM that shows if one speaks too long, on almost any topic, tune-out ensues. Slogans or positioners are almost always the same, reminiscent of those poetry magnetic tiles people stick on their refrigerators but with only the words “best” “pick you up” “feel good” “variety” and a list of decades “…and now” or “…and today” as options. These are the words that research has shown people want and will respond to.