Radio formatting is a way for traditional radio stations — and your favorite online radio portal — to program and broadcast material in order to reach a particular listening public. Formats have changed and mutated as music has evolved, reflecting new styles as well as the growth of listeners’ musical tastes and preferences.
Through time, radio formatting has become close to an art form, with stations learning more about how to direct their play lists to a specific demographic. Understanding the age, background, and ethnicity of a particular listenership has everything to do with capturing a targeted group in order to increase a station’s revenue. Good radio formatting is a marketing tool to get more listeners to tune in and stay tuned in.
Radio formats can be straightforward or complex. Some stations just play Country, which is simple to understand. Others combine a variety of play lists because they include cross over musicians or a combination of formats that are closely linked in other ways, such as Adult Alternative, Adult Album Alternative, and Adult Contemporary.
Format labels are there to help each radio portal or station define their target audiences. Sometimes these labels are a boon to listeners, making it easier for them to know what they are getting when they hit the dial. Sometimes, however, the labels can be confusing, especially when the lines of distinction start to blur.
|Alternative||- This format includes punk and new wave material of the 1970s as well as the grunge bands of the 80s. Newer bands that do not fit into a top forty context are also featured in this context.|
|Classic Rock||- Includes music from the 60s, 70, 80s, as well as some current releases.|
|Comedy||- Features short comedic routines from current and past comedy artists.|
|Country||- Music from both the present and the past within the genre.|
|Oldies||- Geared towards adult listeners, this nostalgia format features “golden hits” from the 1950s through the 1970s, including rock and roll and popular tunes.|
|Smooth Jazz||- This is lightweight jazz format that sets a mood with no demands on deeper listening. The genre is also called New Adult Contemporary|
|The Hitz||- Geared towards adult listeners, this nostalgia format features “golden hits” from the 1950s through the 1970s, including rock and roll and popular tunes.|
|The 80’s||- Pop, rock, and dance music from this decade.|
|The 90’s||- Pop, rock, and dance music from this decade.|
|Active Rock||- Generally music that is designed to be played loud, such as hard rock, metal, and heavy metal.|
|Adult Album Alternative||- Current music play lists for an adult audience. Usually the selections are of a wider range than found on “hit radio” and can include album tracks. This genre can incorporate many musical styles such as rock, folk rock, country rock, modern rock, blues, folk, and world.|