All contemporary hit radio stations know that there is a lot of competition out there, listeners love the hits and they love familiarity so making your smaller CHR station stand out in a sea of similar sounds can be difficult.

It might not seem that there is a lot of room to be different in a playlist of the same 200 songs everybody else is using, but with a few tweaks and thoughtful choices, your music scheduling can help get your station out in front of the pack. Here’s just a few ideas to start you off…

  • Create your own identity.

While it’s true that there will always be a quite a bit of overlap in the top 15-20 frequently played hits, there is a pool of other songs that don’t get as much airplay. Your station needs to see what the competition isn’t playing and set yourself up a small niche in that area. Maybe you notice that OtherFM trends towards an upbeat pop vibe, so your station plays more filler songs in the indie or rock genre.

  • Refresh your playlist differently.

See how often your competition culls and introduces songs and do the opposite. For instance if your rivals tend to hang onto hits playing them with frequency for long periods, position yourself as a ‘fresh’ music station by removing songs sooner as they stale, playing newer music at a higher rate.  This does not have to be dramatically different in order to make your stations scheduling sound individual, even a slightly higher rate (one newer song more per hour), can make a noticeable change.

  • Find something unique.

Find something exclusive that only your station can use. If you can get a chance to record an acoustic version from an artist or get them to voice a sound bite or snippet specifically geared toward your station to introduce their song, then do so. This is highly achievable in New Zealand when a local band has made good with a national hit, often they are more than happy to be involved with their local station.

There a many ways to keep your CHR station sounding different from your rivals, scheduling your playlist differently is just one of the ways you can find your market and create an individual sound. If you have any other great tips you want so share with other LFM Audio readers feel free to tell us about them in the comments!

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