“I Don’t Know What I Like…

…but I don’t like THAT song because I don’t know it.” After decades as a radio programmer and dj, I’ve been involved in every different form of research. From record/tape/CD/download sales and phone/email/text requests to auditorium and on-line music testing to focus groups, survey mailings and random call-out canvassing.  IMG_6528Go ahead, ask someone what kind of MUSIC they like. You’ll get some good answers about genres, styles, melodies, lyrics, instrumentation, harmonies, tempos and numerous broad-stroke generic descriptions. You name it and someone has said it. Now, ask them what their favorite and least favorite SONGS are and WHY. They can probably come up with a handful of favorites and a few that they just can’t stand. I’ve heard just about every attempt from a listener to explain why they only LIKE certain songs. The ONE conclusion sadly is… they LIKE what they KNOW. Some will say they like hearing new songs, but the reality is the majority won’t like the new tunes as much.

Familiarity wins out every time. It’s what the results in all of those surveys has concluded. And radio wants to please a lot of people, so they play the songs you like the most. This is why some say “all radio stations play the same songs over and over.” (They also say we “play the same songs at the same times every day” and “if you play that song one more time I’ll never listen to you again.” Or a regular complaint heard by all dj’s, “What is wrong with you people, don’t you know this music sucks?”)

In spite of this, new songs find their way to the favorites lists all the time. And when the new releases are especially good more titles make the cut. Conversely, when nothing exciting is being released, people generally return to those familiar favorites. I think Pop music in particular has been terrific the past several years. That means more stations are playing those same current hits and –as a result– all those stations sound the same because, well, they’re all playing the same songs. Frankly, we love that trend here at B100.FM. You can understand why, right? We are playing songs from the 80’s and 70’s. And they’re not all the same songs that today’s “classic hits” or oldies stations play. Because we can. The “B100.FM 100 Hour No-Repeat Guarantee” requires us to play lots more titles than those that everyone is familiar with. The irony: WE sound FRESH compared to all the other stations.

But here’s the thing, now we have people saying “I don’t like some of the songs you play because I DON’T KNOW THEM.” Geeze now we’re back to that? Here’s what I hope: people should enjoy their favorite songs. And when something they don’t recognize comes on just give it a chance. After all, those familiar songs we love so much were brand new once.

The “Music Deflector” of Bobby’s B100, Dr. Boogie would like it known that he has added a “crapload of bitchin’ new old songs to the playlist,” and also “B100.FM dosen’t play the same songs over-and over. We play DIFFERENT songs over-and-over.” Please leave a comment! 

1 response to “I Don’t Know What I Like…

  1. Bill Vancil says:

    I listen to oldies, and today’s hits. I have always liked music of all genres. My tastes run from George Jones, to Buddy Holly, to Jack Johnson, to Meghan Trainor and Bruno Mars. That’s just me.

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