True/False: Radio Station Playlists Are Repetitive to Save on Licensing Fees

A few weeks ago, we overheard a group of Millennials postulating about why radio playlists are so narrow and repetitive. Uniformly they complained about hearing the same few songs over and over and never hearing songs that have become their personal favorites. Eventually the group seized on the idea that it must be so that stations can save money on licensing fees. A few in the group added that they’ve read that the radio business is in financial trouble. And in that moment, the idea that radio station playlists are repetitive to save on licensing fees became “truth” for those six young people. If their “truth” finds its way to the Internet, it’ll be well on its way to becoming a “fact.”

Wondering what other “truths” are out there about the radio business, we at NuVoodoo started a collection of things we’ve overheard when regular folks talk about radio within the past year or two. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Stations don’t really take requests, because they never answer the phone, respond to email or answer texts or social media posts.
  • Station owners take bribes from record companies when selecting what new music to play.
  • Station owners take a cut of ticket sales in exchange for talking about a concert, that’s why ticket prices are so high.
  • Stations only pretend to give away money – people don’t really win.
  • Stations haven’t even heard of the bands and songs we actually like.

We’re planning to include the most interesting ones in the questionnaire for our Ratings Prospects Study Twelve when it goes into the field next month. We’re curious to see how deeply these ideas are accepted as truths and among which groups. We know radio is well thought of among Baby Boomers and Gen X, but what do Millennials and Gen Z believe? If we know which of these pernicious perceptions is deeply held, radio should be able to develop tactics to address them.

What have you heard about our business among non-radio types? We’d love to find out if they’re just musings of a few folks – or widespread truths. If we include one of yours in our questionnaire, we’ll make sure you and your team get an early preview of the deck we’ll be sharing with clients. Send your overheard radio truths to