Summer Music Rotations

While Memorial Day Weekend is the traditional start of summer, for many stations in Nielsen Diary markets, summer music rotation begins after the spring sweep ends on June 19, 2024.

Consider reprogramming your music software for summer.  Many stations reduce the rotation of their best-researched Power Gold songs and add additional titles to their playlist.

You always want to play the best songs for your target audience.   But summer may be a good time to give some dependable gold songs a vacation and cool down their rotation.  Music software allows for platooning songs, which is very helpful as you prepare your “Summer List.”

Spice Up Your Library

Give Recurrents a little more play to cover any shortage of new material. If you add more new artists, make them as familiar as possible through your air talent comments, website, and social media. Give listeners a voice on social media to share their opinions of new songs. The interaction is great.

Explore more up-tempo Gold that might boost energy during the summer months. It is summer, and most people need a good shot of tempo and positive energy. Margaritaville, anyone?

If you adjust your library for summer, this is a good time to review your entire music library for songs that should have been retired long ago.  Look for questionable titles in secondary recurrent and gold categories.  Is there a good reason to hang on to every song listed there?  Not every Current should ultimately become a Recurrent, and not every Recurrent should end up as Gold on your list.  Justify every song during this season with a mind of what happens in September, when the fall sweep begins.  After Labor Day, consider pruning your list to a championship level a few weeks before the rating period begins. Accurate music software scheduling is essential.

Once the music is adjusted for summer, what else can you do to bolster your Time Spent Listening?  When you go into a break, just before the first commercial plays, give listeners a reason to stay tuned.

Tease and Please

Always begin a commercial stop set with a tease of what’s coming up—typically about the music. Provide listeners with a reason to stay tuned, and they will! Craft a clever tease and follow up after the commercials with the “Please”…delivering on the promise.

No one teases more effectively than TV News – local stations, cable channels, and nightly network news.  They always go to a commercial break with a story tease to keep the viewer through the break.  Another example is the syndicated TV show Entertainment Tonight.

These programs effectively employ the “promote-ahead” concept to hook viewers to stay tuned.  ET seems to have more promos than content, but the format works.  Your radio station should employ this tactic before every break and do it creatively.   Promoting several artists at a time comes off like a laundry list, and radio listeners don’t like lists.  So, what is the effective alternative?

Employ the Clever Tease

Promote the next upcoming artist with a tidbit of information derived from show prep.  Tease something about the artist or song without saying the name.  Select artists who are consistent hit makers, whose music is indigenous to the format, are strong testers, and have more than one hit.

Who made this creative tease famous?

Before every stopset, do what Casey Kasem did every time.  Create an enticing tease of what’s coming up.  Be creative by not giving it all away.  Instead of merely saying the artist’s name, engage the listener to think about a resolution to the tease.  Use Wikipedia or to create an enticing tease without saying the artist’s name or song title.  Talents use this Casey Kasem-type hook to illustrate how the talent’s knowledge of the artists matches the listener’s passion for the music.

What is a creative and effective tease before a commercial break?  Leave a comment below or email

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John Lund is President of the Lund Media Group, a radio programming, broadcast consulting, and research firm with specialists in all mainstream radio formats.


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