I think most listeners will agree that broadcast radio for music has been dismal for a long time, thanks to corporate radio groups and central programming. Local radio is on the decline and the ability for a DJ to select a song outside the provided playlist is long-gone. While radio still has its boomer listers and commuters trapped in cars, millennials and especially Gen-Zers have been ignored, but a new format called “Right Now Music Radio” hopes to change all that.
It’s a format that offers a playlist culled from what’s currently popular on the various digital download services and curated in real time, just the way millennial and Gen-Z listeners like it. What’s even better is that it employs an algorithm that is localized by region so that the playlist is pertinent to a local station’s listeners, not the central corporate office.
This fresh new approach was created by Zapolian Media Strategies and Manngroup Radio in order to bring music radio more up to date and move on from the way it’s been programmed for the last 20 years or so. While it might not get the target audience to replace their digital listening happens, it could be a way to capture that audience when a digital choice is not available, like at work or when driving.
That said, broadcast music radio desperately needs a makeover if it wants to compete in the future. Even though the survey numbers continue to indicate that the product is being consumed at a high level, it’s pretty obvious that isn’t going to continue as digital delivery by the likes of Spotify and Apple Music continues to grow at a rapid rate. What’s more, it appears that there’s still a lot of room for digital growth left, while broadcast radio has pretty much topped out.
So far there doesn’t appear to be any stations that have adopted the format yet, but it’s probably only a matter of time. Take a listen to the number of public service announcements that are aired even on the top-rated drive-time shows. That’s as good an indication as any that radio is wilting, and needs some forward thinking ideas to help save it.