Country Radio Panel Tackles Slow Pace of Airplay Hits – Billboard

Country Radio Panel Tackles Slow Pace of Airplay Hits – Billboard

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Both country labels and broadcasters want to speed the advance of singles on the Country Airplay chart, though figuring out how to do that is a slow process.

A volunteer panel, spurred by a 2022 Country Radio Seminar session, reported on its progress during an April 20 CRS 360 webinar, concluding that stations need to generate 150 spins on most singles to gain reliable research about the song’s connectivity. Stations that limit a new single to overnights and play it only six times a week require 25 weeks to hit that plateau, one of several factors that slow the hit-development process.

Songs ranked No. 11-20 on the chart have the toughest time advancing, according to the panel’s research, in part because of the plethora of approaches by programmers. Reporting stations that commit early to a new single are sometimes ready to move on from particular titles just as slower-evolving stations are beginning to boost rotations. 

One partial suggestion, sure to meet pushback, was to use a smaller playlist, expose new singles more quickly in daytime rotations and make a decision at that 150-spin mark. 

The issue is more intense in country than any other format, in part because artists and their representatives have a stronger personal relationship with broadcasters and are more invested in succeeding on that platform — and in controlling the outcome.

“It’s the only format I’ve ever been in,” said McVay Media president Mike McVay, “where people call and yell at me for playing a song or beg me not to drop a song.”

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