HOT ADULT CONTEMPORARY
Hot AC cuts a wide format path. For years it has lived on a diet of 90s rock like Matchbox Twenty, Jewel, Nickelback , Goo Goo Dolls and the like. In recent years, more Top 40 crossovers like Beyonce and Justin Timberlake have made their way onto the charts in markets where they may not be a mainstream Top 40 station. This format is basically a younger version of AC without hip-hop and R&B. While crunchy guitars are not a staple, it is still common to hear rock bands such as Bon Jovi, Shinedown and the Killers on this format.
The Donnas, Sigur Ros, Jets To Brazil, The Streets, and the Transplants. Unlike Active Rock Specialty, Alternative Specialty is more open to splinter genres of the alternative spectrum such as ska, hip-hop, punk, etc. It is a great place for new, unsigned or independent label bands to surface in the realm of commercial rock radio. Alternative Specialty offers an excellent opportunity to garner commercial airplay in the very competitive commercial radio marketplace. Alternative Specialty airplay is also an excellent branding tool. As with Active Rock Specialty, it helps familiarize programmers with the artist, their material and their label, so that future promotional campaigns are easily recognized amid the myriad of releases.
Queens Of The Stone Age, The Used, Superdrag, Built To Spill, Apples In Stereo, The Donnas, and Bjork. Often considered the proving grounds for many artists hoping to make it in more commercial formats, College Radio tends to showcase bands that you typically won’t find on the more commercial radio stations. Many artists that broke on college radio have achieved tremendous success at mainstream radio (R.E.M., U2, Blink 182, and Nirvana).
System Of A Down, Korn, Mudvayne, Tool. These stations play louder, more aggressive music than mainstream rock stations and might include alternative artists (Foo Fighters, The Used, The Hives) as well as straight-ahead rock or even classic rock like Metallica or AC/DC. Overall, these stations have more of an edge to them than any other format with the exception of College or Active Rock Specialty.
CONTEMPORARY HIT RADIO (CHR)
Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Kelly Clarkson, Kings of Leon and Rihanna. Commonly referred to as Top 40, CHR features the most popular hits today by some the most profitable artists. Where other formats tend to stick to one genre (Hot AC, for example, plays lighter rock and pop), CHR is often a crossover format—especially for R&B, rap and hip-hop.
ADULT CONTEMPORARY (AC)
Phil Collins, Sheryl Crow, Sade, John Mayer, Elton John, Celine Dion. AC primarily serves the 25-54 female demographic. It ranges from “soft hits of the 80s stations to hip, young music and everything in between. Softer songs and ballads by hard rockers (Nickelback, 3 Doors Down) get airplay alongside Josh Groban and Norah Jones. Being an adult format, AC stays on the gentler side of the radio spectrum, but it’s not unusual to hear No Doubt or Coldplay thrown into the mix.
David Gray, Ryan Adams, KT Tunstall, Mat Kearney, John Mayer, U2, Ben Harper, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, My Morning Jacket. Triple A stands for Adult Album Alternative, and is an eclectic format driven by a mix of heritage artists, singer-songwriters and rootsy bands.
Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Bucky Covington.
Country is one of the top formats in the U.S. and the fastest growing. It’s more progressive than it’s ever been crossing over formats and reaching new audiences.
Tom Petty, Rolling Stones, Nickelback, Puddle Of Mudd. It’s straight-ahead rock that isn’t overly aggressive, but still harder than what you’d find on adult formats such as Hot AC or CHR. Many Mainstream stations incorporate new rock artists as well as classic rock artists into their programming.
System Of A Down, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, White Stripes, and The Killers. Alternative broke Nirvana, Pearl Jam and U2, and has also made bands such as Korn, No Doubt, and Sublime household names. This format is rock-based, but a little more adventurous than its Active Rock counterpart. Overall, this format encompasses the leading front of rock today.
Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Mississippi Mass Choir, CeCe Winans, Isreal & New Breed, Take 6. Gospel has been around longer than the charts and has a passionate, religious audience.
ACTIVE ROCK SPECIALTY
This is the perfect place to introduce new, unsigned, and/or upcoming Active Rock-type bands to corporate radio. Specialty shows are a great venue for airplay in otherwise highly competitive markets and for showcasing alongside other bands on their way up. Specialty show airplay is also a good way to familiarize DJs and programmers with a band’s material, so that when they get bigger, the name recognition is there to help bolster airplay.