Mimicking a Radio Station

(By Chris McGinty (AccordingToWhim.com)

One day in the future, I will
have to write a whole piece on how radio destroyed itself by being bought up by
big corporations (although, they would have been destroyed by the internet soon
enough), but today I’d like to talk about something that radio stations do that
is effective; playing things over and over until people like it. This doesn’t
mean that everyone will like it, but everyone has genres of choice. This is
music that a high percentage of their listening time is spent on.
What radio stations do right is
that they focus on a genre or two that are similar enough to get the listeners
invested, and then they play the fuck out of anything that is new, sometimes
playing a song every two hours. People don’t listen to radio for hours at a
time for the most part, and often switch stations when they do, so if they want
you to hear a song, your likelihood of hearing it goes up the more they play
I believe that your mood at the time
of first hearing a song is different than when you hear it later. That can go
different ways for a song where you like it more, like it less, or notice no
real change. The more you become familiar with a song the more you typically
like it. This isn’t always the case, but it does happen. The repetition just
allows your mood to catch up.
When I’m having trouble getting
into an album that I recognize as good, I’ll create a mix tape… sorry, modern
day. I’ll create a CD or mp3 playlist and include tracks from the album. This
way I hear the separate tracks a little at a time. Later when I listen to the
album, the tracks I’m familiar with offset the tracks I don’t know. Soon, I’ll
be familiar with the whole album, and if it was something I would normally
like, I’ll like it a lot more than when I was first lukewarm to it.
The website Pandora uses this
basic thought process. You seed the station with songs or artists you like, and
it picks similar songs and artists, and when you like something, it repeats it
more often. But I don’t have Pandora everywhere, so I came up with something
more complicated and tedious, because it’s what I do. Create a playlist or an
mp3 directory on your mp3 player and include about 24 hours worth of music.
That’s about 360 songs if the songs average four minutes.
Make most of the songs play one
time, usually songs that you’re familiar with already, and then include a
number of songs, say 12, that play once every four hours. Then include, say 9,
that play once every six hours. Then include, say 3, that play once every
twelve hours. If you’re making an mp3 folder to shuffle, just make sure to have
multiple copies of other songs. These can either be songs that you wish to
become more familiar with, or songs you wish to hear a lot at the moment.
Anyway, without bitching about
how the You Tube playlist feature went from being workable to crappy since I
first started this playlist, here is a playlist I’m working on that mimics a
radio station. If you’re not into alternative music (at least what I consider
to be alternative) you might not be into this playlist, but give it a try. The
point of it is not to listen from the start every time, but to pick a different
starting point each time. You’ll hear some of the “emphasis tracks” of the
playlist almost every time you listen for a couple of hours. I tried to avoid
videos with ads, but a few got through by not showing the ad when I first chose
it. Sorry about that.

Virtual Station April 2013

Also, in case you didn’t know, we’re starting our Kickstarter
for our board game “Rise of the Rockstar” in less than a month (May 17, 2013).
If you’re a fan of Kickstarter projects, and especially board games with a rock
‘n’ roll theme, keep checking back with us.

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