Comparing the Formats

Below is Frontside’s 1st quarter of 2012 “Comparing The Formats.”

Every 3 months we take a look at where each of the Radio formats sit in terms of cross-over and unique titles and provide some insight into trending and notable occurrences. Please note that this is not meant to be a scientific analysis, more an overall look at the current state of radio in Canada. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

CHR – Hot A/C – A/C
In the recent past Hot A/C playlists have largely mirrored their CHR counterparts.  It would appear that this trend is generally going to continue for the time being, however we’re starting to see some signs of renewed Hot A/C originality across the board. For the past 18 months both formats have been locked in a very ‘rhythmic’ cycle which has resulted in an incredibly high ‘cross-over’ percentage between the two formats. This quarter however, things are beginning to separate a bit with CHR only lending 70% of it’s current playlist to HAC. The unique 30% at CHR does have some potential to crossover, but the bulk of it is made up of material that is likely too ‘aggressive’ to make a run at Hot A/C.

On the other side, HAC is currently playing 17% “unique titles” that do not appear at other formats, most of which are guitar based tracks. There has been chatter for the last 6 months that HAC would begin to ‘correct’ itself back towards less rhythmic programming. We may be seeing the beginning of this gradual process now. With new albums from core HAC artists like Train and John Mayer on the schedule for this year the tide may finally be turning back towards more guitar oriented programming at the format.

A/C seems to be slowly following suit by playing 20% unique content which is a significant jump from the almost 0% they were playing late Summer and Fall. Again, this could be an indicator that the phase of complete homogenization across the formats is coming to a close, but only time will tell.

Rock & Alternative
While the crossover between these two formats has always existed, its never quite been on the scale of CHR/HAC. That optic is holding fairly steady this quarter as well. Active Rock has 37% of it’s current playlist all to itself, while Alternative boasts a whopping 51% unique titles.

Format by Format Breakdown:

• At present there is a predictably large 70% of the Top 30 that also appears within the Top 40 on the equivalent Hot A/C chart (assuming that if it’s not in the Top 30 yet, it soon will be).
•  Of the remaining 30% of songs currently only appearing on the CHR chart, the artists are: Drake, Jay-Z & Kanye, Dru, Karl Wolf, Wiz Kalifa, Gym Class Heroes, WILL.I.AM, LMFAO and The New Cities.
•  Several of these songs are ripe for crossover, and three of them are  Can-Con.

• The current HAC Top 30 chart essentially looks like someone just hit the cut and paste button from the CHR version. Only 5 songs (17%) in the HAC Top 30 do not appear (or didn’t recently appear) in the Top 40 on CHR
• Those 5 artists have a distinctly ‘guitar’ based sound. Lady Antebellum, Andrew Allen, Train, Daughtry, Liz Coyles. Two of them are Can-Con.

• For the sake of our purposes, we’re removing the 4 French titles in the A/C Top 30 and focusing this analysis on the remaining 26.
• Of that new number we’ve found that 20% (5 songs) of the chart is not culled from either CHR, HAC or both. The artists in question are Suzie McNeil, Jason Mraz, Scotty James, Sean Paul and Mohombi. Two of these are Can-Con.

Active Rock
• The current Active Rock Top 30 chart contains 11 songs that are unique to the format and show no real ‘cross-over’ potential. This means that approximately 37% of the current playlist is unique to the format (we have not factored recurrents into this analysis).
• Those unique artists are Van Halen, Seether, Rival Sons, Big Sugar, Volbeat, Gloryhound, The Trews, Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown, Jane’s Addiction and Chickenfoot. Three of these artists are Can-Con.

• The current Alternative Top 30 chart boasts 16 unique titles or 53%. Of those only one title shows imminant crossover potential, Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” which is currently sitting at #51 Active Rock.
• The artists that are currently unique to the format are Gotye, Florence & The Machine, USS, Said The Whale, Hollerado, Young Empires, Current Swell, Fun, Plants & Animals. 6 of these titles are Can-Con.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email or call me.

Gary McDonald
(212) 869-0835