Beat This Summer-Brad Paisley (Arista)

It is a very good, very entertaining record. And I guess we’re on the start of a new trend here, using a choir for the “ohhhh,ohhhh,ohhh” accents in the arrangement. McGraw made excellent use of it in his new album. I expect a strong performance on the airplay charts and digital sales and all that. Still, there ain’t no reason it needs to be four minutes long. And that’s an edit. I’m barkin’ at the moon here, but lemme go way back for an example. Summer ’67, Light My Fire is a monster hit on the radio. It’s 2:57. On the album, it’s seven minutes. The single pushes demand for the album. Now it ain’t yet an album buying marketplace, but that song by The Doors did it’s part in pushing more and more consumers towards the big vinyl. There weren’t no “album” rock stations at the moment. The desire for “the long versions” of songs created first a cult, then a movement, then a whole new juiced up revenue stream for the record companies. Sgt. Pepper’s came that summer, too and the Beatles chose not to release any track as a single. Quite the dramatic, game-changing move. Still, for decades following, the three-minute single ruled, as it should. That is long enough. If it is a hit record, still a lot of people are ho-hum about it. It’s just part of the mix for them, a guest at the party. And there are always some who flat out don’t like it. This is true with every record. So, let’s figure: it’s a big record and maybe 40% of the audience is wild about it. That means 60% can either take-it or leave-it or else don’t care for it at all. Sitting through a three minute record they’re not in love with is asking 25% less of them than sitting through a four minute one. Look at it another way. A radio single is a Sales Tool. An Advertisement To Buy. I’m not a nazi about it, I give’em some leeway. 3:15, 3:20, fine. But four minutes mostly belongs in concert, not on the air. The notion that this position is from ancient times and no longer applies is head-in-sand thinking. The American attention span today is far FAR shorter than it was when the average radio single was under three minutes. What has changed is that smart record guys in the past realized shorter records got them more spins, more impressions on the radio.

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SteveO

I am one of the pioneers of the Hot Country format that swept across radio in the late 80's. In the early 80’s, I began advising his clients to make two significant formatting moves: 1) Increase the tempo. 2) Play more Currents. What seemed radical at the time, immediately producing ratings winners. My report about the formatting tactics I was using "Repositioning Country Radio" was published in ‘91. It was purchased by more than 200 radio programmers and served as a basic game plan for the Hot Country movement. Today, most radio markets have at least one station positioning itself as “Hot” Country. However, I no longer advise using the slogan anymore. As the format continues to evolve rapidly, new strategies are needed to maintain market share. First announcing job in '64; first PD position at age 18. I served as PD, air talent and station manager in twelve diverse markets prior to starting my consulting business in 1981. At the end of the 90's, I began transitioning from consulting to full-time business development of my music scheduling software company. Conceived and developed the first for the Macintosh computer, introduced in 1987; and Music1™, the first scheduler for Windows, introduced in 1994. The Mac-based scheduler was retired in the early 90s. The innovative Music 1 scheduler is now installed in broadcast and webcast stations around the world. Author of The Programming Operations Manual, radio's only step by step "how to" programming and formatting guide. The $99 book has been purchased by over 3000 broadcasters in the U. S. and around the world. I've often written about the technical, strategic and philosophical aspects of radio programing. My articles have appeared in all major trade publications. Experienced in all standard radio research methodologies; focus group, one-on-one interviews, questionnaires, call-out, etc. From jingles to TV production, billboard and bumper sticker design, telemarketing to direct mail, I've been involved in every aspect of radio programming and marketing.