Another Way To Do Top 40

This column originally appeared on Edison Research’s “The Infinite Dial” blog on October 1, 2007

One of my frustrations with Top 40 in the last few years is that there seem to be only two musical models for the format. The large-market stations lean heavily to the rhythmic side, with only one or two rock records–usually teen punk. The others are essentially Adult Top 40s, faster on rock but with almost no rhythm. It’s hard to find a Top 40 station that emphasizes active/reaction records, but looks for them on both the Rock and Rhythmic side.

For that reason, I’ve always liked WZKL (Q92) Canton, Ohio. Q92 shares the “early on rock” distinction with WIXX Green Bay, Wis., and Sirius Hits 1. But it also goes futher on the rhythm side. Q92 definitely isn’t in any danger of being mistaken for AC–it’s playing Kid Rock’s “So Hott” right now. It has also played Buckcherry’s “Crazy Bitch” and Nickelback’s “Animal.” (It also played “Rockstar” when it was a Rock hit last year.) But it also plays Baby Bash and Soulja Boy.

It is, in short, another way of doing Top 40–perhaps the most venerable one. (The only other station they could possibly be compared to is WEZB (B97) New Orleans.) And for all the stations that bill themselves these days as “all the hits,” here’s one that definitely plays all the hits.

Q92 didn’t stream until relatively recently, but they are streaming now and worth checking out.

And here’s the station this afternoon at 2:45 p.m.:

  • Kanye West, “Stronger”
  • Nickelback, “Far Away”
  • Britney Spears, “Gimme More”
  • Augustana, “Boston”
  • Rob Base & DJ EZ-Rock, “Joy & Pain”
  • Pink, “Who Knew”
  • Matchbox Twenty, “How Far We’ve Come”
  • Jordin Sparks, “Tattoo”
  • Timbaland, “The Way I Are”
  • Daughtry, “Home”
  • Paramore, “Misery Business”
  • Avril Lavigne, “Gone”
  • Three Days Grace, “Never Too Late”

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Sean Ross is author of the Ross on Radio newsletter and VP of music and programming of Edison Research.

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