It’s Not The Radio, It’s Just The Game

A Hot 97 interview took a heated turn as B. Dot, an editor at RapRadar, insinuated radio personalities get paid to boost records. Whether or not you agree with him, it’s a common opinion among underground fans who argue mainstream music erodes the culture as DJ’s allow money to dictate their music rotations. The playing field became unfair and so the listeners and lesser known artists were left struggling. Ebro, the program director at HOT 97, before he spirals out of control, breaks down the mechanics at radio stations. There’s a formula based on song statistics that determines which music gets played to best maximize the radio station’s output. It has nothing to do with the DJ’s turning a profit by being selective.

It’s a subtle yet important moment for the culture. Hip-Hop fans pelt radio stations for their musical selection, but it ‘s rarely the DJ’s choice. In certain cases the music is hand-selected by the DJ. But, those are moments far removed from prime time slots. Mostly, the radio must appeal to the masses, the casual listeners, underground heads and everyone in-between. It’s not their fault some of your favorite artists don’t make music everyone enjoys or that fits the general audience. The reasons vary. Even still, there are many sites catered to damn near any playlist preference; as Ebro calls it, fragmentation, music siphons through different mediums these days. You can always find what you like somewhere else.

So, it’s time we hopped off radio’s back and stopped complaining about their selection. There’s much more involved in their operation than we know. And at least in the case of Hot 97, we can finally brush off the Payola rumors.

Here’s part 1 if you want to watch: