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Too hot for Hot AC or why I need your help – Andre’s Production Diary

27th January 2013 - General - , , , , ,

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Hey guys, it’s Andre.

Working in a radio imaging service team is a great thing, because I never have to stick to one format or genre. I am able to create work parts for any kind of radio format, style or genre. Pop, Dance Music, Hip Hop, Rock, Classic Hits, Country and much more, almost every format has its preferred music styles when it comes to imaging, but I’m really struggling with the word ‘Pop’. It seems that Pop itself is getting more and more electronic and hotter.

I hear Hot AC stations playing Swedish House Mafia and Pitbull back to back with Pink and Christina Perri. You can hear driving Electro beats alternating with a soft Bruno Mars love song. The most variety’, like many stations call it and it’s true, the songs range from soft to hot, but what about the imaging?

How hot should Hot AC be imaged? Does it really need Dubstep wobbles or do you just want guitars + bass like Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson have it in their songs?

How much is enough and how to handle the variety when it comes to imaging? – I’d love to hear your opinion as imaging directors / radio guys.

Let me know, what you think. What’s too hot for Hot AC imaging what do you guys need when it comes to image Hot AC?

Just comment below or send a mail to blog@benztown.com

Thank you and have a great weekend.

  • Ed LaCombReply

    Wow...lots of answers to this question and it all depends upon the station's programming team and their desire. We have seen the full range of ultra simple (designed to go over intros) to almost CHR with plenty of layers to peel away....and everything in between. As you point out...the music is now wider and more varied....and so are the imaging styles. My adage has always been: Let the imaging lead the sound. It SHOULD be the hippest thing on the station. But also, keep that tighter core demo in mind. And...has anyone given thought to dayparting the imaging?

    28th January 2013
  • JoReply

    Hi Andre, I'm facing this problem badly recently.
    I only work as a producer for in a Chinese radio station and I'm still experiment with the station. We have different variety of playlist, 60-70% of ballad/slow R&B Chinese songs, other than that we have English pop like Katy Perry to K-pop hits like Big Bang which has dubstep elements recently. I usually follow the instrumental that sounds similar to the playlist in that hour on daytime, breakfast to drive time has more "acoustic pop" feel, electro/synth sounds too heavy for the station especially when the sweepers pop up between slow ballads (when programming do not choose the proper sweepers). I pick heavier beats for daily K-pop show at night. Not sure does this way works?

    19th February 2013
    • Benztown BrandingReply

      Hi Jo,

      Creating different Sweepers and other imaging elements according to the various shows sounds like a good way to handle that problem. At NRJ in Germany, we started to tag our elements to describe them as 'hot', 'soft', 'fast', 'slow', 'electric', etc..., so programmers can find the ideal elements for the different styles of music.

      Hope I could help you with that.

      Thanks for your comment and have a great day,


      19th February 2013
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