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The art (or lack thereof) of repeating songs on the radio

The latest radio news from Austria is a bit unexpected. The other day one Joe Kohlhofer, a morning show host on the Antenne Kärnten hits radio station, barricaded himself in his studio and played Wham’s Last Christmas no less than 24 times.

Even if you don’t speak German, you can pick up people calling in and begging Kohlhofer to stop. Finally his daughter added her voice to the collective pleading. This apparently ended the ordeal, which went on for almost two hours.

It was obviously a stunt, but it raises an interesting question: when is it appropriate to repeat a song on a radio show? If you really want to hear the same tune over and over you have Spotify (back in the 20th century you had the Juke Box). In what contexts should songs be repeated on the radio now?

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3 Responses to The art (or lack thereof) of repeating songs on the radio

  1. Ben December 21, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

    I’m probably biased having cut my teeth at WCBN, but it was absolutely appropriate when Ken Freedman played Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party” for 24 hours straight following the election of Ronald Reagan.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/WCBN-FM

    Like in music, repetition can play an important role in conveying an idea or emotion. Whether it’s in sampling or quoting parts of other songs. That said, repetition is not a substitute for substance. Sure, someone could do it themselves on Spotify, but the somewhat dictatorial nature of radio is arguably one of its strong points. Just don’t expect it to draw crowds; with great power comes great responsibility.

  2. RK Henderson December 22, 2015 at 12:59 am #

    Moot question for Net radio, at least in the US; repeating songs is illegal for American webcasters. (Fun fact.)

    RK Henderson
    Net Radio Blog

  3. Paul Riismandel December 23, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    Good point, RK! However, I wonder how many terrestrial stations actually worry too much about that prohibition. To the best of my knowledge there hasn’t been any sort of action taken against a broadcaster for violating these (stupid and outdated) terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Have you heard of any such actions?

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