Music musts: Radio playlisting – the most important factor

Music musts: Radio playlisting – the most important factor
By Jonathan Duguid

By Jonathan Duguid

I grew up listening to radio, and have worked in radio for 13 years now, having presented shows in community radio, campus radio, and (currently) commercial radio; and a question I am often asked is, “What kinda music are you allowed to play?” There is no short answer to this question, as there are many factors that result in music being playlisted on radio; however, I can say that the most crucial factor is that of quality.

I have also come to realise that often there is a misconception about what music will and won’t be playlisted on a radio station, where people believe that in order to get air-play you must sound commercial. I can’t stress enough how incorrect this misconception is.
Having said that, I don’t deny that commercial sounding music has being doing well over the past few years, and does take up a great bulk of tracks given air-time, it is not the be all and end all, and never has been.

Truth be told, a lot of commercial tracks are very slickly put together with quality production, and that’s why they’re playlisted. But then again, a lot of non-commercial tracks that have that same amount of sleekness and quality in production also end up on-air, in fact, I’ve noticed that over the past few years, more and more non-commercial tunes are being belted out on radio stations across the country.

At the moment, some of my favourite artists (who don’t make commercial music) are lighting up the radio scene big time! Musicians such as Jeremy Loops, who’s songs ‘Power’ and ‘Mission to the Sun (Howling)’ have had some awesome airplay; The Kiffness, who have done a really cool song with Matthew Gold called ‘Where are you Going?’; Jarrad Ricketts who had the hit, ‘Stay’, Matthew Mole and his iTunes-topping, ‘Autumn’; Jimmy Nevis with his new track, ‘Balloons’, which features Kwesta Mr Cool; and that’s just on the local front. If you want to talk international, there’s Lorde and her big one, ‘Royals’; Bastille, who’ve had a few big hits after ‘Pompeii’; and Lana Del Rey, who’s taken the world by storm.

In a nutshell, the most important factor for music wanting radio airplay is that it has got to be quality.
Speaking of quality, there are some very quality acts performing gigs this weekend, that you really shouldn’t miss!
This Friday, at Brewhoo Diner, 150 Albert Road, Woodstock, there’s going to be an acoustic music session by Josh Roxton, as well as an art exhibition by Ariel Two3 and burlesque dancing from Miss Sophia Von Syren. It all kicks-off at 7.30pm.
On Saturday October 26, Matthew Mole and Jimmy Nevis are performing at the Fairmont Festival, at Fairmont High in Durbanville. Mole’s up first at 1pm, and Nevis will be on-stage at 3pm. Tickets ate R40 each, and available at
Also on Saturday, The Graeme Watkins Project, will be in Cape Town to launch their new album , ‘Soldier On’. It’ll all take place from 9pm at Mercury Live. The cover charge is R50.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out Prime Circle at the Hillcrest Quarry Wine Estate in Durbanville on Sunday October 27. It starts early, at 2pm, and tickets, that are available at Computicket, are R150 for general, and R250 for golden circle.

Twitter: @theDramaKing