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Public service hit radio? Playlists and product differentiation in the competition for listeners

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Since the 1960s, public service broadcasters have attempted to meet the demand for music by young listeners. As commercial radio offerings have expanded, and as public broadcasters are monitored more closely than before, the question arises as to what degree and in which ways public service radio should differ from commercially formatted stations. This article analyses the differentiation strategies applied in music programming by major radio stations in targeting youth and young adults in Finland. Employing a multi-measure approach in the analysis of the content, the results confirm that YleX, a popular music station of the public broadcaster YLE, differs significantly from its major commercial rivals Energy and The Voice. The article argues that even a radio station focusing on the latest hits can fulfil a public service mission.
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Keywords: Yleisradio; commercial radio; playlists; public service; radio competition; radio music

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Tampere 2: Freelance researcher

Publication date: April 1, 2017

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  • The Radio Journal is committed to high-quality, diverse research in the arena of radio and sound media, from broadcast to podcast and all in between. We look for articles that explore the production, circulation and reception of radio and creative soundwork, addressing historical and contemporary issues in sound-based journalism and media studies from a wide range of national and transnational perspectives.
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