Don Henley on radio
Fri Feb 20 17:33:01 EST 2004

The earlier posts are correct.  DJ's choosing their own music went away with the payola scandal of 1960.  

Stations doing call-out and auditorium testing became the norm in the early 80's, and playlists reflected what listeners really wanted to hear.  Almost without exception the stations that executed this best are the ones that were most successful.  

The DJ...known these days as the Air not hired for his or her ability to choose songs.  The ability to perform on the air is the criteria.  When a hire is made it's a casting decision.  

It's no different in television or movies.  The actor does not decide who lives or dies and who gets the girl at the end.  The actor performs the lines and breathes life into them.  A great radio Air Talent does the same thing with liners.

What Henley just doesn't get is that corporations do not dictate playlists.  Certainly not in major markets.  Stations go to great pains to put together their own playlists with the aim of playing what their own listeners want to hear.  True, labels can hype an artist onto the charts (Clay Aiken being a great example) but the listeners are the ones who ultimately decide what gets played.

When an artist isn't getting airplay it's usually due to a lack of listener votes...either for the artist or for the stations where they do get airplay.       

Don Henley's album "Inside Job" got little airplay.  This was not due to any corporate conspiracy, it was because the album wasn't that good. 

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