What is it about?

Music played by a radio station, or a playlist, is the main tool of differentiation in the competition for listeners. The article analyzes the differentiation strategies applied in music programming by major radio stations in targeting the youth and young adults in Finland. 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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Why is it important?

In Europe, there is an everlasting debate on the limits of public service broadcasting, We show that both public-service and commercial stations can apply a similar format of playing current hits only, but while the latter tend to provide a narrow choice of artists and acts, the former tend to show a significantly broader variety of choice. Despite a common format, the stations differ radically from each other.


The article is a fertile cooperation of two researchers with a professional background in the media. One of the two authors has a long experience as Head of Music on several radio stations in Finland while the other author has a background in arts journalism and TV and radio reviewing. In this article, we could combine our inside information of the industry with our academic interests.

Heikki Hellman
Tampere University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Public service hit radio? Playlists and product differentiation in the competition for listeners, Radio Journal International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media, April 2017, Intellect,
DOI: 10.1386/rjao.15.1.27_1.
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