Aussie Radio Stations Shorten Songs To Adapt To Modern Attention Spans

Written by Greg Moskovitch on 11th August, 2014

Aussie Radio Stations Shorten Songs To Adapt To Modern Attention Spans

Australian radio stations are set to adopt a new music format “within the next six months,” which will reportedly double the amount of music slotted into each hour of broadcast time. The novel format, pioneered in the US and known as Quickhitz, does this by cutting the songs’ running time in half.

This simple change in format has been successful across North America, with Calgary’s AMP 90.3 the latest to convert to the Quickhitz format. The Canadian broadcaster’s usual playlist of Top 40 hits will now be edited down to two-minute “snippets” to ensure their listeners don’t “get bored.”

According to the Financial Post, Quickhitz allows AMP to play 24 songs per hour, as opposed to the usual 11 played by other stations. According to a statement from the broadcaster, they’re “redefining how conventional stations play music as it adapts to our ever so short attention spans.”

However, fans in fear of missing out on their favourite hook or bridge should look at the upside of the Quickhitz format – it also applies to ad time. With the songs cut in half, the radio industry standard of 12 minutes of commercials has been shortened to just nine minutes in three-minute blocks.

Besides, according to Hillary Hommy, vice-president of brands and networks at Sparknet Communications, the Vancouver consultancy that developed Quickhitz, “A lot of people can’t detect the music has been edited,” and in some cases, the songs used were already radio edits.

Since launching Stateside in September, Quickhitz has experienced major growth across the sector and it’s making its way over to Australia and Great Britain soon. Though it may face some opposition from purists, NewCap Radio programmer Steve Jones says there’s no reason for music fans to fret.

“When you think about why songs are the length they are it goes back to the ’50s and ’60s,” Jones recently told the Calgary Herald. “And here we are 60 years in the future where every medium — TV, print, obviously Internet — everything is being revolutionised and how content is being digested is changing. And radio has yet to question why things are the way they are,” he continued.

“As we look to people’s changing habits and changing attention spans and watch people on their iPod listening to half a song and forwarding on to the next one we sort of came to the conclusion that maybe it was time to rethink why songs are the way they were,” concluded Jones.


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