Station Formats:



I've decided to standardize the format descriptions on all of the pages. A simplified version of the format list that companies like Billboard and BRS Radio Directory use will be employed here.

Rock
A general catch-all format that includes bands from modern rock, metal, 80's rock and 70's rock subformats. Generally rock stations feature a wide playlist and may go from KoRn to Bachman-Turner Overdrive in the same set.  May be referred to as Album-Oriented-Rock or AOR.
Modern Rock
Playlists emphasize the more modern, mainstream rock acts like Matchbox 20, Cake and the like but may also occasional metal or 80's rock. Stations with this format often mix in new wave 80's bands or showcase them in a seperate show.
Classic Rock
This format highlights rock'n'roll bands from the 70's, and often includes rock mainstays from the 80's and early 90's. The playlist is somewhat narrow, generally, and these stations sometimes offer "theme days" like Two-For-Tuesday and Weekend Rock Blocks.  Stations usually shy away from more heavy rock from decades past Poison and Kiss.
Country
A general catch-all name that includes mainstream country artists and older, more classic country artists too. Within this site, Country will be used to designate country format stations that may or may not fit into other country-related catagories.
Classic Country
This format highlights country hits of yesteryear by artists like Alabama and Johnny Cash.  Classic country stations often play old country tunes that you cannot hear on mainstream country stations.  Sometimes these stations may have bluegrass or dixieland shows, too.
Mainstream Country
Probably the nation's most popular format, mainstream country, has a tight playlist designed to play the most popular songs a lot. Mainstream country stations rarely go back beyond the early 90's when picking songs. Artists included in this format are Garth Brooks and LeAnn Rimes.
Adult Contemporary (AC)
This is something of another "catch-all" format because it borrows music from rock and other formats. Music on these stations can range from hot top 40 music to borderline easy listening or soft rock.  Some country crossover artists can be heard on some stations.  Some stations mix in pop hits from the 80's and 70's.  Artists range from Elton John to John Tesh to the Backstreet Boys to Sheryl Crow.
Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR)
Similar to adult contemporary, only they throw out all the sleepy stuff that typical AC stations are notorious for. Emphasis is on current modern rock, pop and R & B hits. Sometimes referred to Top 40, Hot AC or Rhythmic.  Some stations may play more dance-oriented songs as well.
Soft Adult Contemporary (Soft AC)
Just the opposite of Hot AC, this format emphasizes softer hits from current and past artists.  Stations sometimes feature love songs or instrumentals along with other artists.
Easy Listening
Take what little pulse is left in Soft AC and toss it out the window and you've got Easy Listening.  No upbeat songs in this format; music is designed to relax and sooth listeners. A hodgepodge of music finds it's way on air with this format. Everything from the great singers of the 50's and past to big band to 70's lighter contemporary to modern instrumentals.  Think elevator music.
Talk/News
Talk stations play little or no music. Their main programming consists of interactive radio where listeners and hosts alike debate various hot topics.  Stations with this format designation in the ABMP lists may also play occasional sports talk shows or carry sporting events and also usually have up to date news on the hour or half hour.  Programs may be topical, political or just for entertainment.  Entertainment programs include the Don and Mike show and Howard Stern, politcal shows include Rush Limbaugh and Tom Leykis, topical shows include Judy Jarvis and Art Bell.
Sports Talk
Like Talk/News stations only there might not be any real news to speak of and all of the programming is sports related.  Programming is usually more localized than most Talk/News stations, but does include some syndicated shows like The Fabulous Sports Babe and the Greaseman.
Oldies
Top 40 hits from the late 50's through the mid-70's.  Some oldies format stations play some rock from the early and mid-70's as well.
Classical
Stations under this format usually play parts or full-length versions of compositions from the world's great composers.  The majority of these stations are noncommercial and also carry a public radio feed like PRI or NPR.
Jazz
Similar to Classical format stations, jazz outlets are usually public and carry similar public radio programming as classical outlets. Stations under the jazz moniker can range from traditional jazz to "lite jazz" stations that are almost exclusively contemporary jazz and vocals stations.
Black Adult Contemporary
Similar to regular adult contemporary only African-American artists are highlighed. Stations usually offer up a smorgasboard of artists from other subformats like lite jazz, R & B and soul.  Toni Braxton and Luther Vandross come to mind. Stations also usually have some gospel programming on weekends and often mix in black oldies from the 70's and early 80's.  Sometimes referred to as urban adult contemporary.
Black Contemporary
Sometimes referred to as urban contemporary, this format includes modern African-American hit music from catagories like hip-hop, R & B and rap. Sometimes these stations have old school shows highlighting 80's artists.  You'll probably hear artists like Brandy, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Master P.
Black Oldies
Like the regular oldies format only tailored to highlight African-American artists from the 50's through the 70's. May also include more bluesy music, soul and R & B.
Religious
Another catch-all name, used to desgnate stations with unknown forms of religious programming, but also stations known to play a diverse mix of programs. These stations can be found at the commercial and noncommercial ends of the dial and usually mix in religiously oriented music with talk or spoken work programs.  This format name covers pretty much all denominations of all religious sects.
Contemporary Christian
Contemporary music in any one of the aforementioned music formats can be heard on these stations...  Some may play more gospel, some may play more alternative christian music. These stations usually also mix in talk and spoken word programs. They are often found in the commercial band.
Miscellaneous
Other format names will be used from time to time in the lists when none of the above will do.  Examples include "agricultural", a designation that means the station mainly focuses on news and information that farmers desire; "community", which designates a station that usually is totally locally run with local only programming in any number of diverse formats; "all news", which is nothing but news around the clock with only occasional sports or talk programs; "public radio", which is a catch-all for stations that are in the noncommercial band, non-religious in nature and may be either jazz or classical; "big band/standards", features big band music of the 40's and the great singers of years gone by; "gospel", which is almost exclusively black religious music and programming.

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