Programming

Are Heart Becoming More Hit Music, And Turning Up The Feel Good Hits?

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4 minutes read

You would have to be living under a rock to not notice a change of heart (pardon the pun). They’ve stepped away from your mum’s favourite station to put on whilst ironing. But are they becoming a somewhat ‘hit music station’?

Old music logs and new music logs

Let us take a look back to February 2017, when it was announced they were going to drop their ‘More Music Variety’ strapline after it had served for 21 years.

It was a smart choice to swap it to ‘Turn Up The Feelgood’ because that’s exactly what they did.

Using AirplayAnalyzer, we can find a music log for the Heart Network from the 1st February 2017…

Minute by minute list of songs played on Heart FM between 01-02-2017 and 01-02-2017 on all days during 06:00 and 07:00.

 

Not only is there a huge amount of 80s songs that you wouldn’t hear now, you can clearly see there’s a much older demographic in mind when you look at this music log.

Now let’s take a look at a music log from quite recently using AirplayAnalyzer.

This log was from the 8th May 2018, and as you can see there are no 80s songs, very few 90s songs, and a lot more hits that would have been considered far too heavy previously.

Minute by minute list of songs played on Heart FM between 08-05-2018 and 08-05-2018 on all days during 11:00 and 12:00.

 

It’s interesting to see the sheer shift of demographic undertaken by Heart. I often consider songs like ‘Starships’ and ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ to be heavy hitting songs. Certainly not for your 53-year-old mother whilst she does the ironing in the front lounge.

I picked up on these changes on 1st January 2018 after the Christmas break. It was a very noticeable change and I’m surprised I didn’t see more of a backlash on various Heart social media channels, with listeners complaining they’ve stopped playing 80s music.

Higher CHR rotations

Artist separation and vocalist separation have almost been reduced as much as Capital, with Heart spinning their core artists almost every hour (I’ve clocked Pink playing almost every hour).

Their A-List hits are coming around as much as Capital too, with ‘These Days’ playing every 2 hours, a typical CHR high rotation.

Top 50 songs played on Heart FM from 14-02-2018 to 14-05-2018

 

Top 50 songs played on Capital FM from 14-02-2018 to 14-05-2018

It’s clear to see that Global like to make sure each station ‘owns’ the track. The number of spins in a rolling quarter will still be lower on Heart, than Capital. You won’t hear brand new music on Heart until it has hit the Top 40, whereas Capital like to make it hit the Top 40.

It is still very interesting to see the number of spins Heart give their biggest hits though. Take a look at ‘Feel It Still’ by Portugal the Man. Both stations played this song nearly as much as each other within the last quarter.

Unique and shared songs

It got me thinking, just how unique are the songs now on the two brands? It is obvious Capital will still get away with the more urban hits like NF, Drake and even the more dance-oriented tracks. But just how many tracks do they really share?

Overlap in Music database on Capital FM and Heart FM played between 07-05-2018 and 14-05-2018 during 00:00 and 23:00

 

It’s interesting to see that, in the past week, they’ve only shared 10 songs between the two stations. Whilst Heart is really starting to feel younger, and more hit music, Global has done a fantastic job at making sure the brands really are separate.

They’ve also made sure that the on-air team at Heart aren’t forced into a strict CHR format either, even if it feels the music has. Using AirplayAnalyzer, we can see the percentage of music and talk between the two brands across the last rolling week…

Content balance trend day by day on Capital FM (07-05-2018-14-05-2018, 00:00-23:00)

 

Content balance trend day by day on Heart FM (07-05-2018-14-05-2018, 00:00-23:00)

 

As you can see from the graphs above, Heart is still playing less music within the hour and talking more. This could be the solution to the graph above about the amount of spins the hits are getting. The rotations are about the same (2 hours separation), but Capital burn through the songs faster by playing more an hour.

I’m not normally an analytics type of guy, but I’ve had real fun writing this article. I’ve been using AirplayAnalyzer, who I recently wrote an article about here, for it all. Let me know your thoughts on some of the above. Are Heart becoming more hit music?

Producer Jamie
Jamie has worked in almost every role within the commercial radio industry. He's been a music scheduler, website content editor + designer, the head of social media and more recently breakfast show producer.
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