Revisiting the 102.1 The Edge Playlist

Radio Last June, I took a closer look at the Edge 102.1 playlist. I was curious how many different songs were in rotation at CFNY. While I was crunching the numbers, I assigned each song a label: New, Recent or Classic Alternative.

A comment from egerton on my 102.1 The Edge's top 102 songs of 2008 entry piqued my interest. Egerton said they "put a whack of '80s and '90s songs back in rotation." A visit to the 102.1 the Edge playlist page did reveal a lot of 90s music, so I took every song they played today and did a little analysis.

New: I labelled a song new if it was new to the playlist in 2008. Yes, I was pretty generous with this label.

Recent: I created this category to cover songs that aren't exactly Classic Alternative but also aren't new. Songs less than five years old were labelled as "recent".

Classic Alternative: This covers the "golden oldies" CFNY likes to play. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, U2, Beastie Boys, STP, etc. Songs older than five years, essentially.

Here are the songs with their assigned labels. After the chart, I'll hit you up with some stats.

2:38 PM "YELLOW" - COLDPLAY CLASSIC ALT
2:35 PM "LOST!" - COLDPLAY NEW
2:31 PM "TURN YOUR BACK" - BILLY TALENT FEAT. ANTI-FLAG NEW
2:27 PM "TRY HONESTY" - BILLY TALENT RECENT
2:22 PM "MAN IN THE BOX" - ALICE IN CHAINS CLASSIC ALT
2:19 PM "WOULD" - ALICE IN CHAINS CLASSIC ALT
2:11 PM "LITTLE BONES" - THE TRAGICALLY HIP CLASSIC ALT
2:07 PM "BLOW AT HIGH DOUGH" - THE TRAGICALLY HIP CLASSIC ALT
2:03 PM "COME OUT AND PLAY (KEEP 'EM SEPARATED)" - OFFSPRING CLASSIC ALT
2:00 PM "YOU'RE GONNA GO FAR, KID" - OFFSPRING NEW
1:56 PM "LOSER" - BECK CLASSIC ALT
1:53 PM "ABOVE" - FINGER ELEVEN CLASSIC ALT
1:48 PM "SOMETIME AROUND MIDNIGHT" - AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT NEW
1:43 PM "SWEET CHILD O' MINE" - GUNS N' ROSES CLASSIC ALT
1:36 PM "THE KILLER" - MOBILE NEW
1:30 PM "ALIVE" - PEARL JAM CLASSIC ALT
1:27 PM "NOT READY TO GO" - TREWS CLASSIC ALT
1:24 PM "SEX ON FIRE" - KINGS OF LEON NEW
1:21 PM "STILL WAITING" - SUM 41 CLASSIC ALT
1:18 PM "RE-EDUCATION (THROUGH LABOR)" - RISE AGAINST NEW
1:11 PM "GUERRILLA RADIO" - RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CLASSIC ALT
1:08 PM "CIVIL TWILIGHT" - WEAKERTHANS NEW
1:03 PM "EVERLONG" - FOO FIGHTERS CLASSIC ALT
1:01 PM "WANNABE IN LA" - EAGLES OF DEATH METAL NEW
12:58 PM "SANTERIA" - SUBLIME CLASSIC ALT
12:54 PM "BULLET WITH BUTTERFLY WINGS" - SMASHING PUMPKINS CLASSIC ALT
12:47 PM "SHEEP GO TO HEAVEN" - CAKE CLASSIC ALT
12:42 PM "BREATHE" - MOIST CLASSIC ALT
12:38 PM "NO RAIN" - BLIND MELON CLASSIC ALT
12:35 PM "BRAIN STEW" - GREEN DAY CLASSIC ALT
12:30 PM "VASOLINE" - STONE TEMPLE PILOTS CLASSIC ALT
12:26 PM "WAKE ME" - RUSTY CLASSIC ALT
12:22 PM "ASKING FOR IT" - HOLE CLASSIC ALT
12:18 PM "LITHIUM" - NIRVANA CLASSIC ALT
12:11 PM "THE IMPRESSION THAT I GET" - MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES CLASSIC ALT
12:05 PM "YELLOW LEDBETTER" - PEARL JAM CLASSIC ALT
12:00 PM "HANG TEN" - EDWIN CLASSIC ALT
11:56 AM "THE SHOCK OF THE LIGHTNING" - OASIS NEW
11:53 AM "GIRLS" - BEASTIE BOYS CLASSIC ALT
11:49 AM "SLEEPING SICKNESS" - CITY AND COLOUR NEW
11:44 AM "JEREMY" - PEARL JAM CLASSIC ALT
11:41 AM "CATH..." - DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE NEW
11:34 AM "SO FAR SO GOOD" - THORNLEY RECENT
11:31 AM "TROUBLEMAKER" - WEEZER NEW
11:26 AM "700 FT. CEILING" - THE TRAGICALLY HIP CLASSIC ALT
11:23 AM "YOU'RE GONNA GO FAR, KID" - OFFSPRING NEW
11:20 AM "OH, THE BOSS IS COMING!" - ARKELLS NEW
11:17 AM "THE GOOD LEFT UNDONE" - RISE AGAINST NEW
11:11 AM "WALLS FALL DOWN" - BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH RECENT
11:07 AM "IN THE END" - LINKIN PARK CLASSIC ALT
11:03 AM "AMERICAN WOMAN" - LENNY KRAVITZ CLASSIC ALT
10:59 AM "SEX ON FIRE" - KINGS OF LEON NEW
10:56 AM "ABOUT A GIRL" - NIRVANA CLASSIC ALT
10:53 AM "PAPER PLANES" - M.I.A. NEW
10:49 AM "LEARN TO FLY" - FOO FIGHTERS CLASSIC ALT
10:44 AM "STARSEED" - OUR LADY PEACE CLASSIC ALT
10:40 AM "HUMAN" - KILLERS NEW
10:32 AM "ULYSSES" - FRANZ FERDINAND NEW
10:29 AM "ARIEL VS. LOTUS" - LIMBLIFTER CLASSIC ALT
10:26 AM "WANNABE IN LA" - EAGLES OF DEATH METAL NEW (R)
10:23 AM "HOLLOWPOINT SNIPER HYPERBOLE" - USS NEW
10:19 AM "INTERGALACTIC" - BEASTIE BOYS CLASSIC ALT
10:14 AM "BEING HERE" - STILLS NEW
10:09 AM "GIVE IT AWAY" - RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS CLASSIC ALT
10:05 AM "WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD PEOPLE GONE" - SAM ROBERTS RECENT
10:00 AM "KIDS" - MGMT NEW
9:46 AM "IN TOO DEEP" - SUM 41 CLASSIC ALT
9:42 AM "SLEEPING SICKNESS" - CITY AND COLOUR NEW (R)
9:25 AM "EVERYTHING IS AUTOMATIC" - MATTHEW GOOD BAND CLASSIC ALT
9:21 AM "VIVA LA VIDA" - COLDPLAY NEW
9:15 AM "ONE MORE ASTRONAUT" - I.M.E. CLASSIC ALT
9:03 AM "YOU'RE GONNA GO FAR, KID" - OFFSPRING NEW (R)
8:45 AM "SEX ON FIRE" - KINGS OF LEON NEW (R)
8:36 AM "ANIMAL I HAVE BECOME" - THREE DAYS GRACE RECENT
8:23 AM "JUDITH" - A PERFECT CIRCLE CLASSIC ALT
8:19 AM "BETTER MAN" - PEARL JAM CLASSIC ALT
8:03 AM "WANNABE IN LA" - EAGLES OF DEATH METAL NEW (R)
7:46 AM "KIDS" - MGMT NEW (R)
7:36 AM "BROTHER DOWN" - SAM ROBERTS CLASSIC ALT
7:19 AM "BLEED IT OUT" - LINKIN PARK RECENT
7:15 AM "DAUGHTER" - PEARL JAM CLASSIC ALT
6:59 AM "SLEEPING SICKNESS" - CITY AND COLOUR NEW (R)
6:54 AM "KILLING IN THE NAME" - RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CLASSIC ALT
6:37 AM "SEX ON FIRE" - KINGS OF LEON NEW (R)
6:28 AM "FAT LIP" - SUM 41 CLASSIC ALT
6:16 AM "RIVER BELOW" - BILLY TALENT RECENT
6:12 AM "RE-EDUCATION (THROUGH LABOR)" - RISE AGAINST NEW (R)
6:00 AM "YOU'RE GONNA GO FAR, KID" - OFFSPRING NEW (R)
5:57 AM "DISCIPLINE" - NINE INCH NAILS NEW
5:35 AM "NOTHING ELSE MATTERS" - METALLICA CLASSIC ALT
5:33 AM "WANNABE IN LA" - EAGLES OF DEATH METAL NEW (R)
5:26 AM "SONG 2" - BLUR CLASSIC ALT
5:22 AM "HOLIDAY" - GREEN DAY CLASSIC ALT
5:19 AM "ALL EMPIRES FALL" - WAKING EYES NEW
5:14 AM "SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY" - U2 CLASSIC ALT
5:08 AM "CATH..." - DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE NEW
5:06 AM "FELL IN LOVE WITH A GIRL" - WHITE STRIPES CLASSIC ALT
5:00 AM "KIDS" - MGMT NEW (R)
4:57 AM "BLEED IT OUT" - LINKIN PARK RECENT (R)
4:54 AM "LAST KISS" - PEARL JAM CLASSIC ALT
4:50 AM "THE SHOCK OF THE LIGHTNING" - OASIS NEW (R)
4:46 AM "BELIEVE IN ME" - SLOAN NEW
4:42 AM "LOSE YOURSELF" - EMINEM CLASSIC ALT
4:36 AM "SUNDAY MORNING" - K-OS RECENT
4:33 AM "TROUBLEMAKER" - WEEZER NEW
4:29 AM "SLEEPING SICKNESS" - CITY AND COLOUR NEW (R)
4:22 AM "PARADISE CITY" - GUNS N' ROSES CLASSIC ALT
4:18 AM "SOMETIME AROUND MIDNIGHT" - AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT NEW (R)
4:14 AM "TONIGHT, TONIGHT" - SMASHING PUMPKINS CLASSIC ALT
4:08 AM "YOUR ENGLISH IS GOOD" - TOKYO POLICE CLUB NEW
4:04 AM "UNDER THE BRIDGE" - RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS CLASSIC ALT
4:01 AM "SEX ON FIRE" - KINGS OF LEON NEW (R)
3:56 AM "HEAD LIKE A HOLE" - NINE INCH NAILS CLASSIC ALT
3:51 AM "HUMAN" - KILLERS NEW (R)
3:46 AM "SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT!" - NIRVANA CLASSIC ALT
3:43 AM "LOST!" - COLDPLAY NEW (R)
3:39 AM "INNOCENT" - OUR LADY PEACE CLASSIC ALT
3:36 AM "PAPER PLANES" - M.I.A. NEW (R)
3:30 AM "ALL THE SMALL THINGS" - BLINK-182 CLASSIC ALT
3:26 AM "AUDIENCE OF ONE" - RISE AGAINST NEW
3:23 AM "YOU'RE GONNA GO FAR, KID" - OFFSPRING NEW (R)
3:20 AM "ISLAND IN THE SUN" - WEEZER CLASSIC ALT
3:17 AM "HELP I'M ALIVE" - METRIC NEW
3:13 AM "LEARN TO FLY" - FOO FIGHTERS CLASSIC ALT (R)
3:07 AM "DO IT OR DIE" - DIE MANNEQUIN NEW
3:05 AM "WRONG WAY" - SUBLIME CLASSIC ALT
3:02 AM "NUMB" - LINKIN PARK CLASSIC ALT
3:00 AM "WANNABE IN LA" - EAGLES OF DEATH METAL NEW (R)
2:56 AM "VIOLET HILL" - COLDPLAY NEW
2:50 AM "FORTY SIX AND 2" - TOOL CLASSIC ALT
2:46 AM "EPIC" - FAITH NO MORE CLASSIC ALT
2:42 AM "AROUND THE WORLD" - RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS CLASSIC ALT
2:36 AM "SLEEP NOW IN THE FIRE" - RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CLASSIC ALT
2:31 AM "SEMI-CHARMED LIFE" - THIRD EYE BLIND CLASSIC ALT
2:27 AM "KIDS" - MGMT NEW (R)
2:23 AM "STOP!" - JANE'S ADDICTION CLASSIC ALT
2:18 AM "BLOWN WIDE OPEN" - BIG WRECK CLASSIC ALT
2:14 AM "MR. BRIGHTSIDE" - KILLERS CLASSIC ALT
2:08 AM "NO RAIN" - BLIND MELON CLASSIC ALT
2:05 AM "TEMPTATION" - TEA PARTY CLASSIC ALT
2:01 AM "SLEEPING SICKNESS" - CITY AND COLOUR NEW (R)
1:58 AM "WALLS FALL DOWN" - BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH RECENT (R)
1:55 AM "WHEN I COME AROUND" - GREEN DAY CLASSIC ALT
1:52 AM "ULYSSES" - FRANZ FERDINAND NEW (R)
1:46 AM "REBELLION (LIES)" - ARCADE FIRE CLASSIC ALT
1:40 AM "THE DAY THAT NEVER COMES" - METALLICA NEW
1:33 AM "DISSIDENT" - PEARL JAM CLASSIC ALT
1:29 AM "THE SHOCK OF THE LIGHTNING" - OASIS NEW (R)
1:25 AM "SEX ON FIRE" - KINGS OF LEON NEW (R)
1:21 AM "LAZY EYE" - SILVERSUN PICKUPS RECENT
1:18 AM "THE KILLER" - MOBILE NEW (R)
1:15 AM "DISARM" - SMASHING PUMPKINS CLASSIC ALT
1:08 AM "DISCIPLINE" - NINE INCH NAILS NEW (R)
1:07 AM "NATURE OF THE EXPERIMENT" - TOKYO POLICE CLUB RECENT
1:03 AM "TRIPPIN' ON A HOLE IN A PAPER HEART" - STONE TEMPLE PILOTS CLASSIC ALT
12:59 AM "YOU'RE GONNA GO FAR, KID" - OFFSPRING NEW (R)
12:56 AM "TROUBLEMAKER" - WEEZER NEW (R)
12:53 AM "COME AS YOU ARE" - NIRVANA CLASSIC ALT
12:49 AM "SOMETIME AROUND MIDNIGHT" - AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT NEW (R)
12:45 AM "CIVIL TWILIGHT" - WEAKERTHANS NEW (R)
12:42 AM "HITCHIN' A RIDE" - GREEN DAY CLASSIC ALT
12:36 AM "HELL SONG" - SUM 41 CLASSIC ALT
12:33 AM "BLEED IT OUT" - LINKIN PARK NEW (R)
12:31 AM "WANNABE IN LA" - EAGLES OF DEATH METAL NEW (R)
12:26 AM "DANI CALIFORNIA" - RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS RECENT
12:22 AM "HUMAN" - KILLERS NEW (R)
12:18 AM "KARMA POLICE" - RADIOHEAD CLASSIC ALT
12:11 AM "LOVE REMOVAL MACHINE" - CULT CLASSIC ALT
12:08 AM "OH, THE BOSS IS COMING!" - ARKELLS NEW (R)
12:03 AM "JEREMY" - PEARL JAM CLASSIC ALT (R)

Here's what we learn from this random spot check of Edge 102's playlist.

  • # of songs played: 170
  • # of different songs played: 130 / 76.47%
  • # of "new" songs: 71 / 41.76%
  • # of unique "new" songs: 35 / 20.58%
  • # of "recent" songs: 13 / 7.64%
  • # of unique "recent" songs: 11 / 6.47%
  • # of "classic alternative" songs: 87 / 51.17%
  • # of unique "classic alternative" songs: 85 / 50%

Without a doubt, 102.1 the Edge is playing more classic alternative than ever before. Over 51% of songs played thus far today were older than five years, and if we look at the number of unique classic alternative songs (85) compared to the 130 different songs played, we're looking at a whopping 65.38%.

That's a definite increase since six months ago when that figure was 40.25%. In layman's terms, in case you're having trouble following, if we remove the repeats (they played Eagle's of Death Metal's "Wanna Be In LA" six freakin' times), almost exactly two-thirds of the music played today was older than five years and of the "classic alternative" genre. There's lots of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice in Chains and the songs you know and love, mainly from the 1990s.

I first wrote about the Classic Alternative radio format five years ago and asked aloud if a truer form of "classic alternative" was in 102.1's future. It might be closer than we realize. It might already be here.

Update: I've written the new program director at CFNY, Ross Winters, to see if he'll comment. If he does, I'll post what I learn.


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Comments (18 - click here to join in!)

dale

Looks like 102.1 is trying to get into the listenership of Q107 which has been dying lately playing the same songs constantly. I even changed my station at work from q107 to another a while back.

January 2, 2009 @ 5:47 PM

Toronto Mike

I actually think they're taking on Jack 92.5. Q is classic rock, not classic alternative, and owned by the same parent company, Corus Entertainment.

Jack 92.5 seems the likelier target here.

January 2, 2009 @ 5:53 PM

James Edgar

PARADISE CITY" - GUNS N' ROSES Classic Alt????????????? Sorry I know it's just a song but everytime they play this I want to puke. Nothing alternative about GNR or Metallica for that matter.

January 2, 2009 @ 5:55 PM

Jason | GetYourOJ.com

The real question is who really gives a shit anymore? "The Edge" has been crappy and stagnant for years, and that's being nice. If "having some edge in you" is being out of touch and stagnant, then mission accomplished.

p.s. ross who

January 2, 2009 @ 6:05 PM

Jason | GetYourOJ.com

correct, there's nothing alternative about guns n' roses. christ, eminem is more 'classic alternative' than guns n roses. serisouly.

January 2, 2009 @ 6:08 PM

Fredericton Steve

Nice to see a large amount of Pearl Jam still making the airwaves.

January 2, 2009 @ 11:34 PM

Birth

HD1 To listen to unique HD programming being broadcast by the FM station; select HD Channel 2. Birth

January 3, 2009 @ 2:13 AM

J9

Unfortunately, the Edge lost its edge awhile ago. I love the so-called classic alternative, but also like hearing new stuff a LOT.

January 3, 2009 @ 3:34 AM

Toronto Mike

I'm with J9. I like hearing Alice in Chains and Nirvana alongside vintage Beastie Boys and Sloan. But, I also like to hear new songs.

I'm not sure this current mix is so bad... even if they're not exploring enough indie tunage and taking enough risks for some people.

January 3, 2009 @ 2:06 PM

Jason | GetYourOJ.com

Mike, read your own last sentence. More risk and more depth would be great. Some classic stuff is fine too.. but be in The Now as well..

The current mix isn't bad if their agenda is to go after another station.. I suppose my issue will always be that their agenda isn't 'the spirit of radio', that's what's sad.

January 3, 2009 @ 3:28 PM

Bookeeper

It's not "sad"... it's business.

You have all the tools at your disposal to listen to anything you want for free.

January 4, 2009 @ 11:47 AM

Toronto Mike

Without a doubt, business dictates the Edge 102 playlist. There's more competition for terrestrial radio than ever before and there's a reason people refer to it as the bleeding edge.

I'm not going to lie, when I tune in a radio station for tunes, it's often 102.1. My biggest gripe with them is the lack of tunes during the mornings. I'd like less talk, more rock.

January 4, 2009 @ 12:03 PM

Jason | GetYourOJ.com

Also, I'd like to point out "Paper Planes" isn't quite as "new" as the rest of the songs you deemed "new"

And sorry.. it's still sad.. in a pathetic sort of way.

January 4, 2009 @ 3:16 PM

woodpeck

great post! have u tried listening to Virgin yet? they are attempting to mimic cfny territory.

January 6, 2009 @ 8:22 AM

Toronto Mike

Isn't Virgin more interested in the Pink / Rihanna / T.I. / Lil' Wayne / Britney world?

January 6, 2009 @ 9:15 AM

woodpeck

its more top 40 yes but i've heard some retro cfny stuff on there from time2time. they've yet to "really" annoy me. only "slightly" annoy. haha!

January 7, 2009 @ 1:55 AM

Beerman

THanks for pulling the pants off of CKNy like this. The 'Six freakin' times' part rang truest with me as a nincidental listener.
MGMT x both their singles x 6 + Kings of Leon x 6 = AAARGH!!!

February 10, 2009 @ 4:32 PM

Toronto Mike

Ross Winters didn't write back, by the way.

February 10, 2009 @ 5:43 PM

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