Another Analysis of the 102.1 The Edge Playlist

Radio Last June, I took a closer look at the Edge 102.1 playlist and then took another gander this past January. 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.

Here's how I classify the songs:

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.

Last time, it was clear CFNY was playing a lot more older stuff. When I removed the repeats, almost exactly two-thirds of the music played was older than five years and of the "classic alternative" genre.

Here are the songs played between midnight and noon today with their assigned labels. After the chart, I'll hit you up with some stats.

11:56 AM "ULYSSES" - FRANZ FERDINAND NEW (R)
11:53 AM "SEX ON FIRE" - KINGS OF LEON NEW (R)
11:44 AM "YOUNG CARDINALS" - ALEXISONFIRE NEW
11:41 AM "NEVER TOO LATE" - THREE DAYS GRACE RECENT
11:36 AM "SAVIOR" - RISE AGAINST NEW
11:30 AM "DUMB" - NIRVANA CLASSIC ALT
11:27 AM "GIMME SYMPATHY" - METRIC NEW (R)
11:24 AM "ALL EMPIRES FALL" - WAKING EYES NEW (R)
11:21 AM "SABOTAGE" - BEASTIE BOYS CLASSIC ALT
11:13 AM "BODY OF YEARS" - MOTHER MOTHER NEW (R)
11:11 AM "SONG 2" - BLUR CLASSIC ALT
11:07 AM "FIXED TO RUIN" - SAM ROBERTS NEW
11:03 AM "PANIC SWITCH" - SILVERSUN PICKUPS NEW (R)
11:00 AM "SHE'S A GENIUS" - JET NEW
10:50 AM "CALIFORNICATION" - RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS CLASSIC ALT
10:47 AM "SO SHE'S LEAVING" - TREWS RECENT (R)
10:43 AM "I WILL POSSESS YOUR HEART" - DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE RECENT (R)
10:36 AM "WHEN I COME AROUND" - GREEN DAY CLASSIC ALT
10:31 AM "21 GUNS" - GREEN DAY NEW (R)
10:27 AM "ALIVE AGAIN" - CHAMPION NEW (R)
10:24 AM "THE ROCK SHOW" - BLINK-182 CLASSIC ALT
10:16 AM "SLEEPING SICKNESS" - CITY AND COLOUR RECENT
10:13 AM "BELIEVE" - BRAVERY RECENT
10:08 AM "RUSTED FROM THE RAIN" - BILLY TALENT NEW (R)
9:03 AM "RE-EDUCATION (THROUGH LABOR)" - RISE AGAINST RECENT
8:52 AM "LITHIUM" - NIRVANA CLASSIC ALT
8:39 AM "NUMB/ENCORE" - JAY-Z/LINKIN PARK RECENT
8:20 AM "21 GUNS" - GREEN DAY NEW (R)
8:07 AM "KIDS" - MGMT NEW
7:53 AM "YELLOW" - COLDPLAY CLASSIC ALT
7:14 AM "NEW DIVIDE" - LINKIN PARK NEW (R)
6:56 AM "THAT'S THAT S***" - SNOOP DOGG FEAT. R. KELLY RECENT
6:46 AM "I WILL POSSESS YOUR HEART" - DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE RECENT
6:19 AM "ULYSSES" - FRANZ FERDINAND NEW
6:07 AM "FALLEN LEAVES" - BILLY TALENT RECENT
6:02 AM "PANIC SWITCH" - SILVERSUN PICKUPS NEW (R)
5:58 AM "TIME TO PRETEND" - MGMT RECENT (R)
5:44 AM "TODAY" - SMASHING PUMPKINS CLASSIC ALT
5:39 AM "21 GUNS" - GREEN DAY NEW (R)
5:27 AM "LOVE IS A FIRST" - THE TRAGICALLY HIP NEW
5:23 AM "DISARM" - SMASHING PUMPKINS CLASSIC ALT
5:17 AM "AIN'T NO REST FOR THE WICKED" - CAGE THE ELEPHANT NEW
5:14 AM "THE MIDDLE" - JIMMY EAT WORLD CLASSIC ALT
5:07 AM "RUSTED FROM THE RAIN" - BILLY TALENT NEW (R)
5:05 AM "THIS RESPIRATOR" - FLATLINERS RECENT
5:01 AM "SOMEBODY TOLD ME" - KILLERS RECENT (R)
4:57 AM "SOMETIME AROUND MIDNIGHT" - AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT NEW
4:51 AM "ALIVE" - PEARL JAM CLASSIC ALT
4:48 AM "USE SOMEBODY" - KINGS OF LEON NEW
4:39 AM "NEIGHBORHOOD #3 (POWER OUT)" - ARCADE FIRE RECENT
4:36 AM "NO YOU GIRLS" - FRANZ FERDINAND NEW
4:33 AM "THE KIDS AREN'T ALRIGHT" - OFFSPRING CLASSIC ALT
4:28 AM "HIGH AND DRY" - RADIOHEAD CLASSIC ALT
4:24 AM "NEW DIVIDE" - LINKIN PARK NEW (R)
4:20 AM "ALL YOU DID WAS SAVE MY LIFE" - OUR LADY PEACE NEW (R)
4:16 AM "VIVA LA VIDA" - COLDPLAY RECENT
4:11 AM "OH, THE BOSS IS COMING!" - ARKELLS NEW
4:08 AM "TIME OF YOUR LIFE (GOOD RIDDANCE)" - GREEN DAY CLASSIC ALT
4:04 AM "HURT" - NINE INCH NAILS CLASSIC ALT
4:01 AM "GIMME SYMPATHY" - METRIC NEW (R)
3:58 AM "PORK AND BEANS" - WEEZER RECENT
3:55 AM "INTERSTATE LOVE SONG" - STONE TEMPLE PILOTS CLASSIC ALT
3:52 AM "THE GOOD LEFT UNDONE" - RISE AGAINST NEW
3:44 AM "(I HATE) EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU" - THREE DAYS GRACE CLASSIC ALT
3:40 AM "SEX ON FIRE" - KINGS OF LEON NEW
3:35 AM "EVEN FLOW" - PEARL JAM CLASSIC ALT
3:27 AM "TIMES LIKE THESE" - FOO FIGHTERS CLASSIC ALT
3:23 AM "PANIC SWITCH" - SILVERSUN PICKUPS NEW (R)
3:20 AM "ALL EMPIRES FALL" - WAKING EYES NEW
3:16 AM "1979" - SMASHING PUMPKINS CLASSIC ALT
3:11 AM "ALIVE AGAIN" - CHAMPION NEW
3:07 AM "GUERRILLA RADIO" - RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CLASSIC ALT
3:04 AM "BODY OF YEARS" - MOTHER MOTHER NEW
2:59 AM "21 GUNS" - GREEN DAY NEW (R)
2:55 AM "BARTENDER" - (HED)P.E. CLASSIC ALT
2:52 AM "GALVANIZE" - CHEMICAL BROTHERS RECENT
2:47 AM "DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS" - DISTURBED CLASSIC ALT
2:38 AM "PLUSH" - STONE TEMPLE PILOTS CLASSIC ALT
2:34 AM "PUSH IT" - GARBAGE CLASSIC ALT
2:31 AM "BREED" - NIRVANA CLASSIC ALT
2:24 AM "RUSTED FROM THE RAIN" - BILLY TALENT NEW (R)
2:21 AM "TWISTED TRANSISTOR" - KORN RECENT
2:18 AM "IN TOO DEEP" - SUM 41 CLASSIC ALT
2:13 AM "ENTER SANDMAN" - METALLICA CLASSIC ALT
2:08 AM "RUBY SOHO" - RANCID CLASSIC ALT
2:04 AM "I GOT A GIRL" - TRIPPING DAISY CLASSIC ALT
2:00 AM "NEW DIVIDE" - LINKIN PARK NEW
1:56 AM "SOMEBODY TOLD ME" - KILLERS RECENT
1:50 AM "A LOOKING IN VIEW" - ALICE IN CHAINS NEW
1:43 AM "MY MUSIC @ WORK" - THE TRAGICALLY HIP CLASSIC ALT
1:39 AM "TIME TO PRETEND" - MGMT RECENT
1:35 AM "JUMP AROUND" - HOUSE OF PAIN CLASSIC ALT
1:30 AM "THE SCIENTIST" - COLDPLAY CLASSIC ALT
1:27 AM "GIMME SYMPATHY" - METRIC NEW
1:24 AM "YOUR ENGLISH IS GOOD" - TOKYO POLICE CLUB NEW
1:21 AM "FIRST DATE" - BLINK-182 CLASSIC ALT
1:13 AM "ALL YOU DID WAS SAVE MY LIFE" - OUR LADY PEACE NEW
1:09 AM "SAY IT AIN'T SO" - WEEZER CLASSIC ALT
1:05 AM "NO ONE KNOWS" - QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE CLASSIC ALT
1:00 AM "PANIC SWITCH" - SILVERSUN PICKUPS NEW
12:53 AM "CHAMPAGNE SUPERNOVA" - OASIS CLASSIC ALT
12:49 AM "LET IT DIE" - FOO FIGHTERS RECENT
12:41 AM "ARIEL VS. LOTUS" - LIMBLIFTER CLASSIC ALT
12:38 AM "FEEL GOOD DRAG" - ANBERLIN NEW
12:34 AM "PAPER PLANES" - M.I.A. RECENT
12:29 AM "JEREMY" - PEARL JAM CLASSIC ALT
12:24 AM "21 GUNS" - GREEN DAY NEW
12:20 AM "BALLAD OF HUGO CHAVEZ" - ARKELLS NEW
12:16 AM "LOSE YOURSELF" - EMINEM CLASSIC ALT
12:10 AM "LOVE ROLLERCOASTER" - RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS CLASSIC ALT
12:07 AM "SCAR TISSUE" - RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS CLASSIC ALT
12:03 AM "RUSTED FROM THE RAIN" - BILLY TALENT NEW

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

  • # of songs played: 112
  • # of different songs played: 88 / 78.5%
  • # of "new" songs: 50 / 44.6%
  • # of unique "new" songs: 30 / 26.7%
  • # of "recent" songs: 22 / 19.6%
  • # of unique "recent" songs: 19 / 16.9%
  • # of "classic alternative" songs: 43 / 38.4%

102.1 the Edge is playing about the same percentage of unique songs, with slightly more "new" songs and "recent" songs than classic alternative songs. In January, I found that over 51% of songs played were older than five years, and when we looked at the number of unique classic alternative songs played, it was a whopping 65.38%. Today, that total was only 48.3%.

Again, if we remove the repeats, almost half 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. Back in January, almost two-thirds of the de-duped music played was "classic alternative".

Update: My main objective was to see if CFNY was increasing the number of Classic Alternative songs they play. They're not.

24 of the songs listed above had already been played previously in the day. Remember, my sample ends before noon. This explains the reputation this station now has in my circle for repetition. Green Day's "21 Guns" was played five times. In my opinion, there's no need for 24 reruns over a 12-hour period.


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Comments (32 - click here to join in!)

Noeleen

do you remember the days of "catch of us if you can/in the can?" when you could win $ if they played the same song in the course of the day? i would be rich these days.

July 16, 2009 @ 11:08 PM

Sammi

That playlist you have is the same one they play every freaking few hours. It's the same artists and same songs all the time. You really haven't proven anything Mike.

Do the same thing a few days in a row and you will find they play the same thing all the time.

July 17, 2009 @ 5:47 AM

Fascination


You Have WAY Too Much Time On
Your Hands!

July 17, 2009 @ 8:39 AM

papa_rocker

Looks like they play a lot of classic in the wee hours and then KILL the newer stuff during the day. I like to listen to the radio at work, but the Edge makes it difficult. My iPod doesn't repeat.

July 17, 2009 @ 9:15 AM

Mike from Lowville

Commercial radio sucks!
Fuck Corus!

July 17, 2009 @ 10:04 AM

CQ

There are statistical errors in your comparison. Last Jan 2nd's posting went up to 2:38 p.m. including an extra 13 ClassicAlt at noon plus another 14/1/9 (24-clalt/recent/new) during partial Midday. Classic Alt was increased by a ' 27 out of 37 daytime' margin that is not compared with your latest evaluation

Jan 2nd's total number is stated at 170. Simply adding (13+24) to 112 creates an estimated total as only 149. That indicates a reduction of total music now by approximately -12%.

July 17, 2009 @ 10:04 AM

Toronto Mike

Once I get a minute, I'll go back to my January 2nd data and look at everything from midnight to noon - avoiding the nooner.

Stand by...

July 17, 2009 @ 10:46 AM

CQ

... one more thing. The year ago total of 110 songs only went to 10:25 a.m.
110 added with the current playlist's 19 (10:31-11:56) becomes (est.) 129 vs. 112.

July 17, 2009 @ 10:59 AM

Devon

To CQ and Mike....your stats don't really matter. The station STINKS....PERIOD.

July 17, 2009 @ 12:07 PM

Anonymous

Hard to believe this was once the station of the "No Repeat Work Day!"

Regardless, with more than 50% of the music being from five years plus in the past it sort of confirms to me what this station has become...

A station that plays a narrow definition of 90s "alternative" and slightly more modern music that sounds much like their 90s-centric definition of "alternative."

July 17, 2009 @ 12:57 PM

Jason Paris

Hard to believe this was once the station of the "No Repeat Work Day!"

Regardless, with more than 50% of the music being from five years plus in the past it sort of confirms to me what this station has become...

A station that plays a narrow definition of 90s "alternative" and slightly more modern music that sounds much like their 90s-centric definition of "alternative."

July 17, 2009 @ 12:58 PM

Toronto Mike

On January 2, 2009, from midnight to noon, CFNY played 133 songs.

59 / 133 (44.36%) were "Classic Alternative".

62 / 133 (46.61%) were "New".

Yesterday, during that same time span, CFNY played 112 songs.

43 / 112 (38.4%) were "Classic Alternative".

50 / 112 (44.6%) were "New".

This tells us 102.1 is playing the same amount of "new" stuff and a little less "old" stuff. Clearly, they're also playing less music.

Perhaps that's the bigger story here. 133 songs to 112 songs in a matter of 7 months under Ross Winters' care.

July 17, 2009 @ 1:22 PM

Sammi

Hey Mike....It sounds like you are not too thrilled with the way Ross Winter is running the station.

July 17, 2009 @ 1:39 PM

Toronto Mike

I don't know Ross Winters. I do know he doesn't reply to emails.

For better or worse, Alan Cross was super accessible. Over the years I'd have a beef with something or discover a trend or wonder why certain artists were suddenly added to the playlist, and I knew I could have an actual discussion with the PD about it. I could get answers and reactions and have an actual dialogue with the PD.

Those days are over. I can't get a comment or response from Ross Winters to save my life. I can't even get a boiler plate "thanks for sharing" email.

How did we go from 133 songs to 112 songs? I'll bet the average song length didn't increase. That's a substantial decline, and in a previous regime I'd ask the PD about it and I'd get an actual reply. That's no longer the case.

July 17, 2009 @ 1:47 PM

elvis

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

July 17, 2009 @ 2:00 PM

Mississauga Mike

Wow eyeballing that list I noticed how many times "21 Guns" got played. Not even a big fan of the song but that's pretty ridiculous to have it on that often. Especially in the middle of the night, why not play something else of theirs (even "Know Your Enemy" would be fine)?

July 17, 2009 @ 2:55 PM

Wayner

I'm sure if they thought they could get away with it the playlist would closely resemble that of virgin radio...its all about mass audience appeal

July 17, 2009 @ 3:13 PM

G

I actually chart the downfall of the "Edge" back to the mid/late 90's, during Kneale Mann's tenure as PD.

Ofcourse, it didn't help that the station rebranded itself as "Nu-metal" central shortly into this decade.

July 17, 2009 @ 3:55 PM

Argie

I agree with Elvis -" zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

But the thing that Mike fails to realize is, the Edge is not the station for him anymore. The Edge has always geared their programming to suit the late teener or early 20 something. Clearly mike and most of the others here don't fit into that demo. Therefore, Mike and everyone else quit your whining and find another source of music. I have.....

July 17, 2009 @ 4:37 PM

Toronto Mike

It's not so much whining. I understand I'm older than their targeted demo now.

But, there's still too much time when I'm only listening to music on terrestrial radio. Forgive me for selfishly wanting a local station I can get behind. Forgive me for wanting more from a station I used to love.

July 17, 2009 @ 5:02 PM

CQ

A quick check to the competitors' websites indicates for Fri., July 17th, midnight-noon:
CHUM - 146 songs, Virgin- 142 total songs
Jan 2nd at Edge - 133
Z103 - only lists its latest 75 played songs.

July 17, 2009 @ 5:21 PM

elvis

Not forgiven. Let it go. Live in the now.

July 17, 2009 @ 8:31 PM

TCN

Mike doesn't need your forgiveness, elvis. This is his blog. He can post/comment as he wishes.

Consider yourself lucky to be able to comment as you wish. Mike could have an exclusive blog, ie. "open to invited readers only."

Like yours.

July 18, 2009 @ 7:34 AM

Toronto Mike

@TCN - good point!

Where's my invitation to the exclusive Elvis blog?

July 18, 2009 @ 9:04 AM

Digger

As I first glanced at your list, I wondered if I was seeing things "correctly" - it looked like a much higher proportion of "classic alternative" was being played between midnight and the start of morning drive (5:30 a.m.).

Sure enough:

Midnight to 5:30 a.m. - 73 songs
Classic Alt - 34 (47%)
New - 28 (38%)
Recent - 11 (15%)

5:30 a.m to noon - 39 songs
Classic Alt - 9 (23%)
New - 19 (49%)
Recent - 11 (28%)

I think what strikes me the most when I look at what has been played is noticing that The Edge is pretty much a new music Top 30 (never mind top 40) station. Look at the rotation of the "hits" - as little as 2½ hours between repeats!

I recognize that Corus needs listeners and advertising revenue to stay on the air. They are lucky that there is no serious/real "alternative" (ok, pun intended) on the radio in the Toronto listening area (apart from Thursday and Friday nights from 7 to midnight).

When I am at my computer, I will not listen to local radio, because I do not have to. There are some great stations streaming their programming on the web.

July 18, 2009 @ 2:38 PM

Carrie

This is apropos of nothing really, but I had read this post earlier and it immediately came to mind when I saw it.

Check out the playlist for 7/17 - at 4:31pm they played "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion. Does anyone know if there was context around that particular selection?

Listening now to the Phoenix live-to-air show, which is meant to be a tribute to Martin Streek. Not a bad collection of songs, but it's missing ... something.

July 19, 2009 @ 1:08 AM

Carrie

Sorry - I screwed up. That's the playlist for 7/18, not 7/17.

July 19, 2009 @ 1:10 AM

Toronto Mike

@Carrie

I didn't listen. I did spin David Marsden's tribute a 2nd time, though. All 5 hours.
http://www.torontomike.com/2009/07/martin_streek_tribute_with_dav.html

I think the missing part with the Corus sanctioned tribute is the fact we can't forget that they fired Streek a couple of months ago. It seems they're somehow benefiting from the suicide of a company man they canned.

Admittedly, Corus is "damned if they do, damned if they don't" here, I'd just rather get my tribute elsewhere.

July 19, 2009 @ 12:40 PM

Carrie

Agreed Mike - David Marsden's show is excellent.

Have to admit though, the Phoenix show last week kicked off with NIN's "Terrible Lie," which I thought was both ballsy and fitting.

The Streek tribute tonight is commercial free, so they must have had some flack about profiting off the show. Who knows - at least they're doing something. I'm hoping the tribute tonight is more CFNY staff, rather than Corus programming.

July 19, 2009 @ 1:05 PM

Raph

Am I the only one who dreads the new Greenday stuff? I cannot stand that 21 guns or how many times the Edge plays it before I stopped listening 14 days ago!

July 20, 2009 @ 3:36 AM

TCN

@Raph:

Horseshoes and Handgrenades really kicks, like the old days. Would be a great song for the Edge to overplay except a big fat F-word is often shrieked - with the band silent - making it tough to release as a single...

July 22, 2009 @ 9:04 AM

James

How can I find a playlist from a song played at around noon last Saturday. I loved it, but it is not easy to figure out how to get to it?

August 26, 2013 @ 6:50 PM

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