A few weeks ago I found the best website for radio stations, ever: http://www.yes.com/. I have been using Yes to see what my local radio stations are playing. I found it kinda by accident. I was on a radio station website and clicked on the link to see what was played in the last hour, and instead of the usual page I was directed to the station page on Yes. What was cool about this was that the station page on Yes listed the most recently played songs going back about 2 hours. That alone was very cool, but they also log every song the station played by the hour, by day, archiving the last 7 days! If that wasn’t enough, they also list the top 100 most played songs on the station.
According to the website you can “Find songs that have played within the past 7 days on the nation’s top 2,600 radio stations, CMT, FUSE, MTV, and VH-1. Rate currently playing songs right now to influence charts & chat with other listeners.” Yes also allows you to chat with DJs and artists. On the about page there is a map of the United States that comes alive with little blue dots that change color and turn into song titles showing you what’s playing in different cities. In the listing of what was recently played, you also see what advertisements have been played, the station ID breaks, and DJ announcements. It’s a pretty thorough service.
I like to peruse the top 100 and see how much, or little variety there is on different stations. For example, in the top 100 on WXRK, the Rock of NY, Green Day and Smashing Pumpkins each have 6 songs and Nirvana and Foo Fighters have each 5 songs. 4 bands make up 22% of the top 100 songs. Meanwhile, in the Top 100 on Indie 103.1 in LA things are more varied, Muse, Modest Mouse, Guster each have 3 songs and the White Stripes, Silversun Pickups, Beck, Nirvana, The Killers each have 2 songs. 8 bands make up 19% of the Top 100 songs, and most of them new songs. Check out what your favorite station is playing. See if they are giving you the variety they say they are.
The one thing I think that could be interesting to watch out for is the rating currently playing songs “to influence charts” and chatting with other listeners. I can see it would be really easy for the labels to game the system by putting together a room full of interns dedicated to chatting up DJs and fans trying to sell records and get their artists played more often. Hopefully Yes and the users will keep this honest.