Generic Station Taglines Drive Me Nuts

Generic Taglines in Radio have been used since the beginning of time, we all know them and hear them in every market, every single day. In recent weeks, I have been listening to stations from across the globe to get a better understanding of how they are presenting their messaging. A lot of these terms have been used since the 1970s and haven’t changed since.

The most tagline’s I’ve come across over the last while:

“[Place Name]’s Hit Music Station”
“Today’s Hit Music for [Place Name]”
“The greatest hits for [Place Name”

The approach of using a well established “tagline” has become cliché and very lazy in my opinion, giving no individuality to a brand. When I check out Audio Branding and Imaging on Soundcloud and on FM – a lot of stations sound no different from the next – it’s literally just a cookie-cutter based Radio Brand that relies on Production Services that pre-produce content for you. Is that really the route we should be going down in 2022? Radio Stations have always needed a “Unique Selling Point”, and while so many do, there are also so many that just don’t seem to push things.


I understand terms like “hit music” are trying to identify a music genre – but it sounds naff and nobody calls chart songs “hit music” in ordinary everyday life. So, why are we branding our Radio Station using terms our audience don’t even use in real life? I covered this topic in more detail in a post last year – but Radio often uses terms that audiences never use in everyday life, and I think it’s time for those terms to die soon (they should have long ago). Read article here.

The most common phrase I’ve heard since starting my career in Radio has been “more music variety”, which does absolutely nothing to describe your station – what music are you playing? “More Music Variety” does not describe the type of Music you are playing – it could be hip-hop, dance, pop, rock or anything whatsoever. While it has been mostly adopted by stations that identify as “AC” or “Hot AC” – the listener just doesn’t know what you are playing!

I’ve heard countless arguments from consultants about the importance of “researched” taglines like “Hit Music” “More Music Variety” but I really just don’t see how this benefits a brand or setting it apart from any other? We need to starting thinking and communicating to our audiences as if we are their friend. What use is it to talk down to listeners? Let’s starting talking alongside them! We have endless opportunities on how we communicate with our listeners and we always need to remember that.

Radio has blamed Spotify and Music Streaming Services for loss of listenership over the past ten years, and while there is SOME merit to that statement, I do feel it’s constantly being used to distract attention away from poor or often copied brands. The more recent excuse has been that of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant less people are travelling and usually that’s where a station’s brand is most-heard – but maybe perhaps your brand has failed to talk with the listener.

There are some incredibly branded stations out there that have created fresh concepts that haven’t fallen into the usual Radio Wording Traps. I honestly think the best approach is to be unique in every aspect of the Radio Station – and while some don’t think “re-inventing the wheel” is a good approach, I just think it’s lazy.

While some may take this post as an attack on Radio, it’s not – it’s just how I view the current state of how brands are communicating through the use of Audio and all aspects attached to it.

My two cents!

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