When to toss that running list out

Most of us will put a good few hours into each show we present. We walk into the studio with a good idea of not only what we are going to play, but in which order each track will be played.

Then the show starts and something strange happens.  What seemed the perfect running order an hour ago suddenly doesn’t feel right, and we don’t Know why. This is the universe tapping in and our intuition starts to override a well thought out plan.

Added to the mix are messages from listeners, the reactions of the people around you – either in the studio with you or hovering outside. And as a presenter on an internet or local FM station you likely have the freedom to change it up, pull a track forward, put one at the bottom of the list, and bring in something new on the fly.


That’s music radio – and following your intuition and feeling for what’s right is the best guide in the world.

Perhaps you also work as a mobile or club DJ; you know how to read an audience, you get a feeling for what will or won’t work. You can’t bottle it, sell it, or teach it. You either have it or you don’t. It’s a kind of magic; and not everyone has it. Certainly the suits in the marketing department of your local commercial station don’t – (they are clueless).

So it’s all about the music. Play what you feel; don’t be afraid to toss your carefully manicured track list out the window by track two and go with your gut.

As always, on the radio as in life – go with the flow.

Steve Hart

Steve Hart

Steve Hart is a journalist and editor based in Melbourne.

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