Best Practices in Compiling Music for Radio Shows

While discussing the importance of music in broadcasting and the general uses of music on Radio, I had noted that the general uses of music on Radio should not be confused with the various forms by which music can be applied in a Radio show.

I stated that while the former highlights the general ways of using Music in Radio Programming, the latter is more particular about how Music can be used on a particular show on Radio. Needless to say, Music is an inalienable companion to Radio. So regardless of the format of your show, you have to play music of one form or the other.

Music is used in the production of Radio shows as follows;

  1. An item

Music can be used as an item just like any other item in a programme. By an item, it means it is being used in its purest form. So, in this case Music being played just as what it is without editing or re-production.


  1. Signature Tune

A signature tune is used to attract attention to and identify a program. It can also be used as a theme. Sometimes the presenter of a program may choose to apply a signature tune to identify with his personality. In most cases, signature tunes are taken from existing music items. Some are instrumentals and percussive sounds with a little bit of effect.


  1. Mood Music

Mood music is used in programmes like Drama, Feature, Documentary, Narration etc., to create a particular desired mood. Whether good or bad, mood music is infectious. It transfers a certain frame of mind to the listeners of the programme on which it is being used.



  1. A Bridge

Production sometimes calls for a transition or a link from one section or segment of a programme to the other. Music can be used as a bridge here. Bridge music requires imagination in selection and should ideally not go beyond 30 seconds.


  1. A Comment

During a Radio show, Music can be used to underscore or praise a point. A Radio anchor is ideally not allowed to take sides on any issue discussed on Radio except in the case of Discussion shows. Nevertheless, music can be used to either praise the brilliance of a particular contributor to the discussion or covertly boo another person.


  1. A jingle can also feature in a program to promote or highlight an idea or product.

Having explained this, a show on Radio can be entirely dedicated to music. This is called a Music Programme.


DO NOT MISS THIS  Opinion: Can We Successfully Stop Payola on Radio?


A music programme is a programme with music as its theme or subject matter. It may assume any of the regular formats of Radio shows but the subject matter just have to revolve around music.

Music programmes are very important on Radio. The host of a Music Programme must be well versed in the art of sampling music and must have a wide understanding of music compilation. A compilation is a collection of music arranged in a particular sequence.

These days, Radio stations do not consider employing a Music Librarian who is a personnel on Radio charged by default with these responsibilities. Radio DJs and even OAPs take up the role and while it might not be a very bad thing to do, it must be ensured that justice is done to the essence of the programme in whichever format it assumes.


Facts to Consider While Compiling Music for your Radio Show

Title – The content of the compilation should reflect the title of the programme or segment for which it is being compiled.


Brief – A brief is a short, catchy and understandable statement which guides the music compiler in the choice and arrangement of the items in the compilation. It also states the objectives of the compilation.


Policy – A compiler should pay attention to the in-house policy of the Radio station while compiling Music. Any compilation should be within the scope of the policy of the station. I mean no Soundcity DJ will attempt to add any of P-Square’s song to their compilation during the group’s friction with Soundcity in 2016.


DO NOT MISS THIS  9 Interesting Format of Radio Programmes You Should Know About

Target Audience – Your targeted listenership should be considered. The materials (songs) used should reflect the interest of the listener, and not the compiler. But sometimes it does because most compilers are deeply immersed in the music industry themselves.

Time of Broadcast – The time of the day and the season of the year should also help in determining the items that should feature in a music programme. Chief Ebenezer Obey’s ‘An Jade Loni Eledumare‘ shouldn’t be played at bedtime. ‘

Duration – The duration of the program will also determine the number of items to be used in a programme.


Program Type – The number and duration of musical items to be used will be derived from the type of program involved e.g informal music programmes will require more items than the formal.


NTBB – Just like what you say on Radio, some items are not to be broadcast.

The National Broadcasting Commission – Nigeria’s broadcast regulatory body considers any musical item as NTBB if it is;

  • Inciting one group against another
  • Offensive on religious grounds
  • Obscene or offensive on moral grounds
  • Political in import
  • Commercial in nature
  • Of poor technical quality.
  • Praising a well-known individual, civil or military.


Formats of Music Programmes

Music programmes just like any other programme on Radio can be of various formats including;

Magazine – various musical items can be packaged in a music magazine program. Music can also be a vehicle that can convey various items in a program of which without the musical content; the program cannot stand on its own.


DO NOT MISS THIS  #TheRadioQuiz: Episode 002 - Music in Radio Programming

Feature – There is also a program that features music as its subject. That is a music feature. It is more informative and educative than when the same item is treated in a music magazine.


Interview – This is an interview on a music subject matter, most of the time with musical illustration.

Quiz – A quiz program with music as its subject matter.


Documentary – As the name implies, a documentary on a music subject.


Illustrated Talk – A talk on a music subject matter with musical examples or illustrations.


Discussion – A discussion on a musical subject.


Music Request – This is a request program. It is an audience participatory program which allows the listeners to select their choice of music.


So there you go. Meanwhile, you could read up the tutorial on the General Uses of Music on Radio if you missed it earlier while dropping your mail address in the box below will ensure that you don’t miss any of the tutorials anymore.

Don’t forget to drop a comment below if there’s any of the point you’ll need more clarification on. You can also Follow Us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay tuned for more amazing content that will give your career a push to becoming the next Radio Superstar.


Start your journey of becoming the next Radio Superstar OAP today! Enroll Now for Amazing FREE Tips to Get You Started.

Facebook Comments

Please follow and like us:

Post Author: The Sultan Grey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.