The task of selecting the music to be played on a public radio station is not an easy one. There are so many considerations to be taken into account. Then the number of songs to choose from is so huge, especially for the public radio stations that are not confined to playing music in one specific genre. Even for those that specialize in one particular genre, the number of songs that can be played is often still huge. This is like where, for instance, a reggae radio station or one specializing in hip hop or gospel music still has a huge number of songs to choose from. And there has to be a tangible reason why the decision is made to play one particular song and not another one: it can’t just be on the basis of a radio show host’s personal preferences.
Ultimately, in selecting the music to be played on public radio stations, the lyrics have to be looked at: with the objective of ensuring that the songs with offensive lyrics don’t get played. And if such songs have to be played, the offensive bits have to be edited out.
The quality of songs to be played on public radio stations has to be looked at. The objective here is to ensure that only music of reasonably high quality is played: otherwise, if a particular radio station develops a tendency to play low quality music, it too will start being perceived as being a ‘low quality station’.
The most important thing is to ensure that the public radio station plays a wide variety of music. The very best music can, of course, get preferential airplay, but a deliberate decision needs to be made to ensure that a good variety of music is played. A scheduler application can be developed (along the lines of the Walmart schedule system), so as to ensure that the music played on the radio station is not too repetitive. Otherwise you end up with the situation we see at certain public radio stations, where a playlist of just a few popular hits is developed, and then the songs in that playlist are played endlessly.