Public service hit radio? Playlists and product differentiation in the competition for listeners | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1476-4504
  • E-ISSN: 2040-1388



Since the 1960s, public service broadcasters have attempted to meet the demand for music by young listeners. As commercial radio offerings have expanded, and as public broadcasters are monitored more closely than before, the question arises as to what degree and in which ways public service radio should differ from commercially formatted stations. This article analyses the differentiation strategies applied in music programming by major radio stations in targeting youth and young adults in Finland. Employing a multi-measure approach in the analysis of the content, the results confirm that YleX, a popular music station of the public broadcaster YLE, differs significantly from its major commercial rivals Energy and The Voice. The article argues that even a radio station focusing on the latest hits can fulfil a public service mission.


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