Puneet Varma (Editor)

Radio format

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A radio format or programming format (not to be confused with broadcast programming) describes the overall content broadcast on a radio station. Radio formats are frequently employed as a marketing tool, and are subject to frequent change. Music radio, old time radio, all-news radio, sports radio, talk radio and weather radio describe the operation of different genres of radio format and each format can often be sub-divided into many specialty formats.


List of formats

Formats constantly evolve and each format can often be sub-divided into many specialty formats. Some of the following formats are available only regionally or through specialized venues such as satellite radio or Internet radio.

Pop/Adult Contemporary

  • Adult contemporary music (AC)
  • Classic hits
  • Contemporary hit radio (CHR), occasionally still informally known as top-40 / hot hits)
  • Hot adult contemporary (Hot AC)
  • Lite adult contemporary (Lite AC)
  • Modern adult contemporary (Modern AC)
  • Oldies – Primarily 1955-early 1980s pop music
  • Soft adult contemporary (soft AC)
  • Rock/Alternative/Indie

  • Active rock
  • Adult album alternative (or just adult alternative) (AAA or Triple-A)
  • Album rock / album-oriented rock (AOR)
  • Alternative rock
  • Classic alternative
  • Classic rock
  • Mainstream rock
  • Modern rock
  • Progressive rock
  • Psychedelic rock
  • Rock
  • Soft rock
  • Country

  • Americana
  • Bluegrass
  • Country music:
  • Classic country (exclusively older music)
  • New country/Young country/Hot country (top 40 country with some non-country pop and no older music)
  • Mainstream country (top 40 country with some older music)
  • Traditional country (mix of old and new music)
  • Urban/Rhythmic

  • Classic hip-hop
  • Quiet storm (most often a "day-part" format at Urban Stations, i.e. 7p-12 midnight,)
  • Rhythmic adult contemporary
  • Rhythmic contemporary (Rhythmic Top 40)
  • Rhythmic oldies
  • Urban:
  • Urban contemporary (mostly rap, hip hop, soul, and contemporary R&B artists)
  • Urban adult contemporary (Urban AC) – R&B (both newer and older), soul and sometimes gospel music, without rap
  • Urban oldies (sometimes called "classic soul", "R&B oldies", or "old school")
  • Soul music
  • Dance/Electronic

  • Dance (dance top-40)
  • Space music
  • Jazz/Blues/Standards

  • Big band
  • Blues
  • Jazz
  • Smooth jazz
  • Traditional pop music
  • Easy Listening/New Age

  • Adult standards / nostalgia (pre-rock)
  • Beautiful music
  • Easy Listening
  • Middle of the road (MOR)
  • Folk/Singer-Songwriters

  • Folk music
  • Latin

  • Hispanic rhythmic
  • Ranchera
  • Regional Mexican (Banda, corridos, ranchera, conjunto, mariachi, norteño, etc.)
  • Rock en español
  • Romántica (Spanish AC)
  • Spanish sub-formats:
  • Tejano music (Texas/Mexican music)
  • Also see: Ranchera, Regional Mexican, Romántica, and Tropical
  • Tropical (salsa, merengue, cumbia, etc.)
  • International

  • Caribbean (reggae, soca, merengue, cumbia, salsa, etc.)
  • Indian music
  • Polka
  • World music
  • Christian/Gospel / Southern Gospel

  • Christian music
  • Christian rock
  • Contemporary Christian (which is also known as CCM)
  • Urban Gospel
  • Classical

  • Classical
  • Contemporary classical music
  • Seasonal/Holiday/Happening

  • Christmas music (usually seasonal, mainly December)
  • Miscellanies

  • Adult hits / variety hits; brands: Jack FM, Bob FM
  • Eclectic
  • Freeform radio (DJ-selected)
  • Variety
  • Spoken word formats

  • All-news radio
  • Children's
  • Christian radio
  • College radio
  • Comedy radio
  • Educational
  • Ethnic/International
  • Experimental
  • Full-service (talk and variety music)
  • Old time radio
  • Radio audiobooks
  • Radio documentary
  • Radio drama
  • Radio soap operas
  • Sports (Sports talk)
  • News/Talk
  • Conservative talk radio
  • Progressive talk radio
  • Public talk radio
  • Hot talk/shock jocks
  • Weather radio
  • References

    Radio format Wikipedia