Pandora vs. Slacker: One "sucks" and the other is like free satellite radio - Orbitcast

Pandora vs. Slacker: One "sucks" and the other is like free satellite radio

Pandora vs. Slacker
Bob Lefsetz wrote up an incredible post yesterday pitting Pandora Radio vs. Slacker Radio, and while I quickly posted about it on Twitter, I really wanted to call more attention to the article. Because Lefsetz nails it.
Right off the bat, you know exactly where Bob stands on the battle against Slacker and Pandora.

"Pandora SUCKS!" is Lefsetz's opener. Kinda says it all right there.

But he goes on, and elaborates about some of the many gripes that I personally have with the Pandora service. I won't repeat the article, just go read it for yourself.

Now here's some additional thoughts. First, it should be mentioned that Lefsetz is/was a huge XM fan. He was a strong advocate for satellite radio for many years, and he's also a respected voice in the industry. So when Lefsetz says a statement like, "In other words, Slacker is free satellite radio. Yes, FREE!" that holds some significant weight in my opinion.

People ask me why I write about Slacker, when this is a satellite radio blog.

I get heckled a lot for that (and I get heckled for covering Pandora, mobile music, and the iPhone). But nobody complained when Sirius and XM were going through the merger process, and were trying to prove that both satellite radio and these services were part of a greater common marketplace. It seems hypocritical to me that I should cover the competition only when its advantageous, and then stick my head in the sand when its not.

The fact is, these internet/mobile services are competition, and are significant threats. They always have been, and they always will be. More than two-years ago, Apple introduced a $600 phone that many naysayers scoffed at, but even in its infancy the implications of the iPhone were still very clear. Pandora's introduction to the iPhone 3G made the device an instant alternative for radio, but because it's not built into vehicles some people still don't consider it a viable threat. (And how long will that last?)

But just because something is a threat, doesn't mean that satellite radio is now defunct. No way.

There's something missing in these auto-services. There's something lacking in your own MP3 collection, as well as on Pandora's mind-numbing "music genome" methodology. People feel it but they don't necessarily know how to identify it. That's why I totally agree with Lefsetz - Slacker feels eons ahead of Pandora, but most people just don't know there's some better than Pandora out there. So, what exactly is it that Pandora is missing?

It's called a soul.

"...I don't know if computer-suggested playlists are the future," wrote Lefsetz. "I think not.  That's where I believe Sirius/XM has an advantage, all the human overhead they've got."

There's something to be said about having a human behind the scenes, crafting a long-form piece of entertainment out of a series of songs. Terrestrial radio ruined its own music fanbase, because they tried to use a formula to replace the humans. It's that formula that still scares me about a newly merged Sirius XM - that in the quest for cost-savings, the human element gets removed.

And that's something that Slacker actually understands. They employ former and current satrad programmers even. Only, different from Sirius XM, they've added the layer of customization on top - so you get both the human-driven programming, plus your own personalizations mixed in. And that's why Slacker holds so much potential - it combines the artistic, with being device agnostic, with a fully customizable featureset.

I wonder if Sirius XM could take a page from Slacker, and evolve into something similar?

[Lefsetz Letter]


"That's where I believe Sirius/XM has an advantage, all the human overhead they've got.""

If by "human advantage" you mean the motor mouthed DJ's, shallow set lists and obnoxious bumpers/channel ID's between nearly every song... I do NOT consider that an advantage. To me it sounds like typical bubble gum commercial radio with self promotions substituted for the commercials.

pandora is not too bad, but I get bored with it very quickly. When I want music, I use my ipod. I hate listening to music when I don't select it.

I also think broadcast quality is really crappy. Especially sirius music. I cannot listen to it for more than 30 seconds. Id rather stick a power-drill in my ears than listen to sirius music channels.

I do love sirius though... I like the news, and talk (huge howard fan)

I cannot wait till they are able to increase the sound quality of the music.

You wrote:
There's something missing . There's something lacking in your own MP3 collection, as well as on Pandora's mind-numbing "music genome" methodology. People "feel it" but they don't necessarily know how to identify it. That's why I agree with Lefsetz - Slacker feels eons ahead of Pandora, but most people just don't know about it. So what exactly is it that Pandora is missing?

It's called a soul.

Huh? You think that Slacker has a soul?
I've had Slacker for some time and I think the experience is poor. It took me an entire week of banning Julie London songs before she stopped appearing on my Slacker. I would like to hear Bowie's "Fame" once in a while but it comes up every time that I refresh my Slacker (yes, I have fine tuned it). I only use my Slacker once in a while now because I would feel guilty about spending so much money on it if I didn't use it. I find the Slacker experience to be a dumb, computerized and soulless experience. The playlists are terrible. The way the music is programmed is idiotic (ex.: wild tribal drumming pieces on the New Age channel).
We obviously have very different experiences with Slacker.

>>It took me an entire week of banning Julie London songs before she stopped appearing on my Slacker

Slacker allows you to ban an artist entirely...maybe you missed that?

There Apps are at least on par with how an internet Radio App should look.

SiriusXM's presentation screenshot looks horrible compared to both of these apps.

Looks like they followed the wrong company and should have went with NiceMac, but now the those hardcore guys are out of the picture.

I guess the reason why SiriusXM is waiting so long is so everyone forgets what StarPlayr looked like and did. Maybe if they wait 3 more years, that will be enough time. And by that time no one will have a smart phone, but a mini portable computer that runs a desktop OS in the palm of your hand and there will be no need to develop smartphone apps.

Good Going SiriusXM. You smarter than you look.

Slacker has human overhead also... it's just that only one station on Slacker makes it apparent - Today's Hits. Every Slacker-programmed station has a DJ behind it, selecting the music that should play on the station.

While I have a G2 (which I purchased prior to the iPhone app being released), 100% of my Slacker listening is streaming these days, resulting in a very enjoyable experience. Squeezebox devices at home, via the web at one job, and my iPhone at the other job and on the go.

Because all of my listening is streaming, all of my listening is instantly reported back to Slacker, resulting in repeats rarely happening across all of my various listening methods. Also, since everything is streaming, I get Slacker's entire library, whereas the G1 and G2 are lacking some music (due to issues with licenses and rights for downloading the music onto portable devices). It's also been noted that Slacker's library is at least 4x larger than Pandora's.

Custom stations, where you are the "soul" behind the station, may take some significant tweaking to result in a low amount of repetition... but as far as the Slacker-programmed stations go - which are comparable to many of Sirius-XM's channels - they've got a lot of soul to them, and IMHO are much better than satellite radio.

"jmarkzat" if you weren't such a tard you would realize there is a "Ban artist" option. If you are banning Julie Londons songs, track by track, of course it's gonna take a long time! Jesus... use your head dude.

And seeing as how you can create your own custom station, and literally pick every song that gets played on it, I would say the blame falls completely on YOU for having a crappy "playlist" experience.

"jmarkzat" if you weren't such a tard you would realize there is a "Ban artist" option. ...use your head dude.

Thanks for being so polite. This is why I left this board. And why I am happy to pay big bucks to live in a gated community with great security, one that puts prospective buyers ("dudes" like you) through a rigorous screening process and background check. After I reply to you, I will not return to this board.

In reply to your comment, you cannot ban an artist from your device. You can only ban songs. You must have access to a computer to do this. As I am often on the road for days at a time without a computer (I don't need one on the road), I can only get rid of an artist by banning tracks - until I get back home.

Goodbye, dude. Watch out that you don't fall asleep with that bong lit. You might (I hope) burn down your trailer.

Slacker is what satellite radio should have been. It has the killer app that satellite radio doesn't. That's called interactivity. You request a song on Slacker (through favoriting or 'hearting' the song) it gets played. If you don't like the stations that are available through the service (there are about 100 available including ones that satellite radio gave up on years ago) you can make your own.

And slacker's music library is that much bigger than Pandora's, and especially Sirius. World music, Modern Jazz, Progressive Rock, Progressive AND Outlaw Country. And best of all, no single artist channels.

The only thing really missing from Slacker is Classical music, and a Latin Jazz channel. But everything else is covered music wise.

Maybe it's because I listen to jazz more than anything else, but I've had good experiences with both Slacker and Pandora.

I'd give Slacker a slight edge in the amount of obscure material available.

Having said that, I also like last f.m.

As for SiriusXM, because some of the programming is live, (CNBC or CNN or Fox News, for the most part) and some other part of the programming has first rate, well-known jocks - Jonathan Schwartz on SiriuslySinatra, - the whole service just feels more human. It remains my favorite of the radio 2.0 applications.

Scott A.

While I listen to XM, iTunes, and occasionally Slacker during work, the girl next to me in the office uses Pandora because a former employee turned her onto it. I hear the same 10 frickin' songs coming from her computer EVERY SINGLE DAY!! It's really getting annoying! The odd thing is she doesn't seem to mind it, and frequently sings along to those same repetitive songs every time they're on.
She has a Sirius sub and used to listen to Sirius Radio Online until they started charging her for it.
Maybe it's time to turn her on to Slacker instead.

XM Listener since 2004 who loves Pandora.

The music quality on satellite ESPECIALLY since the merger is awful - unlistenable. The only reason I still subscribe is because of Howard. When I want to listen to music that I don't own, I open up Pandora. And yes I've tried Slacker as well, which is great - but I feel like the UI/website up Slacker lacks in comparison.

Either way, if SiriusXM wants to continue on they NEED to improve the audio quality of the music.

Call it overkill but I'm a dual subscriber to Sirius/XM (can't pick up Sirius in my office so XM wins that one) PLUS I have the Slacker portable as well as Iphone and Blackberry apps.

Slacker is very cool. Sounds better than Sat Rad and the custom stations are fantastic. If you just want music and don't care about anything else then paying for Sat Radio is questionable.

However, Sirius still trumps Slacker in content.

ESPN Radio
Etc, etc....

There is something to be said for having a live announcer and having all of the above choices that Slacker doesn't have - yet.

I think if Slacker/Pandora ever makes into an internet connected car option - Sat Rad has a bigger problem. Yes, you can do that now in a way but the average joe won't go to the trouble.

Love them both! Yes, that's possible.

Slacker allows for much more artist and song discovery than satellite. The beauty of it is you can even control how much or how little of an artist or song you hear. Sirius XM's only edge is shows like Stern, O&A or whoever you're a fan of and sports which we' all rather watch on tv anyway. It is about music first and foremost and comedy/talk shows second.

Actually you *can* ban artists from the Slacker mobile applications.

On the BlackBerry you can just hit the menu button and select "Ban Artist".

On the iPhone you just hit the "Ban" button and it will ask if you want to ban the song or the artist.

If slacker had talk content, satrad would be a thing of the past.

Shoutcast streams Stern for free 100 & 101 and you could also download the show a few hours after it airs on 10 different torrent sites with the comercials edited out. Why pay for radio dude ?

@Jim: "Either way, if SiriusXM wants to continue on they NEED to improve the audio quality of the music."

Unfortunately, the only way to do that is to drop a sizable number of channels to free up bandwidth (say, about half of the current music set), and that ain't gonna happen...

"jmarkzat", You are retarded. You don’t know what you’re doing, then when someone calls you on it – your feelings get hurt. AND YOU CONTINUE TO ARGE ABOUT WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW. You can ban songs from any artist, you seem to know this. You can also “copy” a preset station and then delete any artists that you don’t like (you can’t edit a preset station directly). You can go a step further and turn off the “discovery mode” and rest assured, you will not ever here that artist again. Gee, would’nt it be great if SiriusFM had options and preferences! Buy the way, my informal bitrate testing shows Slacker at (about) 128Kb, Pandora at 64Kb and SatRad at 6 – 34Kb (not acceptable). But this doesn’t matter to you fans, because you always blindly say “It sounds like a CD”. Maybe a CD played on a $12 GPX clock radio! And jmarkzat, I’m sure you will read this. FU

Reading all this I wonder about SIRI, should I buy ? or sell ? or hold ? I am thinking buy more ( long ) Any one out there ???

Ryan: Don't worry about the haters for Slacker and Pandora coverage. They get that coverage because they are (superior, in my opinion) competition. Besides, which it's your site. :D

Why talk about bit rates of internet connections, what about the actual portable bit-rate. Anyway, SXM's sound does suck. Slacker sounds great as an internet radio station, but how does it sound as a portable?

Pandora requires that I sort of know what I am looking for. Slacker introduces me to good prog rock that I wouldn't know to look for. XM used to do that too, but SXM is same old same old. I wish Slacker and SXM would allow (user gets to enable/disable) artist/title vocalisation, even if it was a computer voice. I don't want to look at a little screen to read the info.

I have Slacker on my Blackberry Curve. With a BB, you can cache the stations and the SQ is good that way- plus no burning through minutes.

I would also say Slacker programming is somewhat less inspiring than XM. As far as missing talk radio, I have more than I can listen to on terrestrial in the New York Metro area.

In the end, I do not see satellite growing much beyond here- between the FCC's disgraceful handling of the merger, which forestalled development and progress, and these new technologies, I would say satellite will have a hard time making new converts.

quote: "artist/title vocalisation"

Interesting concept.

Will test this out in StarPlayr3 for Mac.


I only could imagine one day Slacker coming preloaded in-dash, and able to update via WiFi/WiMax - watch out Siri.

This fracas about knowing or not knowing how to "use" Slacker does point out that it's something besides radio. With radio, you don't "ban" songs -- you select a station and listen. For some, these added capabilities may make Slacker preferable to radio, but it doesn't have Shooter Jennings' Electric Rodeo, one of the few remaining good things on the Sirius replacement for X Country, or other shows of that type.

What this says to me is that this debate about the superiority of Slacker or satellite radio is largely caused by Sirius XM dropping the ball and turning its channels into a FM-esque wasteland that people just aren't all that eager to pay for.

Interesting. I made a post about owning a G2 and the fact that the devices that cache music (slacker ap for blackberry) are losing artists at a disturbingly fast rate. No Pink Floyd, Zepplin, Beatles and dozens of others. Why did that get deleted? I love Slacker, but can no longer recommend the portable units.

The Slacker G2 sounds fantastic - really. The G1 is also great, but that hardware is very buggy.

Interesting how NO ONE brought up "terrestrial" radio in the discussion, except as the bucket bottom to which SXM is heading.

The Siriusization of XM is something of a tragedy but typical of the people who think of themselves as "radio professionals". Without Stern there'd be no Sirius today and without XM I'd have no satellite receivers.

The sound quality of satrad is tolerable only in the car - I listen to satrad much of the day at work on earbuds but my brain hurts by afternoon if I'm on music channels. For talk, ok.

Pandora is repetitive (and I spent weeks tweaking a station) and shallow. The sound quality is pretty good though - sounds like at least 128k mp3 (can't tell with these flash players). Slacker sounds very good too. Last.FM is too low bitrate to suffer through.

Slacker's playlists seem deeper than Pandora but less than (original XM) Deep Tracks or Fine Tuning but I've just started tweaking. Ignored Slacker way back when due to its hardware orientation. Streaming online is the future.

We'll try this again.

Slacker has been losing artists on its G2 unit for a couple of months now. Also, the Blackberry ap that allows caching has seen the same bleeding. Metallica, Beatles, Eagles, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, and on and on. The thing that makes Slakcer better than Pandora is the ability to take the music with you, regardless of whether you have a internet connection or not. That's what sets slacker apart from any other internet "radio" station, and there are 100s if not 1000s of them. Until Slacker fixes this problem, they will circle the drain until they eventually fall in.

Interesting discussion on both Pandora and Slacker. $36 a year gets you 196k audio from Pandora. Worth it when listening on a higher end audio system.

I am an XM/Sirius subscriber who is about to cancel the service since I found internet radio for my iPhone. I have been listening to Slacker and Pandora, comparing the two, and was wondering if anyone else had done the same (Google to the rescue), only to find this article.

I did as suggested, read Lefsetz' article myself, and felt that he didn't "nail it", he "pinpointed it", concentrating only on the fine tuning & preset station options in Slacker. These are indeed nice options, IMO, but, right now, I give the point to Pandora, for reasons I will share here:

Performance: I have NEVER had any issues with buffering in Pandora; Slacker almost always goes silent at least once while it downloads more music. An out of state trip taking 5 hours using Pandora had no breaks in the stream.

Ads: Pandora doesn't interrupt my music choices to sing its own praises; I'm already using it, why interrupt to tell me about it (or to get a $5 footlong at Subway)? Pandora's ads are on-screen, you can close them if you wish, but they don't interrupt the music (the whole point of commercial free, internet radio anyway, right?)

History: Pandora allows me to review the played song history in that panoramic, album cover mode the iPhone is known for. Slacker doesn't. Although Slacker DOES let you see what song is coming up next (I'll get to that later).

Pause/Continue: If I'm listening to Pandora, and a phone call comes in, or I need to do something else with my iPhone, when I reopen Pandora, the last song resumes right where it left off. In Slacker, you get a new song. Hey, Slacker, I wasn't through listening to that yet!!!

Ok, there ARE some features that I do like about Slacker; the ones mentioned in Lefsetz' article being 2 of the main plusses. Others:

Slacker shows the title of the song in a larger font; Pandora's is at the top of the bar, in squint mode. Slacker also shows the song duration; you can get this in Pandora by touching the album cover, but you gotta select it and it obscures the album cover! Slacker shows you how many skips you have left (free version); in Pandora, you don't know until you've hit the limit. And, as I mentioned above, Slacker will let you see what's coming so if you want to save that precious skip, you can. Pandora, skip at your own risk; you might get something worse and then you're stuck with it.

But, these are mostly cosmetic. I'm sure Pandora could make these features happen if they wanted (hint). But if I just want to get in my car and listen to music, commercial free, while on my way to work, Pandora is what I choose. Maybe someone reading this will create their own version, with the best features of each (hint,hint), and name the service something more positive, like "Music-B-Good" or something, instead of naming it after someone who sits around and does nothing or someone who unleashes problems onto the world.

I'll just repeat what someone else said, because it's exactly my experience. I had XM for a year (free from an employer) but I had NO desire to renew and actually stopped listening after about 6 months. So I agree with this comment, that satellite radio has the same soul as commercial radio...NONE. I'll stick to Slacker, iMeem, Pandora, and Napster.

"That's where I believe Sirius/XM has an advantage, all the human overhead they've got.""

If by "human advantage" you mean the motor mouthed DJ's, shallow set lists and obnoxious bumpers/channel ID's between nearly every song... I do NOT consider that an advantage. To me it sounds like typical bubble gum commercial radio with self promotions substituted for the commercials.

Cancelled XM in June (what an experience that was - took 3 calls) and been trying Pandora since Launchcast took away the custom stations. Could never get Pandora to do the single songs I like from many of the artists - they'd play every other song except the one I liked. And I kept running into the 6 skips per hour since they didn't play the songs I liked. I've been testing Slacker for the last week - never hit the 6 skip because Slacker plays what I like and I have some bizarre tastes. So Slacker is it for me. Bye Bye Pandora.

SUBJECTIVE opinion counts for nothing in the face of OBJECTIVE observation.
In one HUGE way Pandora works and Slacker does not.
Slacker can make NO distinction between instrumental music and vocal music.
Pandora can.
Because there is NOTHING SUBJECTIVE about this observation/complaint it can't be argued like all the personal OPINIONS being indulged.
Slacker is completely useless to me without that capability

jcrean tell that bitch to use ear buds. With that said, I say Slacker wins hands down. Enough said.

I'm torn b/w both Slacker & Pandora. Pandora has put me on to way more songs that I like then Slacker, that is for sure! Slacker can get a bit repetitive if you don't find the perfect tweak that suites you the best.

But I would give my vote to Slacker, all things considered, for the single reason that it doesn't shut down my service once I hit the 40 hour limit.

I want to pay for unlimited skip service on both services, but will choose one, and that is Slacker.
I like them just because they don't force me to pay or provided my personal info(to pay) UNLIKE Pandora. That was the breaker for me ~~~!!!~~~

I just hooked up to Pandora and Slacker. Then I got curious and found this article and started reading it while listening at home to Slacker. Then I read that Slacker has commercials...oh oh! Then a commercial came on and as fast as I could, I switched back to Pandora and will never listen to free Slacker again. I haven't watched commercial TV for years because of the ads. I don't listen to talk radio because of the ads (if I *really* like a station, I will pay to download it and listen to it later).
Slacker, ya lost me.
Pandora, I'm sticking with you.

both PANDORA and SLACKER rock!!

Pandora Kicks ass - So far.
Rating the two FREE versions
I've been on Pandora a couple yrs so far - and LOVE IT! Only been trying Slacker a couple wks so far, but NOT IMPRESSED W/ SLACKER!
1) Slackers ads are RIGHT on top of the song info playing! You have to click on "Dismiss Ad" in order to view the song info. Pandora's ad's are always off to the right edge of music info, and are not even noticeable unless u consciously look at the ad's!
2) W/ Pandoa, you can see the last 3 songs played, so if u want, can view, rate etc. Slackers last song disapears into cyberworld, so if you just missed looking at info for the song that just ended a second ago, too bad!
3) Lyric info: Slacker only ever shows the 1st few lines of the song *(Then prompts you to pay for upgrade for rest of lyrics), Pandora always give you access to the Full lyrics *(When available).
4) I love Pandora waayyy better - so far!

PANDORA is better because:
This is my review of PANDORA vs SLACKER radio’s FREE, P.C versions.
1) PANDORA is better because: Ad’s are off to the side, where you don’t even notice them UNLESS you consciously look at them.
Slacker’s ads are RIGHT ON TOP of the music Now Playing, so that you can’t see the Song info unless you go out of your way to click “Dismiss Ad”.
2) PANDORA is better because: PANDORA shows you not only the current song playing info, but ALSO the previous 2 song’s played info options. So if you wanted to find rate a song that just finished, you’ll see the prior 2 songs played, and can view &/or rate that song.
Slacker’s free version only lets you view the CURRENT song being played. IF you get to your computer 1 second after the song finished, it’s gone. No “Prior Song” played info. That would be nice.
3) PANDORA is better because: PANDORA’s Music starts playing IMMEDIATELY when you open their page.
Slacker’s site requires you to click on the Play button to begin hearing your music.
4) PANDORA is better because: For most all songs, Pandora provides access to FULL lyrics *(Not sure why, but a small % - I’d say about 10% - do NOT have lyrics available)
Slacker only provides the 1st 4 lines or so from each of the songs played *(but like Pandora, some songs show NO lyrics at all), then has a message right below that says: “Upgrade for complete lyrics” ($).
5) PANDORA is better because: Not only do you see the last 3 songs played, off the left, you can view all of your channels, all on the same page.
Slacker, you have to toggle back and forth between “Now Playing” and “All Stations” list.
6) PANDORA is better because: You can rate, view, get info for the song being played INSTANTLY.
With Slacker, when the Ad is up, you can’t even rate the song playing w/out haveing to click the “Dismiss Ad” 1st. Then, you can rate, song info etc.
7) SLACKER is better w/ their graphics, visual Web Design. But I want a ‘net radio station to LISTEN to, not look at.
8) SOUND QUALITY: I personally can not tell much difference either way.
9) As far as the actual quality of music being played, overall, I would call it a draw.
10) I’m not much of a tech geek, so I can’t speak for the Cache that I’ve heard slacker provides, so that may be a plus for slacker?
I just prefer PANDORA for the intangibles that it provides.


Well if the free version of pandora has a time limit while I believe slacker doesn't on its music. Also the quality of sound is higher in slacker than pandora when based of the free version model.

Now if you go with a paid version then slacker has unlimited skips while you are still subjected to I believe 6 skips a station in pandora.

Artist discovery in Pandora is a bit harder to do in Pandora than Slacker. I've heard a lot more new songs from Slacker than I did with Pandora.

Now depending what you are listening to then one station could be better than the other. I think Pandora was better in pulling out dance and hip hop better than Slacker was, but Alternative/Rock seemed to be better done in Slacker.

I haven't compared the paid version of slacker as in if they increased their bitrate if you pay as Pandora did, but that may not be that important. Of course if you know how to stream rip then it can make a world of difference.

> Slacker’s free version only lets you view the CURRENT song being played. IF you get to your computer 1 second after the song finished, it’s gone. No “Prior Song” played info. That would be nice.

How ridiculously wrong you are. I love the disinformation throughout all these comments. Click the station button and you get a nice list of all the music you've been hearing.

After trying to get pandora to work and upgrading it, I finally gave up on it. I thought it was a great idea, and it had some great songs that I have not heard in years but it would just keep locking up. I think I could only get pandora to download 3 songs in a row without it locking up or say "cannot stream in this area". So then I downloaded Slacker, and it worked right off the bad (so did Iheartradio). No problems with slacker, it is very cool, no lock ups and great selections!

Spot on...except my Galaxy Tab streams everything and seamlessly goes from home WiFi to 3G as I leave my apartment. I dumped Pandora almost 2 years ago after a few days of use. Terrible.

I hated my Sirius subscription due to the tight rotation (and Music Choice through Comcast is the absolute WORST due to the exact same songs all the time).

I used to work for Metroplex (WHYI Y-100 in Miami) with programming legend Bill Tanner. He was an artist in programming across three ethnic demographics, Blacks, Latinos, and Whites. Before the days of computers, he used different colored index cards to signify if the song was a strong or weak song in each demo based on music research and then refrained from playing two ethnic songs back-to-back.
Y-100 remained #1 in its demographic 18-34 for Years, until Clear Channel bought it.