Little Pawns

With Kris’ first single from his upcoming album hopefully getting released in late February 2012, it’s almost time to start doing some chart watching.

There are a lot of charts out there to check out and analyze – Billboard on its own has dozens – but for the purpose of tracking radio play, the primary charts to follow are those put together by Mediabase.

There are charts for every format – or music genre – from Christian contemporary to active rock and everything in between. But we’ll focus on the 3 or 4 formats where Kris is most likely to get radio play:


CHR/Mainstream   (A.K.A. Pop or Top 40 radio)

This is one of the faster moving charts. There are a lot of monitored stations, and if a song gets put into major rotation on the big radio stations in this format (such as Z-100 in NY), it can move up the chart in a hurry. At the same time, songs can drop off this chart quickly – it’s common for songs to have shorter stays on this chart than on ones in formats with fewer stations that are often slower to drop songs from playlists.

LLWD peaked at #10 on the CHR charts the week of March 14, 2010.

In addition to Kris’ official singles, his version of “Heartless” got a handful of official adds from Top 40 (and Hot AC) stations and was in the Mediabase Top 100 CHR chart for several weeks.


Hot AC  (A.K.A. Adult Pop)

This format moves slower in terms of charting than CHR does. For example, Gavin DeGraw’s last single, which was released back in May 2011, just hit #1 on the Hot AC chart in early January 2012. Now, that is an extreme case, but  slow climbs are much more common than songs shooting into the Top 10 right away.

LLWD peaked at #3 on the Hot AC chart 

LLWD had a fairly quick run up this chart, making the Top 40 two weeks and the Top 20 six weeks after it was officially sent for adds:

Entered Top 40: week of October 25, 2009

Entered Top 20: week of November 22, 2009 (one week after album was released)

Entered Top 10: week of January 17, 2010


The Truth peaked at #17 on the Hot AC chart the week of August 22, 2010 and stayed at that position for an additional week.

Like LLWD, The Truth entered the Top 40 of the Hot AC chart quickly, but had a slower climb to the Top 20. After entering the Top 40 the week of May 23, 2010, it didn’t go Top 20 until the week of August 1.



Adult Contemporary, with an emphasis on soft rock or MOR (middle of the road) type music. While there are people who would be considered AC artists, in general, songs show up on this chart after they have started to peak on the other charts. Sometimes they will show up on the AC chart at the same time as they start to move up a chart in another format (generally Hot AC or Pop). This is a very slow moving chart. Songs can stay on here for months, sometimes for more than a year.

LLWD peaked at #7 on the AC chart, staying at that position for 6 weeks, beginning the week of June 6, 2010.


This format is like pop radio but with much more emphasis on hip-hop/r&b/rap than in CHR/Mainstream format. Kris got two official adds from stations in this format with LLWD, but unless his single this time around really fits into this format, it would be unlikely that he would get much radio play on these stations. Still, you never know, right?


Christian Contemporary

This format can play songs across a variety of genres, from gospel to rock to rap to country, but with the common thread being that the songs are lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith (directly or indirectly) and/or have inspirational themes.

LLWD peaked at #21 on this chart the week of June 13, 2010 (LLWD also hit #1 on the BB Christian Digital and Christian/Gospel Digital charts).


Songs go recurrent on the charts when they consistently lose spins. When they are taken off the chart – or go recurrent – can differ, depending on the format:


Mediabase Recurrent Rules

Mediabase recently changed their rules for songs going recurrent. the following apply to all formats EXCEPT Country and AC

Songs that have peaked inside the top 10: Removed after 20 weeks on chart & below #10

Songs that have not peaked in the top 10: Removed after 20 weeks on chart & two consecutive negative updates


Songs below #10 are removed after 20 weeks (same as above) and songs below #5 are removed after 40 weeks.


Mediabase uses a panel of monitored stations in order to determine a song’s performance on the radio. These stations report every week to Mediabase by a set deadline. There are a different number of monitored stations in each format .

CHR/Mainstream – 155 monitored stations; reporting deadline: Tuesday, 3 p.m. PST.

Hot AC – 92 monitored stations; reporting deadline: Monday, 3 p.m. PST.

AC – 91 monitored stations; reporting deadline: Monday, 3 p.m. PST.

CHR/Rhythmic – 79 monitored stations; reporting deadline: Tuesday, 3 p.m. PST.


If you don’t live in an area with a monitored radio station, well no worries. Mediabase also collects data from non-monitored stations in the U.S. , so while these spins are not used in putting together the charts, it is still important to track these stations and request that they play Kris’ music.

Same thing if you live in Canada – Mediabase tracks spins from Canadian radio stations in all formats and we will be listing spins and chart performance for Kris in Canada (and whatever other countries we can find official data from) . So again, it is important to request that your local station play Kris’ music .

As always, it is very important not to spam stations with requests. Please limit requests to one request per day (for any one particular song, that is). You make want to take a look at this thread for ideas on how to best reacquaint yourself with your local station(s):



Let’s look at a recent Mediabase listing. This is from the January 29 HOT AC chart:


16   15   KELLY CLARKSON    Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)   2144  1610    534    14.549


The first two numbers are last week’s (16) and this week’s (15) chart position. So the song moved up one spot on the chart from where it was a week ago.

The next two numbers represent the number of spins. The song has received 2144 spins over the current 7-day (or week) period, as opposed to 1610 spins over the previous 7-day period.

The next number is the move or bullet, which shows the positive or negative differential in spins over the two weeks. In this case, Kelly’s song has a positive bullet of 534 spins.

The last number is the audience impression. Over the current 7-day period, Kelly’s song has potentially been heard by more than 14 million listeners. Not 14 million DIFFERENT listeners, as there will be lots of people who hear the song multiple times over the 7-day period.

In addition to the weekly breakdown, you can also see the daily breakdown. Again, using this listing, let’s look at the daily numbers:


16   15   KELLY CLARKSON    Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)   2144  1610    534    14.549

+54 Spins
-56 Bullet
+0.433 AI


So, Kelly’s song had 54 more spins for the 1/29 7-day period (2144) than for the 1/28 7-day period (2090). But the change in spins for the 1/29 7-day period compared to the previous 7 days (534) is 56 less than the change for the 1/28 7-day period compared to its previous 7 days (590). So, the number of spins is still increasing, just at a smaller rate than in the previous week.

Meanwhile, the 14.549 AI for the 1/29 7-day period is an increase of 0.433 from the (14.116) AI for the 1/28 7-day period.

Hope that isn’t too confusing.  J



Bullet = the difference in spins a song gets over a one-day or 7-day period.

Bullets are also used in referring to chart position. If a song is moving up the charts, it may be referred to as something along the lines of “#25 with a bullet”.

Audience Impression (AI) = the number of people who have (potentially) heard the song on that particular station. AI is based on ratings or the station in the particular time blocks (AM drive time, overnight, etc). Because there are more people listening to a station at, say 6 p.m. (PM drive time) than at 3 a.m. (overnight), the AI for a station would be higher – often much higher – for the former time period. As a result, it is better for a song to get spun in AM or PM drive time than overnight, since more people would hear it. In the end, though, a spin is a spin is a spin.

Adds = a radio station officially adding a song to its playlist. Stations can spin a song without ever officially adding it, but the chances of getting put in heavy rotation are better if the song is officially added. There are two types of adds: automatic and manual. An automatic add usually (but not always) occurs when a station has spun a song a minimum number times over the previous week. The minimum number of spins for an automatic add is 7, regardless of format. A manual add is when a station officially adds the song to its playlist regardless of whether it has ever been spun by the station.



There are a lot of online sites where you can track spins and other info related to radio play. Here are just a few of those sites:


Mediabase Adds Board:

While some parts of this site and restricted to subscribers only (and a subscription cost in the thousands of dollars), there are areas you can access for free – such as the adds board, where it is easy to track what stations are spinning and/or have officially added any song. You can also look up a station and find all the songs they have added.


Mediabase 24/7 charts:

On this site, you can find live charts for all the various radio formats. In the website address, you will see “format=” with a number that designates the format (1 is CHR, for example). By changing the number in the address, you can find charts for any format.

Mediabase’s published chart comes out on Sundays, usually in the late afternoon, early evening, West Coast time. The published chart is the one that is used for the official chart – for instance, a song could be #1 on a chart sometime during the week, but it has to be #1 on the published to officially be considered a #1 hit.



Another place to find the Mediabase charts. You can also search for things such as “leaders” and “starters” for any song on a chart – these show which stations are spinning the song the most, and have just started spinning it. You can also discover things such as which songs have made the biggest move up the charts, which songs got the most adds in any format, what songs are considered “hot” by radio station PDs (program directors) and DJs across the country, etc. This site also has a lot of ad banners, which is a good indication of what songs are being pushed by labels.


Pulse Music Board:

This is a fan message board, but it has a wealth of information on these such as upcoming adds and release dates and on various charts. One important thread on this board is the one on the CHR page that lists songs found between #51-#200 on the Mediabase chart. This is useful because the charts on All-Access and Mediabase 24/7 usually only list the Top 40 or 50 in any format. Unfortunately, the Pulse Board thread is updated on an inconsistent basis, depending on where there is anyone with access to the full chart.



Another place to find Mediabase charts and general music industry news. This site also has a page called “available for airplay” which shows the official add dates for songs in various formats. It also has a page that shows when music videos are added to VH1 and MTV’s rotation.



Run by a fan that lives in the Netherlands, this site is another great source for chart info and includes real time monitoring.



One of the oldest trade publications in the business, this is where to go for any information about any of the Billboard charts, general music news/gossip, interviews, etc.


Billboard Biz:

A subscription-based part of Billboard, geared more towards industry insiders. You can find more in-depth chart and sales info that you might not find on the free site. There is also the Billboard box scores that come out weekly and show information on concerts/tour (attendance, ticket sales, etc).


Hits Daily Double (HDD):

HDD is a good site to find out about upcoming album releases and projected weekly album sales. It also has a radio section, which provides columns on what songs are getting strong radio play in various formats.

Real-time monitoring of stations around the country (although not all of them). Kris has a couple of stations specifically dedicated to his music on this site. You can also search the call letters of a station and (if it is listed on the site) see what songs they are playing in real time.


If you have any questions or want anything clarified, please leave a comment below.


Once Kris’ single is released, we will be posting a Weekly Spinja Report to track its progress.



Tags: course, crash, radio, spinja

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This is great, thank you Tracey!

glad you liked it! we'll be doing weekly spinja reports once his single gets sent to radio.

This is so cool Tracey, thanks very much :)

glad you like it. keep an eye out for our weekly spinja reports once Kris' single gets sent to radio :)

This is awesome! :D Thank you for putting it together. 

WOW!  Extremely informative.  Thanks for the great explanation! 

Glad you liked it. :)

Can you interpret this for us?

Also, is there anything we should be doing as a result of this information?


Well, I can try :)

Basically, streaming music online has become this big business, so it appears Billboard is trying to respond to this explosion by incorporating data from various streaming sites into their charts. So instead of just relying on sales and airplay from traditional radio to build their charts, they can use a broader range of data to try and give a more accurate picture of what the public is interested in hearing. Foor example, there are a lot of songs that never get airplay from traditional radio stations, but become hits because its availability on the internet. Free downloads offered by the artist, live streams, services like Rhapsody, Pandora, etc. etc.

It's complicated, because there are so many way of hearing music on the internet and not every site is going to keep track of what was played or when. I know that is a problem for BMI, ASCAP and SESAC in trying to get royalties for their artists for the use of their music on some of these sites. As you can see in the article, Billboard is not gathering data from every internet service, just some of them.

And unlike traditional radio, which pretty much only play the singles artists release, a lot of these streaming sites give you access to pretty much any song that has ever been released, so you aren't limited in what you can hear. So a lot more songs have the potential to get substantial play (hopefully leading to sales).

As far as I can tell, the best way to help Kris in regards to this chart and its impact on the BB100 is to sign up for some or all of the sites listed in this article and play his music through these services. I believe some of the sites listed in the article are free, while others have monthly fees.

If I learn any more about this chart and how it could impact Kris, I'll reply back to you again.

I hope this helps a little bit, anyway.

Thanks, Tracey.  It looks like priority 1 is requesting at radio, and then adding streaming plays after the single drops.

It would be nice to see the top 10 ... or 5 ... of that BB100 chart. :)

This is a great radio charts primer, but I just wanted to note a few things:

Z100 NY is a leader, KIIS LA is a huge station, but not a leader. In this sense, Z100 adds often lead to quick climbs up the lower half of the CHR chart, KIIS adds do not. (There are a billion and one examples of rhythmic crossovers that KIIS has in rotation that never see the top 30 of the pop chart.) So while they're both huge stations, KIIS has far less influence over the panel than Z100 does.

LLWD actually peaked at #3 on the HAC chart. 

I have no idea where those recurrent rules came from, and they very well might've been recurrent rules at some point and/or additional criteria for the current ones, but here are the active Mediabase recurrent rules for CHR and HAC to the best of my knowledge:

CHR: Songs are eligible for recurrency when they have spent 20 weeks inside the top 40 and are below #15. 

HAC: Songs are eligible for recurrency when they have spent 20 weeks inside the top 40 and are below #15 OR have spent 25 weeks inside the top 40 and are below #10.

In the strictest sense, a bullet cannot be negative. Bullets refer to positive moves. This is entirely a semantic point, and you'll see lots of people (myself included) refer to negative bullets.

Almost without exception, for stations that do automatic adds, do so with a threshhold of 7 spins in a week. This is a rule that can typically be thought of as station and format independent.

...and I think that's it for my 2 cents. 

Thanks! I will make those changes in regards to LLWD's peak, to KIIS not being a "leader" and the spins for auto adds.

As for the recurrency rules, I found them on mediabase's site. Link here:

I will add your additional  info on recurrency rules to that part of my post.

Thanks again for the input. I appreciate it.


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