Programming and Editing as Alternative Logics of Music Radio Production

Danny Kaplan


The disparity between structural and phenomenological perspectives in media studies informs an unacknowledged distinction between two alternative logics of music radio production: programming and editing. Whereas programmers employ predetermined playlists nested in structural considerations, editors consider thematic associations both linearly between songs and simultaneously with shared external events. Implementation of both logics is illustrated in Israeli radio, where stations partly preserve music editing despite commercialization. By privileging the moment of the live broadcast and attending to semiotic, performative, and temporal contingencies, editors aim to encode preferred meanings, acting as engineers of collective mood. Favoring the logic of live editing over predetermined programming may provide one of radio’s last advantages in the changing media field.

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