The program secrets of 100% hard rock

Olivier Vairon is the creator of this radio station devoted exclusively to hard rock. A well-identified musical style for a program that allows you to listen to AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Def Leppard or Scorpions. Created on Radionomy, the radio has been monetized on Shoutcast since 2020. Olivier answered our questions and reveals his little programming secrets. 

Hello Olivier, can you remind us of the main stages in the “life” of your radio station?

First of all, the idea of creating a web radio. Then to find the support. I discovered Radionomy, which I find simple, practical, and free. So I decided to take the plunge. My goal was to make a mini-encyclopedia of hard music. To listen to hard music in all its forms: hard FM, metal, heavy, etc… and from all eras. In short, not to stay on a handful of bands from the 70s or 80s. I started with a few hundred tracks, then 1000 then 2000 and 2200 today. I don’t do shows or features. 100% Hard-Rock is continuous hardcore tracks, with no talk: just zic!

Has the concept evolved over the years?

The concept is to be able to listen to hard music from the ’70s to today from well known and not so well known bands. As long as it’s melodic hard rock. It hasn’t changed because it’s a broadcast web radio, no live shows or anything like that. As the months go by, the program is enriched with a few recent tracks that I’ve just discovered.

Is the program consistent throughout the day or week?

It is homogeneous and varied in the sense that every hour the listener is sure to hear songs from the 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000, 2010, or now. There are as many well-known classics as there are less well-known tracks like the ones just released.

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How is it organized?

I’ve got 2,200 songs running all the time. That’s about 400 bands. That means a song plays once every 5 days or so. I do 30-minute trays for each year: 85 for example where there are only titles from the year 85 without band rehearsals. And I have 23 half-hour bins also of standards like AC/DC’s Highway to Hell or Led Zep’s Stairway to Heaven that everybody knows and that listeners want to hear quite often. Then I make 2-hour clocks with a year 75, a year 98, the year 2019, and one of classics for example. This means that every quarter of an hour, you listen to a song from each of these 3 years and a standard. And the next two hours will be the years 82, 94 and 2006 for example. My original idea was indeed to mix the decades. Finally, in two hours, no band plays twice, unless it has a classic. The idea is to discover a good part of what Hard-Rock has been able to produce from the 70s to now.

Do you regularly renew this programming?

Not regularly since my bins and clocks are done. But my days change with the clocks that are the same. All you have to do is change the arrangement of the clocks. What also changes are the novelties. About 5 to 10 per week that I add to a bin and that is added to the program.

How do you get the headlines you put out there?

For me to broadcast a title, I have to like it a minimum. It has to be hard, that is to say, that the saturated guitar has to be the backbone of the song, but it has to be melodic. In the beginning, I used to buy MP3s on mp3panda.com. Convenient, lots of choices, and cheap for legal downloads. And then I get more and more MP3 mailings from bands or producers who want me to play them.

What are the most popular artists on your radio?

By far the most broadcasted with 60 tracks is Scorpions because Scorpions is 50 years of career and 18 studio albums. Then AC/DC, Deep Purple, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, and Van Halen. In short, the must-haves. Then it’s Eclipse, Entwine, and Pretty Maids, current bands of which I play about 20 songs each.

Why is this hard rock musical style effective in web r adio?

Because it’s about the only place you can listen to it now. Classical radio stations play current commercial music.

Do you monetize or do you plan to monetize your radio?

I have never monetized. But, after thinking about it, I decided to sign the contract at the beginning of the year for 100% Hard-Rock but also 100% Pop and 100% Progressive Rock because they exceed 8000 listening hours per month.