By Sean Ross of @RossOnRadio

People assure me that at some point, a genome will be able to replicate every aspect of radio programming judgment—from knowing why seemingly disparate songs belong together on CHR to being able to sequence hits in a better order than the best radio station music director. Since my living depends, in part, on editing radio station music logs, I’m glad that day hasn’t come yet.

But there are signs that music scheduling software has a sense of humor, or at least irony, judging from some of the juxtapositions of songs that I’ve encountered while scheduling.

  • Phil Collins, “Take Me Home” into Loverboy, “Turn Me Loose”;
  • Kiss, “Rock And Roll All Night” to Elton John, “I’m Still Standing”;
  • Manfred Mann, “Blinded By the Light” into Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” (and both from the same writer);
  • E.M., “Losing My Religion” to AC/DC, “Highway to Hell.” (I’ve also gotten R.E.M. into New Order, “True Faith” and Mike & the Mechanics, “All I Need Is A Miracle”);

Some are just funny coincidences of titles, but some have far more subtext. I’ve been posting the best on my Twitter feed as #MomentsOfMusicSchedulingGrace. While it’s been no “#TipsForDatingMyEx,” in terms of trending, readers have chimed in with a number of their own segues, and a few have become regular contributors.

I occasionally wonder if my programming peers are looking at some of the more eccentric possible segues and asking “what kind of station is this guy programming anyway?” When Eric Clapton’s breakup song, “Promises,” scheduled next to ex-girlfriend Sheryl Crow’s “My Favorite Mistake,” a reader tweeted back, “Someone plays ‘Promises’?” In this case, it was an Adult Hits station with a deep overnight spice category, and most segues of that sort never would have actually been allowed to play together.

Be assured that I am playing the hits for my clients—but first I’m harvesting any unintended comic potential for Ross On Radio readers in segues like these. (And many of them do involve actual hits.)

  • No Doubt, “Just A Girl” to Bee Gees, “More Than A Woman”;
  • Katrina & the Waves, “Walking on Sunshine” to Blind Melon, “No Rain” (I would have allowed that one to play; it probably happens all the time at Adult Hits);
  • Billy Joel, “Uptown Girl” to Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk” (I would have left that one, also);
  • Eric Clapton, “I Shot the Sheriff” to Christopher Cross, “Ride Like the Wind”;
  • Ramones, “I Wanna Be Sedated” to Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”;
  • Michael Jackson, “Bad” to Linda Ronstadt, “You’re No Good”;
  • Greg Kihn Band, “Jeopardy” to Capital Cities, “Safe And Sound”;
  • Geils Band, “Love Stinks” to Pharrell Williams, “Happy”;
  • U2, “I Will Follow” to Mumford & Sons, “I Will Wait”
  • Naked Eyes, “Promises Promises” to Richard Marx, “Don’t Mean Nothing”
  • Huey Lewis & News, “I Want A New Drug” to Tone-Loc, “Funky Cold Medina”;
  • Roxette, “Dangerous” to Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy”;
  • Eddie Money, “Take Me Home Tonight” to Aerosmith, “Dream On”;
  • Adam Ant, “Goody Two Shoes” to George Thorogood, “Bad to the Bone”;
  • Stone Temple Pilots, “Plush” to ZZ Top, “Tush”;
  • Van Halen, “Love Walks In” to OneRepublic, “Love Runs Out”;
  • Joni Mitchell, “Big Yellow Taxi” to Go-Gos, “Vacation,” just as I was wrapping up a final log before leaving for the holidays;
  • Led Zeppelin, “Stairway to Heaven” to Belinda Carlisle, “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” to Bob Dylan, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”

In fact, the battle between the sacred and the profane rages constantly while editing music logs:

  • Real Life, “Send Me An Angel” to Mr. Mister, “Broken Wings”;
  • Mister, “Kyrie” to Cliff Richard, “Devil Woman”
  • Night Ranger, “Sister Christian” to Van Halen, “Running with the Devil”;
  • Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil” to Sublime, “Santeria”;
  • U2, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” to Belinda Carlisle, “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”;
  • Def Leppard, “Rock of Ages” to Smash Mouth, “I’m A Believer”;
  • George Michael, “Faith” to Black Crowes, “She Talks to Angels”;
  • “Faith” to Van Morrison, “Into the Mystic”; (both of these, by the way, would have been while Michael was still among us);
  • E.M., “It’s The End of the World As We Know It” to Def Leppard, “Armageddon It”;

Sometimes, it’s more than one segue—there are entire theme sets:

  • Whitney Houston, “How Will I Know” to Alanis Morissette, “You Learn” to Gloria Gaynor, “I Will Survive”;
  • Commodores, “Brick House” to John Mellencamp, “Pink Houses,” followed by Aerosmith, “Dream On” to Daryl Hall & John Oates, “You Make My Dreams Come True”;
  • Bee Gees, “Night Fever” to Wang Chung, “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” to Elton John, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”;
  • Bon Jovi, “Wanted, Dead or Alive” to Bee Gees, “Staying Alive” to Alanis Morissette, “Ironic”;
  • Outfield, “Your Love,”; England Dan & John Ford Coley, “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” INXS, “Need You Tonight”

I also do a lot of work in Canada, which explains some of these titles that might be less familiar to others (or segues of songs familiar to Americans, but less likely to happen here):

  • Mike & the Mechanics, “The Living Years” to Trooper, “We’re Here For A Good Time (Not A Long Time);
  • Temptations, “My Girl” to Chilliwack, “My Girl (Gone Gone Gone)”;
  • Elton John, “Your Song” to Glass Tiger, “My Song”;
  • Bee Gees, “Stayin’ Alive” to Terry Jacks, “Seasons in the Sun”;
  • Boney M, “Rasputin” to the Beatles, “Revolution”;
  • Neil Young, “Old Man”; Rod Stewart, “Young Turks”; Ian Thomas, “Painted Ladies”;
  • Rare Earth, “Born To Wander” to Kansas, “Carry On Wayward Son”;
  • Tears for Fears, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” to Guess Who, “Share the Land”;
  • Led Zeppelin, “Stairway to Heaven” to One to One, “Angel In My Pocket” (which would have actually worked well, for anybody who can conjure what that segue would sound like);
  • The ‘80s Cancon slot where my choices were Santana, “Hold On” or Luba, “Let It Go”.

Occasionally, there’s one where you have to know the subtext. It’s often related to celebrity couplings, but the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” came up to “Hanging by a Moment” by Lifehouse, the band that shares their name with an intended rock opera that would have included the Who song. I also once got “On the Dark Side” next to a real Bruce Springsteen song of the sort that it was meant to suggest.

Most CHR programmers and Music Directors can count on some celebrity couple inadvertently talking to each other on their radio stations. From readers, I’ve gotten:

  • Ellie Goulding, “On My Mind” to Ed Sheeran, “Don’t,” a celebrity couple point/counterpoint that probably happened frequently at CHR and Hot AC after Tony Lorino encountered it;
  • Calvin Harris, “This Is What You Came For” to Taylor Swift, “Style” (an actual segue from B96 Chicago’s Erik Bradley);
  • Calvin Harris, “My Way” to Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (Drew Kelly);

And here are some other juxtapositions that ROR readers have encountered:

  • Tom Petty & Heartbreakers, “Don’t Come Around Here No More” to Pink Floyd, “Wish You Were Here” (Tim Sheehan);
  • Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” to Fleetwood Mac, “Go Your Own Way” (Rico Garcia);
  • Righteous Brothers, “Unchained Melody” to Ella Henderson, “Ghost” (Brad Challoner);
  • Hozier, “Take Me To Church” to Madonna, “Like A Prayer” (Challoner);
  • “Take Me To Church” to Calvin Harris, “Pray to God” (Robbie Mack);
  • Mariah Carey, “Vision of Love” to Queen, “Heaven for Everyone” (Richard Phelps);
  • Maroon 5, “Love Somebody” to Justin Bieber, “Love Youself” (Robbie Mack);
  • Avicii, “I Could Be The One” to Dua Lipa “Be The One” (Barry Dunne, just this week, from Dublin, where both of those songs are hits);
  • Justin Timberlake, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” into REO Speedwagon, “Can’t Fight This Feeling” (Ron Harrell);
  • Dierks Bentley, “Drunk on a Plane” to Chad Brownlee, “Crash” (Scott Clements);
  • Foo Fighters, “Learn To Fly” to Five For Fighting “Superman” (Spencer Wagen);
  • Meghan Trainor, “No” to Usher, “Yeah!” (Mario Juan);
  • Steely Dan’s “My Old School” playing as Len O’Kelly was pulling up at Grand Valley State University

So what are your moments of music scheduling grace?