As there are many thousands radio stations worldwide that provides different content, there is a need for some systematization of them, so listeners would be able to understand what they want to listen to. That’s why there are radio programming formats.
The type of radio programming format actually is the provided content of the radio station. However there are some radio stations that offer very wide verity of programs and music genres, most of the stations still represent one specific theme or genre. All the stations that provide similar content can be placed in one format.
The first format is speech or talk radio. Stations that are under this format mostly provide talk shows, news, literature readings etc. Speech radio stations itself can cover wide verity of themes and topics for example, sports, politics, science etc. The themes are almost infinite. Some speech radios also broadcast some music between the shows or programs, but most of the content consists of talking.
The next format is religious stations. Usually they offer both, talk shows and music, but the main focus is on spirituality. There is only religious content broadcasted. Most of the religious radio stations are very small non-profit stations and they are not too popular among listeners.
Then there are collage radio stations. This format offers talking and music as well, but the content is either entertaining or educational. They are meant for college students, so they provide content that is binding for this specific audience. They are even smaller than religious stations and mostly volunteers work to provide them.
The next big format is music radio stations, but as it is so wide format, it is subdivided by the music genres broadcasted. The most common music radio format is popular music radio. There are many popular music stations that offer all kind of pop music. They are quite popular and mostly commercial.
Contemporary format also provides popular music, but the music schedule is made only from the hottest hits. Stations of this format focus on pop music tops. These tops are made based on the voting of the listeners or most listened songs.
Then there are many local music stations. They broadcast only local music of the specific country or state. Also local music radio format can be subdivided by different genres, but in smaller countries there are stations that broadcast all kind of music that local artists offer. It is a chance for many local musicians to gain some popularity among listeners.
And also there are radio stations that represent only one specific music genre. For example, hip-hop, R&B, jazz, soul, classical music, country music, rock, alternative music etc. This kind of stations in FM or AM broadcasting is not so popular, but they are very common in web radio.