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Active rock is a radio format used by many commercial radio stations across the United States and Canada. Active rock stations play a balance of new hard rock songs with valued classic rock favorites, normally with an emphasis on the harder edge of mainstream rock and album-oriented rock. [1]

Format background

There is no concrete definition of the active rock format. Sean Ross, editor of Airplay Monitor, described active rock in the late 1990s as album-oriented rock (AOR) "with a greater emphasis on the harder end of the spectrum". [2] Radio & Records defined the format as based on current rock hits in frequent rotation and targeted to males ages 18–34, akin to the approach of contemporary hit radio (CHR) stations. [3]

An active rock station may include songs by classic hard rock artists whereas a modern rock or alternative station would not. Additionally, an active rock station will play a very popular demand in rotation of new hard rock and heavy metal artists as well as hard rock and heavy metal artists from the mid-1990s and throughout the 2000s. Usually an active rock station will play predominantly newer artists and songs, while other stations will play a balance of classic and new hard rock as close to home as possible to mainstream rock without overlapping the format.


  1. ^ "The State of Rock Radio – Part One". RadioInfo, August 19, 2012.
  2. ^ Toby Eddings, "Active rock finds an Asylum at 93.5", The Sun News, February 7, 1999
  3. ^ Maxwell, Cyndee (February 12, 1999). "How To Define An Active Rocker..." (PDF). Radio & Records. p. 84. Retrieved July 4, 2018.

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