Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.
With Katy Perry's "California Gurls," featuring Snoop Dogg, blanketing radio (and leading the Billboard Hot 100 for a third week), I was wondering what song has totaled the greatest amount of airplay in a given week? Is it "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey?
Billboard director of charts and Hot 100 chart manager Silvio Pietroluongo notes in this week's print issue that, with 122.5 million audience impressions, Perry's song, the Hot 100's Greatest Gainer/Airplay award-winner this week, passes Chingy's "One Call Away" (121.6 million, 2004) for highest audience total for a Capitol Records title since the Hot 100 radio panel was expanded to include all formats in December 1998.
Here are the top 10 songs with the highest radio audiences, according to Nielsen BDS (listed by each title's peak audience week). You correctly guessed the top song on the list:
Peak Audience, Title, Artist, Peak Date
212.1 million, "We Belong Together," Mariah Carey, July 9, 2005
196.3 million, "Irreplaceable," Beyonce, Jan. 20, 2007
192.5 million, "No One," Alicia Keys, Dec. 22, 2007
189.6 million, "Let Me Love You," Mario, Feb. 5, 2005
175.6 million, "Gold Digger," Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx, Oct. 22, 2005
172.8 million, "Yeah!," Usher featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris, April 17, 2004
172.3 million, "My Boo," Usher and Alicia Keys, Nov. 20, 2004
171.4 million, "Be Without You," Mary J. Blige, April 1, 2006
170.2 million, "In Da Club," 50 Cent, March 29, 2003
167.7 million, "Dilemma," Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland, Sept. 7, 2002
It's not a coincidence that the songs above all scored success at pop and R&B/hip-hop radio. As the two formats have traditionally enjoyed strong Arbitron ratings in large markets, tracks that cross over between them have a greater chance at registering the highest overall audience totals on the Radio Songs survey.
THE 'BIONIC' WOMAN
The 75-week reign for "The Fame" on Dance/Electronic Albums extends a chart record. Gnarls Barkley's "St. Elsewhere" ranks second with 39 weeks on top in 2006-07.
I posed your question to Billboard's dance chart manager Gordon Murray, who is in charge of flagging titles for the list. Here is his response:
"In a sense, yes, the album's number of ballads excludes 'Bionic' from appearing on the chart.
"Madonna's 'Confessions on a Dance Floor,' for example, was allowed on the chart, but that album featured electronic production from start to finish, no ballads and was even released in a continuously-mixed version, as well.
"'The Fame' was a debut album by an unknown dance artist (at the time) and it contains a majority of electronically-produced dance songs. 'Bionic' is an album by an established pop star that contains a variety of styles - pop, dance and ballads.
"'Bionic' contains dance songs, but the main thrust of the album, as a whole, is not dance."
(The following question also relates to the artist atop the genre's album tally).