In the Detroit/Metro Detroit area, you won't easily go hungry for variety when it comes to radio stations. You've got classic rock, alternative rock, American country stations, Canadian country stations, R&B, rap, even some random classical music stations sprinkled around.
Just a dash of Für Elise here and there
With some of the stations, though -- namely, the pop stations -- the distinctions become a little hazy. Depending on your mood for that particular day, you might be feeling a certain blend of pop melodies you can only get in a particular place. So, when it comes to the major pop stations of the area, I like to think of them like this:
100.3 - Your mom's favorite station
Note: If you're one of the cool moms and you listen to 101.1 or something, you're excluded from that accusation.
This is the station that continued to play Pharrell's "Happy" practically on repeat for a ridiculous number of months after the world overwhelmingly agreed to let it die. Their slogan is "Everything from the 80's til' now", and they do play good music from time to time. This is the place you go when you want some degree of 80's/90's/2000's variety and you don't go to 93.9 The River. It's not the worst station to find yourself jamming out to, just don't stay too long because they'll sneak "Happy" back in again. This is what we get for allowing the Minions movie to become popular.
96.3 - Just dipping their feet in
Up to the past year or so, 96.3 boasted a slogan of "Today's best hits without the rap" because we need to keep the kids safe from the hippity-hops and the rap music that plague this society (?). However, the station must have noticed the shift in music towards integrating rap into a lot of other genres, leading to rappers being in a lot of the best hits that 96.3 wanted to play. Instead of gutting songs or simply not playing some of the most popular ones, 96.3 decided to accept rap as a part of modern day music. Now they play the actual hits along with some dashes of early 2000s or 90's hits, leading to the moms from 100.3 to tell their kiddos to cover their ears when they hear "Quavo", but staying for some Aerosmith following Ed Sheeran.
95.5 - The cool older brother
This station has been around since I started listening to the radio over a decade ago. Back then, 95.5 was the foil of 96.3 in that they played a lot of rap, and often played Eminem. Over time, they've shifted towards playing all of the popular songs along with still playing rap songs from the recent years. Even 95.5's morning show, Mojo In The Morning, is a part of Detroit/Metro Detroit's culture -- everyone's heard of a phone scam, but people still get caught up in them and it's the best part of an early-morning drive. 95.5 can get a bit annoying, though, because it will play the same few songs throughout the day. At least it does have some variety here and there, and it's hard to hate the cool older brother.
98.7 - The cool younger brother
Now, here's the station that seems to be fighting with 95.5. 98.7 AMP radio showed up in 2009 and took the area by storm, raising its standard high with the slogan "More hit music every hour, way less commercials". It's possible that the rise of AMP radio was what pushed 95.5 to play more of the billboard hits, because they were on fire when they first started. Not only do they play all of the popular songs, but they have their fair share of contests, which you can only win if you say the slogan. Genius. They stay true to it, as well, keeping the music rolling for a long time before you hear a commercial. They're also usually the ones to pick something up before some of the other stations see it coming. Recently, they started playing my favorite artist, Jon Bellion, and did a concert where he headlined. Since then, I've seen his popularity skyrocket.
AMP radio is great, but its fatal flaw is that there are only so many hit songs you can play. Then the station gets so repetitive that it play songs into the ground. It's great for shorter driving trips, but there's no way I could listen to it all day at work. I love "Despacito" and "Castle on the Hill" but I can only take it for so long.