8 Must-Run Bracket Ideas for Radio

by Liz Huff Second Street

Top Artists and Songs

There is no doubt your listeners have opinions on the best music – let them vote for their favorites in a bracket. You can be as general (favorite song of all time, album face-offs, the ultimate music video celebrity cameo) or specific (grooviest song of the 70s, most epic heavy metal hair band, ultimate one-hit wonder) as you’d like.

Plus, don’t forget these brackets create awesome content to drive on-air conversation throughout the duration of the bracket. Be sure to encourage your on-air teams to bring them up each round, share on their social pages, and chat about their favorites.

Shows and Programming

Pit your programming content and on-air talent up against each other with brackets. Think of brackets as a great way to gather listener opinions and research – have listeners choose the funniest member of your morning drive team, their favorite in-studio guest, the cutest show pet or their even their favorite hilarious moment of the year.

cutest station pet showdown cover photo

Top Stories and News

Recap your best news content or recent entertainment stories with a bracket. Not only does this give your listeners a chance to let you know what they care about, but you’ll also have an opportunity to repurpose some of that great content you’ve already created – and give your on-air teams more ways to promote content online.

No matter how serious or light-hearted your content, brackets like most epic weather story, battle of the summer blockbuster movies, or most memorable story of the year week/month/year will engage your listeners.

Biggest News Bracket Challenge

Local Music

Brackets are a great chance to highlight your city’s music scene. Use a bracket to find the best local bands, artists, venues, music stores, or music events. This can easily be turned into additional content throughout the year or integrated with live battle of the bands performances on-air! Plus, share this one with your sales team for sponsorship revenue from venues, events, or more.

battle of the local bands cover image mockup


Holidays give you a new way to engage your listeners with content they’ll be excited about – because who doesn’t love a good holiday? With so many annual holidays (and plenty of fun and slightly unusual holidays each month,) the possibilities are endless.

For example, give your audience the chance to kick one song off your Christmas rotation with a Most Overplayed Christmas Song Smackdown bracket. Or ask them to name the Ultimate Heartbreak Anthem with a bracket for Valentine’s Day! Plus, your will talent surely have opinions that will likely differ – so this will make for some fantastic on-air discussions.

Most Overplayed Christmas Song Smackdown


Food is a language we all speak which means it’s a mass-appeal theme and can be a huge win for any format. Consider brackets like the Ultimate Backpacking Snacks, Stadium Food Challenge, Top Gas Station Finds, Fast Food Battle, Treat Tournament, or even Toddler Meal Mania. These are a perfect opportunity for recurring revenue campaigns for a single advertiser to sponsor.

Sports and Athletes

Sport brackets aren’t just for sports stations. From professional to high school sports, there are so many opportunities for your sports segment to highlight local sports with brackets. Your listeners will love a bracket for Top Quarterback of All Time, Favorite Historical Athletes, or Fan Favorite Sports Moments!

Fan Favorite Football Moments bracket cover photo

Miscellaneous Fun!

Sometimes you just want something fun to talk about on-air! One option is to utilize the quirky holidays that occur almost every day of the year. You can also try something fun like a Most Important Emoji bracket or a Worst Tattoo bracket with a tattoo removal prize package.

Tattoo Fail Face-Off cover image

Ready to launch a bracket for your station? You can chat with someone from the Success Team 9am-5pm CT Monday-Friday using the chat box in the bottom right corner!

Get your copy of the 359 Ideas to Engage Your Audience Playbook.