The rules and decisions on what will and won't play are as follows:
- The group/soloist must be currently active. With more popular idols, this is pretty easy to figure out, as they make an announcement if they will be disbanding. However, in the underground scene this is a bit harder to be sure of. I often check the idols website, discography, blogs, twitter, etc. for signs of activity. They are of course active if they have upcoming performances scheduled, or have just recently performed. If not, I have to look more into it. I check to see if they are consistently releasing singles, I check when there last twitter or blog updates were, and what was said. If there has been no signs of activity in any of these areas at all in more than half a year, I will consider the group inactive and remove them from the station. (They can be put back on if this is proven to be untrue, of course.)
- As far as what is considered an "idol" it is mostly up to what the group/soloist calls themselves. Most of the time, it is as simple as their website, blog, or twitter claims them as an idol or does not. Sometimes it takes further research, but I am very careful to be sure everyone on the station is part of Japan's current idol scene. These days, there are things such as "dance & vocal group idols" and groups that are simply dance & vocal WITHOUT being idols. along with rock idols, metal idols, disco idols, and a lot of groups that APPEAR to be idols, but claim they are not. I go based on the idol group's word and their managements word first, and if there is none at all, I look into how they are marketed and what sort of events they are appearing at to decide if they are part of the idol scene.
- In the case of solo songs by idols who are part of groups, solo songs will be included on the station so long as the idol is still an active idol. It does not matter if the song is from an album/b-side, or if it was a solo single. The idol does not have to have an active solo career to still have their solo songs included, she just must be active somewhere in the idol scene. Solo songs released with disbanded groups or groups the idol has since left will still be included if the idol is still performing, as they are still relevant.
- If a group changes names but is still essentially the same group (ex: tengal6 becoming lyrical school), the group's music from both groups will be included, but under the two different names. It seems silly to remove the songs of a past group that is technically still active under a new name. However, I want to keep the station accurate, so in this case I must list who the song was actually released by. (For those of you wondering, Morning Musume will always stay "Morning Musume", I will not add the year at the end of their name as it complicates schedule planning.)
Concerning units and subgroups:
- If a subgroup does not have an official announcement regarding if it has been disbanded or not, they will be considered inactive if there has been no release in the past year. This is because subgroups are often left to slowly fade away, rather than an official disbandment being announced. However, if a release is announced, the idol group will immediately be added to the station again. (**Read below for exceptions.)
- Units that are temporarily formed for a single b-side or album track (such as the units formed for Chu-z's single "Bombastic") will still be listed under the main group's name, not the unit name. This is because these units are really a temporary creation chosen to sing a song, not a permanent new group arrangement, and it can be confusing to those new to the group to see many different names used for the same group. It also makes the station harder to organize.
- Collaboration releases that include multiple idol groups will be included on the station so long as every group involved is still active.
**Sakura Gakuin subgroups will still be included, as the subgroups are important to the group's overall theme. Along with this, though the groups do not release regularly, they do perform often.
If you feel a subgroup has a similar situation where they do not meet the one-year rule, but should still be played on the station for one reason or another, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd be happy to listen and look into it.