With respect, I think whoever designed this made a monumental foul up here.
With equal respect, I think you just have different needs than most of our client base.
Not that your needs aren't valid, but we typically have to design to the specifications that most of our users will expect.
Bear in mind that the way you've suggested we do weighting is far easier to implement, but we deliberately sunk a significant amount of effort into our design of our current system (despite its higher implementation complexity) because it better matches what most station planners will expect.
By virtue of there only being a relatively small number of tracks in the low weight list, each of those songs is going to play 10x as often as the normal ones
Exactly, and that's precisely the point of the weighting system.
If you're running a typical music station -- take a cheezy pop station, for example -- you're going to want to prioritize your tracks based on their popularity and hear the new ones far more frequently than the old ones. So you'd put Britney and friends in your "Heavy" playlist, weighted 5, and your older tracks in your "Light" playlist, weighted 1, to ensure that out of every 6 tracks played, 5 of them are new and 1 of them are old. (Adjust weights as necessary, of course -- these are just examples.)
If we implemented the weighting system the way you described, based on tracks rather than playlists, there would be no control over playlist distribution (by random chance, you might have 40 oldies play in a row followed by 2 new tracks, and then 10 more oldies), plus every time you added or removed tracks from any of the playlists, you'd throw off your carefully calculated ratios and have to go back and fiddle with all the weights again.
To put that in simpler terms, it means that under your suggested playlist system, if you uploaded the Creedence Clearwater Revival 6-CD box set to a playlist on your pop station and didn't adjust your weights, there's a good chance your stream will instantly change from a Pop Top 40 station into an all-CCR-all-the-time southern classic Rock marathon.
By ensuring that weighting is done on a per-playlist basis, we ensure that you get your daily dose of Britney as expected. Or more specifically, that:
1) one of your "just released" tracks is GUARANTEED to play X number of times within every X songs, and likewise the oldies, so that you can carefully plan and balance your programming based on what your listeners expect to hear, and that
2) the ratios stay precisely the same regardless of the number of tracks in each playlist, and do not change even if you add or delete a huge number of tracks from any given playlist.
That's the purpose of the weighting system. You're welcome to submit a feature request if you feel that your approach may also be useful, but your comments to the effect that the current system is "fouled up", "mad", an "out of control mess", and "unuseable" are a bit unwarranted given that it's operating precisely as designed and as most station planners will expect, and is simply not designed to do what you're looking for.