Music Scheduling: Programming in 3D

By: Chris Malone

When scheduling a music log, it’s easy for many music schedulers to think in a linear fashion. The familiar thought process is as follows: run the automatic scheduler, edit the music log, check for consistency and flow, then export the log before the Traffic Department starts screaming there’s no log to merge! It’s a very traditional mindset, but there’s another dimension to consider – How well are your artists rotating from day to day? How well balanced is your library music? Or what’s lurking in the hold category?

Artist Rotation

In this example, we are looking at the history graph – artist keyword view and we can see Ed Sheeran is getting good representation usually in the midday, 1pm hour but he hasn’t really had a chance to schedule in mornings, afternoons, or nights. If ensuring a well-balanced artist spread is important to your overall station sound then consider putting a rule in place to make sure artists aren’t clumping in one area but getting adequate exposure to your total audience.

In addition to the traditional, linear artist Keyword Time Separation rule, you can consider a modest Artist Keyword Hour Rotation rule that prevents an artist from playing in the same place day to day. You can choose the window size that includes the days back to factor and an hour window range to restrict the artist from playing again in that time frame (1 day, 3 hours in the example above). Other rules that can help for a better day to day spread are Keyword Hour Position Kick that prevents the artist from playing in the same Quarter Hour/Half Hour day to day or Keyword Sliding Hour Rotation that allows MusicMaster to restrict forward and backwards around a single play from any particular artist.

Once you’ve selected the right rule to give your artists great exospore throughout the day, in MusicMaster you can also add an Optimum Scheduling Goal as an added layer of perfection.

Library Analysis

In a linear fashion we add songs, place them in a category, code the element, and move on with our duties. When thinking about multi-dimensional 3D programming from a larger, more strategic view, it’s important to ensure that you’re hitting your sound code target for the radio station. You can run a library analysis on your entire sound code field to make sure that the proper ‘sound’ is reflected in your active library, that meets your strategic station goals.

To run a library analysis, right click on the Sound field in your Library and select Library Analysis. This Classic Rock station is noticeably heavy on Hard Rock titles, but doesn’t have much variety outside of that sound based on the songs in their rotated music categories. You can print this analysis and carry it in your next music meeting to re-align your library or use this intel report for future music tests.

Hold Category

When you’re done with a song in rotation it’s common practice to just send the song to the never-ending “on hold” graveyard. Over time, the hold category can become a breeding ground for weaker/non-hit songs that need to be deleted from the library altogether to ensure these weightless titles don’t land back into rotation or end up on-air during a prime time feature or themed weekend. Cleaning this category is simple with the song marking tool in MusicMaster (F7).

In this example, you’ll see over 400 songs in this Hold category, and a few have been marked, as indicated by the light blue highlight. You can mark any song in your library by simply pressing F7. Once you’ve completed marking songs for deletion you can right click anywhere in that category and select Delete > Delete Marked Songs. Keeping a cleaner Hold category prevents irrelevant titles from ever making onto your scheduled log again and it plays a large part when thinking about your station from a grand scale “3D” point of view.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

By: Chris Malone

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About Chris Malone radio

Over 15 year Radio and Digital Consultant, Major Market Program Director, On-Air Personality (Urban AC, Urban Hip Hop, Smooth Jazz & Rhythmic format background). Additionally, Promotions Coordinator, TV News Audio Engineer and Commercial Voice-Over Artist. Sounds like a lot? It is!! A lot of fun and I wouldn't have it any other way. This is the blog space for broadcast media's best kept secret, Chris Malone. Enjoy!

Posted on November 2, 2021, in Music, Radio and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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