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By: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting
Just this week, while talking with a PD we discovered that the log he was preparing was not actually playing as scheduled. Reason: The hard drive or jock was dropping music to meet time restrictions. The station ended up dropping important songs which caused both era and tempo problems. The hours he spent editing the log, all went down the drain. Is this happening to you? If so, check what is being scheduled vs what is actually playing.
Jocks and hard drives should not be making critical music decisions. Good fix: Schedule the amount of music you actually use. Make sure fill music (at the end of the hour) is always secondary. Also, make sure you reconcile music on a daily basis.
If set up properly, most music programs do a good job of rotating music. Minimal editing should be required. However, there are a few important areas to look for:
- Use Artist Group Separation. This keeps Adam Levine away from Maroon 5. Check all artists that are in both a group as well as solo. Example: Eagles/Don Henley, Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks, Michael Jackson/Jackson 5, etc.
- Keep an “Even Wave of Tempo.” Spread out your most up-tempo songs.
- Separate sounds. Make sure all songs have the proper sound codes. Country, rock, urban, wimpy, MOR etc. Keep the sounds apart to avoid clumping.
- Do not swap categories. Most stations have era-based systems. When you switch a category, there is a good chance you will introduce era clumping. Better, swap songs within the category within the hour first.
- It’s all in the details. Would a cold open song sound better going from jingle to music? Are you running a :12 second sweeper intro and :03 intro song?
Too many unscheduled positions? Try this…
For those of you who get more unscheduled positions than you prefer, try scheduling the same day a few times over. Schedule the day. Then do it again, and even again. Each time you will see the number of unscheduled positions go down. This procedure only takes a few seconds and can make daily editing easier.
15-20 unscheduled positions a day is normal. If you think that is too high, think about this. Would you rather break a rule 20 times a day or 200 times a day? Unscheduled positions also force you to carefully look at the log on an hour to hour basis.
Worry about burn IN not burn OUT
Many programmers are worried that liners and sweepers burn out. I say forget burn out and worry about “burn in.” It takes a long time to burn our messages into listener’s heads. We get tired of them, but the listeners are just starting to get the message.
Messages take time to burn in, don’t give up or change too soon
This especially applies to TV spots. TV needs frequency to build in people’s minds. I just spent a night at focus groups where the listeners loved the station TV spot. They knew it, liked it and thought it was perfect for that station. Are the station folks somewhat tired of the spot? Maybe. Are the listeners? Not at all! Should they change? You tell me.
Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. www.garyberk.com