February 2019

MusicMaster Debuts Humanitarian Award at Radio Summit

MusicMaster Scheduling is not only sponsoring the Worldwide Radio Summit Industry Awards Luncheon this year, we're also adding a brand new award category: the "Radio for Good" Humanitarian of the Year. Two awards will be given in the category - one to an organization and one to an individual. Winners will be selected for demonstrating extraordinary commitment and creativity in their efforts to unite listeners in support of local or national causes.

MusicMaster CEO Laurie Knapp says the award was inspired by our industry's unique influence on communities:
"Across the country, we continue to see radio thrive by bringing people together - not just for news and entertainment - but at times, to make a difference in our world. MusicMaster is very proud to recognize individuals and companies that exemplify this spirit, and to share the stories of their achievements."
The Awards Luncheon takes place on Friday, March 29 at 1pm. If you're attending the Summit, be sure to stop by the MusicMaster Meeting Point to say hello, pick up some snacks and swag, and see the latest software features. If you're not attending, stay tuned for next month's newsletter where we'll share the incredible stories about our winnners.

Upcoming Events

"How To Improve Music Testing Response"

In each newsletter, we present a guest article from one of our MusicMaster ProTeam consultants. This month, Tracy Johnson of Tracy Johnson Media Group shares five ways to get better response rates and results from music testing.

How can I improve response to music tests on my station? That's a most asked question today, especially about online music tests.

Most stations have bought into the methodology. But just when they finally start to trust it, response rates plummet. And you kind of know that the respondents each week (or month) are the same folks.

Online music surveys are a popular way for radio stations to gather information from listeners. It's inexpensive, especially compared to traditional callout methods. And it's faster and more accurate. Online music testing typically attracts a larger, broader sample, but many stations are seeing a serious decline in response rates.

Many research companies offer affordable solutions, some allowing stations to manage the entire process. This saves time, money, and gives stations more control over the results.

However, as in all research, results are only as reliable as input (sample and questions) and interpretation (how you interpret the results). That's where many stations find themselves in trouble.

But you can protect against making common mistakes by taking a different approach to music research by increasing response rates.

In the meantime, here are 5 things that will improve results:

Eliminate Music Clubs

Inviting listeners to join a "music advisory board" filters the response base to those who have an active interest in voicing their opinion on music. This is an important group of listeners, to be sure. But, it eliminates most of your audience.

Just the act of "joining a panel" introduces a barrier that reduces sample sizes. And, those individuals that respond tend to be much more interested in music. This can skew results and cause programmers to move songs through the system too quickly.

New songs tend to become familiar with those active music partisans more quickly and burn scores are higher. Following these results could cause your station to be more aggressive than you should be.

Eliminate your music "club" and open the online music test to everyone in the database-and beyond!

You may be worried that a percentage of the sample will spoil results because they prefer the wrong music types. That's a valid concern, but it's easy to manage. Simply ask a few music cluster preference questions in the screener. Then slice and dice the results as many ways as you want.

You'll increase the accuracy and get a better picture of each song's strength with core music fans and casual listeners.

Go Beyond Your Database

The station database is a great place to start getting response, but depending on how it's managed, it may be limiting results. Some databases are old, have never been "scrubbed" and contain only a small fraction of active participants. It feels good to hit a button and fire off 10,000 emails, but how many are really useful?

To offset this potential limitation, work with partners to recruit more responses in the sample. Advertising partners and local websites may be interested in trading free display ads. Or, they could offer it in exchange for inserting a question into the survey. The partner could gain insight into their brand, or potentially even generate leads for their business.

Facebook is also a great source to improve response. Send a targeted Facebook ad campaign and add new responses to the survey. Not only does this increase the research pool, some may discover the radio station and you'll earn new listening opportunities.

Promote On The Air

I've never understood why programmers resist asking for response on the air, and demonstrate how the survey impacts airplay.

Don't just run promos. In fact, those promos rarely generate reaction.

Instead, coach air personalities to promote the current survey, especially when introducing a top-testing song. For example:


Be creative. Have a brainstorming session to come up with dozens of creative ideas for promoting the survey. Once the team gets it going, it's easy and fun.

Match Test to Individual Tastes

When listeners enjoy participating, they participate more. So invite them to vote for songs they're more likely to respond to. If you've captured their music cluster preference (see above), direct them to respond to songs they're most likely to want to respond to. Use this to your advantage when writing an invitation to participate.

For example, the email invitation might be:


Of course, you don't want to test only the songs they're most likely to rate positively. Include the promised songs, but include a couple of songs from other genres.

Incentives Improve Response Rates

Most station solicitations are either: Make your voice known by being in our music panel, or Rate the music and win prizes.

Both approaches limit response rates. Incentives are important, but should not be positioned as the primary reason for engaging. And, we do want music fans to participate, but not as part of an exclusive club.

Build a recruitment strategy that leads listeners to participate through specific, simple messaging. Here are three ways to do it:

Display ads on your website featuring a popular artist or song and a link with message: Rate this song and win (incentive).

Email campaigns featuring the most popular songs. This not only positions music, but is an attractive lure to gain attention. The message: "Should WXXX play this song more or less? Let us know. Click here."

Involve the artist in the solicitation: "Taylor Swift wants to know what you think of her new song. Click here to rate (song) and we'll make sure she gets your feedback.

Note: Provide the record label with the information to send to the artist. Even better, ask artists to provide audio to invite participation. For example,



Online music tests are more sophisticated, powerful and effective than ever. But it must be managed to be worthwhile. Follow these ideas, and add your own solutions to make it work for your station.

Want more advice like this? Read more about Tracy and his services on our ProTeam page or on Tracy's website: TJohnsonMediaGroup.com. Or contact Tracy directly at (858) 472-3546 or Tracy@TJohnsonMediaGroup.com.

  Quick Tip

Clock Editing - Keyboard Commands

There are definitely two camps. You are either in one or the other and wonder about the ways of those other guys. Are you the keyboard user or the mouse user? If you're a keyboard user, common editing options are available in the Format Clock Editor. [Del]ete, [Ins]ert, copy [Ctrl-C], paste [Ctrl-V] and clone [Ctrl-D] elements are all possible. Used in combination with the QuickEntry feature that gives you keyboard commands for every element type, you can now keep your hands on the keyboard to create and edit your clocks. Doesn't it just make you want to channel your inner cat and swat that mouse?

To enable QuickEntry, first go to your Format Clock Editor Options and add the QuickEntry column to your view. You can now type directly in a row to add an element type there and specify some properties. For example, typing L2:00 will add a 2 minute lognote. For a full list of commands, see the table below or reference the program's Help entry. (Click image to expand)

New From the MM Blog
Stop Listeners from Hearing Your Station!

by Jesus Rodriguez - Have I confused you with the title of this blog? You are probably thinking why anyone would ever want to stop their listeners from hearing their stations. I tell this a lot to my clients “You need to prevent your listeners from hearing your station to keep your flow going. The second a listener hears something you may have taken them out of their subconscious that could have them change the channel.”

For me to explain myself let’s review the definition of hearing: 1a: the process, function, or power of perceiving sound specifically: the special sense by which noises and tones are received as stimuli.

If you want to increase your TSL, you have to think beyond your song’s tempos and moods. We also have to consider the same for the items in between the records. We need to code tempo and mood for jingles, sweepers, and any other form of imaging. The majority of our radio listeners will listen to your station’s music in the background whether at work or on the road. If you schedule both your music and non-music items in MusicMaster, you have the ability to control the entire experience. Your audience might stop listening when something grabs their attention like a loud sweeper. Also, an imaging piece that has too many explosions, production effects and segues into a slow intro or ballad, or jingles that are just harmonically out of tune with the song that comes after it, can cause the person to wake up from a listening state of mind. It is important to devote as much time to your non-music items as it is to your music.

If you are not currently scheduling your imaging within MusicMaster, I would like for you to reconsider and I promise that you will notice a significant difference. This adjustment is so much better than having a random cart playing in front of each song. If you are scheduling your imaging within MusicMaster, I would like you to consider some of the following blogs to help you have a much better flow in between the songs than rotating an imaging category. If you need any assistance with any of the following suggestions, please contact your MusicMaster support representative.

The Art of Special Sets (Part Three)

Using Rules to Match Liners to Music

Matching Elements The Easy Way

Drag Text From MusicMaster to a Text Application

by Brian Wheeler - Your consultant or regional PD calls and says "I want to take a look at your gold category. Can you send me a list?" Oh, man...how do I print that out again? I think I can do a quick print somewhere...I wish I could just drag this category to Excel and be done with it.”

Now you can. It is now possible to drag many data items from MusicMaster to other applications that can accept text data, such as Microsoft Word and Excel. A text description of the item being dragged will be pasted into the target application.

Continue Reading

Welcome to MusicMaster!

Use the dropdown menu below to view a list of stations and locations.
Click a station on the list to visit its homepage and listen live!

MusicMaster in Music City

This month, the MusicMaster team traveled to Nashville for the annual Country Radio Seminar. To kick things off, we had Entercom's country programmers join us for a Genius Day, which wrapped up in the best way possible when Big & Rich stopped by to play a few tunes and pass around some of John Rich's Redneck Riviera whiskey!

Country programmers from across Entercom attended a Genius Day

Big & Rich stopped by to play a set after the Genius Day and shares some inspirational words about country radio.

The training vibe continued throughout the show, as 40 more MusicMaster users joined us during a hands-on programming session and walked through some MusicMaster features, including the Format Scheduler, Rule Groups, History Graphs, Check the Log, and more. MusicMaster pro users were on-hand to help out, including Brook Stephens (MD/KZPK, St. Cloud, MN, Leighton Broadcasting), Chris Huff (MD/APD KILT, Houston, Entercom), and Stacey Cato (Music Strategy Manager at CMT, Nashville, TN). We were also joined by Kristopher Jones, MusicMaster ProTeam member and M3/Merge Music Media consultant. After the workshop, programmers took home some additional learning resources, which you can download for yourself by clicking here.

Leaders of the CRS MusicMaster Programming Workshop from left to right: Chris Huff, Brook Stephens, Kristopher Jones, Joe Knapp (MusicMaster President/Founder), Jerry Butler (MusicMaster VP/Sales) and Stacey Cato.

While in town, we also made the rounds to visit some MusicMaster stations. First we visited Ryman Hospitality Properties and the legendary WSM-AM. During our visit, we spoke with WSM PD Jonathan Shaffer about how he uses MM to schedule an incredibly unique radio station. We also sat in with 25 year WSM morning host Bill Cody as he interviewed bluegrass fiddler Michael Cleveland on the Coffee, Country and Cody show.

Our next stop took us to Tuned-In Broadcasting and Lightning 100. During our visit to this independent and locally owned station, we spoke with PD Dan Buckley and Music Director Rev. Keith Coes. Late that afternoon, we visited the Cromwell Group with station Buzz 102.9 and Classic Hits 93.3 WQZQ-FM. There we spoke with PD Dennis "Ace" Swartz and PD Chris "Zigz" Cox.

The following day, we visited Sirius XM and Music City Hero Kyle Cantrell. Kyle was fresh from his announced induction into the Country Radio Hall of Fame. Kyle has been a longtime MM scheduler and Raving Fan. He programs the Sirius XM "Bluegrass Junction" and "Southern Gospel" channels. You can watch Kyle Cantrell's Raving Fan video to learn about his illustrious career history as well as some of his MusicMaster tips.

Finally, on Valentine's afternoon, we invaded Nashville Public Radio with chocolate and stories to meet with Classical WCFL-FM and Classical WPLN-FM. Our visit was highlighted by meeting VP/Programming Anita Bugg, Music Director Nina Cardona, and IT Specialist Cameron Adkins.

The WSM Programming Team: (left) J Patrick/Digital Program Director, Eric Marcum/Assistant Program Director and Jonathan Shaffer/Program Director, with Joe Knapp

MusicMaster's Jerry Butler, Shane Finch, Laurie Knapp and Joe Knapp with Kyle Cantrell - Sirius XM/PD (center)

Clay Walker

Program Director - Entercom, Greensboro, NC

Clay Walker is the Program Director for Entercom’s WPAW, 93.1 The Wolf in Greensboro, NC as well as the Entercom Classic Hits HD2 Network. He can also be heard on the air weekdays from 10a-3p on The Wolf. In his own words, Clay has "the honor of leading the hardest working team of broadcast professionals in America…just sayin’."

He shares: "Fact is, there’s no other truly authentic format in America than Country radio. The songs we play are the bookmarks in the chapters of our listeners’ lives, and MusicMaster helps me connect those chapters to the passionate audience here in North Carolina. We as Program Directors constantly struggle to find the balance between the science in the songs we play verses the emotional connection our listeners demand. MusicMaster is on the front line to help me find that balance." Clay sets an example by taking full advantage of what MusicMaster has to offer. He's constantly in search of new knowledge and ideas. As he says, "No longer do we have to settle for a certain set of results because ‘that’s how the software works’…instead, the team at MusicMaster has become an extension of our process – and when there’s an idea to enhance the listening experience, the MusicMaster Scheduling Consultants are more than accommodating, rather than trying to get us to fit into a one-size-fits-all-box. We pain ourselves to put our listeners first, and MusicMaster does the same for its client stations. I suppose that’s why I love having them on my team here in Greensboro!"

He continues, "We all wear a lot of hats as radio programmers these days – and sometimes we have to cut corners to get everything accomplished... but nothing is more important than what comes out of the speakers. So my MusicMaster rule tree helps improve my workflow - whether it's making certain we’re hitting certain Type and Sound Code rules, or we’re trying to make the perfect piece of imaging lay in front of the next song. I know without a doubt 93.1 The Wolf is not cutting corners in the places where it truly matters!"

On his other channel, Classic Hits HD2, Clay shares that MusicMaster helps him lay in a network music log, "while our local affiliates have effortless and unique station branding and sass! Twin Spins schedule effortlessly…era setups are perfect every time."

No doubt Clay is passionate about what he does. He says, "I’m proud to have the team at MusicMaster on our side. Couple that with our incredible Live and Local personalities – our killer Wake Up With The Wolf Show and our strong street game, there’s no doubt 93.1 The Wolf is the choice for country in Carolina." We're proud to have you on board with us too, Clay!

MusicMaster, Inc.

8330 LBJ Freeway, Suite B1050
Dallas, TX 75243