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Custom Rules for Specialty Clocks posted on May 21st, 2018

By Marianne Burkett

So, you have a 5’oclock Free Ride feature and you want specific rules to fit the hour.

You want no slow songs, no buzz killer songs, right?  Just music that will pick up the spirits of those stuck in the car, in rush hour traffic.

With MusicMaster, if there’s a will there’s a way.

Let’s go to the Rule Tree and set up some custom rules for your 5pm clock(s)!

Go to: Dataset/Rule Tree or just click on the Lightning Bolt Icon.  At the top right-hand side of the Rule Tree in Available Rule Types is the folder “Special Rule Tree Items”.  Inside that folder is “Rule Group”.

Pull the Rule Group over to the Unbreakable All Categories folder.  The Rule Group properties will open up once you’ve dropped it in the folder.

You only have a few clocks assigned to your 5pm hour so this will be quick.

First fill out the “Description” field and give your rule group a name, then move over to “Group Mode” and select “Test Rules as if they’re not in a group”. (When you use the recap report, you’ll be able to see what rules in the rule group are failing or having difficulty if you chose this option.)

Next, go to the “Clock Restrictions” section and list the clocks you want to adhere to your specific set of rules for the specialty show.  Be sure to separate the specific clock codes with a comma!

Click okay and your Rule Group is ready to fill up with specific rules for the show.

Drag and drop your rules over the title of the Rule Group and you should see the lightning bolt next to the rule, indent a bit.  If the lightning bolt isn’t indented, it’s not yet in the rule group.  If that’s the case, drag it over the name of the Rule Group and it should tuck in for you.

Save your Rule Tree and you are done!   How easy was that?

The beauty of this is if your specialty show ever moves to a different time, the rules will just follow the clocks to the new time.

If you have any questions, please contact MusicMaster Support.




Migrating Positions to Mix Things Up posted on November 27th, 2017

By Paul Ziino

A client posed the following scenario.

I am only using one clock 24/7.  The categories always show up in the same place every hour.  As such, those items at the end of the hour aren’t getting played very often—they’re dropped due to time updates in automation.  I play primarily 80s pop, but have four positions per hour that are 90s, 70s pop, 80s rock, and 70s rock.  Right now, that 80s rock drops almost every hour as it’s the last position.  What can I do without rebuilding everything else that is working so well?

We looked at his clock.  He has things spread out very well, so anything that strays from that core 80s pop sound is surrounded by that core sound.  He still wanted one of each of those categories scheduled in the hour, but maybe he didn’t always need it to be the 80s rock that gets dropped.

So, what did we do?  Migrating Positions!  We turned those four clock positions that called for the 80s Rock, 70s Pop, 70s Rock, and 90s into migrating positions.  Now MusicMaster knows where in the hour to schedule those four items, but it can move them around making their specific placement different one hour to the next.

By looking at the clock and Flex Rules, you can see that we have four positions in the hour (Usage column in the Flex Rules) and that one of each of those positions must come from each of those four categories (Min/Hour and Max/Hour in Flex Rules).  We let MusicMaster decide which position will come from each, and the result is the same rotation overall, but different placement within the hour.  Overall, it’s an easy way to move things around and keep it interesting without the need to create a bunch of different clocks.

If you have questions on this or any other MusicMaster topic, make sure to reach out to your MusicMaster Scheduling Consultant.


Summer Holiday Scheduling posted on August 4th, 2014

By Jesus Rodriguez

You may already have a holiday grid ready to go for the winter break. You may possibly even have clocks that flip your station to an all Christmas channel 24/7. Those concepts are great tools to have so that you’re prepared for the holiday season every year. (more…)

MusicMaster “Go To” Guide posted on March 11th, 2013

By Aaron Taylor

For this article, I thought I’d try to create a reference guide to some other common questions that seem to come up for us on an ongoing basis here at MusicMaster. My hope is that you’ll be able to utilize this as a “Go to Guide” the next time you have one of those “I know you showed me this once” types of questions. (more…)

The Format List is Controlled Inconsistency posted on February 11th, 2013

By Marianne Burkett

So… you want your clocks to be slightly different each hour and you painstakingly create many, many clocks.  That is one way to do it.  However, in MusicMaster there is a lesser-used feature that I really like that will save you time now and in the future… the Format List! (more…)

2fer Tuesdays posted on November 5th, 2012

by Paul Ziino

Lots of stations do a 2fer Tuesday feature or other artist double-shots. Here’s how to do this in MusicMaster.

Start by going to Dataset/Library/Keywords/Artist Keywords, click Tools/Kickoff Category Wizard and follow the prompts. Check the categories you want MusicMaster to consult when determining which artists have enough music for a 2fer. Generally this would be your entire active music library, though some stations have a large Hold category with songs that could be used for 2fers as well.

Next you’ll have to make a few decisions. First, how many songs need to be present by an artist keyword in order to qualify for a special set kickoff position? We know we need at least two in order to do a 2fer, but keep in mind if you use two as your Minimum, you’ll always have the same two songs playing in every 2fer by that artist. So you may want to use three as your Minimum…the choice is yours.

Next choice determines how many kickoff positions you want for each artist. If we set the Minimum usage count to 2 and we select the option to “Create multiple kickoff category entries…” we will get one kickoff for every 2 songs by the artist. So if you have ten or eleven songs by an artist you’d get 5 kickoff positions whereas an artist with only 2 songs would net only 1 kickoff position. The other option is to “Create one single kickoff category entry for each keyword…”. This option would give you only one kickoff position for any artist with two or more songs, so your artist with ten songs and your artist with only two songs would both net only a single kickoff position. In our example we’ve selected the first option.

The next decision is how you want your keywords to be counted. Option one is to count them all independently. This means a song with three artist keywords would count toward the minimum usage for each of the three artist keywords. The second option is to count only primary keywords. This option would only look at the first keyword listed on the song. The third option would be to count keywords in groups as used on songs. This option would require those three artist keywords to be present on the song in order for it to count towards the minimum, and then your special set would have to contain all three keywords. The first two options are the most-often used. We’ve selected the second option in our example.

Once you’ve made your decisions click the Next button.

Now click the Create New Category button to create a category to hold your kickoffs. Label it as KIK or 2FR or something similar. Once created, select that category, check the box for Shuffle and Optimize and click Finish.

You’ll get a screen that indicates the total number of kickoff entries needed. Click Yes to continue.

That will be followed with a confirmation message. If you open the contents of the Kickoff category you’ll see entries that detail only Title and Artist Keyword as shown below.

You’ll notice there are two entries in the example for ADAMS, BRYAN as well as three for VAN HALEN and three for COLLINS, PHIL. That means there were enough songs in the database for multiple kickoffs for those artists.

Now we go to the clocks. The first position of your 2fer will be a fixed Kickoff Category position. That is then followed by two Special Set positions—one for each song to be contained in your 2fer. Your Special Set position tells MusicMaster to look at the target song field of the item previous—in this case that field is Artist Keywords—and match it to that same field in this position. You also indicate which categories you want MusicMaster to consider for this position, and you can organize those categories into whatever order you wish.

We have two options for rules. The first (default) option is to use the rules from the category of each song tested, that way songs abide by the rules which apply to their category. The other option is to select one category whose rules you wish to follow for the special set. We’ve used the default in our example. You’ll want to bypass all rules based on the target song field. By doing so, you are effectively disabling Artist Keyword rules in this example. Without checking that box, none of our songs would schedule because they’d all violate artist separation.

You’ll also want to decide which Special Set Scheduling Pass you’d like to assign. Most of the time we’d select pass 1, but if you’re doing different things with special sets, pass 1 may be for 2fers and pass 2 might be for Artist intros (see the tutorial in your MusicMaster Help called “Artist ID Scheduling” for more info on that). It is important to note which pass you’re using when you set the Schedule Properties. Now you may click OK.

Clone that position for the second song in the 2fer. It’s generally a good idea to mix up the order in which the categories are considered for the second Special Set position. This helps mix things up so that you’re not always pulling from the categories in the same order for every position. This way you might get a power song in the first position and a secondary one in the second position, assuming MusicMaster finds matches in those categories.

You do not have to pick every category for every position. For example you could have the first Special Set position look only at current and recurrent categories and the second Special Set look only at gold categories. The only caveat is that you’ll want to make sure pertinent songs are present in the selected categories otherwise you could end up with unscheduled positions.

Go to Dataset/Schedule/Schedule Properties. You’ll want your Kickoff category to schedule first, followed by the Special Set pass you assigned. This way MusicMaster will schedule the kickoffs, then all the special sets that go with the kickoffs, then it’ll schedule the rest of the positions in your log. This minimizes the conflicts between your 2fers and the rest of the day’s log. By setting the depth for the Kickoff category to 1 the kickoff positions will schedule in order—and we already told MusicMaster to optimize them, so you’ll maximize the separation between same artist 2fers.

In the Rule Tree you’ll want to set up the All Category Bypass for your Kickoff category by right-clicking the All Categories folder and selecting Rule Tree Properties. Then check the Kickoff category and click OK. This makes sure the All Category rules won’t prevent the kickoff positions from scheduling. You may want to add an Artist Keyword Time Separation rule to the Kickoff category, just as a safety net to make sure you don’t play the same artist in 2fers too close to themselves. This isn’t always necessary, but some users like the precaution. Now save the rule tree.

Now you are ready to schedule!

Should you have any questions along the way, make sure to contact your Music Scheduling Consultant, we’re always here to help!

Migrating Positions posted on January 2nd, 2012

by Paul Ziino

So many programmers use a static clock where the same category plays at the same time in the hour.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could vary it up while still maintaining control, adding an element of spontaneity to your station’s sound?  The answer to this question is to use Migrating Clock Elements. (more…)

Ins and Outs of the Format Scheduler posted on November 7th, 2011

by Paul Ziino

You can predetermine what clocks or assignment grids you wish to use on certain days.  For example, you want to use your “All Christmas” grid on Christmas Eve and Day.  Instead of having to remember on December 23rd to switch your grid before scheduling the 24th and 25th, then change it back prior to running the 26th, you could use the Format Scheduler to do it for you.

Go to Dataset/Clocks/Format Scheduler (or click the clock icon in the Tool Bar and click Format Scheduler at the bottom left of the window).  Advance the calendar to December, then Right-Click on the 24th and select “Assign a specific Grid to this date” and choose the grid you wish to use.

Do the same thing for December 25th.  Note the date will turn yellow in the calendar indicating that date has been altered from the standard grid.  Then click the Save icon and you’re all set.

You can take this a step further.  Let’s assume your station likes to slowly incorporate Christmas music into the rotation.  So each week leading up to the holiday you play one more Christmas song per hour.  Build clocks and grids accordingly so you have one grid for Christmas songs once an hour, another for twice an hour, and so on.  Now in the Format Scheduler you can right-click on the first day of the week and select “Assign a specific Grid to this week” and choose the appropriate grid.  So for the first week of December maybe play one Christmas song per hour, two per hour in the second week, 3 per hour in the third, and 4 in the fourth.  Once you’ve assigned grids, the dates in the calendar will be yellow.

You can do even more with the Format Scheduler.  On Friday night at 7pm you have a special feature running this week—it’s just the one time, and it will only be this Friday.  No sense building a new grid to accommodate, just build the appropriate clock and assign it to that hour in the Format Scheduler.  Left-click that date in the calendar, now on the right side of the screen you’ll see what clocks are assigned to that date.  In the 7pm hour, click and use the pull-down to select the desired clock for your special.

You’ll see a small clock icon to the left of the 7pm hour once you’ve selected that alternate clock, and the date will be yellow in the calendar.

The Format Scheduler also allows you to rotate assignment grids so that you play grid A in one week and B the next and so on.  You can rotate multiple grids, and MusicMaster will switch from one to the next on the first day of that week (based on your Broadcast Week Start Day set in Tools/Options/Broadcast Week).  Under the calendar you’ll see Grid Rotation.  List the grids you wish to rotate here.  The grid in bold is the one that will be used on the date selected in the calendar.  If you wish to change the rotation, just click and drag the grids via the grey number box to the left of the grid’s name.  In the picture below we’ve selected October 17th and see that Grid 1 will be used for that date and week.  And on the right we see what clocks are assigned to each hour of that date.  Note that already-scheduled dates display in Red.

When you are finished working in the Format Scheduler, make sure to click the Save icon to retain all your changes.

The Format Scheduler is a great tool for pre-scheduling grids and clocks for holidays and specials.  Use it year-round!

Introduction to the Format Scheduler posted on May 28th, 2010

By Marianne Burkett

What is the “Format Scheduler”?

In a nutshell, the Format Scheduler allows you to pre-schedule your Clocks and Assignment Grids in advance on a calendar.  You can also “rotate” your Assignment Grids.

The Format Scheduler gives you the ability to “override” your active assigned clocks for a pre- determined time frame for a date range, or perhaps for just one hour on a particular day. Just what you need if you would like to have different clocks in place for the holiday Monday coming up (perhaps you have a specialty weekend or count down planned, or simply will be voice tracked Monday) and need to have those clocks in place to export to your automation system.

This functionality also would be perfect if you’d like to introduce variety into your schedule in conjunction with variations in your clocks. For instance, you might have three versions of basically the same clock (positions/elements re-arranged perhaps) . By rotating/scheduling them into different hours of the grid, you could create three different grids, so a specific clock isn’t always heard at a specific time.

Grid rotation might also be used for specialty or holiday programming. You could pre-schedule in advance when these new grids will start and end, then not have to worry about remembering it. How many times have you been getting ready to schedule Christmas programming and forgotten to activate your clocks with the Christmas songs in them?

A couple of other notes on Format Scheduler:

The screen has three sections: Calendar, Grid Rotation and the clocks used on the specific day you are looking at. The active window will be highlighted as you move about the screen.

The calendar will display scheduled dates in red. If you see yellow, this means there are forced clocks somewhere in that day.

The calendar will open to today’s date by default. When you click on a day the clocks currently scheduled will appear to the right in a page format.

The Calendar context menu has several options:

· Remove all Forced Clocks from this date – This will remove any changes you might have made, returning the listing to its original form.

· Assign a Specific Grid to this date – This allows you to assign a grid from those currently available to a specific date. There will be a drop-down listing the grids available.

· Assign a Specific Grid to this week – This allows you to assign a grid from those currently available to a specific week. There will be a drop-down listing the grids available.

I would encourage you to review the entire HELP section in the MusicMaster program on this topic if you are interested in utilizing this functionality, or schedule some time with your personal Music Scheduling consultant if you have questions.

Mix Up Your Sound with Proportional Elements posted on May 5th, 2010

By Paul Ziino

Looking for some “unpredictability” in your clocks? Just trying to keep things sounding fresh? Here’s an idea: try using Proportional clock elements. (more…)