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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.

 

 

 

The MusicMaster Rule Tree – Making Your Rules Work Using Rule Groups posted on October 16th, 2017

By Marianne Burkett

I was called on not too long ago to review a database and explain why segue rules were not working using the automatic scheduler.  When I opened up this databases rule tree, all the coding rules were repeated over and over and over again in each category.  The same rules, but multiplied and inserted within the folders of each category.   That’s a lot of work with no actual reward!

A good rule of thumb to consider when building rules for the automatic schedulerInside the category, the rule applies to that category, not the others.   So, if a category is in each quarter hour and it is not next to itself, the “segue” tests in the rules within the category will not work like you might expect when using the auto scheduler.  The rules you should be inserting in each category should be: Minimum Rest, rotation rules (i.e., Day Offset Windows, etc), Max plays per day, shift rules, specific artist separation rules and any Optimum Goal Scheduling rules you decide on.  Why?  Each category rotates differently and normally requires some kind of different setting in the areas listed above.

What are you to do with the coding rules?  This is where the “All Categories” section of the rule tree comes in, and where you can build coding rules for specific categories using “Rule Groups”.

What is a Rule Group?

On the right hand side of the Rule Tree …the very first folder at the top contains Rule Groups.

Drag a Rule Group over to the All Categories section.  When it opens set up your parameters in the Rule Properties.

There are 6 areas within each Rule Group

  1. Description: Give it a name so you know what coding rules should be applied.
  2. Availability: This allows you to set the rules to always be testednever be tested, test only in the Auto Scheduler or only test in the Schedule Editor
  3. Time Restrictions: You can daypart rules in the rule groups so if you have a Saturday Night Jam, you can apply a completely different set of rules to those hours. In addition to the time restriction you decide when and where the rules are valid.  Test against plays in ANY time period/Ignore FAILURES outside this time period or Ignore PLAYS outside this time period.

(i.e., this might be used to ignore plays from weekdays to weekends)

  1. Group Mode: You decide on how to handle failures.  I personally always select “Test rules as if they are not in a group” so I can see specifically which rule failed when reviewing the “Recap Report”.
  2. Clock Restrictions: Rather than using dayparting rules you can apply rules inside a rule group to specific clocks.
  3. Song Restrictions: This is where you can select which categories your rules inside the rule group would apply to.  You can also create Filters.  For instance you can select a Specific attribute code(s) or Keyword(s) and apply specific rules to those items.

One last thing:  Making sure the rules you want are actually IN the Rule Group!

I see the scenario from the image below a lot, during support calls.

None of the rules you see in the image above are actually in the Rule Group.  You need to drag the rules INTO the Group.  Drag directly over the Title of the rule group and release your mouse.  The rule should INDENT so the little lightning bolt next to the actual rule is slightly to the right, like this:

Of course, you can use Rule Groups inside an individual category as well.  Say you are plotting more Light Currents in the overnights than you are plotting during the day.  You can use two Dayparted Rule Groups within the category, each with its own distinct Minimum Rest and rotation settings.  You may need a one hour rest during overnights and a three-hour rest setting during the day.   That will just depend on your clocks and turnovers.

Here is to happy, healthy Rule Tree’s in the land of MusicMaster!

If you have any questions or concerns, contact your Music Scheduling Consultant!

Optimum Rule Performance posted on September 1st, 2014

By Paul Ziino

Open a Music Category in Library Maintenance and add in the field called “Performance.” (more…)

MusicMaster Rules: What’s behind your Exclusion Mask? posted on July 21st, 2014

By Marianne Burkett

There are all types of rules available to you in the MusicMaster Rule Tree to keep songs from playing in or around the same hour they last played. In working with so many clients, I’ve come to find many who are daring enough to use the Day or Play Exclusion Mask rules, but have them set up strangely. So, I will explain to the best of my ability how to set them up properly.

Let me start with the Day Exclusion Mask. What does it do and what rules can it replace? (more…)

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Dayparting by Partial Hours posted on June 23rd, 2014

By Paul Ziino

Dayparting is used to prevent a song from playing during a specific time. (more…)

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Filling in the Holes with Optimum Radial Spread posted on April 14th, 2014

By Paul Ziino

Take a look at this History Graph.

fillinginholes1The rotations look pretty bad.  Now compare that with this History Graph.

fillinginholes2What a huge improvement!  So now the question is, “what changed?”

In MusicMaster 5.0 we introduced a new Goal in Optimum Goal Scheduling™ called “Optimum Radial Spread.”  The MusicMaster Readme.txt file defines Optimum Radial Spread by stating, “This Goal attempts to favor replacement songs that have rested the longest in the region of the day being tested.”  So what does that mean?  Basically, Optimum Radial Spread fills in the holes in your history graph.

Our recommendation would be to use some base-line unbreakable rules, then add the Scheduling Goals to enhance what the rules are doing for you.  For example, use an Unbreakable Day Offset Window rule of 1 Day/1 Hour to make sure the song doesn’t play in the same hour two days in a row, for slower rotating categories use Play Offset Window set to 1 Play/1 Hour to make sure two consecutive plays don’t occur in the same hour.  Then add the Optimum Radial Spread Goal into the category’s Optimum Goal Scheduling folder.  Now save your Rule Tree.

fillinginholes3When you run the Automatic Scheduler, MusicMaster goes through the category’s depth (as set in Schedule Properties) and tests all the songs, weeding out those that fail the unbreakable rules you have in place to determine which songs are the best available.  If only one song is considered the best it is scheduled.  If multiple songs are considered equally the best, the Automatic Scheduler re-tests them against whatever Goals you have in place for that category.  Each song receives a score for each active Goal and those scores are weighted to determine which song will be scheduled.

Optimum Radial Spread essentially looks at the history graph for each song it encounters and asks, “when was the last time this song played around the time I’m trying to schedule?”  Then it tests those songs that are available and scores each one.  When the songs have been re-tested against all the active Goals MusicMaster evaluates the scores, determines which song really is the best and schedules it.

By the way, Optimum Goal Scheduling™ will not cause unscheduled positions in your log!  Using Optimum Goal Scheduling™ does tend to cause the Automatic Scheduler to take a little longer to process, but the end result is a log that requires less time to edit because the Goals in place have already chosen the best available songs!

I’ve had customers try out Optimum Radial Spread in recent months and they love the results.  Give Optimum Radial Spread a try in some of your depth categories—Optimum Goal Scheduling is ineffective in categories whose depth in Schedule Properties is set to 1—and enjoy the improved rotations.

If you have questions about this or any of the other options in Optimum Goal Scheduling™, contact your MusicMaster Scheduling Consultant—we’re always here to help!

Rule Issues? Ask The Rule Wizard posted on July 15th, 2013

By Jesus Rodriguez

In this blog post we will take a journey like a storybook does to meet the Rule Wizard who is always available to help us in a time of need. We often get calls asking why certain rules are not functioning properly. Are my rules to tight? May be to loose? Do I have the right times set for my rules? I just did a new database what rules should I use? I inherited a database but I don’t know if the person before me had the correct rules? Can you help us because we made huge changes to the database and now it’s acting weird? (more…)

Basic Rotation Rules posted on March 25th, 2013

By Marianne Burkett

Of all the calls that come my way on a weekly basis, one of the top 5 is “Rotations” and how to improve them.  Rotations are a sensitive subject. Program Directors worry about them constantly.  Even the slightest changes in your library or clocks can throw your rotations off… so you need to install the correct rules to stop that from happening. (more…)

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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…)

How Goals Work posted on December 31st, 2012

by Paul Ziino

We receive calls all the time asking for assistance with customers’ Rule Trees.  A common question is “what’s the difference between rules and Optimum Goal Scheduling™?”  Today, I will shed some light on that very topic. (more…)