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MusicMaster Blog

Dynamic Flow and the Art of Music Scheduling posted on June 6th, 2016

By Marianne Burkett

I just experienced the pleasure of helping a client go through a process of format concept to completion. The new format sounds terrific and better than he expected. Good sounding radio doesn’t just happen. All the great music in the world played back to back won’t keep your audience locked in if it’s not scheduled correctly.

While discussing the importance of what I term as “Dynamic Flow”, I painted this picture for my client: ”You know how awesome and comfortable it is to sit at the seashore and listen to the ocean waves.” When you sit on the beach, the ebb and flow of the tide make it appealing to be still for long periods of time. You don’t really think about the sound, but you know you can sit there for a long time without being bored or stressed.

I want dynamic texture everywhere in my daily music logs. This is where the rubber meets the road for increasing TSL/Time Spent Listening. For instance, when a song writer composes a hit song, song dynamics is critical to that song’s success or failure. It’s a very rare instance that you’ll hear a song doesn’t have some kind of dynamics change somewhere in the middle of the track, at the bridge. If all songs were sonically the same tempo, energy and texture at the beginning, middle and the end, they’d be downright boring. It’s no different when you think in terms of a full quarter hour of time with what songs are playing on your station! Are they different texturally, in tempo and in style? If you’re listening to your station and it wears you out… you might have a dynamics issue. If you’re listening and you get bored, you might have a dynamics issue. When you mix it up, it becomes interesting to listen to. The station sounds focused and unique and your listeners stick around for longer periods of time.

So what can you do to ensure you’re not “fatiguing” the listener? Other than spending hours meticulously hand scheduling your music, you can accurately code your music for tempo, energy, mood, sound and gender. You can review your library analysis on each code to determine how many or how few your active music library contains and apply rules to “scatter” the codes through the quarter hour, half hour or full hour.

Put together strategically, your station has its own unique fingerprint of sound. Even if you are playing the same exact titles as your competition, your coding is subjective based on what YOU think it is, therefore your station can sound different and BETTER than the competition, depending on how you schedule the music.

If you’d like to know more about making your station stand out from the crowd, feel free to contact me directly or contact any of the Music Scheduling Consultants here at MusicMaster.