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MusicMaster Blog

Seven Signs of a Dysfunctional Database posted on July 25th, 2016

By Drew Bennett

It’s a challenge to keep a radio station’s database in the best shape it should be. Day in and day out, you’re making changes, moving songs around, adjusting rules all to keep the station sounding the best it can. Maintaining a database can be a real challenge and perhaps it’s time to ask for more money. Your job is super important! When you open a database to take a look around, you’ll know with some certainty whether the database is being properly maintained or not. Today, you can compare your data to the seven signs of a dysfunctional database.

  1. Incomplete Song Cards

This is one of the earliest signs that something is wrong in the data. You can also bet that there’s something wrong on the air, too. If your data is incomplete, it’s impossible for your rule tree to maximize your library and generate a good log. If Artist Keywords are missing from songs or if song cards contain incomplete attribute fields, the database is in trouble. Rules aren’t able to test and pass or fail all songs. The spirit and the sound of the station can’t be achieved without complete data so look here first when grading the dysfunction of your database.

  1. Fuzzy Rules

A Rule Tree can be an antique store or it can be a tech store. Antique stores tend to be full of old junk. Some of it works and some of it doesn’t but it’s all old. A tech store is clean, up to date and with the latest and greatest to offer. How long has it been since you’ve checked out your Rule Tree? What do you sell over there, grandfather clocks or Apple watches? If you’ve scheduled the station with a rule tree that has been tinkered with and touched by former programmers who don’t work there anymore, you’re running an antique shop and it’s time to close down and re-open a Sharper Image. When it comes to Rules, it’s important to know exactly what you sell, what rules you have in place and how they work. Your rules help you create the sound of the station and the mix of music in the log. Knowing exactly how they work and exactly what you have in there is quite possibly the biggest point to take away from this list of seven signs.

  1. Neglected Turnover

It’s a FACT: There’s not a rule in the world that will save you from terrible turnovers. If your Power Gold category plays every 12 hours and you’re frustrated that your Shift Rotation rule keeps failing, don’t blame the rule. Blame the turnover. Perfect logs start with perfect turnovers. If you add songs to a category or take a category away from a clock, you’re changing the turnover and it’s one of the most important things to consider when you schedule music. If turnover is bad, the whole database is bad.

  1. Hidden Settings

Remember when we talked about former programmers in your Rule Tree? The same goes for hidden settings in the software. “I had no idea I was Gold Recycling the Recurrents!” “You mean to tell me I’ve been Auto Platooning 50% of my Gold category every Sunday?” Take a look around the software and make sure the right lights have been turned on and the right lights have been turned off. You never know when an AutoMove is causing your unforeseen heartache. Tools, Options, Additional Properties is another good place to look.  Hidden settings that other users have placed on the data can cause you to pull your hair out if you have no idea they’re being used. Speak to a Music Scheduling Consultant who can take you on a tour of the software to make sure it’s nice and tidy.

  1. Multiple Copies of the Data

It’s great to keep copies of the data so you can test out new scheduling methods or check out a new feature. It can get dangerous when you become confused as to which database is the official data. Delete old data you don’t use and make it a policy never to have more than one other copy of the data that is being actively edited. This will save you from updating the wrong data or worse, deleting the wrong database.

  1. No Reconciliation

Reconciliation is important when scheduling music for two main reasons: you must report to certain agencies and governing bodies with a list of what you played on the air and songs that did not play must get placed back in the stack so they can be played and exposed to your audience. If you don’t reconcile by hand or by automation, it will cause your reports to become inaccurate and songs won’t rotate as they should.

  1. Dirty Clocks

Another big sign that you’ve got dysfunctional data are the clocks you have listed in format maintenance and how they look inside. Do you have two hundred clocks listed but you only ever use six? Do you have relic lognotes inside your clocks that reference automation systems you don’t even use anymore? Use the Select functionality in Clocks to select clocks you don’t use anymore and remove them. Hunt out old lognotes and references to old automation systems by using the Lognote, Purge feature. This will only remove those lognotes that are not in any clocks or logs.  It will keep your data cleaned up and ready for another change down the line!

Can you think of other signs that indicate a database needs some work? Pass it on to us! Do you need to speak to someone who can help you clean up your data and get it back in shape? Call your assigned Music Scheduling Consultant for more and happy scheduling!