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MusicMaster Blog

Clock Format Lists posted on October 2nd, 2017

By Paul Ziino

I want to schedule my music in an unpredictable pattern. But I don’t want to create a bunch of different clocks to handle it. Do you have any advice?

The answer to this question is “Format List.” The Format List allows you to schedule a sequence of items that repeats itself over and over. A Format List can contain Category items such as Fixed positions, Combos, and Library Query elements as well as non-category items like Traffic Merges and Lognotes. You build your Format List, and then schedule it in the clock like you would any other element. Here’s an example.

I have 5 music categories. A-Heavy, B-Medium, C-Light, D-Recurrent, and E-Gold. I want these items to schedule in a pattern like this: EDADEBEDC. It looks like this.

See how the first position is highlighted in blue? This is where our Format List will start next time we schedule using it. Let’s say our clock has 13 format list elements in it. That means we’ll go through the format list one full time, plus four more positions, so the next hour would pick up on element 5. The pattern just keeps repeating itself so that you never know for sure what’s coming next in the list.

I worked with one customer who decided to use the format list for his station. His list was over 60 elements long when all was finished. He spent time, did the math, and figured out all the different acceptable segues based on category and made a Format List to do it for him. That same customer also had a bunch of non-music categories that he wanted to rotate through, coming up with every possible combination of items. That list was over 50 elements long. His clock looks something like this.

(In MusicMaster version 6 and earlier, Format Lists display with a default length of 3:30, which is why this clock looks long. But here’s a little sneak preview for you…in version 7, MusicMaster does calculate the average runtime of items contained in the Format List, giving you more accurate timing!)

Looking at that clock, we bounce back and forth between two Format Lists and MusicMaster just keeps on chugging along. The customer loves it because he went from needing dozens of clocks to just three. His drive time clock has an extra Traffic Merge position, and each is six minutes long, so he schedules eleven Music Format List positions in that clock. Overnight has 1 three-minute traffic merge position so that clock schedules fifteen Music Format List positions. The rest of the time he uses the clock like the one above. It’s a very clean and easy way to keep things sounding fresh from one hour to the next.

If you have questions on Format Lists or any other MusicMaster features, make sure to call your MusicMaster Scheduling Consultant for advice.