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MusicMaster Blog

Let’s Get Spicy! Proportional Elements posted on July 30th, 2023

By Chris Hulsether

You want to get a little spicy with your playlist, but need to control that spice so everything balances well. Just like balancing the flavors of a great street taco: not too spicy, but enough spice to know it’s there. On one hand, you can use the Random element, but it is random and will schedule any of your selected categories, with no rhyme or reason to what categories get scheduled. Or you can use Format List elements, but unless you do a lot of different patterns the same pattern can get predictable.

How about Proportional elements? This can give you a little spice and a way to control it!

I would recommend this for gold formats or gold categories, if you have a few different ones to choose from.

Today’s country stations and even some CHR’s are starting to spike in more and more “Old” Gold into the playlist, and I am all about it! You get that occasional Garth Brooks “Friends in Low Places” that pops up out of nowhere. Or a classic Britney Spears song for that CHR.

This is the way you can use the Proportional element. In my example, I set it so that 80% of the time, you get a familiar song from Power Gold. But 20% of the time, you can have it go to a “Throwback” Category where you will have an older Garth, George Strait or Alan Jackson song pop up. If you add this once or twice in your clocks all day, you will sometimes get that random throwback in your day that gives that “Oh Wow I haven’t heard that one in forever” feel to your station. It also won’t be predictable when it schedules, and you control what that proportion is so it’s not too much or too little.

So how is it done?

Take a clock and change an Element position and make it Proportional.

You set the percentages in the Element Properties. I have a 4 to 1 ratio meaning 80% of the time it will be Power Gold (PG), 20% Uber Gold (UBG). You can use whatever ratio you like and use as many categories as possible that you want in one element.

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Now, this doesn’t mean that you’ll always hear four PGs in this position and then a UBG. Rather, over the course of time, you’ll have a 4:1 ratio of PG:UBG in that position. You could get five or more PGs before a UBG comes into that clock position. But, over time, that requested ratio would be realized.

Over time, this will schedule that random throwback song in different places and different times based on your clock setup, and the rules for that random category will still apply, just like any other element.

You can use the History Browser and see how many “Throwback” songs scheduled and see the different hours they are popping up, so you can tell if it’s too spicy or if it needs a little more.

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