A music scheduling library can be broken based on the category setup you decide to use. Your choice will vary depending on station/team size, format, and demographics. In this article, I’ve decided to make a simple category setup that fits a hit music station.
Now, as I’ve mentioned, this will vary from station to station. If you’re a large programming team who can sit and manually schedule each day’s log and drill down deep then this can still be adapted. If you’re a one-man band then this will also work. Your station demographic will also be a factor in this, as ‘all out’ CHR stations will have no need for a nineties category, but a slightly more adult-oriented CHR station would.
*A-List, A-List, B-List
These are your obvious high rotation categories that most stations will have. Your *A-List is for your creme-de-la-creme of hits that you want in the highest rotation possible. This then scales down as you go on, so the A-List will be in less demand and so on. Now, some schedulers will prefer to control their rotation through song numbers, some prefer demand numbers.
Song number control is based on the same amount of demands for your main categories (*A, A, B) in every clock. So for example, let’s say every clock has 3 *A-List songs, 3 A-List songs and 3 B-List songs in it. You then control which gets a higher rotation based on how many songs are in each. If every hour there’s the same amount of requests, but the A-List has half the songs as the B-List then you’ll get twice as much rotation of the A-List.
Demand numbers work in an opposite way. Each category has the same number of songs but the number of requests for each category in a clock varies. Personally, I don’t think it really matters which way you use, you get the same effect. Most CHR schedulers I know (me included) use a song number method.A music scheduling library can be broken based on the category setup you decide to use Click To Tweet
C-List and C-Recurrents
There’s a lot of releases in a hit music market which don’t fit into a daytime log. When the comedy grime artist Big Shaq released his 2017 hit ‘Man’s Not Hot’ it was a massive tune. I couldn’t help but think I would probably get sick of the joke fast if I heard it 3-4 times a day for a week, minimum.
Younger listeners are increasing during evening shows. National stations like Capital and Radio 1 are forever putting more work into evening output. Radio 1 specifically like to host an evening show that is a bit more ‘out there’ compared to their normal daytime output. Often they’ll have new releases or first plays on the evening shows.
Your C-List hosts all your hits which are a bit too urban or dancy for your normal daytime output. A great example of this would be the 2017 hit ‘Barking’ by Ramz. This is why I previously mentioned these will vary based on your station demographic. Capital played ‘Man’s Not Hot’ and ‘Barking’ in a high rotation during daytime output. I know lots of hit music stations that didn’t though but did give them a few spins over a week.
As you’ve probably worked out your C-Recurrents are the hits that were massive on your C-List and still are. You have to be quite cautious with filling your C-Recurrents category with songs you really don’t want in the rotation. One flaw of the category is that a song has only two paths it can take from C-List. Either it becomes a mainstream hit and goes into the normal daytime rotation and eventually binned off or put in the normal Recurrent category. Alternatively, it doesn’t and then goes into the C-Recurrents. The problem you then face is you have a song which clearly wasn’t popular in rotation, so be careful what you put in there.Younger listeners are increasing during evening shows. National stations like Capital and Radio 1 are forever putting more work into evening output Click To Tweet
Recurrents and Old Recurrents
Your Recurrents category is self-explanatory, but make sure you’re strict with it. The key to a CHR station is that it’s in high-rotation mode and yes, the range of songs are streamlined. Keeping a good Reccurent category is solely down to how much maintenance you’re willing to put into it. Tracks in this category are exactly the kind of songs to tire fast but then sound massive after a month of no spins. Make it a monthly appointment with yourself or your music team to refresh them a bit.
Old Reccurents work in the same way but are obviously songs from past 2-3 years back. You don’t want these in the clocks lots or you get into the trap above with them sounding old fast. These songs should really be your tracks that make people go “I love this song I haven’t heard it in ages!”. Much like the Recurrents, you should check other these every other month.Keeping a good Reccurent category is solely down to how much maintenance you're willing to put into it Click To Tweet
Noughties and Nineties
Once again, if you’re an ‘all out’ CHR station you can probably sack these off and get your money back based on my article headline. These require no explanation, they’re the hits from between 1990 and 2010. It’s important to make sure you not only choose these songs wisely but not get them mixed up with your Old Recurrents.
Even if you’re a more adult-oriented CHR station you still won’t have these categories appear in your clocks more than once an hour at best. Because of this, it means you really can whittle it down to just the massive hits as the rotation cool-off period will be far longer.
One of my favourite categories and the only one on the list that never gets any spins. If you work in a hit music database then chances are you’ll have songs dip in and out of popularity. Sometimes you’ll jump the gun on a track knowing full well you’re playing it weeks before release. You will get a ‘Despacito’ hit that will undoubtedly be back in the charts come summertime.
I use a Temporary Hold category to rest hits as well. If a certain song comes around a bit too much or is starting to show signs of wear and tear then I put it in this category. It’s a bit like toothpaste, you’ll be surprised how much is left after you think it’s empty. See this category as a holiday for your hits. Many songs you think are done or boring are still widely loved by the public. If you give it a rest you’ll be surprised how much longer the song has until it’s time for the Hold Category.Many songs you think are done or boring are still widely loved by the public. If you give it a rest you'll be surprised how much longer the song has until it's time for the Hold Category Click To Tweet