Every year you say the same thing. Next year you’ll be super prepared and get everything done well in advance. It’s okay, you’re not alone saying this, and then totally not doing it. I’ve decided to compile some tips to save time this Christmas for music schedulers.
Remove your weakest category
Although many artists try to release the next big Christmas hit every year, it can never beat the classics. One of the main problems with the classics is that some of them date back to the 60s. Some stations can get away with playing some 60s, but very few. Magic and Smooth get away with it but stations like Heart will struggle.
Some stations can get away with playing some 60s, but very few. Magic and Smooth get away with it but stations like Heart will struggle. So how do you ease this problem? Remove your oldest/weakest category. This is actually something our Feel Good friends have done. Their oldest category is their 80s, so during Christmas, they’ve stopped playing 80s in rotation to ease the older festive hits into the output.
Swap your unused tracks with festive hits
If you’ve listened to the first bit of advice, you’ll be thinking “Bugger now I need to swap all my clocks about”. Wrong, I’m about to save you even more time.
The reason you take your weakest/oldest category and remove it is because chances are it appears in your clocks the least. So, all you need to do is swap your old category songs, and your Christmas songs so that when your clock request asks for an 80s song, it pulls up a festive song.
Doing this is a bit of a quick fix. If you only have one 80s clock request then this idea works great for the early December schedule, because it’ll plonk one festive song an hour into rotation. Obviously, as we get closer to Christmas you’ll want more an hour (maybe) so you’ll need to start doing the work yourself. But this does save some time for a bit!
Take advantage of the fly-in links
No matter how you get your Christmas songs into rotation, whether it be through changing clocks or the methods above, you’ll have off-peak hours. Not every station has 24/7 live show and even if they do presenters don’t want to waste time dragging specific festive sweepers before/after festive songs.
Most mainstream scheduling programs will have a related links/fly-in links system. It allows you to tell the software “Hey when you see an X1 Christmas song in the logs, swap the S1 main sweeper before and after it for an X1 Christmas sweeper”.
Not only does this save you having to find all the Christmas songs in the 1am-6am hours and manually dragging in production yourself, it means you also don’t have to touch your precious clocks either. This should save you time, and the on-air team time.
Packeting is now your new best friend
I’ve not used packeting in lots of different software. I’m accustomed to GSelector mostly, so this could be called something different in your software. Packeting allows you to tell the software that these two songs are ‘packeted’ together, and if one plays assume it’s played for the other one too.
If that sounded confusing that’s because I’m not great at explaining it. This example should help. A station I’m working with at the moment put a local charity single of ‘Last Christmas’ into rotation. But the issues arose when we also had the original ‘Last Christmas’ also being played.
Packeting allowed us to tell GSelector, when the charity single plays, count it as played for the original too. This means whenever the next time ‘Last Christmas’ is top of the list, swap them and alternate them.
Christmas often throws up a ton of covers or multiple versions of songs, thanks Michael Buble. Make sure your packets are all set up and your festive songs will sound far more rotated.