The good folks from MusicMaster have allowed me to be part of their Pro Team. The aw-shucks in me combined with my snarky attitude makes to say… “what a mistake on their part.” The truth they have the best music scheduling software available on planet earth. There remain really great questions about what philosophies you have to best achieve the best rating results. The longest ATSE (Average Time Spent Exposed – in PPM-measured markets) and TSL (Time Spent Listening – in legacy Diary markets.) So for as long as they’ll let me be part of the Pro Team, I plan on pontificating about some of the ways to think about the best way to go about scheduling music for excellent results, bonuses, better job offers and getting your competitors evicted from their homes. See today, I’m snarly and FUN!
“So, Keith what is the best library size?”
Answer 172 songs! See, I promised snarky and fun. Seriously, I go waaaaayyyy back to one of my old bosses and mentors Julian Breen. When I was a baby PD and Julian had forgotten more than I would ever know about radio he used to say, “Gentlemen your library size is your station’s blood pressure! How high do you want it to be?” First, you’ll notice we have evolved and now have women music directors, PDs, and general managers. I believe the intelligent approach to library size involves first making the decision to program your radio station for your P1’s. The folks who spend the most time with you. DO NOT pick a library size to appeal to your P2’s or P3’s… you’ll end up just playing 5 songs and that will wear out your P1’s.
If you have Nielsen, Eastlan or some research intel you’ll be able to get a handle on those P1 listeners. It used to be that P1’s would spend 18 to 20 hours a week with your radio station. That’s rare today. The belief is that folks have more choices of distraction… the internet, phones, and audio other than radio. In future articles, we can get into how to fight those things. For now, let’s imagine a station with 12 hours a week average listening by it’s P1s. That 12 hours means they listen 102 minutes a day. (1 hour and 42 minutes a day) Then you need to know the typical number of listening occasions. Let’s say its 5 occasions a day. Well, that 102 minutes divided by 5 is 20 minutes 24 seconds. Now a moment is truth from someone who has studied it way too much. Those 5 occasions end up more typically being 20 minutes in the morning, 38 minutes in midday, 28 minutes in car in the afternoon, then 4 minutes and lastly one more time for 12 minutes in the evening. The point is morning shows can run 20 minutes to 40-minute occasions. Middays can run a little longer. It might be 50 minutes or over an hour and with perhaps one interruption. Afternoons in-car listening can be around 30 minutes. Evenings often these days show shorter length in the occasions. In PPM markets it can be many more listening occasions but shorter.
The truth is, listeners don’t listen as long as we think.
I claim if you take your P1 ATSE / TSL and divide by the occasions you end up with what you should program for. Important to note these are average of the P1’s There are those rare P1’s who spend 4 or 5 hours a day. God give me their addresses!!!!! We don’t want to wear them out with rapid turnover that causes fatigue. So, we’re not going to play 15 songs over and over every hour. Though many years ago Mike Joseph (who sadly recently passed away at age 90) used essentially 30 songs which were turning over every two hours. He achieved great success with this simple formula. The truth is listeners don’t listen as long as we think. Yes, the sales manager is going to tell you our station is on in a big retail advertiser all day long and they are complaining of repetition. Ask him/her why one spot a day isn’t enough for them in their advertising schedule?
There are different answers to the library size question depending on your format. If your format has currents and recurrent material or if you are a library based classic hits station.
Let’s quickly wrap up a thought on a station that plays Currents, Recurrents, and Gold and that needs essentially 15 songs an hour. And for simplicity lets say there are 5 currents, 5 recurrents, and 5 gold.
A Power Currents 2 Per hour – 5 Songs – Turnover 2 ½ hours
B Medium Currents 2 Per hour – 7 Songs – Turnover 3 ½ hours
C Light Currents 1 Per hour – 5 Songs – Turnover 5 hours
D Power Recurrent 3 Per hour – 21 Songs – Turnover 7 hours
E Reg Recurrent 2 Per hour– 30 Songs – Turnover 15 hours
P Power Gold 3 Per hour– 57 Songs – Turnover 19 hours
R Regular Gold 2 Per hour– 62 Songs – Turnover 1 day 7 hours
Well, that’s 187. (See that 172 earlier was the consultant in me slashing your playlist)
Those turnovers (or repeat intervals) on currents are based on those P1 average times.
Recurrents have some fatigue because they are older. And the gold is the best stuff from your Gold pool that creates the impression of variety. Musicmaster offers the excellent tool and facility for auto platooning (Thanks Joe & Scott it’s EXCELLENT!!!) You could find 5 more power gold and 5 more regular gold lets say and platoon rest 5 songs in each all the time. I like to rest songs 3 to 4 weeks. I also like choosing most played in the category. That way the 5 most played Power Gold move to the Platoon Rest bucket and sits out for 4 weeks. While 5 fresh songs come in. And by choosing the most played over time all the songs in the category should take their turn in the timeout rest Platoon Bucket! What you want is a long enough of a rest so that your P1’s get to the point where they feel you play a song too much. Just then you rest it. Its gone for 4 weeks and then they hear it again and it has gone from brown burned to fresh re-greened in their mind.
Next time my pontification on Artist Separation. While most programmers think of Artist Separation… I will suggest that the wrong way to think about it. Instead, I’ll introduce you to “Artist Density.” My claim, the right artist density drives listenership longer… ratings higher and you’ll be driving a newer nicer car as the result of what happens!