Rules Reality Check - by Marianne Burkett

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The majority of calls I receive during any given week, tend to pertain to poor rotations or too many unscheduled positions after running the automatic scheduler.  Typically, the results are due to rules that don’t really fit the categories, coding or categories with excessively high minimum rest settings.  You may also have rules that conflict with one another.

What should you do?   Of course, you can always call me or your Music Scheduling Consultant to help shed some light on your problems, but if you’d like to roll up your sleeves… here are the steps I personally take each and every time someone calls me for help.

  1. Launch Turnover Analysis Icon.
  2. Open Active Music/Rotated Music Group and arrange it in spreadsheet view.
  3. Open the Rule Tree, expand all.

Keep all 3 windows open for reference!

I will also immediately launch Recap Report (Dataset/Schedule/Recap Report) and sort the report by “Pass Percentage”.  This gives me an immediate indication of which rules are failing and in which categories they are failing.  Do review the bottom of the report to check the date range.  That will indicate how many days are included in the report.  If it’s only one day, you may wish to review several days of reports to get a good feel for violations rather than looking at just one day’s report.   A low pass percentage will also likely have a high number of “Failed All” and if the Rule is in Unbreakable – you’ll have an unscheduled song.    Generally, low percentage pass rules, are where I focus my immediate attention.  Is it a Sliding Day offset window?  Is it Artist Keyword Time Separation?  Launch the Rule Tree Wizard for some quick advice.  It will tell you a particular rule is causing unscheduled positions or failures.  Double click on the recommendation and the Wizard will adjust the Rule for you.  MusicMaster suggested minimum rest is 60% of the shortest turnover time, so it’s unlikely you would ever want a rest lower than this  This setting also ensures that even the songs that turn over in the shortest time will still meet this rule .

If Artist Separation is an issue, the Wizard is very perceptive for your general setting.  I always say, “trust the wizard” for overall Artist Separation.  Then, you can set individual separation times with our Keyword Separation Wizard (Dataset/Library/Keywords/Tools).

Are your coding rules lopsided?  For instance, if 50% of your library is a 1 tempo and you have a separate by 4 rule in your tree… it will be difficult to achieve your programming goal.   If you have 10% Female and you’re allowing 2 in a row… there may be hours with one or no females.  It’s all about balance.  If your library is top heavy with certain coding and light on other coding, be sure to adjust the rules to fit your reality.

All in all – if you’re making a lot of library changes, category size is different or your clocks have changed…it’s time for your “Reality Check” and it’s likely you’ll need to re-tool your rules.

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