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Packets? How Do I Use Them?

Packets are special categories-within-categories. Most music directors never use packets but they can be quite useful to some.  Here are some examples.

A Classic Rock station is playing 15 songs by the Rolling Stones in their “70’s” category. Nine of the songs are considered the ‘super hits’ and the music director wants those to receive full, regular rotation.  The other six are good songs but the MD doesn’t want them to play quite so often as the super hits.  So, a new category is created named “Stones Pak”. Then this category is added to the primary “70s” category.  Now the packet will rotate as if it were a single song.  Each time it is scheduled, one of the six songs in the packet will be dropped into the slot.

A Gospel station is playing three versions of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” in their “Traditional” category. The music director doesn’t want the song to be scheduled three times as frequently as the other titles in the category.  So a “Swing Low” category is created, the three versions are moved into it, then the category is added to the “Traditional” category as a packet.  Now, “Swing Low…” is being scheduled as “one” song, but a different version plays each time it is scheduled.

You can also use Packets for special and unique rotation functions.  For example, say you want to format an Oldie rotation that is primarily UpTempo.  You could create two Oldie Categories.  “Uptempo Oldies” and “Downtempo Oldies”.  Next, create a Category named “Master Oldies”.  Into that list add three Packets; “Uptempo Oldies” two times and “Downtempo Oldies” one time.  On your Format Clocks, install only the “Master Oldies” category. This would then give you an Oldie rotation and music flow that is 2-to-1 Uptempo.

Packets can be added to categories more than once.  In example #1 above, the music director might add the Stones packet to the 70s’ Category twice. The songs in the packet would now get more exposure but it would still be much less airplay than the 9 super hits.

To Add A Packet To A Category

In the Category name list column, click to select the Category where the Packet is to be added.  Then, open the menu: Track>New>Packet. A list of your category names will appear.  Select the one that is to be the packet.

The packet will be added to the category, at the bottom of the list.  It is best to move packets up to the top half of the category, not leaving them at the bottom of the category rank/scheduling order.

After a category is added to another category as a packet, it is not normally available to be placed directly onto a Format clock.  If you want to also be able to add the packet to a format clock, click to the Rules view and put a check mark in the box labeled “Packet can be placed alone on clock.”

To Remove A Packet From A Category

The packed will appear in the Song list. Double-click and open the packet's "song card".  You'll see the Remove button at the bottom of that screen.   Removing a packet does not delete it...it just becomes a regular Category again.  Also, if you've added the packet to a category several times, you have to remove all instances of it being the packet, before it is again a 'regular' category.

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