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Alternative Categories

M1’s interactive scheduling/editing design delivers the most consistent rotations for all songs within a category. Most users average less than 10 minutes editing time per schedule. But some music directors have many stations to schedule and don’t have time to edit each one. Or, perhaps time constraints require you to schedule a week or more very quickly. In these cases, the Alternative Categories function is most helpful.

More about this from M1 programmer Neil Campbell:
You can make the scheduler dig deeper by selecting one or two alternative categories for each of your most used categories. You set these on the Category Rules view (green check mark) on Tracks.

To get Music 1 to select tracks from alternative categories you need to tell it to do so in the Scheduling Mode section of the Rule Enforcement window by checking the box labeled “Use Alternative Categories” and by setting the Scheduling Mode to Automatic. In Automatic mode Music 1 will schedule a song from an alternative category only when all songs available for play in the main category (the one selected on the clock item being scheduled) violate an Unbreakable scheduling rule.

For example, you can put your most important recurrent songs in Recurrent, put your less important recurrent songs in Recurrent B, make Recurrent B Alternative 1 for Recurrent, and when Music 1 can’t find a recurrent that doesn’t violate any Unbreakable scheduling rule it will schedule, or attempt to schedule, a song from Recurrent B.

By doing this you give the scheduler more options to choose from which will allow you to specify stricter, and/or, more rules for the most important Attributes–in this case Sound Code. In Automatic mode, just as in Manual mode, Music 1 will always try to schedule a song that has the least and lowest priority violations–one with no violations if there is one. It will stop only when every song violates an unbreakable rule. You can make most or even all your rules Unbreakable.

To deal with the issue you described you would probably put at least Artist Separation, and all Sound Code rules (hour max, run, and separation) under Unbreakable (above Major Breakable). You could put all rules in that priority region if you want to, but we don’t recommend it since that would limit the scheduler’s options when trying to enforce the really important rules like the Sound Code rules. You set the rule priorities on the Advanced tab of System Settings.

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