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What’s the difference between running M1 in the ‘manual’ and the ‘automatic’ modes?

This gets to the heart of the difference between M1 and all the other Selector-generation schedulers. Those were designed for automatic scheduling, then retro-active log editing.  M1 was designed for inter-active scheduling….to allow you to make the edit/choices during the scheduling run.  For the very best music flow and the most consistent song rotations manual scheduling is the way to go.  You’re almost always going to have do to some editing of the logs anyway.  It is better to do that during the run rather than afterward.
You see, there is no way that all the pegs will fall into their holes without some of the  slots not being able to schedule because all the choices violate one or another of your formatting rules.  Unless, of course, you have very few formatting rules.
What happens with automatic scheduling, whether with M1 or others, is that when a slot is encountered and all choices would violate one or another of your rules, the computer makes a choice.  You can set up a rules hierarchy to tell the computer that THIS rule is more important that THAT rule to help it make better choices but it is still a machine and it is virtually impossible to give it all the variables and teach it ‘good taste’.  You can’t give a computer good taste.  So, the computer does its thing, then the MD digs into the log, finds the violations and decides whether or not to accept them or to take the time to ‘fix’ each one.
That is where the problems comes in……now that the full day is scheduled, the ‘card stack’ for each of your categories is set-up, lined-up for ‘tomorrow’s’ scheduling….so, if you find a song you want to switch from, say your Recurrent category, and you do a search of your Recurrents to find a different song to replace it with, you will be picking one that would normally be scheduled tomorrow.   If your Recurrent rotation is set for a 2 day turnover, that song that you pick would have played yesterday…and it will have now a 1 day turnover when you drop it into today’s log…then it probably won’t play again for another 48 hours…thus that one song will have an odd, out-of-synch rotation/exposure pattern for this week.  And then there’s the song that you plucked out of todays log…it probably scheduled the day before yesterday as it should have, now you remove it from today’s log…maybe you can find another slot nearby to put it into, but if not then it will not be scheduled again until tomorrow…so it’ll now have a 3-day turnover.  And then, if you do find a slot today for that one to fit into, you’ll be placing it into a slot where yet another Recurrent is already scheduled, then you’ll have to decide what to do with that one.   This can be a real rats nest, you see, and it is why the average MD spends 90 minutes to a couple of hours a day with Selector ‘editing the logs’…fixing what the scheduler did wrong. With Music 1’s innovative inter-active scheduling, making log edits during the scheduling run, people spend 20 minutes a day or less.
Now a lot of the problems that come up with automatic scheduling are because of improper format design.  My analogy is that many music directors try to put 12 pounds of potatoes into a 10 pound sack.  They’ll give their clocks a rule saying ‘no more than 4 slow songs an hour’.  4 out of 12 = 25%. But their library will be 35% slow songs.  No way that can work.  And they then may put a 10 minute separation rule on the slow songs.  If each slow song is 3.5 minutes that means four in the hour would take 14 minutes of content…the 10 minutes between them would equal 40 minutes. So, the time the songs played added to the time they must be separated would equal 54 minutes. All the stars would have to line up just perfectly every hour for that to work.  If the first slow in the hour happened to be schedule for a start time anywhere after 6 minutes past the hour….boink!
Following that line, if you always schedule in manual mode and you see the same rule violation coming up over and over and over again, examine your rules settings.  Check the content of your library and categories. There is usually a way to make it more efficient so you’ll spend less time each day dealing with that recurring violation.
There are some stations who use the automatic scheduling with M1 and are perfectly happy with it.  Most of them seem to be stations which have very large libraries and don’t have many problems with artist separation and tempo and don’t do much of any dayparting.
If you choose to run in automatic, we do believe M1’s automatic scheduling is superior to Selector-generation scheduling because our software began with a more sensible design.  Now that more people are using it, that seems to be proving true from what we hear.
If you are going to run your logs in automatic mode, what I suggest is to study the rules hierarchy in the System Parameters and arrange them in the order of importance so that the most important rules are at the top. That way when M1 is scheduling automatically and encounters choices of songs, each violating different rules, it will pick the one that you say has the less important rule violation to schedule.  Also, you can set some rules to be absolutely unbreakable.
You can set a special “View” on your scheduling window that will show you the rules violations as text next to the pie-slices after the log is completed.  you can click thru the hours and quickly find everywhere that a song was scheduled against a rule, then make an edit as you choose.

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