The Flip/Don't Flip Category Rule

There are two ways that hour-restricted songs can be handled. First, here's a brief explanation of the problem. When a song is hour-restricted, most scheduling software will "hold" that song until the first hour where it is free to schedule. this can present something of a problem when the song schedules over and over in the same hour.

like this:  Say you have a Hot Current rotation of 7 songs and you schedule 2 Hots each hour.  and one of the 7 songs is "restricted" and not allowed to play between 6am and noon.  when the song comes to the top of the stack, ready to be scheduled between 6 and noon, the scheduler will "hold" it until noon...then that song immediately schedules in the noon hour, the first hour where it is OK. that is how other schedulers do it.

to prevent the song from always scheduling in the noon hour, what we do is have Music 1 "flip" the song when it comes up in the restricted hours.   so, if the song would have been scheduled at 10:15 if it were not hour restricted, Music 1 flips it, like moving it the the back of the card stack as it does each time a song is scheduled.  with the flip, then the song comes up to the top of the stack again 3 1/2 hours later (the correct category rotation in this example).

on the next day, if the song came to the top of the stack at 11:45, then Music 1 would flip it and it would come up 3 1/2 hours after that. in this manner, the songs that are restricted do not always come up for scheduling in the first non-restricted hour. and also, songs that are restricted will get some fewer numbers of plays than the others in the category. in my example, say the Hot Currents were all to get 45 plays a week.  but if one song is Restricted between 6 and noon,  25% of the hours of the day, we would not want that song to get the full 45 plays, because then it would have to have pack all the 45 plays into a much more frequent "repeat" pattern in the 18 hours of the days where it is not restricted. so, by flipping the song, it will get about 31 or 32 plays a week....the others getting the full 45.

this plan works very well for "tight" rotations and for categories that have a limited number of songs.   but, there is a problem when an hour-restricted song is in a large category with a long turnover.  like an Oldie in a category that turns over every 3 or four days.  if a song in this category is restricted, not allowed to schedule in mornings, or maybe in either drive time, it could happen that the song comes to be flipped several times in the month, resulting in it maybe not being scheduled much less than is desirable.  in examining the library history for one Music 1 user, we found a category where the songs were getting six plays a month.  but a few of the songs that were restricted out of a good many hours were coming up with only one or two spins a month, this because they happened to move up to the top of the card stack several times in their restricted hours and were flipped.

So, with  Music 1 flipping them as it is supposed to do in this situation, it resulted in very few plays, something that is not a good thing.  in examining this problem it became obvious that some categories need to flip hour-restricted songs while other categories need to hold restricted songs at the top of the stack until Music 1 reaches an hour in the scheduling sequence where it's okay to be scheduled.


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We've added new code that allows Music 1 to more randomly schedule the restricted-but-not-flipped tracks.  Example: the song is restricted from play between 6am and 3pm.  If the song came up in that time period and was not flipped, it would be at the top of the stack come 3pm and would always schedule in that hour.  Music 1 adds some randomization to a song like this.  If it comes up in the 3pm hour one time, the next time it comes to the top of the stack in that daypart, Music 1 will hold it until the 4pm hour.  Then the 5pm hour the next time.  The time after that, it will be dropped into the 3pm hour.

steveScheduling, 2nd