Where Testing Meets Tempo

You may have noticed a lot of passionate talk in CCM regarding the music lately. In some circles, it seems “Worship” music is now the bane of programmers and armchair programmers’ existence.

Well… that sound code is dominating playlists and music testing, and our listeners for one… aren’t sick of it. It’s also the sound code that typically has the most emotional connection for our listeners.

The role of Worship music in CCM is a great debate starter. Let’s just talk about addressing tempo issues that can come along with slower Worship hits.

See, you can make a few simple changes to how you prioritize your music scheduling for the listener, and still have the overall flow you want for your station.

It starts with getting those high testing Gold “tempo killers” in first, that more often than not means Worship first.

Yes, let every other category and rule work around them, not the other way around. You can then work your tempo rules around those slow songs. They just need to have a slot first.

There are a couple of things you may want to consider to make it work.

Create a Nuclear category from your Top-25 Power Gold songs. This should be familiar to a lot of you. These are the biggest, most indestructible, and often many of the slowest songs on our stations. Keep the rules limited to your artist separation and minimum separation. They don’t need more.

Plotting them is simple. Have your Nuclear song play two or three times an hour (on average). They will turn-over around 9:00 – 13:00 hours (depending on count). Make one of those spaces next to your Light.

Make them an early pass. I like keeping my As (heavy currents) the first pass with no rules. Next up is the Nukes and Stay Currents in the same pass. Keep the rules limited to your artist separation and minimum separation on them. They don’t need any more being the second pass. I always suggest Power Gold be the next pass.

Wait, what? What about Mediums and Lights? You mean the least familiar songs you play that you want to prioritize over the most familiar highest testing? They will schedule just fine later. They are young but stronger than you think!

Take note, you are now prioritizing the highest testing familiar music first and are better managing tempo too.

Your gig is about creating a great sound for the listeners. It’s not about easy logs with no “unscheduled” positions.

TJ Holland
Consultant, Good Ratings Strategic Services

To this day, TJ has programmed almost every English language station and has been voted one of the “Top Programmers in America” multiple times.  His stations have been recognized as “Station of the Year” in two separate formats (twice in AC and once with CCM). He brings passion to mentoring/coaching, developing engaging brands, and geeking out over music scheduling and ratings reports.

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