Creating Clocks: The Lost Art Part 2

Creating perfect music clocks for your radio station is an art form. It combines strategy, tactics & creativity. It shouldn’t be rushed. It’s part of the blueprint in building a great radio station.

In some stations, creating clocks is becoming a lost art. I’ve attended many strategy meetings where clock creation is the last item on the agenda.  I’ve asked some prominent programmers to share their views on crafting great clocks. Early I spoke to U.S. Programmer Todd Wallace. Next I talk to Managing Director of Third Wave Media, Eriks Celmins.

Eriks has created many clocks for radio stations in Australia & New Zealand , following is one of them as a hypothetical example.

Erick Celmins: The underlying principles apply to any gold-intensive format.

Background Principles:

Formative music years of when the target was aged 13-24 years form the majority of the clock, as the most passionate Core-Era. In this case 1970-1979 for people aged around 60.

They are also the only years where Secondary (lower-testing) songs are used.

Any non-core “Fringe-Eras” must be Power (higher-testing) only.

Secondaries are always separated, never together, because they are weaker songs.

Core-Era can also be split into Early & Late 5 year blocks, for instance, to create more variety in textures, with each play from the era.

In this example Fringe-Eras of the Late-60s and Early-80s are used for variety, and spaced well apart.

And they ensure no more than 2 x 70s together – even the core era needs to be broken up for contrasts, and to lessen core-artist “saturation”.

Clock (with Turnover Days/List Length)

E-70s Power (2.5/60)

L-60s Power (4.5/108)

L-70s Power (2.5/60)

E-70s Secondary (3.5/84)

E-80s Power (4.5/108)

L-70s Secondary (3.5/84)

E-70s Power

L-60s Power

L-70s Power

E-70s Secondary

E-80s Power

L-70s Secondary

Note:Turnover Days are based on a 12-hour Day 6am-6pm.

Usual practice is to “recycle”/repeat plays 6pm-6am in off-peak time, so valuable plays are not used up on a small audience.

Power/ Secondary Ratio is 67%/33%

Total “Universe”/Library is 504 songs, which is about the level a music test will usually validate. Older audiences could deliver more – younger targets tend to validate a lot fewer.

New versions of CHR.

My thoughts are about applying the language & principles of social and streaming services like Spotify.

This also implies more fluid, less rigid structures, especially with newer songs which can break out very quickly.

So, for instance …

A (Hit) = Trending

B (Upward) = Recommend

D (New) = Discover

C (Downward)/Recurrents are simply X1/2/3 etc.

Gold = Old School

Music research might also be regeared to reflect the new language.

Eriks Celmins is Managing Director of Third Wave Media, international consultant for research, strategy and content.Full Member of Australian Market& Social Research Society (AMSRS).LinkedIn

With a few tweaks, this could be either a CHR or Hot AC Clock

1          A 1      SUPER HOT

2          1 1       2013-2014 Level 1

3          R 1      RECURRENT 1

4          B 1       MEDIUM

5          R 3      RECURRENT 3

6          2 2       2003-2012 Level 2

7          A 2      HOT

8          R3       RECURRENT 3

9          C 1      NEW

10        1 1       2013-2014 Level 1

11        R 3      RECURRENT 3

12        B 1       MEDIUM

13        R 2      RECURRENT 2

14        1 2       2013-2014 Level 2


1          A 2      HOT

2          R3       RECURRENT 3

3          B 1       MEDIUM

4          R 2      RECURRENT 2

5          1 1       2013-2014 Level 1

6          A 1      SUPER HOT

7          R 3      OLD RECURRENT 3

8          C 1      NEW

9          R 1      RECURRENT 1

10        3 2       90s Flashback Level 2

11        R 2      RECURRENT  2

12        B 1       MEDIUM

13        1 1       2013-2014 level 1

14        R 3      RECURRENT 3

In Part Three of Creating Clocks: The Lost Art Greg Smith will share the Words of Wisdom from the Brilliant Guy Zapoleon. Guy will discuss building clocks using a “Spoke Theory“.

Comment Form

Your email address will not be published.

Recent comments (0)
Post new comment


See all