Broadcasting, Getting Started, Programming

Rotation Clocks

Categorizing your music library is an important step in order to achieve an ideal song rotation on your radio station. Once you have that done though, what's next?

Organization. You also have to organize those categories in order to create an ideal song rotation. Back when the norm was for DJs to spin actual records, they would trace a circular record and divide the drawing up to resemble a clock. It was referred to as a “rotation clock.” Each sliver on the clock would represent a different piece of an hour of programming, like songs, jingles, DJ breaks, news, and more. In this example, we’ll just focus on contemporary music.

Below are two sample clocks for a contemporary music station: A=Hot Currents, B=Medium Currents, C=New Currents, D=Recurrents, and E=Gold/Oldies. To read more about what each category means, click here.

Stations often have numerous different clocks depending on the time of day, day of the week, or even time of year. Morning shows might play less songs and focus more on news, weather, and traffic instead. Weeknight evenings might focus on newer music for listeners to discover during rush hour traffic on their way home from work. Once Thanksgiving is over, some stations might gear up for the holidays by incorporating more holiday classics in their rotations.

As with every other aspect of radio, rotation clocks should have a good balance and a wide variety. If you're a contemporary music station, you don’t want to bunch tons of new top 40 songs together, and on the flipside, you don’t want to play a bunch of songs from the early 2000s in a row. This same logic applies across many formats.

The rotation clock then provides you with the visual aid to see what kind of balance your programming would have. And that could make all the difference for you in crafting the perfect mix that engages your audience.

Interested in learning about music selection and playlist creation? Read this article.

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Article Image: Pixabay via Pexels.

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About Sarah Osborne

  • Pennsylvania