The rotation of music for radio was initially derived from the index card box. Some readers of this blog will recall radio’s early days when local programming was the rule of thumb. If you’re a radio-head like me, you’ll remember the times before the advent of the syndicated morning and afternoon drive show and well before the creation of the personal computers.
I can recall 45 rpm records and the colored dots program directors would place on them to distinguish the different music categories. The red dots were for the heavy rotation songs, the blue dots for the medium and the yellow were for the new music category songs. The song titles and artist names were entered on index cards which coincided with the 45 rpm records.
In the index card box each card had the same colored dots along with divider cards that separated the different music categories. A major problem with the index card concept became apparent after a lack of accuracy with song rotations was discovered. The key point to remember is that each song must repeat within a set number of hours and to ensure the hourly rotations remained intact program directors would instruct jocks to rotate the index cards evenly by taking the first card at the front of the category stack, and placing it at the back of stack, after each song played. Songs were not repeating properly because jocks had a tendency of randomly playing their favorite songs. After the personal computer was invented many applications were created to alleviate the manual calculating of numbers. The radio industry greatly benefited from the invention of music-scheduling programs designed to generate better music category rotations and in the end improve a station’s music flow. For more information on computer music rotation and time management contact Earl Boston Inc.