Let’s talk music

Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics

Music matters. We get that.

Our latest reminder has come in the feedback we’ve received through BBN First. Music selection has been the most popular topic among the more than 1,600 suggestions that have come in over the last two months, and it’s really not close.

As it turns out, your opinions are almost as varied as they are numerous. Here’s a sampling of what you had to say about game-day music at Commonwealth Stadium:

Zachary wrote: “Music, music, music. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classics, but there’s nothing exciting about them during game days!”

Don wrote: “Ditch the rap music!”

Another fan wrote: “The music played at football games is ear-splitting loud, and judging from the selection of songs I can only presume you are trying to attract recruits or the students who did not bother to show up. How about a little variety and a few decibels down on the meter?”

Derek wrote: “Better music during football games. I think the players should be heavily involved in this decision.”

As you can see, it’s all over the board.

Before we get into how we plan to address all this feedback, it’s worth taking a moment to explain how we currently choose songs.

You may never have thought about it before, we have quite a bit of time to fill. Per Southeastern Conference rules, each game features the following timeouts for television:

  • 15 full timeouts lasting approximately two-and-a-half minutes (changes in possession, scores, team timeouts)
  • A three-minute break after the end of the first and third quarters
  • An additional one-minute floating timeout each half
  • 30-second breaks for all team timeouts after 15 full TV timeouts have been taken

Combine all those breaks and that’s around 45 minutes to be filled not counting halftime, most of the time with music.

Our marketing staff – which is responsible for music at every home event – goes into each football game with a “cheat sheet” they use to make a master list of songs that numbers well into the hundreds more manageable for these moments. Using this cheat sheet and reading the situation, they select songs. These decisions aren’t easy because crowd response depends so much on the action on the field at the moment the song is played.

The cheat sheet is updated each week throughout the season based on fan reaction and incorporating newly released songs. Also, songs not on the cheat sheet still can be selected.

Using the Blue/White Spring Game as an example, the cheat sheet featured 125 total songs. Fourteen were songs specifically designated for play at kickoff, including “We Ready,” “All The Way Turnt Up” and “Zombie Nation.” Another 25 were songs exclusively for pregame. These songs were chosen by players.

Taking out other situational songs, that left 68 for play during in-game timeouts, halftime and any other stoppages. Of those songs, 21 were hip-hop, 14 pop, 12 dance, nine rock, eight classic rock and seven country.

With all that said, we committed to closely reviewing everything we do when it comes to the fan experience when we launched BBN First. Music, clearly, is a big part of that, so we’re spending significant time figuring out ways we can get better.

Your feedback is playing an important role.

Based on what we’ve heard, we know we will never be able to please everyone. However, what we are going to do is involve you, the fans, much more in the process.

We’ve already come up with a few ways to accomplish that.

  1. We’re in the early development stages of a partnership with local radio stations (98.1 The Bull, 104.5 The Cat, 100.1 WKQQ, Wild 103.9) and their on-air talent to provide an outlet for fans to vote on songs from their favorite genres. Fans will vote each game week on their favorite from a top five list, with the winners revealed at the games on Saturdays.
  1. We’ve asked eight of the team leaders (Steven Borden, Bud Dupree, Za’Darius Smith, Jordan Swindle, Mike Douglas, Javess Blue, Braylon Heard and Blake McClain) to pick a song to be played immediately before opening kickoff of the UT Martin game. We’ll then use those choices to form a tournament bracket and allow fans to vote on a winner. We’ll unveil the bracket on Tuesday, July 22.
  1. Game day at Commonwealth will feature opportunities for fans in the stadium to vote on playlists using Twitter.

Finally, we know we’re not going to address music once and be done with it. This is the start of an effort to be as transparent as possible when it comes to music, which means we are planning to revisit song selections after each home game throughout the season and ask for your continual feedback.

In the meantime, keep the suggestions coming by emailing BBNfirst@uky.edu or using the comment form on the right side of the page.

43 thoughts on “Let’s talk music

  1. Anthony

    Nothing gets a football player fired up like “country music” NOT!!! Let the players decide and not mamaw and papaw! GO CATS!!

    1. Eric

      The opening minute to “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica is enough to get anyone pumped on a defensive 3rd down stop. Not only do you have the “dong” in the intro, but a heavy, hard riff to get everyone loud.

  2. Stoops troops

    Lots of rap!! (mainly current hits), dancy pop music (Calvin Harris, etc), EDM. Please for the love of everything that is holy NO COUNTRY OR BON JOVI!!!!!!

    Also would be cool to have a visible DJ playing the hits and hyping up the crowd, maybe on the new recruiting area patio and alittle club/ stage lighting never hurts the atmosphere.

  3. Scott

    One of the biggest things needed is an alert to fans when our Cats are coming out to start the SECOND half. There has always been a very lackluster crowd response to the team after halftime to start the 3rd Q. I feel we should treat the start of the second half just like we do the start of the game. Crank up the Air Raid sirens, have some hype videos on the big screens & use the same music to signal the arrival of our Cats onto the field.

    1. Wild Blue

      Agree. Need to get the crowd back into the game a few minutes before the CATS hit the field after halftime.

    2. Mark Evans

      Great comment! This does need to be addressed. The team needs to come back onto the field after halftime with a little fire under them. Go Cats!

  4. Josh

    Agreed. Lots of rap and R&B kind of songs. That should be the majority of the music. College aged kids like that kind of music and the players undoubtedly do. Nonetheless, you need to hit nearly all the major genres of music. Appealing to all of your ticket buyers is also important. But, what is most important is keeping the players amped up so we can win football games and keeping the students (the life of the crowd) into the football game.

    1. Big Cat

      As a former college player I can tell you that there are only certain times through out a game that most players notice the music: pregame warm up, intros and at kick offs. If I had needed music to get me fired up, I’d have been ashamed of myself. We cared very little about the music, we were there to win a football game. Music selection, while enjoyable at times, had nothing to do with our on field performance. Music selection should be tailored to the crowd, with noted exceptions. As college students we love to believe everything in our lives should be catered to us, but looking around Commonwealth Stadium we make up a very small portion of the crowd. Playing music specifically designed for one demographic is likely to put off another. I don’t envy the job of this committee. Trying to please everyone is a tough job – no matter the task. And BTW, if you need a DJ and club lights to keep you interested in a football game, maybe football isn’t your thing.

  5. Jason

    Play indestructible by disturbed regularly. It’s a pump up song that features air raid sirens at the beginning.

  6. John

    You can play rap and hip hop beats and just take out the lyrics and that will be very effective. Example: I hate Kati Perry but the beat to Dark Horse is great. Take the lyrics out and just play the main beat to the song before kickoff, during a timeout, etc. A lot of bad “artists” out there these days but cool beats. I was at a Georgia game a few years ago and they were just playing the beat to Soldier Boy and all the players were in to it. Hate the lyrics to that song but the beat is catchy and gets people moving. If the players and recruits are loving it all the while getting the student section fired up I think the energy will spread throughout the stadium (if the team starts playing better) and will create the atmosphere everyone is looking for.

  7. Troy

    You definitely don’t want Lonestar or Taylor Swift playing but, you still have to keep it. I think you can mix it up with some rock “welcome to the jungle”, Intro to Thunderstruck, and mix in some R&B and Rap. I don’t think it has to be either or. You can mix it up

    1. therealbigjon

      Welcome to the jungle would be awesome. Because I’m sure theres a lot of people in BBN that are also a part of Bengals Nation. That song always amps me up when I’m at Paul Brown.

  8. jimlowe7

    Please, NO ENTIRE GAME THEMES…for those who want ONLY RAP/HIP HOP, ONLY COUNTRY, ONLY ROCK, ONLY R&B, ONLY “WE WILL ROCK YOU” PUMP UPS, you are being SELFISH PIGS!!! There are ALL AGES and ALL INTERESTS and ALL PARTICIPATION TYPES at each game so how about we give ALL OF US something we like. If that means we do the “Macarena” at one break, “Run This Town” by Jay-Z the next break, then Kenny Chesney’s “The Boys of Fall” at the next one we will have sent the message that UK FANS ARE NOT BULLIES…WE VALUE EVERYONE!!!

  9. Todd J

    Wow. Some people do not get it.
    UK should play what ever gets the players hype. They have to be pumped up if you as a fan want them to win.
    During warmups any top 40 hits can be mixed in I guess, but during the game only player requested jams should be played.

    Fans need to just worry about being as loud as possible when the opponent has the ball. Whoever Don is in the story needs to get with the times. Go Big Blue

  10. TB

    This entire discussion is about the stupidiest thing I’ve ever seen. Sure, pick something that can serve as a musical “brand” for the team/program and only play that when the team comes out to start the first and second halfs. But other than that, just turn it down. No team has ever won or lost a game because of the music. In all my years of going to games, including when I was a student, I never once left a game having had the experience enhanced due to the music. On the other hand, I was at the Bama game last year and the experience was awful because the music was so loud, and bad, that you could barely carry on a conversation between plays. I attended every Bama home game last year and they don’t overwhelm people with music. And last time I checked they seem to be pretty good at football. I doubt the players pay any attention and if they do maybe that’s one of the reason we don’t seem to be so great at football.

    Show replays between plays. That’s enough.

    Also, every SEC team should put pressure on the broadcasters to play games with minimal interruptions. Last time I checked the broadcasters can push a pause button when they want to show commercials and then push play when those are over. Why does the action at the stadium have to stop? The goal should be to enhance the fan experience at the game. Nothing is worse than being at a game that is delayed for 3 minutes while some horrible music du jour is blasted over a system not designed to reproduce music at that sound level.

  11. matt

    How about the cats coming out to ACDC and thunderstruck. The fans could do the intro to the song- while the cats run out.

  12. David

    Robin Trower : Day of the Eagle. I can picture the running backs and receivers busting through for long runs with this song being played

  13. shinman

    Good idea to use sirens 2 minutes before team comes out from halftime!! Also need to HEAR sirens every 30 minutes for two hours BEFORE gametime!! This helps get the tailgaters fired up. Lets hear the sirens as the team arrives and during the cat walk. When the opposing team arrives let them hear the doomsday march over the speakers and jungle beat–let them know they are in for a long day or night!!!! Let’s do it not just talk about it–CWS to become our place!!!!!

  14. Gobigblue812

    A little classic rock and a little country is ok but please stop with the Bon Jovi and the S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night song. It sucks the life out of the crowd. Stick with more rock and hip hop type of music.

    All you have to do is look at Virginia Tech or Wisconsin to see how a crowd can get pumped with the music selection. The UK crowd could get just as excited with the right music. I’m actually partial to O’Fortuna to start the game with the highlights being shown.

  15. Bill Jarboe

    If the players are interested in the music being played, their mind is in the wrong place. The music should appeal to all groups in attendance. A variety to appeal to all groups would be most beneficial. I am opposed to the 3,000 or so students who come late to the game and leave early demanding that we only listen to “Their” music.
    Mix it up during the game. Get everyone involved with various music selections during the game. Pre-game should be for fans and players. A time to get jacked leading to kickoff. I think the pep band can play a bigger role in excitement for the games. Turn them loose and jazz it up. They’ve been better the last couple of years, but need to be more involved. Let them be more involved with the fans.

  16. Jordan

    Honestly if u want to know what the players and college kids are into just go to a dance club around campus for two hours and u will be able to find about 95% of the music to play during a game. This music situation is good to involve fans but I think us fans needs not to be selfish for our own personal interest to blast other genres but realize this is mainly for the players on the field. If the players are pumped and jumping around that in turn is going to get us fans excited and to start making some noise.

  17. Honest

    since you’re changing the field to turf you should turn the field Kentucky blue with white UK markers

  18. Fake DLJr

    I can solve all of your problems with music with three words: DJ Joe Doug. This guy is a genius on the iPad 1’s and 2’s. You like Humpty Dance and Hungry like the Wolf? Well how about a mash up called Dance like Hungry humping wolves? Instead of voting on single songs this real gangsta will play like 67 songs in three minutes. He is very efficient. If you don’t believe me come check out his “skeels” in the senior citizens center lot on game days. Be sure to bring plenty of PBr’s and blueberry beer for the ladies. You’re welcome BBN.

  19. Eric

    The opening minute to “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica is enough to get anyone pumped on a defensive 3rd down stop. Not only do you have the “dong” in the intro, but a heavy, hard riff to get everyone loud

  20. Tom

    Ah, but how do we keep the opponents from hearing this kick butt tunes as well? We’ve tried new paint, new scoreboard, new uniforms, smaller stadium, soon new turf, heck let’s just change the schools colors next!
    It’s what happens on the field, better players, better coaching, gain better results.
    Barnhart thinks all these changes are going to fool the other SEC teams into thinking we’re the improved little brother in the SEC.
    Hext let’s change the name of the school to Ohio State South. That ought to scare the heck out of the SEC.
    Do ya think Tennesssee, LSU, Alabama will follow suit by down sizing there stadiums. Sure.

  21. Jeff

    Awolnation,avenged sevenfold , Metallica ,Korn, Otherwise, theirs plenty to get a crowd hype and NO country sorry ! But country is not what you wanna hear going into battle!

  22. Logan

    If you’re gonna play classics then it must be popular hype classics. Besides that play rap that gets the players hype. Players win the games, not us

  23. Unseld

    I can’t believe someone said turn the music down. It needs to be up as loud as we can get it. Go to an NFL game, and see how loud and exciting the atmosphere is.

  24. Debra May

    Please…no country music! Besides, most of the players probably don’t like it. Choose lively music with a driving beat; rock, old rock. I hate rap, but the players probably like it and they should have say so over part of the music. They are doing all the work that we fans enjoy.

  25. Paul

    SMH, I seriously have to question the way UK is handling this. The idea’s are poor to terrible at best. Developing a partnership with Radio stations and letting the fans vote are you serious? I hate the crappy un hype music that has been played at games but I have more to do with my life then vote for songs to be played at a football game! Have you all watched an Auburn game? an Oregon game? VT game? Wisconsin game? They do it because they don’t worry about what old fogies think about music because they aren’t in pads or usually the ones jumping up and down losing their minds on 3rd and long. I’m sorry but these are just terrible ideas and I expect better from an SEC athletic department and marketing department…It’s not about getting the fan’s “more involved” in the music selection its about you all being able to provide an atmosphere at Commonwealth that turns it into a hard place to play!

  26. Jason

    The volume level of the music is good where it is. I think the debate depends on where you sit. I’m usually on the south sideline and it is not that loud, but the times I’ve sat in the east endzone, it was almost unbearable. While I could handle it being louder sitting along on the sideline, I would feel bad for those in the endzones.

  27. Big Blue Earl

    Thunderstruck by AC/DC, Power by Kanye West. There are tons of great songs to start games off with, but the team will need to play better and win for the atmosphere to greatly improve. You don’t remember many great game atmospheres when you go home after a 40 – 0 loss. I believe Coach Stoops has us going in the right direction and will turn this thing around in time. I enjoy a great song as much as the next person, but I enjoy a great win much better. Go Cats!!


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