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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.