As you pull into the parking lot of your little radio station after the morning commute, you pause to reflect on how well things have been going lately. With GSelector and Zetta handling your programming and automation, things have been running like a Swiss watch. Ratings are up, the new morning guy seems to be working out, and the future looks like nothing but blue skies.
Why would you want to mess with perfection by purchasing new traffic software? You’ve heard of Aquira, and probably some of the other programs that promise to streamline traffic. But it’s just your two stations and a webstream, you’re not part of a group that owns hundreds of stations. How could a traffic system like Aquira make that much of a difference at your operation?
First, Aquira is not just a traffic system. It’s really a CRM system for radio sales that integrates all the moving parts into one software package. Accounts receivable, budgeting and forecasting, enterprise reporting, sales management and report writing are all part of the process with Aquira.
Aquira was created by people who know that in radio, we’re all a little different. Our idea of the most productive CRM may be the polar opposite of yours. And that’s OK, because you can customize Aquira to work the way you do. Take writing reports for example.
There is just no one set of system reports that can work for everyone. That’s why Aquira includes a Report Writer and wizard. Not only can you use it to write reports in a traditional, grid, pivot grid or chart format, your RCS support team can also create reports for you and import them directly into your database. And that’s not all.
When you purchase Aquira, you get wizards to facilitate things like exports to finance and playout systems. That’s important, because these systems can change frequently, and when they do, you don’t want to reinvent the wheel. With Aquira, there’s no worries, the wizards will create the correct file format for your new finance and playout software as fast as you can wave a magic wand.
Aquira can also generate and manage a lot of data, and data has value when its shared, but only with the right people. Not only can Aquira restrict the data that users like Sales Reps are allowed to see, but it can also restrict the areas of the application they are allowed to go to. The data security can also be set up so that clients or agencies can have their own logins.
Aquira enables you to create detailed rate cards so rates can be stored for spots, charges, sponsorships, costs and digital. The database also stores the rate card value and the actual value it was sold at. That way, you can get detailed reports on how much users are discounting. Warnings can be put in place when certain thresholds are passed, so that sales managers or traffic know if a booking is below the recommended rates.
Another way that Aquira lets you do traffic your way is with Attributes. Attributes are a bit like adding your own field to the most utilized tables in Aquira’s database. These fields can be anything from a new Date Attribute, (for something like a Client Birthday) to a new Lookup Attribute (where you might want to setup different Campaigns, or Areas in the database for reporting purposes). The Attributes not only appear as new fields in screens like Clients and Proposals but they immediately appear in Reports so you can begin reporting on your newly configured field.
Your sales staff needs to maximize their time in the field. Your sales data lives on Aquira, back at the station. With Aquira2GO, that’s not a problem. This browser-based application is part Customer Relationship Manager, part sales proposal tool. You can use it to remotely access data, build a proposal with real time access to your station inventory and then present it to your client and get an electronic signature to close the deal during your meeting.
Being a traffic system, Aquira’s primary touchpoint with the other RCS products is Media – that’s the commercial audio and its metadata – with the playout systems and Traffic Logs with either a playout system or music scheduling system. Aquira can synchronize its Media metadata with our Zetta, NexGen or Master Control playout systems, allowing traffic users to drive the production process. Aquira also brings the audio information, once recorded, back from the playout system to allow for auditioning of the commercial audio in Aquira or online in Aquira2GO.
Out of the box, Aquira can send traffic logs to any of our playout systems or our music scheduler; GSelector. When an overnight as-run log is produced from the studio, Aquira will automatically ingest this data for full-loop reconciliation.
You can start small with Aquira and it will grow with you. Aquira supports everything from single station to multi-station or multi-location broadcast groups. Bottom line, you can manage the scheduling and billing of advertising orders across multiple stations from one central location.
You can also run Aquira on your own computer system, or have it deployed in the Cloud using the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model, the choice is yours. Large clients with remote offices can also take advantage of these cloud-style deployment options to host Aquira themselves at a head office while ensuring that easy access is available to all their remote workforce.
Sometimes things just don’t go as planned, and that’s why RCS always has a tech support professional ready to speak with you, 24 / 7 / 365. And that’s not all. As a customer, you can also join the RCS Community, a moderated discussion group that provides a forum for discussion, tips, technical support issues, friendly banter focused on improving your use of our products and latest innovations.
When we say that RCS software is used by stations on the furthest reaches of the planet, it’s no exaggeration. For this report, we will travel to Warruwi, Goulburn Island. It’s a tiny spec with about 300 inhabitants located 5 Km off the coast of the Northern Territory, Australia. Maung is the main language, and 90% of the population are Cook Islanders or Aboriginal. But despite the remoteness and size of Goulburn Island, it does have its own radio station.
The station is part of TEABBA, (Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association) a group of 29 RIBS (Remote Indigenous Broadcast Stations) spread across the Northern Territory. They have begun to broadcast as a large community network. TEABBA airs regular programs from both its Darwin hub studio and the community stations by using dial-up program lines. However, the old analog dial-up modems have given way to the latest digital devices that can deliver broadcast quality programs over a regular phone line. Part of the massive infrastructure upgrade involves bringing the Internet to locations which have no access, or very limited access. At the same time, mono transmitters are being upgraded to stereo.
The Darwin hub utilizes Zetta and GSelector for automation and music scheduling. Aquira is slated to be online by the end of the year to add commercial integration. When the project is complete, logs will be created in Darwin with GSelector, and will be replicated out to the station in each market, which already has Zetta installed. Once Aquira comes online, commercials and community service announcements will be scheduled which target each market’s local issues. Two of the indigenous communities, Warruwi and Beswick, have already gone live, with the remainder to follow soon.
Zetta makes it easy for these RIB sites to broadcast over the entire TEABBA network. Stations currently build a “MiniLog” for the time that they are broadcasting to the network. Each of the 29 stations usually broadcasts 2-3 hours a week to the entire Northern Territory.
TEABBA is not the first indigenous broadcaster in Australia to use Zetta, GSelector and Aquira. They decided to go with RCS based on the excellent user feedback from their indigenous partner stations, Caama Radio (8KIN – Northern Territory), Kool N Deadly (3KND – Melbourne) and BlackStar (QRAM – Queensland). Together, these stations broadcast to over half of Australia.
NAB was the perfect place for RCS to simultaneously honor our legacy and future and we look forward to participating again next year.
China National Radio (CNR), China’s largest radio station group, with radio coverage encompassing the entire nation of 1.3 billion people. CNR’s Music Radio Channel is now powered by the latest RCS scheduling and playback systems, GSelector and Zetta.
The CNR group includes over 16 radio channels, with formats that include News, Traffic, Financial News and Music. In fact, the CNR Music Radio Channel, was the first radio station in China to use an RCS system back in November 2002, almost 16 years ago. The Music Radio Channel alone broadcasts a claimed listenership of over 700 Million people in China.
RCS has expanded its relationship with CNR, adding their Metro Radio Channel, a radio service only broadcast in the Beijing market.
Being the most prestigious radio station group in China and located in the capital city of Beijing, CNR is highly conservative and cautious with any new technology. After years of relationship-building and showcasing our latest software – particular its features and stability – RCS won CNR’s approval in installing an entire system upgrade at the end of 2017.
After months of logistics, data conversion, lengthy and multiple training sessions to make sure everyone was comfortable with our new system, our tireless and energetic Beijing team got CNR Music Radio Channel on air running our latest GSelector and Zetta software at midnight of April 10, 2018. As with any system upgrade there is a bit of apprehension at the beginning of a conversion, but our experienced team made sure the move was as smooth as possible. Channel Director, Mr. Mao, commented after the upgrade how easy the new system was compare to the old!
RCS is honored to have such a strong relationship with CNR throughout China and looks forward to another 16 years of working with the group as radio continues to evolve.
No matter where you go in the world, you can find RCS software hard at work, enabling stations to create that unique sound with GSelector, and execute their own variety of workflow with Zetta. Not only is RCS busy in exotic locations such as New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Istanbul, but also in less familiar destinations such as Wilburton, Oklahoma.
Here you’ll find Eastern Oklahoma State College, home of Mountaineer Radio. “The Mix” 93.1 FM serves the Red Oak, Wilburton, Hartshorne, McAlester area, while 104.9 FM serves the towns of Broken Bow and Idabel. These stations offer the “Best Mix” music programming that appeals to most audiences and ages. Music genres include top 40, light rock and light classic rock, adult contemporary, pop, and some of today’s cross-over country.
Many colleges and universities have their own radio stations, but one of the things that makes these two unique is that they are licensed as commercial. As General Manager and afternoon show radio personality Doug “Dougo” Sims explains, what seemed to be a liability at the start has turned out to be a huge asset.
“We had applied for a non-commercial FM license, but the one channel in our area was awarded to another applicant. We were disappointed, but then applied for, and were awarded a commercial license. Over the years, with university-wide financial downsizing, we’ve seen our operating budget cut by about 40 percent. Were it not for our advertising revenue, the university might have closed the stations down by now.”
Students in Eastern’s Mass Communication program are involved with the radio station, serving as interns and on-air personalities. They also produce news and weather reports, public service announcements and other programming. Students have the opportunity to select music, produce their own show, help with live remotes and provide play-by-play and color commentary during sports broadcasts.
As Sims recalls, when he started looking three and a half years ago, there were some specific criteria that he had in mind as he was selecting automation software for the stations. “It had to be user-friendly, easy for students to train on and to be affordable. We also wanted great features.”
Sims and his team looked at five different programs, but in the end, they settled on GSelector and Zetta.
“For us, the most important feature of GSelector is the voice tracking. It’s used several times throughout the day.” And while it’s easy to customize pages with Zetta, Sims has made simplicity his goal. “We use one setup for everyone, it helps keep things consistent. There are three live shows every day, and students step in to run things occasionally, so it has to be user friendly.”
For those times when things don’t go as they should, Sims give high marks to the RCS tech support team. “When we call with questions or issues, they’re always very helpful, and we get the problem resolved immediately. That’s important for us, because we have a small staff, and things can get backlogged pretty quickly if one person needs to spend a lot of time figuring out what’s wrong.”
In April, Sims and the Mountaineer Radio staff visited RCS in their booth at the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters convention in Tulsa. Sims took an immediate liking to Zetta2GO, a suite of applications that lets you control your Zetta Automation/Playout system from a smartphone or tablet. You can manipulate what’s on the air from any place with an Internet connection. “I’m especially excited about the potential to control Zetta while doing a remote broadcast,” adds Sims.