“Absolutely I am a better music director after taking this course.”
If you’re like most GSelector users, you probably learned how to use the program just by playing around with it. The easy user interface makes it possible to come up to speed and begin the job of scheduling music in short order. Maybe you’ve wondered though, about the functions and tabs you never use. What do they do? Could knowing more about GSelector make you a better music programmer? Steve Haze, Music Director for Cork’s 96FM in Ireland wondered those same things. To find out, he signed up for GSelector Academy.
Steve Haze (whose real name is Steve Graves) began his radio career in the mid-1980s. By the 90s, he had worked his way up to on-air personality ‘Hollywood Haze’ at Atlantic 252, the long wave giant that broadcast to Ireland, the UK and much of Europe on 252 kHz. He left Atlantic in 1998, joining Cork’s 96FM as music director and radio host. He had done music scheduling for Atlantic 252 with the original RCS Selector, which ran on DOS. They had a similar setup at Cork, but when that station decided to upgrade from Selector to GSelector, he decided it was time to upgrade his skills as well. “I wanted to become more familiar with the new setup and also become a better music programmer,” he explains.
Haze worked his way through the course in about eight weeks. He put in about 2-3 days a week for an hour at a time. Then, before he took the final, he went back and reviewed all the material. The self-paced format of the course was a big plus, as he explains. “Since I work full-time, I needed to work it in to free blocks of time, which vary from week to week.”
For Haze, the most difficult part of the course was the Goals section, because it has several sections. The interface part was also challenging, as Haze describes himself as not really a tech guy. Analysis was also fresh territory for Haze, and there was a lot to learn.
“When I started the course, I figured that I really know most of this stuff, but no. I learned about how much I didn’t understand as I progressed through the material,” says Haze. Many of the items covered in the Analysis section were new, as was the new additions to Library Browse and the Inline Tab function as well.
The GSelector Academy course is offered online and self-paced. It’s broken down into segments with an exam on each. Once you pass, you earn a micro-degree. When you have completed all the chapters, you can take the final exam. If you pass, you’re certified. Users typically find some modules to be easy, while others can be quite challenging. The good thing is, if you fail a module, you can take it over again.
Completing the Academy course has given Haze a different approach to programming the Hot AC formatted Cork’s 96FM. “I’m now using the legacy rules from the original Selector for some categories, and the goals from GSelector for other categories.”
And, successfully completing the course has its perks. You can order a diploma to hang on your wall, a lapel pin, and digital badge that can be used on professional sites such as LinkedIn, or attached to your e-mail. Your name and contact info are also listed in the RCS directory of ‘Super Users’, where potential employers can seek out the best and brightest.
To sum it up, Haze says, “Absolutely I am a better music director after taking this course. I’m doing things that I’ve never done before, such as the analysis. It’s giving me a better run of the music. I am also much more aware of how the system works, as well as how it can work for me. It’s been a huge help with my scheduling, and I just feel better about what I’m doing.”
”Hello RCS, Happy Holidays, we need help.”
The 2019 holiday season will soon be upon us. Thanksgiving, (here in the US) Christmas and New Years are historically a time when it’s near-impossible to reach people and get anything done. Between the holidays and everyone taking vacation days, reaching most of your contacts can be frustrating. But rest assured, that is not the case for the people in RCS tech support. As always, help is just an e-mail or phone call away, 24/7/365.
Of course you can also utilize our other options. Use the RCS Knowledge Base to learn how your software can be maximized, customized, massaged and configured best for your unique operation. Give it a complete makeover if you like. Simply go to our website, log in with your customer ID and password, then search away.
As it turns out, our customer base is a pretty smart group of people, and they’re happy to share their creative ideas, tips and tweaks to get the most out of our products. The RCS Community is a moderated discussion group that provides the forum for exchanging this type of information.
Suppose you have a crisis on Christmas Eve, and need help ASAP. Use remote access to give our tech support staff access to your system, then watch them get everything up and running in record time. The reliability of your RCS software is one less thing to stress over during the holidays. All we ask it that you save us a few of those Christmas cookies.
Engineering Excellence Award also presented for roll-out of Zetta at SCA
For those who work in the Australian broadcast community, mid-October is a time for celebration. That’s when the annual ACRA (Australian Commercial Radio Awards) take place. The ACRAs are the highlight of Awards weekend, which also includes the National Radio Conference. The Awards weekend is the only weekend of events in Australia dedicated to the commercial radio industry and is the largest gathering for commercial radio professionals in the southern hemisphere.
The ACRAs cycle between venues in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. This year, the ceremonies took place at the Royal International Convention Center in Brisbane.
Three of Australian music’s brightest stars performed at this year’s event. Global sensation Morgan Evans, ARIA Award winner Samantha Jade and hip hop artist Illy entertained the who’s who of commercial radio at the annual gathering.
For over ten years, RCS Australia is proud to have been a Silver Partner with ACRA, and sponsor of the Best Music Presenter awards. This year, the honors went to Gemma Maddox; Hit104.7, Canberra ACT, ARN/SCA (Non-Metropolitan), and Kent “Smallzy” Small; Nova Network, NOVA Entertainment (Metropolitan).
This year was special for RCS Australia because not only were they a sponsor of ACRA, but also involved with one of the recipients of an award. ACRA’s Engineering Excellence Award was presented to Project Typhoon – SCA Playout System Rollout. Accepting the award were James Dearness, Cameron St Clair for the Project Typhoon Team, Sydney NSW, Southern Cross Austereo. This award was for the roll-out of Zetta at SCA!
The ACRA awards include 39 categories and cover all areas of radio broadcasting. Winners are awarded in each category across three divisions: metropolitan, provincial and country commercial radio stations.
And for the overly anxious among you, mark your calendars now for October 10, 2020. That’s when the ACRAs make their next appearance at a venue in the Gold Coast.
Site Replication with Zetta makes coordinating multiple sites easy.
Friss FM, (or Fresh FM for the English-language speakers amongst you), is the largest Hungarian-language commercial radio station in Székelyudvarhely, which is in Covasna County, Romania. The station was launched in 2011 to fill a gap in the market. While there were already two Hungarian-language stations in Covasna County, neither of them targeted the same group as Fresh FM, which features young presenters playing contemporary music and vibrant programs. The emphasis is on more music and less talk.
Friss FM has partnered with Príma Rádió in Székelyudvarhely and (M)IX fm in Gyergyószentmiklós. They are airing the same programming, but with separated imaging content, local news and spots. The main studio in Székelyudvarhely, runs Zetta, GSelector and Aquira. The other two studios run entirely on Zetta.
Friss FM first became interested in RCS a few months ago, when they started preparation of the music database using a trial GSelector/Zetta standalone installation. They liked what they saw and heard, and decided to make their relationship with RCS permanent.
Zsolt Bottka headed up the installation team for RCS, and gives an overview of how the software works across three stations. ”GSelector is installed in the headquarters, and controls all the stations. They play the same schedule in three cities. We propagate the music schedule via S3 to the child stations and then we schedule the station’s specific links. (News intro with station id, stations specific link elements and kickoffs.) The three cities share most of the VTX positions, but for example, the news/traffic/weather info are local elements.”
”We have three separate Zetta systems in the three cities, playing back the localized program. The systems are connected with Site Replication. Each city is responsible for a different part of the day. We have Aquira installed in the HQ, scheduling for all three cities.”
As Bottka explains, the installation process for Friss FM was rather involved. ”We had the base system running for months during the preparation period. So, the initial install took a few hours, given it was a standalone system with only one machine. We also did some proof-of-concept testing in-house during this period, to be sure, that the planned setup would work and do the required functions. Once we got approval from the station management, we dug in and discovered there were technical issues regarding the internet connection at one site. We had about a week to migrate the standalone system to the final machines which involved also copying the audio files to the remote locations.”
And the second phase for the installation was the on-site time. This is when the rubber meets the road and all the fine-tuning takes place.
Reflecting on the installation, Bottka adds, ”This was our first client which relied so heavily on Site Replication to collaborate on the logs from different studios. It was nice to see it in action, and now I can say that it works well.”
He continues, ”It was also a challenge to figure out the needed settings and constructs for the GSelector scheduling section. I wanted to give the least possible extra work for the staff at the station, along with the most amount of flexibility. For example, using the same clock structure on all three GSelector stations, but handling the different flavors of the three playlists. We also worked a lot on creating a usable workflow for producing teasers/hook promos on the fly.”
Precise preparation leads to a perfect premiere
The Zetta rollout continues across Australia, and by this point, one has to wonder if there are any stations left who are not using RCS automation software. RCS installer Chris Galea recently travelled to the Mildura/Sunraysia region for a visit to River 1467 to begin yet another install.
River 1467 (3ML) is a commercial radio station that began as 3MA Mildura on 25 May 1933, from the T&G Building in 8th Street Mildura. The original frequency was 1390AM but this was altered by Government regulation over the years to the current frequency 1467AM. Although another call sign was originally allocated to the AM commercial radio frequency, River 1467’s official call sign is 3ML. The station is currently located at 130 Ninth Street Mildura near the Langtree Mall. River 1467 is the most-listened-to service for the 40+ demographic.
The Mildura/Sunraysia region is located in northwestern Victoria and southwestern New South Wales in Australia. This area is well known for its sunshine, intensive horticulture including grapes and oranges, as well as grain farms. Its main center is Mildura, Victoria.
Galea had come to River 1467 to complete the second Zetta install as part of a 50 station national deployment for Grant Broadcasters. All RCS software installations involve a great deal of teamwork between the installers and station personnel. Galea was not disappointed with the crew at River 1467. “The River 1467 team consisting of Glen Badans, Gerry Pyne and Stephen Seagale had redesigned the go live structure to make the best use of time. We setup shop in a shoebox style boardroom to review the configure which all had been done by the team prior, I was extremely impressed, I was asking them “what do they need me to do,” because everything was done.”
Galea focused his setup on migrating spot data/audio, identifying mistakes in and out of sat programs for the team to fix, and double checking configuration. He also set up site replication logs between Mildura and Bendigo, as they provide content for each other.
Day two was training day. There were two three-hour sessions separated by a lunch break. In attendance were six local announcers plus an additional visitor from Berri who was a key member in Grant Broadcasters Aquira Roll Out and ongoing support.
Galea adds, “All users were thrilled about the functionality of Zetta, and eager to get their hands on it. There were users staying back after hours to be the first person to get into the studio and play around with it.”
The Grant Broadcasters team powered through other tasks while Galea was training and by the evening, logs were loaded, studio 2 was installed and they were focusing on the finer details. The entire site was ready to be put on air in two days. Galea concluded, “I couldn’t believe the work that Grant had done without any assistance at all!”
On to day three, which began with more hands on training, where Galea sat beside users in a studio with Zetta playing out “on air” and going through scenarios such as stopping down for a talk break, voicetracking, replacing audio, segueing, hotkeys/stacks/zplayer and editing. When they would make a mistake, Galea would simply say stop, and get them to work out what they did wrong. They would go through how to fix the problem to help ensure that the training was taking hold with staff. Galaea adds, “It was quite fun, I felt like a driving instructor for a car license, and the users gained a lot of experience from it.”