Proper reconciliation of aired material – be it songs, spots or anything else – has always been an important part of radio operations worldwide. In many countries, for example, commercials will be scheduled by the traffic department and aired by the playout system; but until they are properly reconciled back to the traffic system, the billing will not be performed, leading to a loss of revenue. Similarly, song performances not submitted to GSelector will be missing in association reports which, in turn, could lead to a fine for the offending station.
Thankfully, Zetta has benefited from real-time live log reconciliation with GSelector for many years. Any time a song, link or spot scheduled in station’s log gets fired, the corresponding event’s status in GSelector gets set to ‘playing’ (and ‘played’ upon completion). This benefits the programming department, as generating schedules for tomorrow will take into account what happened today. As a safety net, Zetta also provides an optional full-day reconciliation feature which pushes entire past day’s schedule over to GSelector at day’s closing.
There has been a missing piece in the Reconciliation puzzle where on-air playback outside of a station’s log (via the Sequencer) was not being reconciled – specifically, playback triggered from Hot Keys, Stacks or Z-Player has never been reported to GSelector. Zetta 4.3 bridges this gap by offering a robust solution that will satisfy the needs of even the most demanding clients worldwide.
First of all, a new concept was introduced to Hot Keys, Stacks and Z-Player: all three modules now offer new “On-Air/Audition Mode” button which toggles between on-air playout operation (“On-Air” mode) and local auditioning (“Audition” mode). Only playback in the “On-Air” mode is applicable for reconciliation. Playback in the “Audition” mode not only is not applicable for reconciliation, but has a few other important properties. Audio is routed to the ‘Audition’ audio output, then Splits control and Hot Sparing, if set up, are ignored. The mode can be changed by clicking the button in the Zetta user interface, but also externally (e.g. keyboard shortcut or GPIO) by triggering Hotkey.ToggleAudition/Stacks.ToggleAudition/ZPlayer.ToggleAudition commands:
Also, a new Computer Configuration setting controlling the default On-Air/Audition Mode has been introduced:
This will be the mode used by default for any newly loaded Hot Keys, Stacks and Z-Player modules. Should the site Supervisor choose to ban a specific user from toggling the mode, a new user right “Toggle On-Air/Audition Button” is now available as well.
However, firing audio from Hot Keys while in the “On-Air” mode is not sufficient – a few other tweaks are needed. Under Station Configuration, pick a station and select the Asset Types tab; there, select the Asset Type you want to configure Reconciliation for and choose modules you want to reconcile playback from: Hot Keys, Stacks and Z-Player. You can also define minimum playback length or percentage of runtime that constitutes “on-air playback” – when met, the aired event gets injected into the corresponding station’s log (on playback stop if threshold met), with proper airtime and runtime, to be reconciled to GSelector right away!
Once everything is set up properly, any audio fired outside of the Sequencer will be injected into Logs with a green flag indicating a play in Hot Keys, Stacks or Z-Player. If you hover over the icon it will tell you what module was it injected from. Should users prefer hiding any injected events, they can do so by unchecking the ‘Injected’ option under the Logs | Filter menu.
While there are many benefits to using Zetta integrated with GSelector, for those who want to reconcile via a flat file, the functionality explained above will work just as well. All of this (and more!) is available in Zetta version 4.3.
RCS will participate in the European Radio Show in Paris 25, 26 & 27 January. For 15 years now the European Radio Show has become a broadcasting tradition. This year, the Scandinavian countries will be the guest of honor during the three-day show, spotlighting that regions radio professionals.
It is predicted that 6,000 visitors will enjoy the show and the beautiful city of Paris.
RCS will highlight our award winning Zetta playout software, world music scheduling leader GSelector, and our traffic and news products.
RCS also has the honor of providing the radio broadcast playout from the show. The radio channel will broadcast via streaming and also in DAB in Paris.
Max Davies here to share a couple of examples of very useful albeit long-standing features within the Aquira UI. These are seemingly “little things” that can actually make a HUGE difference for anyone managing their traffic.
Aquira has the ability to have multiple screens open at the same time with each screen showing as a jelly bean shaped button at the foot of the display. This workflow may seem like a bit of a no-brainer to those of us who are familiar with the 21st century but for a lot of users, this departure from the archaic “close down what you’re doing to go into a different part of the product” workflow is a massive time saver.
Another useful feature that should get special attention is the fact that some of the browse screens instantly show totals and subtotals for returned results without the need to generate separate traffic reports or opening the individual items. What’s more, you can easily cluster/group these results (by dragging fields into the header area) and see the subtotals dynamically update. You can also choose which data fields to display (and sort them). Again, simple enough and not necessarily a new thing to RCS products, but a very handy time saver that not all traffic software products can do!
Barry Hill is promoted to VP Customer Experience and will be responsible for all touch points between RCS and its customers on the phone, in person and online. Key focus includes customer support and the thriving customer success initiative that Hill created.
Hill commented on his new position: “It is because of my first several years in tech support at RCS that I am honored to accept the VP Customer Experience position. I am looking forward to leading the client-facing teams, because I have been in their shoes. I as they say have the T-shirt.”
One of RCS’s greatest strengths is the huge bank of experience and product knowledge of our people. Our global footprint means that we have encountered a huge number of setup scenarios at sites ranging from small volunteer student radio stations to huge corporate radio groups. As a result, when we do installation and training, we go way beyond the basics and often end up acting as consultants, advising on best practice based on our global experience.
Of course, this doesn’t stop as soon as the install is done – we continue to assist with best practice as part of our continued customer support. A great example here in New Zealand is 95bFM – founded as a pirate station in 1969 it is the oldest student radio station in the country and has remained true to its whacky roots. This of course means that everything they do is unconventional and we work closely with them to match our software to their needs. Although they are classed as a non-commercial organization, they can carry some advertising and Aquira is there to help them top up their revenue by managing bookings, scheduling airtime and sending out the bills.
As a community radio station, 95bFM rely on recycled equipment – the cart wall might be taking this a bit far though!
Sharing knowledge, however, is a two-way street and the 95bFM crew never cease to surprise us with their innovative thinking. Being a student station means they will always push the boundaries of our software by using it in ways we never intended. Using Zetta for a three-day shopping mall OB with a pretty patchy wireless connection (configured on a wing and a prayer) for example. It shouldn’t have worked, but it did. This makes them an awesome Beta client, and we make full use of this across our product suite!
[L] Hugh Sundae (MD of 95bFM) adjusting a Zetta layout [R] 95bFM’s (mostly) hand-built studio.