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.
by Max Davies
Having worked with multiple commercial radio products, I can vouch for the fact when it comes to sales, traffic and accounting workflows, no two companies are the same. Of course, this means that these companies have different views on how stations, clients, accounts, spot types etc should be grouped and categorized – in fact, they even have different thresholds for things like probability of sale. Add to these regional variations like “industry station codes” and you have a potentially infinite number of data combinations and configurations.
Dealing with this kind of diversity used to involve the client having to either:
a) compromise and use a limited set of extra undefined fields (if they even exist)
b) pay for bespoke development
c) develop and maintain a separate in-house reporting suite (often in Excel)
In fact, some of our competitor products still have this problem … This is NOT the case for Aquira …
It’s very easy to overlook the importance of features – especially when they’ve been baked in pretty much since day one. Attributes in Aquira is definitely one of these features.
The ability to set up user-definable attributes is an incredibly useful feature as it allows customers to tailor many parts of the Aquira system to suit their unique workflows.
In order to manage the quality of input and to aid workflow, Attributes can have different types (including LookUp), can be set as mandatory and can be unique.
The really cool thing though, is that these attributes can then easily be set against (one or more) tables.
The attribute becomes available (in this case for Sales Team) …
Attributes can also have actions such as “open in FaceBook” or “Email”
The above screen shots are just a taster. As with all Aquira functionality, I fully recommend using our pretty awesome F1 help for a more detailed explanation:
Go on, you know you want to!
Max Davies oversees Aquira development and our New Zealand branch.