Opportunities for formal education in radio broadcasting are few, and usually confined to the academic world. That’s why RCS introduced the RCS Academy, which offers opportunities for training and certification in Zetta, GSelector and Aquira. One of our beta testers and first graduates of the GSelector certification program is Ken Payne, Assistant Program Director and midday personality for KOOL 105.5 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Payne has been a long time user of GSelector, starting out with the 1996 DOS version of the program. When he was contacted by course developers Drew Bennett and Nate Mumford, and asked if he wanted to participate in the beta, he didn’t hesitate.
All RCS Academy courses are offered online and self-paced. They’re 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. As Payne noted, “It’s interesting and exciting, but you’ve got to pay attention. Some modules are intuitive and easy, others are difficult and challenging, and you can get caught napping if you’re not careful.” But no worries, if you fail a module, you can take it over again.
Even with 23 years of experience under his belt, the Academy course showed Payne things about GSelector that he didn’t know. “It’s really a journey into the dark corners of the program, tab by tab. GSelector is so intuitive that you can teach yourself how to use it well enough to do the daily music scheduling. But deeper in the program, there are tricks, shortcuts and powerful tools that can make you a better programmer. Taking this course really opened my eyes to what I didn’t know about the program.” He adds that he now uses GSelector differently, and that his music logs and troubleshooting skills are much improved.
For Payne, GSelector certification is another way for him to connect with his coworkers. “I like to help people out, and as the local expert on the program, I’m better able to do that. I usually start out by asking what they want to accomplish with GSelector, and we go from there.”
Certification has its rewards. 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 you out.
RCS continues to make inroads in the Middle East, as more stations upgrade from Master Control to Zetta and GSelector. In the Emirate of Ajman, Gold FM 101.3 from the Channel 4 group made the switch in July.
Since its launch in 2010, Gold FM 101.3 has been the UAE’s fastest growing Malalyalan radio station, It, and sister stations Radio 4 89.1, Al Rabia and Channel 4 FM 104.8 are all based in the UAE, and owned by Ajman Independent Studios LLC. Only one station remains to be migrated over from Master Control to Zetta and GSelector.
Elsewhere in the region, FM888 in Kuwait has fully transitioned to GSelector, and plans are well underway for some major upgrades to stations in Egypt.
While RCS sells software to customers worldwide, our commitment to the communities that we serve runs much deeper than that. We spoke with Max Davies, Managing Director, RCS(NZ) Ltd. about some of the awards that are sponsored by RCS to recognize those who toil in neglected segments of New Zealand’s broadcast community.
The New Zealand Radio Awards began in 1978, and were created with the aim of supporting and recognizing excellence in radio broadcasting in New Zealand. The Awards celebrate the very best of New Zealand radio, honoring personalities, programming, news and sports reporting, production and creativity within the industry. This year, the event was held at the SkyCity Theater in Auckland, with about 800 in attendance.
RCS is proud to sponsor the annual “Associated Craft Award” which recognizes those working behind the microphones. As Davis explains,”This award is made to individuals or teams who show the highest standards of overall professionalism in providing support services to radio broadcasting. e.g. schedules, administrative, accounts, public relations, office management, technical, training or research.”
This year, the award was presented to Alison Watt, the Content and Marketing Manager for The Radio Bureau (TRB). TRB is an industry-owned sales organization that provides a platform for national buying agencies to buy radio nationally without having to deal separately with multiple radio organizations. They also market radio as a national medium. Davies adds that TRB uses Aquira’s predecessor, Airwaves (and Airmail) to electronically broker bookings to radio stations across the country, and to provide reconciled post campaign reports to their advertiser clients.
“From our perspective, these awards are a key event in the calendar for our customers and give us a chance to catch up socially with many of our customers,” says Davies. “It also allows us to raise the profile of those who support the “Rock Stars” of radio.”
The other awards that RCS supports are the Maori Radio Awards, held once every two years. The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, and they consist of many separate “Iwi” – or tribes. The majority of them are a part of the 20-plus station “Iwi Radio Network.” They are partially funded by the government, and part self-funded through advertising. They have to meet fairly stringent compliance rules in order to retain government funding. This event is a highlight of the Iwi network calendar.
here were 18 categories at the most recent awards ceremony held in October 2018. One of these categories looks at developing youth in the industry. Riria Dalton-Reedy, winner of the youth award representing Radio Ngāti Porou, says, “This is a surprise. I’m up with the best of Māori broadcasters and I’m still young so I am very lucky to win this award for best youth show.”
Tumeke FM was a finalist in nine categories. The station won the awards for Best Station Imaging, Best Current Affairs or Talk Show, Best Program Director, Best outside Broadcast and the supreme award of the night.
Davies and tech support manager Simon Tims were also asked to present two of the awards, which sounded like fun until they were told (after arriving) that they were also expected to make a small speech. Sounds like no big deal, except they were expected to deliver it in the indigenous language. Needless to say, Davies and Tims both hope to have mastered the fundamentals of Te Reo Maori before the next event in 2020!
Country has always been a popular radio format, and there seem to be an almost unlimited number of stations and syndicated services playing variations of country, country and western and Americana. It begs the question, does the world need another country music service? Gimme Radio answers emphatically – yes! The two-year old startup has a completely different take on how to do country radio, and they’re using RCS Zetta and Zetta2GO to make it all happen.
Gimme Radio launched in 2017 with an eclectic heavy metal format. Its success led to the launch in May of a second channel, Gimme Country. This streaming service is what might have happened if 1970s free-form radio reinvented itself with 21st century technology. Rather than having a core library based on music research and programming driven by a scheduled rotation for songs, Gimme Country puts the DJ in the spotlight. The format revolves around the interaction between him or her, and the audience. Most of Gimme Country’s announcers are well-known country artists, such as LeeAnn Womack, Brandy Clark, Dillon Carmichael, Jesse Dayton and Joshua Hedley.
Most express enthusiasm for this open-ended programming philosophy. As Womak explains, “Growing up, my dad was a radio DJ, so I was surrounded by all kinds of music – everything from traditional country to blues to rock & roll. Gimme country is the perfect place for me to showcase my range of musical tastes and play my favorite classics and new favorites all in the same show.”
While Gimme Country is headquartered in San Francisco, where they have seven Zetta workstations and all production takes place, their DJs and contributors are scattered around the world.
Zetta2GO is the perfect tool for such global voice tracking requirements, As Jon Maples, Chief Product Officer for Gimme Radio explains. “Some of our DJs are used to the studio environment, and others are musicians who have never been in a radio station. We needed something sophisticated enough to satisfy the studio people, but also simple enough for novices to use. Zetta2GO keeps everyone happy.”
Because Gimme Country’s style puts the DJ in the spotlight, it totally changes the way they create and use a music library. Zetta is flexible enough to handle a novel approach. “We start with a different ethos,” says Maples. “The first step to building playlists is asking the DJs what they are playing and want to play. There are a lot of Americana artists, women and fringe groups. Creating a music library is really driven by the interaction between the DJs and their listeners”.
Much of Gimme Country’s success is based on a clever leveraging of new technology, as Maples elaborates. ”Operating a terrestrial radio station, with large studios, towers and and FCC license is expensive. That means they need to attract a large audience to generate enough capital to meet expenses and generate a profit. This, in turn, makes them averse to taking risks with unusual formats. As a streaming media service, we have a much lower overhead. We don’t need to attract a huge audience in order to be profitable. We can define micro genres, serve them well, and make money.”
And that is a big part of Gimme Radio’s plans for the future -seeking out neglected genres and developing channels to serve them. “Look for us to also be doing live broadcasts and having a presence at concerts and events in the future,” adds Maples.
Summertime provides boundless opportunities for radio stations to do live remote broadcasts. What made a recent remote from Nisswa Minnesota’s KBLB -B93.3 a bit different is that they used Zetta2GO to broadcast from a boat in the middle of a lake. As B93.3 morning personality Bill Satre explains, it was a logical choice. “We were doing the music for a 4th of July fireworks display over a lake. Since most of our listeners would be in boats, we figured we should be in a boat too. So we loaded up a pontoon craft with our remote gear, banners, flyers, lots of tee-shirts and other free stuff to give away and headed out.”
Satre’s remote setup included a classic RE-20 mic on a boom, a laptop with Zetta2GO, his Audio 2000 mixer and a Nady wireless mic AC power was supplied by an inverter connected to the boat’s 12-volt battery supply.
Before doing the remote, Satre did a trial run with the remote gear from his own boat offshore from his cabin. The wireless connections worked, and he was ready for the Fourth.
Since Satre was incorporating interviews into the remote, he opted to do voice tracking, rather than broadcasting live, in order to have better control over the situation. He edited the interviews on his laptop using Audacity, and imported the completed audio file into the log on Zetta2GO.
It all came off without a hitch, although he cautions there are a few issues to be aware of when voice tracking a remote. “Be sure to allow sufficient time for files to upload. I tried to stay at least 5 minutes ahead. Files that were a bit too long did have issues with dropouts. When planning these remotes, it’s essential to check that you have solid wi-fi, cellular and internet signals at the location.”
Satre notes that Zetta2GO is a complete game changer for remote broadcasts. “Doing a remote the old way, there would be more bulky gear to lug around, and I’d be coordinating with a board op back at the studio, which doesn’t always go smoothly. Zetta2GO gives me control of everything on site. I am my own board op.”
Zetta2GO is the ultimate remote broadcasting tool. This mobile playout management system enables you to go live from anywhere you have a mobile connection, see the logs, adjust segues and record voice tracks that can be dropped directly into the log. It’s also cross-platform compatible with any smartphone or tablet.
The success of the July 4th broadcast leaves Satre contemplating future remotes. Central Minnesota is a resort area with countless lakes, so there are lots of aquatic possibilities. “There’s the Governor’s Fishing Opener in the spring, and the ice fishing extravaganza during the winter, where we have 20,000 people fishing in a tournament.” He adds that he is also looking forward to doing his first live remote with Zetta2GO.