Whether it’s the state-sponsored broadcaster China Radio International CRI, or a small station such as Radio Weifang, the RCS China team of Alex Meng, Terry Li, David Xu, Jamie Du, Zhu Yong, XX Han, CC Du and Lucy Liu has been hard at work over the past six months, making over 15 installations, including new as well as upgrades for existing clients.
The list includes CRI’s Hit-FM Channel, the second oldest RCS client in China, with over 15 years running Selector and GSelector. Also on the list is Radio Xuzhou, the newest RCS client, located in the Southeast of China.
Despite the size and number of stations involved, the tasks are very similar. Machines with GSelector and Zetta are set up in an office or conference room. Program directors can get a head start on the work of building or transferring music libraries, customizing layouts, hot keys and clocks. In instances where there is an upgrade from earlier software such as NexGen, there is usually a dedicated workstation where users can send their content over to Zetta.
While that is going on, the RCS China team is beginning GSelector and/or Zetta setup. At the same time, the station engineers are busy assigning audio to the stations for the clocks which have been created earlier. While some members the RCS China crew are running through the final station configuration, others are preparing for training the station staff. Station techs are responsible for workstation configuration and standardization. While the RCS China team explains the software, a member of the station will typically elaborate or clarify how this works with local business processes.
With the station staff trained and the machines ready, it’s time for cutover. Typically commercials are loaded in the morning and log integrity is verified. Once cutover is made, the system is closely checked. While most transitions are seamless, there can be minor issues that need to be fixed such as issues with device drivers, intermittent cables or adapters, or improperly configured GPIO devices. At the end, all that’s left is tying down loose ends, such as fixing clock constructs in GSelector where there were wrong macros and spot block positions.
The team adds that one of the reasons that Zetta is so popular is because it is available in Chinese. Other language options are English, Spanish and Taiwanese.
September marks the transition to fall, bringing with it falling leaves, cooler temperatures and kids reluctantly returning to school. It also brings the IBC conference and a trip to Amsterdam. Billed as “the world’s most influential media entertainment and technology show”, this six-day event brings together over 57,000 attendees, 400 plus speakers and more than 1,700 exhibitors. It should come as no surprise that you’ll find RCS there.
Stop by Hall 8, stand 8.016, meet the RCS staff and say hello. We’re anxious to show you all the things you can do with our software. Whether it’s automation, scheduling, sales or news, we’ve got so many ways to make you more productive, and make your job easier.
Are your format changes being hampered by your automation system? Then perhaps you’ve outgrown it. With Zetta’s modular design, combined with an ability to scale, integrate and create, perfect workflow, the possibilities are endless.
In radio, 24/7/365 uptime is not an option, it’s an expectation, and Zetta always has a backup. Each of its many functions has a launcher app, which will restart a service if it stops unexpectedly. In other words, the sequencer is separate from the audio playout, and separate from the user interface as well.
Murphy’s Law visits us all occasionally, and the most carefully crafted automation schedules may need to be revised on the fly. Good thing you have Zetta2GO. Using your smartphone or tablet, you can take control your Zetta Automation/Playout system from any place there’s an Internet connection. Then rejoin that staff meeting or finish your lunch.
Every music format has the same basic core library. So how do you differentiate yourself from the competition? The answer has a lot to do with the how that music is scheduled. If you can schedule smarter, if you can schedule better, then you’ve got an edge.
GSelector enables you to do just that. Once you’ve created a station, designed your clocks and coded all the songs, GSelector can create a schedule based on each song’s natural demand. It will analyze the library to determine the demand for certain attributes, for example, how many fast and slow songs by both core artists and fringe artists. Then, it can automatically spread out plays by fringe artists. You can come back and tweak the process by loading the results of the latest research. Then sit back and listen to the sound of your station improve in minutes.
Mobility matters to you, and it matters to us. With Selector2GO, you can log in from your mobile device anywhere, anytime, to perform tasks such as creating or editing schedules, working on the song library, or doing an analysis of the schedule.
In sales, a lot of moving parts need to work together harmoniously: accounts receivable, budgeting and forecasting, enterprise reporting, sales management and report writing. Aquira is like CRM for sales. It integrates all these components of radio sales into one package.
Writing reports can be part of the drudgery of sales, but Aquira makes it easier. Not only can you use Report Writer to create reports in a traditional, grid, pivot grid or chart format, you can also export your reports directly into a client’s database.
Aquira is a team player. It 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.
No matter where you go, Aquira may be only a key stroke away. Aquira2GO connects to the station through your mobile device, enabling you to build a sales proposal via real time access to your station’s inventory, then presents it to the client.
RCS News is the one solution for every news operation. Whether it’s small market radio or a network that serves newscasts simultaneously to affiliates, RCS News helps you to stay organized and handles all the tedious tasks so you have more time to be better at your job.
News reporters can receive and revise wire copy from a variety of sources, digitally record and edit in the RCS multi-track editor, playback audio, write newscasts and present them live on-air. Newscasts also may be timed based on each reporter’s reading speed.
RCS News is multi-lingual. You can switch from English to any other language on the fly. It supports multiple-language data capture. And, you can use RCS News to run multiple languages from one newsroom simultaneously.
If you’re headed out to the Radio Show in Orlando September 25-28, don’t forget to pack the sunscreen and a bathing suit. Also, be sure to set aside some RnR time to explore the many theme parks, golf courses and nightlife the city has to offer.
And when you’re at the show, be sure to stop by and visit RCS at Booth 30. Say hello and meet our staff. We’ll be delighted to show you the latest versions of our award-winning software.
You want to be in control of your music, and with GSelector, the possibilities are endless. You set the targets and let the goal-driven, demand-based scheduling engine in GSelector schedule songs according to their natural demand. Down the road, you can tweak those goals by loading your music research scores into GSelector. Hear the sound of your station improve in minutes. If you have multiple stations to schedule, GSelector can make your job easier. The native multi-station database allows you to schedule multiple stations at the same time, while the Format Parent feature ensures that child stations can inherit all the parent’s attributes, saving you even more time.
Does it seem like those great creative moments and unexpected changes happen when you’re away from your desk? Not a problem. Gselector2GO enables you to edit schedules, manage the song library, or perform an analysis using your mobile device from just about anywhere.
If you’re in sales, you probably know the feeling of needing to be in two places at once. In the field, meeting with clients and making new contacts. And, at the station, writing proposals and reports. RCS Aquira is like having CRM for the sales department. Aquira integrates all the components of radio sales into one package, accounts receivable, budgeting and forecasting, enterprise reporting, sales management and report writing. Whether you’re an AM daytimer or part of a group with multiple locations, there are clear benefits from Aquira’s Traffic and Sales system.
Sometimes you need to create proposals on site, but the information you need is back at the station. Aquira2GO connects to the station through your mobile device, then builds a proposal with real time access to your station’s inventory, and presents it to the client.
RCS News, a state-of-the-art radio newsroom system is the one solution for every news operation. It helps you stay organized and handles all the tedious tasks so you gain more time to be a better journalist.
News reporters can receive and revise wire copy from a variety of sources, digitally record and edit in the RCS multi-track editor, playback audio, write newscasts and present them live on-air. Newscasts also may be timed based on each reporter’s reading speed. Use RCS News to deliver live newscasts, or insert recorded news into any studio automation system. Completed newscasts may be sent to one or many websites.
We speak your language. RCS News supports multiple-language data capture. You can also use it to run multiple languages from one newsroom simultaneously. And the archiving feature gives you legal protection when you need to verify what was in a story, who wrote it, and what day it was broadcast.
Our cutting-edge studio playout system, Zetta, is in demand all over the world. With its modular design, combined with an ability to scale, integrate and create perfect workflow, the possibilities are endless with Zetta. That makes it the perfect choice for small, medium or large enterprise broadcast operations.
You know what type of workflow works best for you, so who are we to argue? The RCS Living Log® offers an advanced level of integration which enables an infinite variety of workflow concepts, starting with the ability to arrange the studio UI anyway you want it. And there’s no need to wait for a refresh, because updates are instantly reflected everywhere. As with all RCS products, you don’t need to be sitting in front of your computer to be in control. With Zetta2GO, you can control your Zetta automation/playout system from any mobile device. Use it to manipulate what’s on the air wherever there’s an internet connection.
So, enjoy the show, have some fun, get a tan, and apply all that newly-acquired knowledge when you return to work.
They are the unsung heroes of RCS. Without them, your software would not be working to its peak efficiency, or perhaps not working at all. The Field Technical Services (FTS) team are the folk who come to your station to install or upgrade RCS products and do the training afterwards.
Brian Willard is the FTS Manager. He and his team of four are always kept very busy because of the constant influx of new business lately. In 2017, the team installed 78 stations at 29 different locations. So far this year, they have installed 83 stations at 26 locations. By the end of 2018, they expect to add another 78 stations to the tally.
“’We operate all over North America and the Caribbean,” notes Willard. ”As things begin to ramp up in Central and South America, I expect we’ll be doing more installs down there as well.”
The FTS team has been working together for some time, and they bring an immense depth of experience to the job. ”I’ve been doing this for 13 years,” says Willard. ”Other members have around ten years; our newest, five years.” He adds that they are not just knowledgeable about RCS products, but about radio in general. ”We’re not just the IT guys. All of us have paid our dues in radio, working in engineering, on-air and production positions.”
Field service tech positions typically have a burnout rate of around 10 years. Part of the challenge for Willard is maintaining a good on-the-road Vs at-home balance for his team. ”The job description says 75% travel, but I try and keep it closer to 50% as much as possible.
”Also, myself and the team members are able to work from home, eliminating the daily commute during those times when we’re not on the road.” Work assignments typically average two weeks, although larger projects can last six. We do installs at high school stations, SiriusXM, and everything in between.”
Part of a successful installation is doing all the prep work, and making sure the customer knows what to expect. Checklists and additional info are sent out ahead of time. More importantly, Willard says, customers need to be in the right state of mind. ”We want them to be enthusiastic, cooperative, prepared and ready. Sometimes people resist change, but often they have been nursing along creaky and obsolete systems, and are looking forward to something new.” He adds that the relationship is more of a partnership, with FTS staff feeling like they are a part of the station’s team while they are doing the install.
Looking back on his 13 years in FTS, Willard’s most memorable project was his work in Baton Rouge right after Hurricane Katrina. ”Our goal was to get all the New Orleans stations back on the air and working out of the same building. We also had to make trips into the city while it was still in lockdown to get the signal working on the other end. For me, that experience really drove home the impact of radio, its ability to help people in times of need, and how it is still a very local medium.”
Not only can the job of FTS engineer be demanding, it also requires a unique set of talents, as Willard explains. ”The skillset encompasses a thorough knowledge of RCS products, as well as a solid grounding in IT infrastructure and the Windows operating system. It also demands an intimate knowledge of radio station operations, one that is typically gained by working in the broadcast industry.”
Beyond these technical skills, Willard adds, you need someone who loves to travel. Hours spent waiting at airports, going on long flights and living out of hotel rooms for a few weeks go with the territory. Additionally, the job requires excellent people skills. ”You need to be a good ambassador for the company, a good listener, be able to conduct training sessions for small groups, work independently yet still be part of a team, and do some hand holding during what can be stressful transitions.” He adds that for most stations, the FTS team is the only face of RCS that the customer sees.
While Willard’s team works out of the Americas, he notes that there is regular communication between FTS groups worldwide. ”We used to be more isolated, but today with Skype and e-mail we have regular communications with our international offices. This is a huge plus, as we’re all installing and using the same products. There are not as many dedicated installation teams in some of our overseas offices, but more ad hoc groups that come together. They reach out to us, and vice versa.”
At the end of most projects, the reward is the satisfaction of a job well done. ”We’re a bit like referees at a sporting event,” says Willard. ”If we do our job well, we’re not talked about.”
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.