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.”
There probably isn’t any type of broadcasting resource you can’t find at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. But the sheer scale of the week-long event can be overwhelming, particularly if you’re a radio person. If you’re looking for a conference geared more to your interests, the annual Radio Show may be more to your liking. This year,the joint NAB-RAB event will be held from September 24-26 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas Texas. And yes, RCS will be there.
Be sure to visit us at booth 120 in the Chantilly Ballroom. While you’re there, check out the demonstrations of Revma, our new streaming service. 2019 is also the 40th anniversary of RCS, and the roving birthday party that began at NAB in April continues at the Radio Show. Join us and share recollections about our history.
There will be lots to see at the show. The 24th launches a new feature for the Radio Show – ‘Tech Tuesday’, a day of sessions and a luncheon just for the technically inclined amongst us. Join VP Sales Neal Perchuk for his session: RCS: Why Zetta Cloud Disaster Recovery is the Pro Playout Safety Net for Radio: From natural disasters to viruses taking down IT infrastructure, whatever the emergency, Zetta Cloud is a high-tech, cutting-edge safety net that gets broadcasters back on-air, easily, efficiently and quickly. Learn how your station can quickly recover from an unforeseen situation from the worldwide leader in broadcast software, RCS.
The exhibit floor opens on Wednesday, and there are sessions asking what business you’re really in, a discussion of the podcast revolution and how to reach Generation Z, those born and raised in a digital world.
It’s billed as “The world’s most influential media, entertainment and technology show.” IBC 2019 is coming to Amsterdam September 13-17. Six leading international bodies are the partners behind IBC, which represents both exhibitors and visitors. The 2018 show attracted more than 55,000 attendees from 150 countries around the world, as well as over 1,700 exhibitors and more than 400 speakers. Needless to say, RCS will be one of those exhibitors.
IBC will be held at the RAI, one of Europe’s largest exhibition and convention venues. It’s just ten minutes by train from Schiphol international airport, which has direct flights to over 200 cities in 97 countries.
Be sure to visit us, we’ll be in Hall 8.C32. While you’re there, meet Revma, our new professional grade streaming solution.
2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of RCS. Our roving birthday party that kicked off at the NAB Show in April continues at IBC. Be sure to grab some refreshments and join the conversation about the history and future of RCS. You’ll earn bonus points if you’ve been to any of our previous parties.
If you want to take a deeper dive into the business and social implications of emerging technologies, IBC offers the executive forums, an exclusive, invitation-only club bringing together a network of media and entertainment’s most eminent leaders to engage in open debate, discussion and problem solving. With no press permitted, delegates can speak freely, addressing critical issues and highlighting their concerns in a more open environment. Three programs will be presented in the Executive Forum – the Leaders’ Forum, Cyber Security Forum and Telco & Media Innovation Forum. All are scheduled for September 12.
There will be lots of other things to see and do at IBC. Awards that are presented at the show celebrate everything from exceptional booth design on the IBC Exhibition floor to innovative thinking and research in our technical papers to creative collaborations between technical partners and end users to outstanding achievement in the industry. It all takes place on awards night.