For this week’s RCS Live, we were joined by Brian Willard, head of our Field Technicians Services team, and Jeff Zigler, Senior Sales Engineer, to help offer configuration tips and tricks for Zetta News/Talk format workflows. Starting with the user and Zetta’s UI experience, we broke down Macros, GPIOs, Shifts, Exact Time Markers (ETMs), Clocks, Multi-Track Editor, and debuted a couple of brand new Zetta 5.21.1 new features!
First, we wanted to remind producers and board operators how easy it is to work within Zetta. Remember, everything throughout Zetta is drag and drop – left click on an element and drag it into another module. What modules do you need open? With Zetta’s detached playout, the Sequencer Server, usually in the rack room, oversees playing all audio, allowing users to quickly switch Layouts without compromising the on-air product. A single user could have multiple profiles: “Nate On-Air,” “Nate Producer” and/or “Nate Production.” This way, no matter the studio, a user can open their layout or switch to another layout, live on the air, again, without interrupting the on-air product. With Zetta’s Multi-Track Editor, producers can isolate audio and create Clips to drag and drop into other modules, like the Stacks or Hot Keys Module, so that board-ops can clearly see that hour’s talk show clip list, broken down by Stacks or Hot Keys Bank.
Next, Brian Willard wanted to dive deeper into Zetta Clocks. Clocks are essentially the skeleton or foundation of the schedule. These are reoccurring, pre-scheduled elements that can be audio or non-audio triggers embedded within a 24/7 grid. If you’re a GSelector integrated station, then GSelector runs point on all Clock schedules, however, since many News / Talk formats do not require a music schedule, the clocks will be built via Zetta. Treat Zetta Clocks as routine, with minimal manual interaction. If you have sporting events or floating schedules, then either override the Zetta Clock grid or utilize Mini-Logs to drag and drop in override clocks.
Now that the Clocks are built, let’s talk about some Exact Time Markers, or ETM, settings. ETMs are essentially triggers that are tied to a time stamp. Pending on the ETM, they can perform differently. For example, Hard ETMs will stop the element, despite its current playing position, and skip to the next scheduled element. Soft ETMs will allow the element to complete before firing the next element. Reset ETMs are used to change the air time on the next element. Many News / Talks utilize this setting because they want the talent to better understand the layout of the hour. Finally, there’s Hit ETMs, which serve no physical purpose other than displaying a time and how close or far the user is from that log time stamp. For example, “I need to play this element at 3:30pm and its 3:25pm, so I can visually read an ETM Hit: -5:00.” There are also additional News / Talk ETM settings that can be found within Configuration | Stations | ETM & Fill.
Since News / Talk formats require many non-audio triggers, Jeff Zigler discussed some of the ways programmers incorporate satellite programming and audio routes into their Zetta environment. And with Zetta Shifts, programmers can define timed shifts based on satellite or live shows throughout the schedule so that certain pieces of imaging can only be played during their corresponding shift. Zetta is equipped with multiple areas so that users can customize their Zetta workflow, based on their preferred execution. Users can go to Configuration | Macros and begin to build workflows via audio or non-audio triggers, like GPIOs. First, a user would define their GPIO and Routes via Configuration | Computer | GPIO / Routes. Zetta is equipped with UDP, TCP, and more GPIO Devices to better suit your station’s needs. Then, users could reference those configurations with compounded macros and Executable Commands, which can be triggered by the Hot Keys or Zetta2GO via a simple drag and drop. Since there are many ways different users interpret these GPIO triggers, don’t hesitate to reach out to Brian’s Install Team or RCS Support to help guide you to the most efficient workflow.
One of the benefits of our RCS Lives, if there’s a new feature available that pertains to that day’s topic, we might as well debut the feature. This week, Brian showcased the Zetta 5.21.1. lock Cue Points feature. Essentially, if a user has a reoccurring audio element that requires a non-audio trigger embedded within itself, rather than having to change out the audio and fix the non-audio embedded Cue Point each time, a user can define a reoccurring time stamp within the audio element, so that when any new audio is saved, like a reoccurring top of the hour news element, than we don’t have to also reset the Cue Point.
Finally, many News / Talk formats love to utilize Zetta’s Live Metadata Send module, formally Now Playing in pre-5.20.1 versions, because it allows producers to override the current RDS feed with something more time sensitive or topical. Simply open the Live Metadata Send module, you have the three traditional metadata fields and then Send to override the RDS feed. Of course, referring to the 5.21.1 Lock Cue Point enhancement discussed earlier, many programmers will include a Live Metadata Send override embedded as a Cue Point in a specific asset.
If you want to be on the ground floor of the latest and greatest RCS products, become a Beta user! You’ll get your own RCS Beta User contact and you get to be the first to try any and all new features. If you’re interested, we’re currently looking for Zetta 5.21.1 Beta users and simply reach out to your RCS contact for more information. Also, don’t forget to double check that your backup path is working correctly. We’ll be live once again next Thursday at 11am ET for RCS Live. Check us out on Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, and follow us on Facebook.