We’ve covered advanced GSelector Clocks and Optimizations in past videos, but we thought that we would take this back to basics and cover how to build a clock, why GSelector defines specific airtimes, and where users can customize their Clocks configuration. Plus, we introduced concepts that will maximize your efficiency while working within the Clocks tab. As always, work smarter, not harder.
EDITOR’S NOTE: While reading this article, you’ll find specific examples to help guide the programmer. Since each user requires a different configuration based on their automation system or desired rotation, we kept this week’s RCS Live open to interpretation with again, examples to help guide you through WHY you would adjust certain settings. One example may read Sound Code, but users can easily swap the attribute out with another of their choosing.
First, we broke down how GSelector’s Goals tab utilizes the Clocks as defined within the Assignment Grid, for proper turnover rotation. Note the Daypart and the defined default Grid within Goals. There’s also Clock Requests to see exactly what specific category is being scheduled and where. Also make a note of the Category Group vs. Categories. GSelector Clocks call for Category Groups NOT Categories.
Migrating to the Clocks tab, remember to identify what we’re doing within this main tab. We define a clock (Definition) and then assign it to a 24/7 grid (Assignment), where we can define Grids (Grids), as well as Override a clock schedule (Overrides), or schedule (Schedule) a grid for a default rotation (Default Rotation) and finally overwrite a schedule date (Dates). Lots of options, don’t be intimidated. It’s all about you and controlling the clock and grid schedule.
Programmers do have the ability to duplicate clocks (Save Clock As) or even copy clocks from one station to another (Copy Clocks to Other Stations). If you copy clocks to another station and any Category Groups do not exist, GSelector will create the Category Groups, however, it will not create the corresponding Categories. For today’s RCS Live, we decided to truly start from scratch and create a blank clock (Green plus icon). Note the Assigned, Name, Last Edited and User columns that can be filtered for users’ quick access. They also have the option to enable the Clock Element Selection for easier overall drag and drop. Otherwise, users can click on the second green plus to add elements into the clock. PRO TIP: If you’re planning on adjusting a specific cell, remember that when you single left click on a cell, you are highlighting that cell within a row first. If you want to move quickly, then we recommend a double click on the chosen dropdown. This will save you lots of time, especially when you’re building or editing numerous clocks. Also, don’t forget about Windows keyboard shortcuts like Control + C to copy and Control + V to paste.
Next, we reviewed each asset type, highlighting a couple like Browse List, Theme, Specific Links and Control events, that allow users to define key Zetta functions like Macros and Rotators. Utilize the Info column to connect the position to the defined External ID within Zetta. For example, if there’s a Zetta Rotator: 1234, then within GSelector, you would insert a Control | Zetta Rotator | Info: 1234.
Exact Time Markers play a very significant role in the Flat File Assignment or if you’re 100% live integrated with Zetta, then Zetta requires users to define Exact Time Markers, or ETMs, throughout the clocks. Simply put, GSelector will use ETMs to reset the air log time so that the traffic file can be properly ingested into your automation system. There are four types of ETMs: Exact Time Marker: Hit shows the user how close (plus or minus) they are to the defined Exact Time Marker time. Technically, ETM: Hit doesn’t trigger any function, it’s more of a guide for the user. ETM: Soft will allow the last element to play in its entirety and then skip any other events up to the defined time as set by the ETM: Soft. Think of a music station with a top of the hour. You want to let the element play out, while getting you as close as you can to the top of the hour. ETM: Hard is for News/Talk formats that will stop any audio dead in its tracks and fire the next element. This is for users with top of the hour news or satellite feeds that require a start time of 00:00. Finally, the most common, is Exact Time Marker: Reset. This will reset the time of the air log as defined by the user so that something like Traffic can properly be placed within its corresponding spot block.
Ever wondered what’s a Rolling Clocks and how or why programmers implement them? For time purposes, we scratched the surface of Rolling Clocks and Rolling Grids, but the purpose of Rolling Clocks is to have an individual clock that simply plays everything in order, which can then be referenced by a master clock. There’s no limitations on how many Rolling Clock positions you can have, but it really boils down to how much variety or control you want to give your schedule. In the video, we offered the example of the first song of the hour. If you have a Song Category Group: Power, then GSelector will ALWAYS schedule a Power in that position. If you have a Rolling Clock, then there are no guarantees that the first song will always be a Power. Is that bad? You tell us. It’s all about YOUR music philosophy. So if you’re looking for that “randomness,” perhaps go with a Rolling Clock. If you want more precise rotations based on positions, then continue with the traditional approach. Users can also fine tune their Rolling Clocks with either a Clock Goal (Maximize Energy), a Clock Constraint (Always schedule position 1 with a constraint that requires that element to be a Sound Code: Core Song) or even a Fallback position (If you don’t meet this score threshold, then schedule XYZ category instead). There’s no right or wrong way. Lots of options and lots of variety or control based on YOUR music philosophy.
Ever wonder what each of those Clock columns represents? Airtime is relative based on the Runtime of the specific position, which if it’s a Song Category Group, will represent the overall average runtime of all the elements that can play within that Song Category Group. Users can always change the type and description, Chain type represents if that position can segue to the next or a stop after it’s played. NOTE: Pending on your automation system, these either require unique Flat File Assignment configurations or you’re integrated with Zetta, than Zetta will respect GSelector’s chain type. Timing Goals will respect Zetta’s pitchless stretch and squeeze, with the option of defining which element(s) will stretch or squeeze, pending on the defined timing. Fixed means that the element can be changed or moved, Dropable allows GSelector to drop the element if the clock is overscheduled by 60 minutes, and Lock Level reflects the S3 (Schedule Subscription Service) settings. There are obviously more detailed Clock options available, but per generic conversation, each column is truly case by case specific. Users can always enable or disable Clock columns via Setup | Station | Features | Clock.
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