You asked. We listened. It was time to discuss Zetta Splits. In this video, we discussed conceptually what are Zetta Splits, presented a couple examples of real life Zetta Splits, identified basic configurations, and answered your Zetta Split questions. Since every station is different, we introduced basic Splits and then explained how users can expand on these basic concepts.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, we wanted to first present the concept of Zetta Splits and how our users implement them into an everyday on-air product. Think of Zetta Splits as one main content source that is duplicated amongst other export destinations, except there are queues or triggers from the Split Master that allows the Split station to breakaway, play their own content, and then return to the main content source. What elements can break away? Really anything as defined by the Splits Master. This could trigger local Spot Blocks, imaging, songs, etc… In regards to vocabulary, there are many different ways users define these aspects of Zetta Split relationships. We consider the primary source as the Splits Master versus a traditional Split. Some users might consider this network and affiliate, parent and child, etc… Again, for learning purposes, we’re going to stick with Zetta Splits Master and Zetta Split(s).
Throughout the video we present a couple of real life examples, including having one centralized morning show or a sporting event that requires an alternate type of programming for the Internet stream. There’s no right or wrong way on designing your Zetta Splits. Every programmer is different and with various requirements.
So let’s dive into Zetta Splits configuration. The key is that the Split Masters dictate what elements are allowed to be split and then the Splits station will only listen to said split settings while in Splits mode. First, define what Splits Master the Split will follow via Configuration | Stations | (Select the Split Station) | Splits. You’ll notice that the first section of the Splits tab pertains to the Splits Master behavior, like who’s Spot Block length to follow – the Split Master or longest Spot Block, and the second half includes Splits only behavior. The Split Master setting will define what Splits Master the Splits will follow while in Splits mode.
After defining the Split Master / Splits relationship, we need to define what elements or assets will be allowed to be split. These can be found under the Split Behavior setting, which is found throughout Zetta or GSelector. If you have GSelector, that means that GSelector is running point on the Clock structure, so we need to go into GSelector and define Spot Blocks with the Split Behavior: Master Audio. If you want to isolate individual assets, open the specific asset’s Metadata module and under the Station Specific tab, there is a Splits Behavior for that specific element. Users can also right click on an element in the Logs module, select Properties and there’s a one-time override Split Behavior.
You can see, we can either start to build out splits / where to breakaway at the asset type, Clock position or individual levels. One important note, if you have a Link or Song that is defined with a Split Behavior, you must tell Zetta what to replace when that element is triggered via the Split Master. That is done via the Tags setting, also found within Metadata | Station Specific. Tags are just like Rotators, which are just like Imaging. Rotators are generic Zetta asset types that can rotate individual elements in order, while maintaining each element’s corresponding playout settings. For example, if there are elements with expired Run Dates, then even though they’re scheduled to play within a Rotator, Zetta will not play the element because of the expired date and instead, move onto the next element ready to play. Imaging, again, behaves the same as Rotators, is tied to a specific Shift, as defined within Zetta and Tags are tied to Split mode. If you have multiple elements that need to have the same Split Behavior, utilize Zetta’s Audio Utility to mass change all assets to Split Behavior: Master Audio. In fact, Tags can be isolated by stations. So if you had a Top of the Hour ID, the Tag can play each station specific ID when triggered.
What are the differences between Master Audio, Master Silent and Master Monitor? Master Audio is the default Splits behavior because it allows to the Split to follow along and then play out accordingly. Master Silent is used for stations that require metadata, as in, they need to see the Splits Master, but they don’t need to hear the content. The reverse, Master Monitor, will allow the Split to listen to what the Splits Master is playing, but there’s no need to see the metadata.
Since some stations require unique playouts, whatever Master Split Behavior you choose, Zetta requires a defined Play Containers / Stream Group. Most cases, you might find it’s the same source for Master Audio and Regular playout, but if you have some type of syndicated morning show that required a change of audio feeds, you can adjust the settings via Configuration | Play Containers (Stream Group in <5.20.1).
Remember, many functions in Zetta can be triggered via Execute Commands that can also be compounded via Macros. Going back to the Station Split Master configuration, if you wanted to follow multiple Split Masters, you could always do an override via an Execute Command and then change the Split Route: Configuration | Macros | Execute Command | Sequencer.SetSplitMaster and adjust the settings accordingly. Once the macro is defined, users can include them into Zetta Clocks for automatic triggers or manually via Hot Keys.
How about we breakdown how a programmer would setup and configure a morning show that is live on one station (Station A) and syndicated on another sister station(s) (Station 1, 2, 3…)? In this case, we’ll split away for Spot Blocks and select imaging, like Top of the Hour IDs, but obviously, understanding the Split Behavior tools, users can expand upon all types of assets. More importantly, Stations 1, 2, 3… can maintain local programming. They’re only breakaway to air Station A’s Morning Show. To bullet point:
-Station A defines all Spot Blocks as Master Audio in GSelector
-Stations 1, 2, 3… define Master Audio Play Containers / Stream Groups
-Each piece of Imaging has Split Behavior: Master Audio, with corresponding Tags and proper Tag rotations.
-At 5:59:59am, Stations 1, 2, 3… have a macro hard coded, either in their GSelector or Zetta clocks, that either change the Splits Route or change the sequencer mode to SPLITS.
-Station 1, 2, 3… is essentially “listening” to the Splits Master (Station A) and whenever a Split Behavior element is played, the Split station will breakaway to its own programming and return upon completion.
-At 9:59:59am, Stations 1, 2, 3… have a macro hard coded, either in their GSelector or Zetta clocks, that either change the Split Route back or changes the sequencer mode back to Auto, Manual or Live Asset.
-Once everything is properly coded, set it and forget it. Any unique changes that need to be altered on the fly, within the Logs Module, right click on the asset, Properties and adjust the Splits Behavior.
Friendly reminders: don’t forget about daylight savings time and take/check your backups. We’re always looking for beta users. Zetta 5.20.1 is a huge step forward with Library Server-Side Search, dark mode and more. GSelector 4.9.0 introduced Flex Clocks. Don’t forget to check out every Thursday 11am ET for RCS Live. We’re now broadcasting live on your favorite platforms, including YouTube, Twitch and Facebook.