We’re continuing our “Back to Basics” series with a deep dive into Zetta’s On-Air module. Sure, we know that we can change the modes, chain types, and that Stop button will take us off the air, but what about the other subtle options that we can control? Did you know that you customize the On-Air module’s fonts and colors or that you can enable Virtual Events? We cover those topics and more on this week’s RCS Live.
Let’s start by outlining the Zetta On-Air module and some of its features. From the left, we have the time stamp, as well as the ETM type (Hard or Soft), time of the ETM, and Actual Gap (the over or under until we hit the desired time). There’s the green on-air icon, a stretch and squeeze icon, the usual dropdown to select your station or modes, and a Hide/Show Virtual Events icon, that we’ll discuss shortly. Aside from the Chain Types, we have options to play, pause, stop and play next. Green represents the element is progressing, yellow displays the intro time and red reflects that the element is ending. All these fonts can be customizable via Configuration | Themes & Appearances and then select the On-Air header.
Taking a look at the Chain Types, in regard to Songs, we have the options to Segue or Stop. Segue will allow Zetta to automatically transition into the next elements, whereas Stop will stop after the element is over, waiting for the user to manually fire the next element. Notice the differences in behaviors if you’re switching modes. Auto will disable the option to switch Chain Types and automatically default to Segue, like an overnight mode. Live Assist, the most common mode, allows the user, live and assisting Zetta, to freely adjust the Chain Types. Then there’s Manual mode, or the opposite of Auto, in which Zetta will default to Stop Chain Types and disable the user from making any adjustments. Note the checks and balances behaviors between modes: if a user has a Log Chain Type of Stop, but Zetta is in Auto mode, then Zetta will respect the mode to avoid any potential human error and dead air. Then there’s Network mode for News/Talk or satellite formats, which comes with its own override options that can be adjusted via Configuration | Stations | ETM & Fill.
In regards to advanced Chain Types, when it comes to imaging and sweepers, there’s the Auto-Post and Link-Song chains. Auto-Post will automatically end the sweeper at the top of the song’s intro. However, from a programming standpoint, sometimes this can be an issue, especially if you have a Classic Rock station that includes a song with a 43 second intro, linked to a 3 second dry sweeper. In that example, Zetta will play 40 seconds of the into, before playing the sweeper for the final 3 seconds. As an alternative option, investigate the Link-Song chain, which respects Zetta’s Early Segue (Metadata | Audio | Early Segue). With this default chain type, Zetta will do it’s best to overlap the dry piece of imaging with the Song’s intro, down to the millisecond. From an audio perspective, programmers will maintain a better sense of forward momentum with Link-Song chains.
Next, we reviewed the relatively new feature: Virtual Events. These can be applied via the Metadata | Audio | Virtual Log Events subtab and act like an RDS or Now Playing override for a longer element that includes additional elements within itself. For example, if you’re airing a 60-minute mix show, a user may want to include the Virtual Events inside the 60 minute file in order to allow the RDS/Now Playing Export to reflect the new song. Use the Virtual Event filter icon at the top of the On-Air module to expand the Virtual Events or keep them collapsed. Even if you enable or disable this filter, you’re not going to affect the Virtual Event’s playout.
Finally, don’t forget about Zetta2GO’s hybrid flexibility. For example, many stations with a front desk waiting area will use Zetta2GO to display their on-air modules so that listeners can see what’s playing on the air right now, as well as what is coming up next. We’ve seen listeners actually watch the songs change, live in real time, and it reinforces your station’s brand. Or, aside from controlling the station via Zetta2GO’s On-Air module, feel free to also use it to monitor multiple stations. As the last man or woman standing on a understaffed Sunday night, they can bring up multiple On-Air modules to make sure each station in the cluster is operating correctly.
RCS is back on the road for 2023! If you’re attending one of the radio conferences and want to schedule some one on one time to review any workflows or RCS products, reach out to your local RCS contract to lock in a time. Otherwise, we’re always looking for Beta users for Zetta, GSelector and Aquira and if you’re looking for previous RCS Live videos, check out our RCS Live Archive here.