If COVID wasn’t enough, many radio stations are faced with the difficult task to protect themselves against ransomware and cryptoware cyber attacks. Combine that with multiple natural disasters like fires and floods and engineers have to find unique methods to not only keep their product on air, but to add redundancy for their sites. Luckily, RCS has Zetta Cloud Based Disaster Recovery, a true cloud solution, written for and on Amazon Web Services, following best practices and securities. With recent spikes in cyber attacks, we decided to dedicate this week’s RCS Live to Zetta Cloud Based Disaster Recovery and how RCS is actively working to keep your audio, metadata, schedules, and backups safe and secure.
Zetta Cloud Based Disaster Recovery, or Zetta Cloud DR, offers next level redundancy for you and your team. Think of Zetta Cloud DR as another site in addition to your current Zetta environment. Automatically, Zetta Cloud DR will save any new audio, metadata, log changes and will even store your SQL backups via Zetta’s Site Replication, so that you can continue to work normally, knowing that Zetta Cloud DR is ready to go live at a moment’s notice. We’ve covered Zetta Cloud Disaster Recovery extensively in the past, so for a full breakdown of Zetta Cloud DR features, check out our recap here.
Privacy and security have and will always be a primary focus for us here at RCS. We’re constantly evolving our securities and best practices with the ever-changing market. When ransomware and cryptoware attacks were introduced, we began to incorporate complex security workflows into our products. Since no one is 100% safe from an attack, our goal is to make the process more and more complicated for the hacker. We could explain exactly what security features we’ve implemented, but that would defeat the purpose. Instead, let us not forget that the first line of defense is you and your team. Be cautious of potentially malicious phishing emails from unknown sources or taking that random file you downloaded onto a USB stick to copy over into your automation environment.
Of course, at the end of the day, RCS will provide you the tools and resources to help keep your system backups safe and secure in multiple locations. And with Zetta Cloud Based Disaster Recovery, know that if there ever was an issue, ransomware or a natural disaster like a fire or flood, your station can be up and running from The Cloud instantly in minutes, not hours or days. Users can continue to add audio, voice track, and run their existing traffic log. Then, when the disaster is over, simply restore your SQL backups from Zetta Cloud DR and Zetta will automatically begin to restore audio based on the current scheduled time. All of this giving your crisis team reassurance and a chance to properly assess and resolve a stressful situation, like a ransomware attack.
In addition to Zetta Cloud Based Disaster Recovery’s redundancy benefits, RCS is also providing significant discounts to our users who are looking for a better way to combat cyber attacks and natural disasters. If you are looking for more information and pricing, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local RCS Sales Representative or your local RCS contact for more information. Again, RCS is not only here to help, but to empower your stations with the tools and resources to stay on the air.
This week, we had the privilege to be joined by Bill Webber, RCS Director of Scheduling Development, to chat about everything music scheduling. Bill revealed what inspired him to write music scheduling software code, some of his “underutilized” GSelector scheduling techniques and we even teased upcoming GSelector 5.0 new features!
Bill’s extensive music scheduling background started watching his Dad spin records, moving vinyl and index cards from the front to the back, case to case. After being hired to work in the music department, he started to write his own scheduling software, which lead him to a position with RCS and what would become Selector V12, followed by Selector V15 (Selector SQL) and finally to the development of GSelector’s Goal Based Scheduling.
Throughout his GSelector journey, Bill has worked with every type of programmer and has seen it all. Which is why we had to ask, “In your professional opinion, what are some GSelector scheduling techniques that are underutilized by today’s programmers?” First, we broke down Kicks and specifically the Constant Order stacking option. The idea is that programmers can give GSelector flexibility on how it schedules Disable and Slotted elements. Essentially, allowing for a slight deviation from the given kick grid pattern in order to compensate for a primary rule, like Vocalist Minimum Separation. Find out more about Constant Order by checking out the F1 Dynamic Help file working within the Goals | Categories | 1, 2 down arrow icon: Category Group Settings.
After discussing some of the benefits of GSelector’s goals and rule based scheduling, we pivoted to Fallback Attributes. These can be enabled via Setup | Station | Features | Attributes and then select the Fallback Attribute. When enabled, if the desired attribute and value, like Energy of 5, has a low score, GSelector will reference the element’s Fallback Attribute as to better score itself in that position. If you have songs that are teetering on either a 4 or a 5, you may want to enable a Fallback Attribute as to reinforce that element’s score.
Another pro tip from the creator of GSelector, Bill reviewed the Platoon feature, found under Goals | Categories | Platoon (three dots will open the Platoon window). Essentially, after multiple elements have been scheduling within a category for too long, programmers can automatically swap rested songs for overplayed songs within an active category and a hold category. This could be done per month or weekly and users can specify if they want to utilize an exact number of elements (Count) or a Count Percentage of the category.
We also reviewed Packeting, the scheduling technique to take multiple songs and rotate them as one. This could be for a live verses a studio version, an artist collection of songs, or however you want to group multiple elements. A quick shortcut to the Packet Manager, open a song, at the top right we have the Packet section and click on the three dots to open the Packet Manager. Users can also rotate packets based on Spins, a Share ratio, or by Days.
Finally, what’s an RCS Live with the Director of Scheduling Development without a little sneak peek into a brand new feature that will be released in GSelector 5.0? There’s a lot of metadata featured within the Library | Song tab and pending on your day to day workflow, you may require some fields to be prominently displayed, whereas other areas can be hidden. That’s why we introduced customizable Song Layouts. Essentially everything in the Song tab can now be outlined based on a module and scheduling attribute. Simply define a workspace and include the desired fields in your own personal layout. In addition, multiple users can also have unlimited layouts. For example, if you have a station specific layout, that may look different than your Multi Station layout. This is definitely an exciting new feature and will be available in GSelector 5.0.
Speaking of GSelector 5.0, we’re always looking for Beta users to test out the latest and greatest RCS features. If you’re interested in our Beta program, reach out to your local RCS contact. We’re also hiring! RCS is looking for a Field Service Technician to help install our products onsite. Apply for the position here. We have some great RCS Live topics on the horizon, so don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, Twitch, YouTube and Twitter every Thursday at 11am ET!
We know that Zetta is very customizable and user friendly for all skill sets, but in a complex radio environment, Administrators also need the ability to control what certain team members can or cannot do within Zetta. That’s where Zetta’s extensive reports and user right and restrictions come into play. Everything in Zetta is both documented and can be referenced for administrators to review. In addition, by creating unique Zetta logins, engineers have more control on what a user can see, do or edit. Throughout this session, we discussed what you can view in reports, and how to create, edit and customize each user’s Zetta experience.
Starting with Zetta Reports, we broke down the three different types of reports. Found under Tools | Reports, there are three basic types of Zetta Reports: Activity Report, Missing Audio Report, and the Duplicate External IDs Report. The Activity Report is your basic report, displaying everything that is happening within the Zetta environment. Every time a song was played or stopped, added or deleted elements and more. Zetta will document which user made the change, the module, the asset that was adjusted, a time stamp and the machine where the task was performed. For example, I went ahead and deleted an asset from the Log module. In the video, you can see that the user Supervisor at 9:37am deleted the asset “Happier” from the Log module. Don’t forget, users can search for keywords for each column field. If you know there was an element that was deleted, then search for “delete” in the Changes field.
The Missing Audio Report will display just that – any audio within a date and station range that is missing audio. There are also multiple factors for a piece of audio not to play, including no audio, invalid run dates, hour restrictions and station activations. If you want to automate this process, look into implementing the Zetta Status Monitor, which allows users to automatically send emails when there’s a break in the Zetta connection, daily emails with Missing Audio Reports and more.
Duplicate External IDs Report is one that is helpful, but not common or part of your daily workflow. Essentially, if you need to see when there are duplicates in your Library, users can run a Duplicate External IDs Report and analyze elements that share the same External ID.
Next, we reviewed Zetta’s user hierarchy. These are all grouped together within Configuration and starting with Station Groups, first, an administrator would need to define what station(s) a Zetta user has access to. Simply put, perhaps your weekend talent on Station A doesn’t need access to Stations B-D. Then we define a Role for a group of Zetta users. Think of this as Administrators, Program Directors, On-Air Talent or Interns. Obviously, administrators would have full control, whereas Interns may only be able to view Zetta and not make any edits or changes to the environment. Finally, we assign those Station Groups and Roles to a specific user, found under Configuration | Accounts. This is also a location to override any Roles from the Rights Overview tab. And yes, Zetta can incorporate Windows Active Directory, however, keep in mind that once logged in, Zetta’s user rights and restrictions workflows take precedent.
As an added bonus, we also reviewed some user preferences, found in the top right username dropdown User Preferences. This is a unique window in which users can customize their Zetta experience, including adjusting themes, audition settings, voice track triggers and more. Don’t forget, for a full description of every setting, use the F1 Dynamic Help Guide to learn more about this and any section.
We’re hiring! That’s right, RCS is currently looking for an RCS Field Service Technician to help install our products onsite. To find out more info and apply, visit our Careers page on our website here. We’re always looking for Beta users, double check those backups, follow us on our Facebook page for any RCS Live updates and don’t forget to catch us live every Thursday at 11am ET on Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, Twitter and more!
So you’re getting ready for that long holiday weekend and then you realize, “Agh, I have so much to do before I can leave!” During this week’s RCS Live, we discussed how to prep for a holiday weekend so that you’re not stressing out. With GSelector and Zetta’s no limit design, programmers have the flexibility to work ahead on their logs, curate custom programming, talent can build their shows in advance and voice track as far into the future as they need.
When curating holiday programming, we should start in GSelector. Now there are multiple scheduling techniques users like to implement during holiday weekends, but for this exercise, we focused on Browse Lists and Theme attribute weekends. Working within GSelector’s Library | Browse, use the Browse List, blue paper with pencil icon, to add an additional workspace to drag and drop songs to isolate either a playlist or a collection of songs. Once isolated, use the Multi Song Changer to mass add a Theme attribute or reorganize the Browse List into a playlist for future playback. There are multiple Browse List scheduling options including right-click Shuffle, left click on a column header to organize the column A-Z or simply drag songs to a specific desired order.
Once we have our long weekend programming done, we can assign the attributes to a clock in order to override a clock grid schedule. Moving to Clocks | Definition, we choose our Theme Song or Browse List, saving it in the desired position. Remember to work smarter, not harder, so copy and paste elements and duplicate clocks with Save As. If you’re looking to reference a Zetta Show, then use the Type: Control, Description should be Zetta Show and use the Info field to reference the External ID of the show.
Now that GSelector is equipped with granular clocks, meaning you can schedule down to the minute or up to 24 hours a day, users can define individual clocks in GSelector that call for Zetta Shows, which can be prepopulated in GSelector for a future date. Even if it’s two months out, you know you have the clock outline done, so preschedule the override grid by going to Clocks | Assignment | Grids | Schedule | Dates. Click on the +, select the override grid and save. GSelector will automatically schedule from the new grid when that day is scheduled.
Transitioning to Zetta, don’t forget that programmers are not restricted by dates or chronological schedules. If you know that in two weeks you’re going to have a unique A-Z Weekend and you want your talent to get ahead and voice track their work, since it is essentially primary content, why not schedule the A-Z Weekend two weeks ahead of time, have your talent voice track, and then continue to work, filling in the scheduling blanks. “But what about a log change? We’ve already voice tracked?!” Don’t forget that each voice track is saved within Zetta’s Library, so if you do have to scrap programming for whatever reason, those voice tracks are still saved to be dragged and dropped back into the future log.
Let’s say you’re a University and you have multiple students who are curating shows. Have them work ahead by dragging and dropping songs into their specific Zetta Show, tag that Show with an External ID, reference it in GSelector and you can essentially schedule a show placeholder as far into the future as you want! This will allow your students to work freely on their Zetta Show, without affecting your schedule. Again, saving you time and stress from scrambling days before the long weekend.
As part of each RCS Live, we’re also available to answer any user driven questions. This week, we had a great question from Tomasz in Poland who asked about Christmas Holiday music and how early could they work ahead on Christmas logs? We offered the example of having a secondary station, not a database, just a station that resides inside the GSelector environment but is not integrated with Zetta. Since GSelector is an enterprise solution, freely work on the Christmas station, building your library and curating schedules, and when you’re ready for launch, simply use the Scheduler | Copy Schedule and forward the Christmas schedule over to the main integrated Zetta system. This way, you’re not affecting the integration of the main station and with a simple copy schedule, you can do all of your Christmas logs months in advance.
If you think learning about RCS products is fun, how about working for us? We’re currently looking for an RCS Field Service Technician to help install our products onsite. To find out more info and apply, visit our Careers page on our website: https://www.rcsworks.com/company/careers-at-rcs/ . As always, become a Beta user and test the latest and greatest RCS products, double check those backups and follow us on our Facebook page for any RCS Live updates. We’re live every Thursday at 11am ET, broadcasting on Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, Twitter and more! We’ll see you soon!
Did you know that Zetta is equipped with a single and Multi Track Editor built into the software? If you’re working in the on-air studio, there’s no need to run to the Production Room to finish adding those last-minute commercials, instead, just open the Multi Track Editor from your on-air machine and continue working on your production. Or, as a producer, prep for the show from any production studio and have the new elements instantly available in the on-air studio! For this week’s RCS Live, we reviewed everything regarding the Multi Track Editor. We even offered multiple user examples to understand how the Multi Track Editor can save you time and maximize your efficiency.
First, let’s breakdown the differences between the Multi Track Editor and the Single Track Editor, also known as the Quick Record module. The Single Track Editor is merely the identical product, but with a single track instead of multiple tracks. Since they’re the same, there really isn’t one better than the other. Simple identify what you’re attempting to work on – a single asset that requires a single track or a project, which requires additional tracks.
Working within the Multi Track Editor, users can Save the Asset, Save the Asset As (similar to a duplicate function), save it as a Project (think of a Project as the full session itself) and Save Project As. There are also ways to save the file outside of Zetta. To add a piece of audio, simply drag and drop the audio into the Multi Track Editor or Import Audio from an outside location.
Users have the flexibility to hide or display a Clip List, Master Audio List, track the History changes and adjust the gain for any asset. Each track can be soloed, muted, armed for recording or can record individually. Remember, Zetta can have multiple recording inputs and outputs. So if you wanted to have Track 1 be your local microphone and Track 2 utilize another audio source, like a telephone, you could create a VoxPro on the fly. Or if you have a multi-talent morning show, then each track could be its own microphone and you can record bits with multiple talent. From the producer’s perspective, change the source to your local news feed and record the entire Governor’s COVID speech and isolate clips to play as part of your Talk Show Stacks module bank.
Zetta’s Multi Track Editor is a flexible and efficient audio editor. Add volume points, set your Trim in, Trim out, Fade-In, Fade-out and more. Some users like to incorporate VST Plug Ins, simply save the VST Plug In .dll under the default location: C:\ProgramData\RCS\MTE_VST_Plugins. When you restart Zetta, it will automatically recognize the desired Plug In. NOTE: RCS is not responsible for any third party plug ins.
Speaking of flexibility, utilize Zetta’s custom Keyboard Mappings to replicate desired keystrokes working within the Multi Track Editor. For example, if you’re a fan of Split, set a default keyboard mapping so that whenever you use Control + T, Zetta will split the desired element. Users can define custom keyboard shortcuts via Configuration | System | Command Mappings.
If you’re looking to export or save your asset, understand there are multiple quick ways to save your audio. For example, using the orange highlight, users can define Clips, saving their unique name, or highlight a desired section and drag and drop the highlight or clip from the Multi Track Editor into another module, like the Hot Keys. Zetta will automatically create a Quick Record of the highlighted section for immediate playback.
Looking to get the latest and greatest RCS products – become a Beta user! We’re still looking for Zetta 5.21.1 Beta users, who are the first ones to test our brand new Zetta2GO Segue Editor/Voice Tracker tools! Want more information? Reach out to your local RCS contact – Sales, Support, etc.. for more information. Also, don’t forget to double check that your backup path is working correctly, check out our brand new Feature Friday where we’ll be showcasing – you guessed it – a new feature every Friday and 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!