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.
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.
Miss an RCS Live? Check out the archive at www.rcsworks.com/rcs-live! Don’t forget to check out upcoming events on the platform of your choosing – we’re now broadcasting live on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook. If you’re interested in getting the latest and greatest features, become a BETA USER by reaching out to your local RCS contact and we’ll see you next and every Thursday at 11am ET for RCS Live.
It’s been a couple weeks since we reviewed RCS2GO’s line of remote products and since we’re here to answer YOUR questions, we decided to host another remote workflow session. This time, we recapped basic remote workflows and then dove deeper into some settings, configurations, and teased upcoming new features.
Remember, all of our RCS2GO products can be accessed remotely with a basic URL – so no downloading from an app store. Users will need some type of network security, like a VPN, to allow outside access. RCS products are equipped with proper security like Firewall port exceptions and advanced configurations. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out and we’ll be more than happy to help offer suggestions or clarify any advanced network techniques. Pending on what browser or platform you’re broadcasting from, RCS2GO products will respect your browser’s default playback and recording Windows devices.
Let’s dive into what users can do remotely with RCS2GO products. Starting with music scheduling, RCS users can add music, schedule, and massage their log via Selector2GO. Since we’ve done extensive videos in the past, we dove deeper into some Selector2GO configurations, including the Library Verbose vs. Default setting. Verbose will offer a more customized layout, which also allows users to Edit Layout to add additional unique metadata fields. So if you find yourself missing out on some metadata in your current Selector2GO setup, take a look at switching to Verbose and Edit Layout.
Next, with Zetta2GO, users can continue to broadcast live, add audio, voice track, and more. Again, we’ve done generic remote workflow videos, so we broke down a couple unique settings that are found within Zetta2GO. Each module has its own gear to open its corresponding settings. If you’re voice tracking, don’t forget to click on the settings gear to make sure the voice tracker is operating like you want, including spacebar start/stop, buffer rates and one or three voice tracking record modes. There’s also Live settings found under the Configuration / Settings. If you find yourself with Internet limitations, then you’ll want to double check some of those settings. We’ve found client success with lowering the buffer rate or switching to Mono recording. If you’re using Hot Keys to voice track, users can control the volume by switching to Local Mode, remember On-Air is truly on the air, and then controlling the volume fader to the right.
Since there are significant upgrades to Zetta2GO in future Zetta releases, users can expect slightly more control and configurations throughout the program. Just using Hot Keys as an example, users can now set Custom Name via Zetta2GO, as well as arm a Hot Key for voice track recording. And speaking of future enhancements, we also teased upcoming performance improvements and in Zetta 5.21.1, due out in Summer 2021. One of the biggest requested features will now be available: Volume Markings throughout the IVT module. In Zetta 5.21.1, users can now set their Trim In, Trim Out, Volume Marking and more, just like the traditional Zetta Segue Editor / Voice Tracker. Once we get closer to the release date, definitely expect an upcoming RCS Live to breakdown the new 5.21.1 features. Also mark your calendars because the 5.21.1 beta should be out sometime in late March.
Finally, we reminded users about thinking outside the box and utilizing compounded remote hybrid workflows. Essentially, starting the work in local Zetta, combining workflows, like macros, and then saving them as Hot Keys so that remote users can trigger said workflows. For example, you have a voice tracker who is temporarily voice tracking your station or you don’t feel safe enough to offer them access to the main Zetta system with a VPN. Users can piggyback on Zetta Cloud Based Disaster Recovery and use Zetta Cloud’s two-step authentication, which doesn’t require your VPN, allowing the new voice tracker to safely and securely access your Zetta Cloud, record over an Empty Voice Track and that voice track will land correctly back in your local Zetta. Finally, remember, Zetta2GO is made to ENHANCE the Zetta experience, not replace. So although there are sections of Zetta missing in Zetta2GO, that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the same desired workflow. Sometimes, all it takes is to ask and our team can find you an answer.
We’re still looking for GSelector 4.9.0 and Zetta 5.20.1 Beta users! If you’re interested in getting the latest and greatest from RCS, reach out to your local RCS office and let them know you would like to become a Beta power user. Plus, you can now stream us on multiple platforms including Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn and you can still comment or ask your questions via any platform of your choosing! We’ll also be sending out reminders to each medium, so that you’ll see a full list of upcoming topics. Reminder to take and double check your backups and Data Exchanges and we’ll see you next Thursday at 11am ET for another RCS Live!
There you are, listening to your station and you come across a transition that triggers your ear. “Eh, I don’t like that.” Why? What is it that you don’t like? In this RCS Live, we take a conceptual approach to understanding how to better your rotations and transitions by identifying transitions that you either like or don’t and then applying GSelector’s Goals, Rules and Priority Lists to help your station sound exactly the way YOU want it to sound.
We kicked off the video by first discussing the concept of identifying and isolating transitions. Remember, GSelector is GOAL and RULE based scheduling, which means that we can look at a transition between two elements and think to ourselves, “What about this transition do we like or what don’t we want to happen in the future?” That’s one of the biggest pieces of programming advice that we can give: isolate a transition and identify exactly want you want or not want to schedule. It’s easier said than done, so keep a simple approach. Two songs are scheduled back to back and first look at the attribute that caught your ear. Is it tempo? Mood? Sound Code? Low research scoring song? Was it based on time or a song positon? Everything can be controlled in GSelector as long as you know where to find it. For example, we looked at two songs that shouldn’t play back to back and reviewed how to find out why it has the score it does. Configure an attention grabbing highlight color (Tools | Global Settings | Appearances | Assignments For: User | Select your desired color) or make a note of the Failure Details window and any possible highlight. If there’s a particular attribute that you want to visually flag, you can right click and choose a color via Goals | Balance | Attributes | Expand the desired attribute.
Found under Goals | Priorities, next we reviewed GSelector’s Priority Lists. The idea is to define a Priority List with a series of Goals and Rules that can be intertwined during the scheduling process. As in, GSelector will take into account all Goals and Rules equally, as defined by the ranking/scoring Priority List definition. Don’t forget that by default, Goals cannot be made unbreakable, but Rules can either be Breakable (Score of 65+) or Unbreakable (0 and cannot scheduled). Once you have your set of Goals and Rules, we assign that Priority List to a particular category (or categories) and Daypart(s). Make a note of Themes and Twofers. Many users simply duplicate all of their Priority Lists and that’s not best practice when using an example like “Two for Tuesday” Twofer scheduling. If you maintain Vocalist Minimum Separation or Segue Bans of similar attributes, GSelector cannot properly schedule Twofers. For example, if you have Bon Jovi and maintain a single Priority List for all categories, then Bon Jovi’s second Twofer song will not schedule by either the Vocalist Minimum Separation or Segue Ban: Sound Code: 80s Hair into 80s Hair. Utilizing our philosophy of identifying transitions, when you see that the second Twofer has been left unscheduled, go to your Editor, manually insert the desired element and note the Failure Details window or the score of the element and figure out exactly why it can’t play. Users can also double click on the element, bringing them to the Library | Song tab and then look at the Adjustments tab to see why, when, and where, that element cannot schedule. You can also find a generic overview of these types of settings via Goals | Balance | Adjustments.
While working through Priorities Lists, we also covered the Rotations Rules window, breaking down all of the rules featured within the Rotation Rules window. Make a note of the Show Assigned Values, F3 to copy cell, F8 to copy the entire row and if you double click on the header, GSelector will maximize the Rotation Rules window. If you’re looking to combine dayparts so that you only have to set values once, while still maintaining Daypart Rotations, users can combine dayparts via Setup | Dayparts | Definition | Add a Group value | Make sure that each desired combined daypart has the same defined Group value. We also covered the significance of Hour Rotation and its ties to Dayparts. After breaking down the Rule via F1 Dynamic Help, remember that Hour Rotation Rule will rotate the element in different hours as defined by the specific daypart. Simply put, if my afternoon drive daypart encompasses 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, and 6pm, then the Hour Rotation rule will rotate within 3-6:59pm, not 12am – 11:59pm. So if you make a blanket Hour Rotation rule of 4, you are telling GSelector to play in 3pm, then 4pm, 5pm, and finally 6pm before returning to 3pm. That’s a tight window, especially with other rules like Yesterday (Same Hour). Of course, we wanted to keep this example simple with sequential order. Normally GSelector will schedule in a single hour and then not schedule that element in the same hour again until the Hour Rotation Rule value has been completed. If you’re looking to implement some of these rules you’ve learned, make a point to start small and then gradually increase your values. You’ll know that you’ve gone too far by the broad category spin count (Analysis | Current Station) or unscheduled positions (Scheduler | Current Station).
Finally, we covered some generic Goals and Rules, including the differences between Linear and Radial Spread. Think of Linear as left to right or 12am – 11:59pm, whereas Radial is Wednesday at 12pm and GSelector will look around the scheduled element in a circular fashion, Tuesday at 11am and Thursday at 1pm. We also covered Multi Attribute Timed Segue Bans so that users can ban two different attributes from playing next to one another. For example, a Classic Hits station may want to avoid scheduling Era: Pre-1969 into a Research Score: Low Testing Song. Finally, if your categories seem to have a wider spin count, programmers can tighten them via the Airplay Starvation Goal. Essentially, your category should spin around 10 spins per week, however, when you check the Analysis, you find that there are some elements that are 5 spins and others are 15. To close that gap, enable the Airplay Starvation Goal to tighten the spin count to something more like 8 and 12 spins. You can set the Maximum Airplay Starvation Turnover Percentage via Setup | Station | Features | Advanced. Users can define a range from 150% (1.5 times through the category) to 200% (2 times through a category) before GSelector encourages the non-scheduled element to schedule with a higher score.
Looking for more ways to watch our weekly RCS Lives? You can now stream us on multiple platforms including Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn and you can still comment or ask your questions via any interface of your choosing! We’ll also be sending out reminders to each medium, so that you’ll see a full list of upcoming topics. Reminder to take and double check your backups and Data Exchanges and we’re always looking for GSelector 4.9.0 and Zetta 5.20.1 Beta users. If you’re interested, reach out to your local RCS Support department or Sales Representative. As always, we’ll see you next Thursday at 11am ET for another RCS Live!
You have questions and RCS Support is here to help answer them. As part of our ongoing RCS Live series, we were joined by Barry Hill, RCS VP of Customer Success, to offer a greater understanding of how Support works, COVID updates and we revealed our 2020 RCS Support Technician of the Year!
First, it goes without saying, but still – RCS Support is always here to help you! In the words of Barry Hill, it’s what you pay for, so don’t hesitate to call or email RCS Support with your questions or troubleshooting issues. We’re available 24/7 via telephone (+1 914-259-4900) or email (email@example.com). What’s best, phone or email? That all depends on the severity of the issue and your comfort level. Obviously, if there’s an off-air emergency, you’ll probably want to call in instead of sending an email. In addition, we’re here to answer any type of question – no matter how big or small.
Next, we had the pleasure of announcing our 2020 RCS Support Technician of the Year. The Support Tech of the Year has the highest score average from all of the customer surveys, so they’re essentially voted by you! Plus, the winner gets their name on the coveted Golden Phone trophy. This year, the award goes to – drum roll please – PHIL NEWMARK! Congrats Phil! This is actually a back to back win for Phil, who also won the Support Tech of the Year in 2019. We also revealed January 2021’s Support Technician of the Month, which was awarded to SARA DIAZ!
Finally, Barry and Nate reviewed some of the other RCS products you may have noticed through your radio travels. Media Monitors tracks all types of audio and logs to better offer sales and programmers insights on trends and the ability to preview audio elements. Mediabase is also available to rank and analyze music charts. Don’t forget, both of these services can be imported and integrated into GSelector’s Interface tab so that programmers can schedule based on research attributes, defined under Setup | Research. Think of Research Columns like GSelector Category Groups and Research Attributes like Categories. Users can then set Goals or Rules in their Priority List to assist GSelector in scheduling based on those Media Monitors, Mediabase, Test All Media, or Critical Mass Media defined research scores.
As we roll on with 2021 we have more RCS Lives on the way. You may have noticed a collection of Facebook Events and we’ll continue to add additional RCS topics so that you can RSVP, set reminders and post your questions that will be answered live in real time every Thursday at 11am ET.
We’re still looking for GSelector 4.9.0 and Zetta 5.20.1 Beta users! If you’re interested in getting the latest and greatest from RCS, reach out to your local RCS office and let them know you would like to become a Beta power user. See you next week for another RCS Live.