It’s one of the most common questions we’re asked, “How much does Zetta cost?” To answer that question, we first must identify your station requirements and apply those needs to your budget. For this week’s RCS Live, Jeff Zigler joined us to outline a basic Zetta environment to a sophisticated, multi-market Zetta configuration. Starting with vocabulary and terminology, once we understand how to identify Zetta’s pieces of the puzzle, we can properly construct your topology.
What’s the difference between a Zetta file server and a sequencer machine? Do I even need a sequencer machine? Let’s first discuss some Zetta vocabulary and terminology to help you better understand how to build a Zetta system. Zetta utilizes Microsoft SQL and currently, we’re shipping out SQL 2019 Standard Edition with the current Windows OS builds, including Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Pro and Windows Server 2022. Next, Zetta uniquely features a detached playout, which we’ve discussed in previous RCS Lives that can be viewed anytime via https://www.rcsworks.com/rcs-live. We essentially identify a machine that is in charge of the sequencer service so that whenever any Zetta machine causes an audio trigger, like play or stop, it’s actually being executed by the defined sequencer. Typically, we like to isolate a sequencer on their own machine, but pending on your budget, like a college or university, we can combine your control room computer into an “On Air Machine” that houses both the sequencer and the main Zetta. Or if you have multiple HDs that don’t require a lot of system resources, some clients prefer to piggyback HD sequencers so that a single sequencer machine includes two or three Zetta sequencers. If you’re GSelector integrated, we prefer to install GSelector’s server on the Zetta file server so that we had the proper network connections for live integration. Again, this is all based on your station workflows, hardware requirements and budget.
But what about redundancy? Since Zetta is equipped with a Multi-Track Editor, we can include a production room machine into your Zetta environment, but that production room machine can also operate as a redundant sequencer. Remember, Zetta is an enterprise solution. All machines and stations are included in the environment. So we don’t “move machines,” rather, we identify computers and play streams (analog or digital/Audio over IP) so that if we need to take the main sequencer offline, we simply identify the backup play streams, which are pre-assigned to a computer in the Zetta environment, like a production room machine, and we use a Zetta macro to enable the backup audio steam, or Hot Spare, to operate from the backup studio. And since Zetta features the detached playout, we can also incorporate Zetta2GO to replace some physical machines. Just remember that Zetta2GO is made to enhance, not replace, your Zetta experience. It’s important to identify what daily workflows you’ll be looking to achieve in Zetta2GO. We also feature special licenses for Program Directors, Traffic Managers or Production Directors to accommodate workflows and budgets. And speaking of redundancy, RCS Cloud Disaster Recovery is also equipped to include all of your audio, metadata, schedules and backups so that after a single “Bring Online” click, your station is back online when a physical disaster or cryptoware attack takes your station off the air.
Once we establish a basic station setup, then we can start to discuss how to connect multiple markets and connect teams or workflows. Zetta is equipped with various options, pending on your station needs. Site Replication is the “we activity,” with multiple Zetta systems completely in sync. Whereas Z-Cast is more of a “You/I need this” type of workflow. But it’s important that both are built-in RCS services. For a better understanding of when to use Site Replication versus Z-Cast, check out this past video.
Now that we can identify the different Zetta pieces, Jeff and Nate introduced a couple of client examples: a basic single station configuration, to a two-station enterprise solution, and finally a sophisticated centralized cluster with a redundancy system. From customizing the Zetta experience to outlining the engineering topology requirements, the beauty of Zetta is that it’s flexible and completely customizable to cater each user’s needs.
Time for some housekeeping! As we inch closer to Zetta 5.22.1 and GSelector 5.1’s releases, we’re always looking for Beta users. Check out the latest job opportunities here. Send us your studio photos to be featured in our #StudioSpotlight by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see you next Thursday at 11am ET for another RCS Live!
Here in the states, we’re getting ready to kick off Fall sports, which of course, means that we need to double check that our traffic clocks are ready to go. Did you know that Aquira features unique clocks, specifically designed for sporting or any unique type of event, like a fundraiser? This week, we were joined by our resident Aquira specialist Dawn Newberry to outline how to create these special clocks, where to assign them and how to customize these log breaks in your log.
The easiest way to interpret these special Aquira clocks is to think of them as essentially overrides to your default clocks. We create generic clocks, like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.. and then we assign these daily clocks to a date, like Tuesday 9/13/22. If we ever deviate from these defaults, we don’t have to rework our default clocks, instead, we identify new clocks and override the date with your desired clock. For example, instead of the “Tuesday” clock for 9/13/22, we schedule a “Football” clock for 9/13/22. Of course, we can get even more specific and override only certain hours of the day, pending on your event’s duration.
Remember to work smarter, not harder. If you carry sports, obviously the schedule is posted well in advance. If you have a fundraiser coming up, what’s stopping you from scheduling the traffic clock outline ahead of time? These are all great time budgeting steps to save you from panicking the night before because you just realized the traffic clock structure is different.
These clocks first need to be created, so we’ll start by working within Aquira’s Setup | Clocks | Log Breaks and Clocks. Since every program requires a slight deviation from your regular programming, you may find that certain types of these events require multiple, but similar, log breaks. For example, you may have one football pregame clock, compared to a full game clock, versus post game or a Monday Night Football versus a traditional Sunday afternoon game clock. Aquira is equipped with a copy function so that Traffic Managers can create a single log break or clock, copy or duplicate it, and then adjust the log break or clock without having to reconstruct each individually. While creating your log break, remember that Aquira features custom attributes and spot classifications. Empower yourself to isolate everything in either an attribute or spot classification so that you can continue to specifically track these values in other areas of Aquira, like reporting.
Moving onto the Clock section, note that Aquira features a visual clock aid so that users can match or quickly see their clock breakdowns. Once the log breaks and clocks have been created, we can assign these clocks to the Log Format Assignment. Select your date range and station from the top right, typically most users search by a lengthy period of time for a proper outline, and then use the view to toggle between Calendar, Detailed and Clock. Note that in the Clock view, you can see the Station, Date, Start Time, Clock, End Time, Duration, Start Time (in case you wanted to return to a clock while it’s in progress, like starting a football game in the second quarter after your primary content is over), Overwrite, and additional metadata fields like Sport, Home Team, Away Team, Sports Feed and Status. This way, Traffic Managers can quickly see any potential overrides. If you were scheduling a football season, here is where you would lay out the weekly games and if there’s ever a flex event, then simply adjust the dates and save. Don’t forget that users can also create on the fly sorting by left clicking and dragging the desired column into the header above. So, if you wanted to sort the Log Format Assignments by station, left click and drag the “Station” column above, then use the + to expand the rows.
Once the Log Format Assignment has been overridden with your specialty clocks, if you pivot to the Logs module, you’ll be able to instantly see those log breaks. Don’t forget to customize your attributes with colorful visual aids so that if you are working ahead, and perhaps you notice a change in your logs, you won’t be surprised because you’ll see something like a red highlight. That should queue you that red equals football and there’s a football game scheduled in this hour. It’s also a helpful reminder that if there was a flex event and the game or fundraiser was moved, but you forgot to adjust the Log Format Assignment grid, visually, you can see the mistake, make your changes, return to the logs and again, instantly see the correct log breaks.
We have more helpful RCS Lives coming down the pipeline, each and every Thursday at 11am ET on your platform of choice: Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, or Twitter Live. Don’t forget about confirming those backups or Data Exchanges and if you want to become a Beta user, we’re always looking for programmers who want to test out the next generation of innovative radio features. GSelector 5.1 and Zetta 5.22.1 are in Beta right now. Simply reach out to your RCS contact or stop by your local radio conference, as we’re back on the road for 2022!
You always hear us tease, “Become a RCS Beta user,” which gets you early access to our latest releases. Since Zetta 5.22.1 is in Beta now, with an official release in late September, we thought we should invite Zetta Product Manager, Martin Blazek, back to outline some of these exciting new features. We covered new GPIO Command Mappings, streamlined Segue Editor, expanded Local Audio Storage settings, the Imaging fallback enhancement, the custom external audio encoder and user-friendly Metadata module improvements.
We kicked off this week’s RCS Live with the new GPIO Command Mappings. Found under Configuration | System | Command Mappings, this is where users can link triggers to Execute Commands and more. In Zetta 5.22.1, we introduced the familiar Properties window so that users can quickly click on the Execute Command and select the desired Task Type to the right. It’s not an RCS Live if we don’t remind you to work smarter, not harder, so don’t forget that you can type in your Execute Command. Typically, we recommend starting with the Zetta module or the task and that should filter your results. For example, if you’re working within the Sequencer, type “Sequencer” and then you’ll see a full list of Execute Commands like Sequencer.PlayNext. Although users could still achieve this in previous versions, the new GPIO Command Mappings Properties demonstrates RCS’ commitment to continuously improving the user experience, making everyday tasks even easier.
Moving onto the Segue Editor, we introduced more user-friendly controls and navigation. From the Logs module, click on the Segue Editor icon and notice the new Extended and Contract View behaviors. Previously, we would hide or display the sine wave and include the progress bar at the bottom of the Segue Editor. That simply took away workspace, so now, the Extended View will display the same progress bar as before, although it’s not necessary because we included those behaviors within the Segue Editor itself. Left click and drag within any of the Segue Editor’s blank space to drag the transition left or right. Obviously, if you left click within an element, then Zetta will move that specific element. If you need to zoom in or out, simply use your mouse wheel to zoom at the point of your cursor. Zoomed in too much? Notice the new navigation icons on the bottom right. There’s zoom out horizontally, zoom in and out vertically, zoom in horizontally, and then a zoom out full that will return your display to its original state.
Moving onto Configuration | Computers | Local Audio Storage, as part of Zetta’s redundancy workflow, each computer within the Zetta environment can house its own local audio and schedules in case it losses connectivity to the Zetta File Server. We introduced a more granular local audio storage configuration, completely outlined with Entire Library or Station-related audio localization scope. This way administrators understand exactly what will be stored locally. In addition, there’s an Estimated required space display on the top right of the Local Audio Storage subtab so that when you’re designing your local storage, you’ll know if there are any potential issues. Green is good, yellow acts as warning to let the user know they’re close to the available free space, and red means that this specific computer cannot save the desired settings because there is not enough room. Aside from the entire Library or station-specific audio, we can also isolate multiple stations or station groups and enable or disable additional modules like Log-scheduled assets, Hot Keys, Stacks, ETM Fill Category, Spot Block Fill Category, Rotations, Tags and Imaging. With these new settings, administrators can truly customize each computer’s independent Zetta profile.
Also included in Zetta 5.22.1, we are introducing the new Imaging Fallback enhancement. We had a lot of client requests to offer some type of fallback – be it a piece of imaging, show or any type of programming. This can be over a single station, Splits or Stations Groups and more. Essentially, if Zetta looks to play a scheduled Imaging piece of audio, but that Imaging element has nothing to play – be it Run Dates, Hour Restrictions or simply nothing assigned, previously, since there’s nothing to play, Zetta won’t play anything and skip to the next position. Now, users can create a hierarchy of audio so that if Zetta doesn’t have anything to play, it will look down the list of predetermined audio elements so that something always plays. This Imaging Fallback feature is very extensive and encompasses multiple radio workflows. You can design a hierarchy starting from the Splits level, to station, virtual station, global and station groups. Just a few examples, if you are utilizing Splits, then each Shift can have its own rotation of audio. Whereas, if you had a weekly show and for whatever reason, there’s a chance the new show may not arrive in time, simply schedule another saved show at another rotation level so that if the new show can’t play, Zetta will pivot to the next show that is allowed to play as part of the Imaging rotator. Or, just keep it simple and have some generic promos in the Global level and if there’s a more time specific promo that you want to run over a weekend, add that promo at the Station level with specific Run Dates that act as an override to the everyday Global promos.
Next, we reviewed the new custom external audio encoder. Rather than continue to introduce multiple evolving audio formats, we took the arial approach and created a new custom external audio encoder configuration. Found under Configuration | System | Audio Format, there’s a new Audio Format option for (Custom). Once selected, the custom option will display the External encoder, Command line parameters, and the Audio file extension. No matter what audio type you prefer, simple attach the audio encoder and the parameters and when you trigger an audio conversion within Zetta (Reminder that all asset types can feature their own audio type within the System-managed formats below), we will respect the unique, modern audio format of your choosing. While we’re discussing audio, there’s also a new feature within Configuration | Stations | Audio Processing: Voice Track Settings that can be either System-wide trim settings, station specific, or disabled. It’s important to point out that many of these features are client requests. We always listen to our clients to better cater Zetta to their evolving workflows. If you have a request to be included in a future RCS product, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local RCS contact.
What about new features within the Metadata module? We’ve already introduced the concept of locking Cue points, where producers can select the Cue Points tab within Audio and then right click to lock the specific trigger at a specific point within the asset. Even if the user replaces the audio, like via an Auto Load, Zetta will respect the locked time position despite continuously overwriting the asset. Now, you can do the same within the Audio Marks. Simply right click and lock Audio Marks like Trim Out, Early Segue and more.
In Zetta 5.21.2, we introduced the concept of Virtual Events. Think of a mix show that includes multiple songs within a single long form element. Programmers can select points within the element to let the user and the RDS Now Playing know that this is where the next song begins. In Zetta 5.22.1, we expanded on that workflow and when programmers drag and drop an asset’s metadata into the Virtual Event, Zetta will preview the audio so that the user knows exactly when the element starts – right down to the millisecond.
As we continue to work within the Metadata module, let’s continue onto the Participants subtab. This is where users can add multiple pieces of metadata like Vocalist, Composer, Producers and more. Previously, you would select the dropdown and add your desired Participant. In Zetta 5.22.1, we added the Zetta default behavior so that if you right click on the specific value, that becomes the Zetta default. This is the same behavior in the Multi Track Editor default save or the Audition audio dropdown. And yes, not only can you change the default with another right click, but if your default is Vocalist and the song requires a Musician value, simply use the + and add the Musician or use an existing Role and change the value via the Role dropdown.
As you can see, we’re all about the new features! And you can get your hands on these today by becoming a Beta user. Zetta 5.22.1 or GSelector 5.1, just reach out to your local RCS contact to be added to our Beta user list. While you’re at it, be featured in our #StudioSpotlight by emailing email@example.com. Or simply start working for RCS. We are hiring unique positions now here . As always, we’ll see you for another RCS Live each and every Thursday at 11am ET on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter Live and Twitch.
“The user: ‘Everyone’ deleted a song yesterday at 11am on the PROD computer.” Wait, who is the user “Everyone” and where can I find this who, what, where, and when report? All of RCS products feature an extensive user rights hierarchy with attached reporting to properly visualize what’s happening within your system. This week, we outlined how to design user rights and restrictions in both Zetta and GSelector and then how to run a Zetta and GSelector User Activity Report.
Starting with Zetta, users can be created locally or through Windows Active Directory. NOTE: As of this moment, RCS can utilize Windows AD to create users and manage logins, but all roles and rights are configured within Zetta and GSelector. From the Configuration dropdown, we’re working within Station Groups, Roles, and Accounts. When we create a new user, we define what stations the user can see (Station Groups), what type of role they have (Roles) and finally any potential rights overrides (Accounts).
Once we define a user, the login preferences, their Role and Privileges (or rights), we can start to identify what a user did, where and when. Using Tools | Reports, search your desired date range for all transactions performed in Zetta. Being that Zetta is a very powerful automation software, don’t forget to utilize the search filters at the top of the reports window. If you’re looking to see why a spot was deleted from the log, search by the Activity Type: Log Event or use the Changes field to search by the specific asset in question. Of course, if you’re trying to find something specific and need assistance in searching through your reports, you can always reach out to RCS Support and we’ll be more than happy to assist you!
Pivoting to GSelector, we have the similar fields for adding a user and defining their roles or what stations they can access. From the Tools | Administration dropdown, select the Security tab and there you’ll find three additional tabs: Organizations (What stations the user can see), Roles (What can they do within the stations) and Users, which is where Administrators can define the organization, role and enable Windows Active Directory (Enable Windows User/Group setting).
Now that we’ve defined a GSelector user and their role, we can start to track progress throughout the software with GSelector’s User Activity report found under Tools | User Activity. Select your desired date range and load all the desired fields on the right. Typically, most users keep all these options enabled and then use the filter in the center to further isolate their desired report. Don’t be surprised if your User Activity filter looks different than the one in the video, simply use the filter tools to add, remove or change your filters. Again, working smarter, not harder, make sure that you search specifically for what you want. For example, if you’re looking for who scheduled or removed a log, then filter by ScheduleHour. If there’s a specific element that was altered, search by the Event. Rather than scrolling though multiple lines of transactions, optimize your search through filters, understanding the Section or Operation of the search.
You may have noticed a slick looking GSelector or a Zetta feature that you’re missing and that’s because our Beta versions are officially available. Reach out to your local RCS contact to gain special access to GSelector 5.1 or Zetta 5.22.1. Don’t forget to email firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured in our #StudioSpotlight, catch us on the road at a local radio conference, and we’re still hiring for some unique positions. Find out more and apply here. We have some exciting RCS Lives coming up, including Zetta 5.22.1 New Features, GSelector 5.1 New Features and we’ll showcase Aquira in the mix as well! We’ll see you next Thursday at 11am ET for another RCS Live!
Don’t hurt the messenger, but here in the States, summer is about over, which means it’s time for some end of summer themed weekends. These could be “80s Throwback,” “A-Z Weekend,” or “End of Summer Theme Weekend.” No matter the theme, GSelector can quickly and easily build you a unique theme playlist. Plus, with GSelector’s Browse List, Multi Song Changer, Clocks and Goals, programmers have all the tools and control to build the best music log.
If we’re building a Theme weekend, we should start with isolating songs via a single Theme value. Although you can create the Theme attribute first, programmers can also curate their songs and then add the attribute via the Multi Song Changer. Select your desired songs from the Library | Browse and drag them into the Browse List for easy display. Don’t forget about Windows keyboard shortcuts: Shift + Click and Control + Click. Once the songs are isolated, filter by the Browse List and pivot to the Multi Song Changer to mass add your desired Theme attribute. A friendly reminder to double check the number of songs selected. If they don’t match, you’re doing to mass change the incorrect songs.
Now that we have a collection of songs with the common Theme, we can outline our clocks. Remember to work smarter, not harder, and utilize the Copy Clocks / Save Clock As (Copy Grid / Save Grid As) functions. After replacing positions with the Theme Clock Entry Type, assign the Theme Clocks to a Grid or use the Override subtab to simply replace the hours with the desired Theme Clocks. If you’re duplicating a grid, use the Schedule subtab to override the default grid. A benefit of isolating a Theme Weekend Grid is that you can analyze the turnovers and set rules ahead of time via Goals | Balance | Attributes | Select the Theme Weekend Grid from the Grid dropdown.
At this stage, we’ve isolated Theme weekend songs, assigned the positions to the Clocks and Grid, and viewed their turnovers from the Goals tab. Programmers can always view how their Themes scheduled via the Analysis tab, otherwise, we covered how to manually add Themes in the Editor with Shift + T. If you’re adding a special element at the top of each hour, don’t forget to double click in the History cell to navigate throughout the day.
You may have noticed a crisp, clean looking version of GSelector and that’s because we’re running GSelector 5.1 Beta. If you want to test out the latest and greatest from RCS, including Zetta 5.22.1, become a Beta user right now by reaching out to your local RCS contract. We’re featuring you and your studio with our #StudioSpotlight feature. If you want to be a part of @StudioSpotlight, email us at email@example.com. We’re also hiring! For a full list of opportunities, check out our careers page . And finally, if you want to see us in person versus virtually every Thursday at 11am ET, then check us out on the road at a nearby radio conference.