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The "And More" of Automation
For remote voice-tracking, WideOrbit (like other providers) allows the remote talent to be in a far-flung studio anywhere in the world. Remote voice tracks can be assigned from anywhere by way of a Web browser. When a music log is complete, the system sends the needed audio to the remote location, and e-mails the remote talent telling him that his shift is ready for tracking. When the remote talent is finished, the audio is automatically sent back to the station. Progress of the remote voice-tracking session can be monitored via a Web browser. WideOrbit also has provisions for remote content entry: Music can be recorded, imported, edited or converted in one location and automatically distributed to all relevant markets; imaging or commercials can be produced in one location and automatically distributed group-wide; non-audio files such as music or traffic schedules can be pushed to other markets as well. Each station can search the audio libraries in other markets, and download audio files directly into their own audio libraries. These tasks can be done via a Web browser on any computer on your WAN. One more interesting feature is WideOrbit's provision for automatic failover redundancy for important file transfers and for offsite storage and disaster recovery with automatic backup of all audio content.
Simian from BSI has a feature called Simian Gateway, and it gives users the ability to create and insert voice-tracks remotely. Remote users have a client that includes a voice track editor, and it allows them to download intro and segue cuts that Gateway creates for the songs that bookend voice-tracks. The remote user can fully preview and set cross-over points. With the Simian Gateway in place, Simian Remote Client can run on as many machines as desired; there are Simian Remote Client versions for Windows, iPhone, and iPad.
In the Broadcast Electronics AudioVAULT FLEX system, voice tracking is handled via an embedded segue editor. Song-voicetrack-song crossfades are created by adjusting the audio gain between transitions. Voice tracks can be recorded from multiple sources at the same time, for the same day; and from a central studio location programming can be syndicated.
RCS' new automation system is known as Zetta, and its Wancasting feature allows for manual or automatic distribution of asset audio and metadata; manual and automatic distribution of logs and voicetracks. It offers a means by which the user can prioritize transfers, making sure audio is delivered on-time. There's no limit to the number of destinations that can be configured in Zetta's Wancasting feature. Zetta voice tracking can be done in a number of ways: For both local and remote stations within the Zetta application itself and for remote sites using a Zetta IVT client; or, with the upcoming Zetta 2.9, using a Zetta2Go application which runs on a PC or Mac in a browser; or on a portable device (IOS, Android). Zetta provides both manual and automatic ways of content management: users can manually import in Zetta using the Media Import tool, drag and drop a file to the UI directly, rip a CD, drop files to a folder for Autoload, or get files from an FTP site. For redundancy purposes, you can have any number of machines on the network receive audio (and hence act as an audio store) and if one machine goes down, the operation of Zetta will not be affected.
It's the data
One of the many ways automation systems have evolved over the last 10 years or so is in their capability in sending now playing (and other metadata features) to users of multiple and different content streams. ENCO's DAD system has a feature known as PADapult, which can be used to send this type of data out to 10 destinations simultaneously -- for example, for HD Radio, RDS, and now playing for streams, station Web pages, and Twitter. You can schedule messages to be sent, or you can create messages and drop them in to the various content streams.
Broadcast Electronics offers TRECast (part of The Radio Experience), which interleaves custom messages with the artist/title information; it sends messages such as concert or advertiser information, associated with specific audio content; it can send different messages to different locations simultaneously -- such as RDS, HD PSD, station Web pages, Twitter and Facebook; and it generates logs that can be monitored after the fact (of course) or in real time. It also helps manage character count requirements for each destination -- a nice feature with respect to RDS.
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