All in 1 software

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ddrop8722
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Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2013 4:58 pm

All in 1 software

Post by ddrop8722 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:03 pm

Greetings!
I’m looking for a low cost, buyout or monthly fee, automation software package which includes music and traffic scheduling…..Any input is welcome!

Thanks Much

TPT
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Re: All in 1 software

Post by TPT » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:11 am

There are a lot of free to very cheap automation programs that will play music; as well as some that will also do some basic music scheduling tasks. Haven't heard of a cheap all-in one program that will provide the level of detail needed for a traffic and billing program in today's world of anal agency buyers. So you are probably looking at separate automation and traffic programs.

Natural Log will do traffic and billling adequately. It is a reasonably low cost program, and, more importantly, a buyout. Not a stand-alone automation program, but it will work with many of the popular automation programs. Their companion music scheduler (Natural Music) is OK, but not as good as Selector. But Selector comes with a monthly fee, while Natural Music is a buyout.

Depends on what degree of sophistication is needed. If you can find a combined automation/ music rotation program that will take data from Natural Log, may be good enough for, for example, a small market station running country on a big signal.

Of course, with any automation program, several caveats:

1. Does the company have the resources for service? (You don't want to do their software debugging and development);

2. Is there a large installed user base? (Nice to be using a popular program so you can solve programming questions in a forum like this one);

3. What are other stations in your market using? Helps if that new hire from the other station has already used the program you are using;

4. Does the program require proprietary equipment, or, worse yet, operating systems? There's that infamous program built in someone's garage that used BEOS. The program was cheap, but you got stuck buying over-priced cheap computer equipment to keep it running.

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Shane
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Re: All in 1 software

Post by Shane » Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:33 pm

Everyone's definition of low-cost is different but while it is not an "all-in-one" solution, I'd recommend BSI Simian along with Natural Log and Natural Music. My experience with BSI was largely positive and Nat Music and Nat Log are, I believe, systems that they recommend that work with their system (although just about anything will) but I have not used those.

ENCO can be low priced for a simple system as well and offers some nice customizable features. Using rotating music categories in ENCO (as Rotate Cuts which can be imbedded within other Rotate Cuts) you can program the music yourself without a music scheduling system. I am doing this now on a Spanish-language station which is a mix of block programs and music. The music cuts reside in a few color-named rotate lists, which rotate inside a generic PLAY MUSIC cut according to a prescribed formula or hot clock. You can always add to or subtract from the lists of music cuts or shuffle them manually every so often to freshen things up. Nice low cost way to do music scheduling. In our case the individual color-named lists (which you can name anything you want up to 8 characters) are intensively managed but you can do less of that if you're playing more songs than we are at a given time.

Music rotation might be doable in Simian but I've not tried it. My BSI experience was with their predecessor program Wavestation, which I still keep around as a backup. Wavestation didn't do rotators very well but I would imagine they've fixed that in Simian. We chose not to upgrade when Simian replaced Wavestation so I can't speak to that.
Mike Shane, CBRE
---Omaha---

TPT
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Re: All in 1 software

Post by TPT » Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:46 pm

Simian comes in two flavors--there is a "light" version which is around $650, and a more expensive version which is near $1,500. Depends on your format--the simpler version does not allow for external commands (triggers or net cues, such as from a satellite receiver) nor will it control external devices such as a switcher. The more expensive version will do both with the appropriate external USB or serial devices. Otherwise, I don't see any significant difference in the programs

You can create "carts" in Simian to allow for rotating cuts, the carts can handle quite a number of cuts. When you create a cart you are simply creating a list of files, each time the cart comes up it loads the next file in the list. The list can be as long as you want to make it, and, as I remember, it can be set to randomize.

Normally you would use these for simple rotation of spots (for example, three different scripts for a client), but you could rotate music cuts this way as well. Not the best way to program music, but it is simple. All depends on the demands of the format.

Of course, the better solution is to buy the Natural log products for both traffic and music programming. Both programs create text files which are then imported into Simian to create the combined log. We have three stations, two in own city, a third 20 miles away. We create the logs at the first location and e-mail the log to the third station (which is live), afternoon guy imports and checks for errors (missing copy, for example). With remote access, we can create a log, import it to Simian, error check, and insert new copy as needed. Two stations are satellite, the third live with music on hard disk. We program the music on that station with Selector.

Simian will run on just about any box with a reasonable amount of RAM and Windows 7/ 32 bit or older OS. I have had a computer die on a weekend. A quick trip to Microcenter, and replaced the dead box with a new computer later that same day by simply reinstalling Simian and the hardware key. The one weakness with Simian is that it will not run on 64 bit Windows 7--only 32 bit. Windows 8 appears to be a big problem (but we already know that already). Also, BSI suggests the ASI series of sound cards because it uses the virtual mixer software that comes with the ASI cards. You can use cheaper sound cards, but you lose the ability to segue.

ddrop8722
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Re: All in 1 software

Post by ddrop8722 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:49 am

Thanks for the replies.

To explain my situation a bit more. I'm experienced with Audio Vault and Media Touch along with Music Master and , sad to say, still using darts at the radio group
i'm working with. This info is for an online radio station project and certainly don't need a super robust system. The station will basically be a "jukebox". Music, sweepers, spots. I'm 90% sure we've decided to go with Station Playlist for automation and Music Master for music scheduling, as i've been using it for about 8 years and really like it. I wanted to see what else may be out there.

I'm liking what I hear and see from Natural Log and have reached out to Radiotraffic.com. I like the idea of Radiotraffic.com being on the net as my partner and I are 600 miles apart.

tonybroom
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Re: All in 1 software

Post by tonybroom » Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:23 pm

I used Natural Logs Natural Music 5+ years ago... it's no selector but it did get the job done and it's buy out. I don't recall ever needing support assistance for Natural Music it was easy to learn and if I recall the manual/help was well written. No longer with that station but they've since changed formats and no longer use Natural Music but are still using Natural Log which was equally easy to setup.

Have sat through presentations on RadioTraffic.com it seems like a decent platform but we ultimately decided to stick with VT for now because of the burden of switching systems.

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