In case you haven't heard, Airtime 2.2 is out now and there are a huge amount of improvements (over 500 in fact!). Most of these are 'under the hood' changes, but there are some great new features which increase Airtime's flexibility. Nowhere is this more evident than in the new smart blocks. We want to change the way radio stations work, so here's your guide to getting the most out of the new Airtime.
A week is a long time in broadcasting, and Airtime's new smart blocks make filling it easier. Head to the Library and select New Smart Block. Here you can stack parameters that will filter your library into a dynamic playlist. Want an hour-long show filled with Rock, but only with music files not played in the last week? Add two rules, one that identifies all tracks with the Rock genre, and another that rules out anything with plays since last week on any show.
Once you've set up your rules you have two choices; dynamic or static. A static smart block will save the criteria and generate the block content immediately. This allows you to edit and view it in the Library before adding it to a show manually. This a great way to generate a playlist quickly and then fine-tune the order or contents of that playlist.
A dynamic smart block will only save the criteria. The block content will then get generated when you add it to a show. So, although you will not be able to view and edit the content in the Library, it's possible to add this block to any show (it could be 24 hours long!) and each time it will generate afresh using the rules you set.
We don't yet have a big red Auto-DJ button yet, but judging by the comments we're getting, it's something radios want to see. The easiest way to achieve this is through 24-hour shows, with 24-hour dynamic smart blocks. If you tell it not to play things from yesterday, then you'll keep content fresh for your listeners. Stay tuned for more news on how we hope to improve this in the coming weeks.
We can make a conventional ad break in Airtime by having a smart block of genre 'advert' and a dynamic smart block of music genres, one following the other. If the advert smart block length is a multiple of the standard ad length, there should be no fades during ads.
A simpler way to handle ads, which we can also do right now, is to have a dynamic smart block for ads which is the exact duration of one or two ads (say all your ads are a standard of 30 seconds, create a smart block of one minute for two random ads). Combine this with Airtime's watch folders and it will scan your library for new ads that fit the rules (only those uploaded in last week for instance) and then play them out whenever they are scheduled.
Smart blocks are a huge leap forward, but they're still not perfect and micro-managing complex ad schedules can be tricky. Here are some new feature ideas floating around to improve things still further.
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