Scheduled playlists do not start on time

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Hi -

The Knowledgebase has an article on "Scheduled playlists do not start on time" here:

http://www.centova.com/en/faq/cast3/troubleshooting/scheduled_playlists_do_not_start_on_time

From this it is clear that there is currently no way to get a scheduled show to start at its precise scheduled start time. This is immensely frustrating.

Seeing as how exact start/finish times are the lifeblood of radio programming for building audience loyalty, I don't understand why this feature is lacking. Are there plans to add it ?  Sourcefabric's Airtime can do this quite easily so why not Centova ?

Or is there a workaround ?

I was thinking that maybe I should structure the entire 7 days (168 hours) with ONLY Scheduled Playlists, with each one set to:  "Yes, terminate if another scheduled playlist is due to begin". Would that work ?

Our main tracks are interviews that run for 1 to 2 hours. We do not have masses of short length music tracks, we are a talk station.

If I had a scheduled playlist from say 1pm to 8pm (7 hours) and wanted to play them shuffled, and put say 6 hours and 59 minutes worth of material in that playlist, is it possible that a track would be randomly selected and then played at the 6 hours 59 minute mark ?  If so, if that track were a 2 hour interview, would it run to the end (ie making that playlist run for 8 hours and 59 minutes) or would that track be interrupted by the next Scheduled playlist due to start at 8pm ?


Pressman

PS We use scheduled tweets on our twitter feed to go out at the exact start times of shows and that's also part of the need for this.
Ok, well not much response on this.

Maybe I could rephrase the question -

How do you get a playlist to start and stop at exact times ie 1pm to 2pm ?

If you cannot do this, then should I assume that no one who uses Centova can issue a definite schedule as no one knows when a playlist will precisely start and stop.

I schedule LIVE shows using BUTT but that means a human being has to be present to click the BUTT button at the right time.

If this feature currently does not exist in Centova, may I humbly suggest that it goes to the top of the list of features to be added? Accurate scheduling is so important and turns audio streaming into an actual Radio Station.

What would be needed to get this feature added?  Money ?  If so how much ?

In every other respect Centova is excellent, but adding PRECISE SCHEDULING would add immense value to the package.
Right now, the scheduled playlist does not start until the CURRENT song playing is finished.  Centovacast will not interrupt the song that is playing.

So if you have songs that last 3-4 minutes, the scheduled playlist will start when finished.  If you have 1 hour songs, then you have to wait until that 1 hour song is finished.

At present, there is no precise way to start the next playlist this instant the clock strikes the start time.
Hi Dennis -

Thanks for responding.

Forgive me if I sound overly critical, but isn't the lack of this feature an immense oversight ? How can one seriously call this radio software when it fails to allow the operator to start and stop playlists at exact times ?

What are you supposed to tell your listeners . . . this program may or may not start at 9pm or therabouts depending on how long the last track lasts . . .  ?  It disregards the audience and messes them around hence reducing loyalty to the station. Mainstream radio would be a joke if it ran this way.

If I can manually go LIVE at a precise start time using BUTT (which is what I do do), is it not possible to replicate this on the server as an automated sort of chron job or somesuch to start a playlist at an exact time?

How could we get this feature added asap to Centova ?  Is it on the TO DO list ?

Airtime has an excellent scheduler which does enable precise start and stop times for playlists but it is weak when it comes to stats and widgets and image display for track now playing etc. Somewhere, between Centova and Airtime, there is an excellent radio program waiting to burst out. If Centova added precise scheduled playlist it would win hands down.

Hope this can be done.



I answered your question, however I will not get into a dump on Centovacast contest.

If you feel that this is a needed requirement, post it here:
http://forums.centova.com/index.php?board=5.0
Hi Dennis -

Thanks for your response and the link.

I was not dumping on Centova - I wouldnt use it if I thought it not good. This feature though I feel would improve it immensely - so not a dump but, as I see it, constructive criticism.

Thx
this feature is a must. I would like to read an response from centova on that very important request
Hi Pavlos -

I tend to agree with you, this feature is a must.

I just tested using Scheduled lists (3 of them) back to back to back but as the CC Manual says, current track always plays to the end and so the next Scheduled list starts late ie not on the exact start time.

NEWS BULLETINS AND AD SLOTS - these are the main reason I (and I suspect many others) want/need this feature. For example a 10 minute news bulletin repeated at the top of the hour every 2 hours or so throughout the day. Exactly the same functionality as a Scheduled Playlist but with the ability to interrupt the current playing track (which ideally would fade out) and start/end bang on time.

Also, would this feature not make it possible to run advertising spots in a precise way thereby guaranteeing to advertisers that there ad would absolutely run say twice an hour ?
Hello,

I have to agree with Pressman on this matter.

My radio station has 60 DJs from all over the world. We used to be Airtime Pro customers and the Scheduler was precise with their service. They had this down to a science, but lacked in other areas. This caused us to look for another service. This is why we moved to Centova, but did not realize the lack in the Scheduler department.

I am not dumping on Centova either. I am just wanting to know is there a work around until the improvements are made to the scheduling aspects. I am well aware that the current playlist will not be interrupted with the "up next" scheduled playlist, but that is also the origin of the problem. For example:

DJ A - "Show Title" - 3pm - 4pm
DJ B - "Show Title" - 4pm - 5pm

DJ A's prerecorded MP3 file is 59 minutes and 30 seconds. Reason for the 30 second gap is for sponsored commercial spots which is in the "Interval" playlist. According to Centova law, by scheduling the "Interval" playlist to pull after 1 song (or MP3), then the sponsored commercial/PSA will play and then DJ B's "Scheduled" playlist will play.  This seems to not happen at all.

Another issue is the "General Rotation" playlists. I understand that Centova wants to make sure we never have any dead air. That is truly appreciated, but the problem with this is if I have no DJs on until the next "Schedule" playlist or "Live" broadcast, "General Rotation" starts. This means General Rotation will not be interrupted by the next "Scheduled" playlist. Again this is not a good thing. I have currently made a playlist entitled "Regular Content" and made it a scheduled playlist. Then I go in and update the times with a prayer that it pulls on time. Truly I think this "General Rotation" default should not be a thing. It is our responsibility as Program Managers to make sure we program accurately. We need to have full control. Granted things happen technically beyond our control, but we have to handle that properly in each of our own way (i.e. post on your social media platforms, "Due to technical issues...").

Overall, Centova is solving the feature problems we lacked with AirTime Pro, but AirTime Pro Scheduler is something that I know Centova desperately needs. I am going to put a request in on the "Feature Request" forum and hope they come out with an update soon. I really do not feel like switching again.
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Centova allows m3u playlists (must be enabled in config by root) , and if you search Google for m3u playlist builder, most can time your tracks and station ids exactly so your news and weather can start at the top of the hour.

https://centova.com/en/faq/cast3/information/can_i_create_an_m3u_playlist_and_upload_it_to_centova_cast
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