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How Automation Systems and Music Schedulers Talk to One Another posted on December 30th, 2013

By Drew Bennett

Automation systems and music schedulers share the same client in many cases. Both software companies rely on one another, to a degree, to ‘get the station on the air.’ If the automation system doesn’t have a log to play, there’s no music. If the music scheduler can’t export its log to the automation system, there’s no music then either. So, in most cases, the music scheduler and the automation system rely on one another to get the job done for you.

How does that actually happen, though? What are the technical specifics of exporting something to an automation system from a music scheduler? Is it different for each software vendor? What software is used to implement a design in my database? The answers to these questions are simpler than you may think and once explained, will give you a better sense of troubleshooting your log exports to your chosen automation system.

  1. How does it work? Automation systems that are designed to accept music logs from music scheduling software accept a flat, ASCII text file. That’s it. In fact, open Notepad on your computer, type any text and then save the file. Congratulations! You’ve just created a flat, ASCII text file and if an automation system could ingest your file and play music based on it, you’d be in business. All automation systems that are designed to accept music logs from scheduling software do that by reading a simple text file generated by the music scheduler.
  2. Is it different for each software vendor? Each automation system vendor writes its own requirements for the file being sent from the music scheduling software. For instance, one automation system might require the airtime as the first bit of information for each song listed in the music log. Another automation system might require the audio filename as the first bit of info seen when playing back music. This is where you’ll need to call your Music Scheduling Consultant at MusicMaster to discuss the requirements of your automation system. We can help you determine the requirements you will need and we can provide training on implementing your design. You can also peruse the automation system manual and learn about your design requirements there as well.
  3. What software is used to implement a design in my database? MusicMaster uses the MusicMaster Export Designer to create, modify and import an export design tailored for a particular automation system. If you use Wide Orbit, for example, you would need to import the Wide Orbit Export Design into your database using the MusicMaster Export Designer. You could also create the design from scratch using the automation documentation as your guide. The MusicMaster Export Designer is incredibly flexible and easy to use. You simply designate the field to export using pull down menus. You decide where in your text file that field belongs. Many times, we already have a design on hand for you. If creating a design seems like a daunting task, our Music Scheduling Consultant team can implement a design for you in no time.

See how easy that is? Automation systems look for a text file to automate the music you scheduled. Your music scheduler generates that file based on the requirements of the automation system. The file that is generated is a flat, ASCII-based text file just like what you would see in Notepad. When you look it at that way, it doesn’t seem as complicated but don’t let your IT department go just yet. If you have any questions about this process or any questions regarding your specific automation system, contact your assigned Music Scheduling Consultant at MusicMaster and Happy Scheduling!