Playout controller

From Smoke Academy Wiki

The playout controller is the utility controlling what is broadcast on Smoke Radio. You can use it to take particular studios live, schedule audio files to play out at given times (for pre-recorded shows), and begin outside broadcasts. Faraday is also responsible for playing a jukebox of random tracks when nothing else is scheduled.

Note that the playout controller does NOT affect the schedule and show info displayed on the website and in the app. It only controls what is actually heard.


Log in

Accounts on the playout controller are different to those for the website. Ask the student media coordinator if you think you need access and don't have it.

Schedule a live show

Go to Calendar > + Show, enter a title, start and finish time, and tick 'Repeats' (unless this is a one-off special show or OB).

Do select 'link' - this will fill all subsequent episodes of the show with the same content. All other fields like description, genre, colors are optional and don't need to be filled in.

Now we have an empty show, we need to fill it with content. Go to the Now Playing tab and drag the right audio stream into the show ( choosing from 'HARROW', 'CAVENDISH', 'OB'). The system will highlight the file if it exceeds the time allocated for the show. If you have a multi-hour stream, you may need to add multiple instances of the stream you want to use to completely fill the show.

You're done!

Schedule a pre-recorded show

Go to Calendar > + Show, enter a title, start and finish time, and tick 'Repeats' (unless this is a one-off special show or OB).

Do NOT select 'link', because this will automatically play the same episode every week. All other fields like description, genre, colors are optional.

Let's fill this show with content. Every week, you'll need to upload the show recording at Add Media. Then, go to Now Playing and drag the right audio file into the show. The system will highlight the file if it exceeds the time allocated for the show.

And you're done!

You should take care to delete old episode audio files that are no longer needed to avoid filling up the server's available space. You can track free space at System > Status. If the server completely fills up, this WILL interrupt broadcasting.

Jukebox

When there is nothing scheduled in the playout controller, it will play random tracks from its jukebox, interspersed with station jingles.

The jukebox has several advantages:

  • Studios are off-air outside scheduled show hours, which prevents unauthorised broadcasts
  • The jukebox also kicks in when a live studio or OB stream unexpectedly goes down. This functionality prevents listeners from being disconnected if your internet connection fails during a tricky broadcast, and the jukebox will automatically hand back to your live stream once it's re-established.
  • Improves audio quality, because files are already stored on the server
  • Dead air is (theoretically) completely eliminated


You can add both branding audio and new tracks for the jukebox via FTP.

Download an FTP client program like Filezilla, connect using the credentials supplied by the student media coordinator, and then drop your audio files into either the 'tracks' or 'idents' folder. The playout controller checks for new jukebox tracks every ten minutes.

Take care not to exceed available storage on the server. You shouldn't need to add more than thirty or so jukebox tracks. You can monitor this via the playout controller's System > Status menu.

Listener stats

You can see the number of listeners over time at System > Listener Stats. The 'listen' mountpoint refers to website listeners, while the 'mobile' mountpoint refers to people tuning in with the app.