Preparing Your Program For Automation
- Using Audacity or another similar program, make one single MP3 file for your show including all your music and vocal breaks.
- Tag this MP3 file with the tags provided to you by the Tech Committee.
- Upload your file to our automation system via Dropbox. Click here for more information.
Remember: If you do not understand how to do any of these things, including how to normalize the tracks of your single MP3, read on or contact the tech committee (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
In order to upload a program into the Royalton Community Radio (RCR) system the following steps must be completed. Please follow this tutorial completely before learning about using Dropbox to upload your program into the automation system.
Stitching the Program Together
The automation process requires a program to be a single mp3 file and cannot be a playlist made up of individual songs. There are many methods for accomplishing this, but for simplicity sake we will address only two:
iTunes (iTunes 11.x)
Royalton Community Radio’s Tech Team prefers that if you use iTunes to produce your show that you take the extra step of burning the completed playlist to CD(s) and then use iTunes to re-import your show. So once your show playlist is organized, click on your playlist in the sidebar menu and then click the gear icon at the bottom left of the sidebar. Choose “Burn Playlist to Disc” and if you don’t already have a blank disc inserted, do so.
When the CD has finished burning, it will probably eject from the computer. If it doesn’t, eject the CD, and then reinsert it. Let iTunes read the disc, and click on the disc in the sidebar. In the upper right look for the “Options” button, click on the down arrow next to it, and choose “Join Tracks” and then select “Import CD.” When iTunes is done importing the CD you can click on Music at top of the sidebar and find the long track for the show. Click on the track, and from the File menu choose “Get Info.” In the menu that pops up choose the “Info” button/tab. This is where you will enter the pertinent tags for your show. It is important your tags match those the Tech Team has set for your show, so checking with them first is always a good idea. If you have already spoken with the Tech Team, enter the information they tell you. At minimum this will (usually) involve two fields: Artist &Name/Song. Enter your full name in the Artist field. The Name field — usually reserved for a song’s name — is where you will put the name of your show. Be sure to also include the date the show is to be aired, or when it was created. It is very important for the Album field to include “RCR Rebroadcast” (without the quotation marks!) as this will keep your program from playing during our overnight programing. Optionally, if your show is a music show, feel free to include the genre. At RCR we like to use genres and sub genres, but at minimum consider putting “Music” in the genre field. If your show is a country music show you would put “Music/Country” (again, without quotation marks). As an example, if your name is DJ Bob and your show is called My Awesome Radio Show you would put My Awesome Radio Show in the Name field, and you you would put DJ Bob in the Artist field. Finally you would put RCR Rebroadcast in the Album field.
The following steps are to be followed after you have learned how to use Dropbox for RCR:
The above may be something with which you are familiar, but the next step may not be. Again, if you have questions, please contact the Tech Team first. By default iTunes organizes your music by Artist name. We will describe the default here, but you can find where your music is stored by checking the Preferences in iTunes, and selecting the Advance tab.
If you are using a Mac, open Finder, then click on your username. Then follow the path for your music. By Default iTunes stores music in the Music folder under your username (yourusername > Music > iTunes > iTunes Media > Music >) Once in that directory you should see the artists’ names. Sorting the columns by clicking “Name” in Finder may prove to be easier. Once you find your name, click on it, and then click on RCR Rebroadcast (the name of your album!) and you should see your show(s). Find the most recent show and single click on it. From the Edit menu, click Copy (or Command+C if you prefer).
Using Finder, navigate to your Dropbox folder, which is usually visible in the Finder sidebar. Click on Dropbox, then click on the folder named “Programmer Imports”. Once you are in that folder, choose Paste (or Command+V) from the Edit menu toolbar.
Dropbox will automatically sync with the Dropbox in the RCR studio and automation scripts set up there will move your show to the appropriate playlist for broadcast (rebroadcast too, if your show is scheduled to be rebroadcast). You will know the show is uploaded when the file disappears from the Programmer Imports folder. This feature is designed to make sure we do not go over our data quota, so don’t panic if your file is gone. How long this process takes will depend on the size of the file and the speed of your Internet connection. This process should be avoided if you have dial-up, satellite, or other slow (or bandwidth-limited) Internet access. If this is the case, please contact the Tech Team about other alternatives, including using the Dropbox folder on the studio computer to complete the process.
The first time you do this, it is a good idea to contact the Tech Team to ask them to confirm that everything went as planned. If it did you should be fine moving forward as long as you continue to add the same tags to your show.
Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net) is open-source (free) audio software for Mac and Windows, which is useful for those who are creating shows from recordings (not always music) and need to be able to edit. This guide will not attempt to teach you how to use this powerful, yet intuitive tool for editing, but we will try to guide you on how to export your show using Audacity so that it includes the tags necessary for the automation process. If you have questions about Audacity you can contact the Tech Team and perhaps schedule a tutorial, but please realize the Tech Team is all volunteer and may not be able to schedule a tutorial within the time frame of automating your show.
One of the most useful features of Audacity is the ability to “normalize” the tracks to make sure that when they play on the radio they are at a consistent volume. If you are cutting and pasting different sources into your shows file, please consider normalizing each track before pasting them together. The normalize feature is found under the “Effect” menu in the Audacity tool bar, and in most cases the default settings can be used. Normalizing will make all of your tracks have the same volume level.
When your show is completed and has been edited so that it is in one file, select “Export” from the File menu in the tool bar. You will be prompted to save the file first. Ideally you should save your file as an mp3 at 128kbps, as this is the file format and rate at which RCR broadcasts. Audacity may prompt you to download the library for saving in this format. Follow the directions to do so. Once you have the mp3 library installed, and you have chosen the location for your file to be saved, Audacity will prompt you to enter the tags. Similar to the description above for iTunes, you want to enter the data given to you by the Tech Team. Many of the programmers using Audacity are working collectively and producing informational shows, so it may not be appropriate to include a single person’s name.
Once you have finished entering all the tag information, click on the “Save” button, being sure to remember where you saved your file.
If you plan to use Dropbox to upload your program into the RCR automation system, please continue to that tutorial.