Radio Computing Services

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RCS
Private
IndustryBroadcast automation
Founded1979
FounderDr. Andrew Economos
Headquarters,
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Philippe Generali, Chip Jellison, Mike Powell, Neal Perchuk, Sven Andrae, Robin Prior, Keith Williams, Chris Bean, Heather Dwyer, Barry Hill
ProductsZetta, GSelector, Aquira, RCSNews, RCS2GO
ParentiHeartMedia
Websitewww.rcsworks.com

RCS, originally Radio Computing Services, is a provider of scheduling and broadcast software for radio, Internet and television stations.

History[edit]

RCS was founded in 1979 by Dr. Andrew Economos. The idea for RCS and its first product, Selector, came to him when he was in charge of computing activity at NBC. Economos saw a need for a way to automate the music scheduling process at company-owned stations, and replace the existing paper-based system, and he proposed the development of music scheduling software.

NBC executives deemed the project not important enough for the network to commit resources to. Economos left NBC after 15 years to develop the product on his own. Initial marketing of Selector was difficult due to the high cost of personal computers, and some resistance from stations who wanted to keep their paper-based scheduling systems. Sales of Selector gradually improved, and by 2006, the product had around 6,000 client stations in 100 countries.[1]

On January 26, 2006, Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia) purchased RCS as a subsidiary company.[2][3] Clear Channel had acquired automation software company Prophet Systems in 1997. In January 2007, Clear Channel announced that the two companies would be merged.[4][5] In September 2018, at the NextRadio conference in London, RCS president Philippe Generali announced that GSelector and Zetta would be available as cloud services.[6]

Current Products[edit]

Zetta[edit]

Zetta replaced NexGen as the RCS digital radio automation system in 2009. This software has a modular approach to workflow. All functions have a launcher app looking after the services and will restart them if they stop unexpectedly. Zetta enables sites to share Audio Assets, Logs, Voice Tracks with Heads/Tails, Segue Transitions and Splits between stations and databases. Zetta is available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Taiwanese. In April 2006, at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, Zetta received a Best of Show award from Radio World Newspaper.[7]

GSelector[edit]

RCS introduced GSelector in April 2006, as new music scheduling software for radio, satellite, DAB, HD and Internet stations. While the original Selector used rules to determine what songs could be scheduled in different positions, GSelector set goals. Through the use of software controls, music directors are able to adjust the balance and demand of a variety of music attributes such as tempo, energy, mood and artist occurrence. GSelector includes automatic audio analyzing software which can identify multiple intros, opening and closing musical key, BPM, Tempo and Energy for each song. Music research data can be uploaded into GSelector so the next time it schedules, that research is factored in to programming decisions.[8]

Aquira[edit]

Aquira is a CRM system for radio sales that integrates accounts receivable, budgeting and forecasting, enterprise reporting, sales management and report writing into one software package. Report templates include: account and contact management, invoicing, spot analysis, avails and sales.

RCS News[edit]

This radio newsroom platform was first released in 2004 by Prophet Systems as NewsGen. Following the merger of Prophet and RCS in 2007, the product was rebranded as RCS News. This software enables reporters to receive and revise wire copy from a variety of sources; digitally record and edit in the RCS multi-track editor; playback audio; write newscasts and present them live on-air. The archiving feature provides the ability to verify what was in a news story, who wrote it, and what day it was broadcast.

RCS2GO[edit]

The keystone RCS products, GSelector, Zetta and Aquira, are all accessible via mobile devices. GSelector2GO facilitates scheduling and production of logs. Zetta2GO enables control of a Zetta Automation/Playout system via a smartphone or tablet. Planning and scheduling advertisements off site is facilitated by Aquira2GO.

Zetta Cloud[edit]

First announced in April 2019 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, Zetta Cloud is the radio playout and automation system running natively in the Cloud. As such it does not require any on-premises hardware or servers apart from the client machines (computers or mobile devices) that provide browser-based user interface and as such can be used on any operating system. Just like Zetta, the system is modular with fully customizable user interface layout and background services performing key system operations. While Zetta Cloud can operate completely independently, it does also integrate with Zetta, allowing for synchronization of the content between the two systems, and providing disaster recovery functionality acting as a independent, off-premises playout system in the Cloud. RCS was awarded a Best of Show award for Zetta Cloud by Radio World Newspaper in 2019.[9]

Legacy Products[edit]

Selector[edit]

The first product developed by RCS was Selector, a music scheduling system. The program was developed on a PDP-11/03 under RT-11, and was programmed in Fortran and FMS-11. Selector was designed to enable music directors generate daily schedules, maintain a music library and format programming clocks.

Linker[edit]

Linker is a promo scheduler, and the companion product to Selector, which is used for music scheduling. Linker handles the non-musical elements on a station. It schedules and rotates promos, jingles, liners, sweepers, intros, beds, public service announcements, live scripts or special effects.

NexGen[edit]

NexGen was a digital automation system that was originally developed by Prophet Systems, Inc. The NexGen 2 Studio Suite included NexGen Digital, WANcasting, VoiceTRAC, MusicGen, CDX/AFC, Digital Reel-to Reel and PhoneTRAC software. This suite supported radio station automation, WAN file transfers, voice-tracking, music scheduling, CD ripping, program time-shifting and phone call recording. [10]

Master Control[edit]

Master Control is a legacy automation system that is fully integrated with Selector music scheduling and Linker promo scheduling. Voice Tracking™ and Internet Voice Tracking™ facilitate the use of talent from anywhere in the world, and make them sound local.

Tracker[edit]

Tracker is the RCS recording software that can be used for logging, skimming and archiving audio content. It can be used to record airchecks, recycle promotions, save entire shows, or keep tabs on the competition. The skim technology in Tracker can skim radio programming in the traditional "telescoping" sense, using momentary closures. Or, users can record marks while preserving the entire show without gaps. Tracker enables the review multiple streams via a web-browser. Users are able to pinpoint and review audio elements using XML export ability. Maintain/monitor airchecks and prove the right spot played at the right time, on the right day. As much of a station's audio may be archived as needed, using compressed or non-compressed audio formats. Recordings may be organized by channel or time. These recordings can be accessed via network or remotely via webpage - with direct playback from a web browser.

Family of Companies[edit]

As RCS has grown, the company has made several acquisitions.

  • Air Check - real-time analysis of songs and commercials
  • Florical Systems - television automation and integrated playout
  • Hit Predictor - listeners rate popular songs
  • Mediabase - monitored airplay information
  • Media Monitors - local media monitoring
  • Test All Media - digital media research platform
  • Radiojar Information Technology (now RCS Technology Greece) - cloud-based streaming services[11]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Fred Jacobs (October 14, 2014). "Radio's Most Innovative: Andy Economos' Selector". Jacobs Media.retrieved June 27, 2018
  2. ^ "Clear Channel buys RCS". Radio Info. January 27, 2006.retrieved June 27, 2018
  3. ^ W. Scott Bailey (February 26, 2006). "Clear Channel buys software company". San Antonio Business Journal.retrieved June 27, 2018
  4. ^ "RCS and Prophet Systems to Merge". Radiomag. January 25, 2007.retrieved June 27, 2018
  5. ^ "RCS, Prophet Systems Merge; Veterans Exit". All Access. January 19, 2007.retrieved June 27, 2018
  6. ^ "A new kind of playout system - Philippe Generali".retrieved October 17, 2018
  7. ^ "Best of Show: RCS Zetta". Radio World. May 27, 2014. retrieved July 23, 2018
  8. ^ "RCS Announces GSelector". Radio World. April 27, 2006. retrieved July 17, 2018
  9. ^ RW Staff (April 11, 2019). "Radio World Announces Winners of Best of Show at NAB Award". Radio World. retrieved July 7, 2019
  10. ^ "Prophet Systems Introduces Turnkey Packages". Radio World. January 4, 2003. retrieved July 17, 2018
  11. ^ "IHeart Continues Tech Expansion With Purchase Of Radiojar". InsideRadio. February 26, 2019.retrieved March 6, 2019

External links[edit]