The StationPlaylist suite comprises two separate programs: StationPlaylist Studio manages on-air automated and live assist playback while StationPlaylist Creator is the companion scheduler. There are several editions of the suite: Lite, Standard and Pro, allowing one to purchase the capabilities and features they need while controlling costs.
The suite runs on computers using Microsoft’s Windows operating system with Windows 2000 or XP Pro recommended. I opted for the Pro version of the StationPlaylist suite, as this provides the greatest number of features and most flexibility. All editions can use audio files in various formats including WAV, MP2, MP3, MP4 (AAC), Ogg Vorbis, WMA, APE and AIFF.
Replicating my formatics in Creator was simple. While my old system was limited to a paltry 26 categories, StudioPlaylist Pro supports an unlimited amount. Once the music categories were created I made the spot groups that would contain my imaging, jingles, station IDs and generic voice tracks. At this point I was ready to define my rotations.
A rotation template is required for each hour in the day, but you can use a single template for the entire day or create unique rotations for various dayparts. These rotations are used to build the schedules. The scheduler was a joy to work with, as it features related artists and repeat protections that actually work, unlike my former DOS system.
Creator’s Track Tool can automatically scan your audio files to work with Studio’s built-in level sensing segue settings. The only changes I needed to make were for songs with cold or soft endings. The resulting playback in Studio is tight and professional sounding with minimal effort spent tweaking.
While there are many things that are easy to learn, there are features and capabilities you’ll need to experiment with to appreciate the power they offer. The powerful “break notes” feature allows the operator to perform a variety of tasks ranging from changing the on-air talent’s virtual cart and time announce files, to changing automation modes and even communicating with the outside world via the computer’s parallel port.
Studio allows you to include CMD or EXE files in the schedule to perform functions outside of the automation software. On-air playlist data output is available not only for your station’s Web page, streaming server and RDS applications, but also to aid your on-air talent in voice-tracking, whether it’s performed locally or via the Internet.