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Importing External Logs into Rivendell

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Q: Once we have a list of cart numbers and times from powergold (or any other external scheduling software), how do we get it into Rivendell? If the answer to this is more than one step, why?

A: to the Why In a word -- flexibility.

It would be great if there were just one single scheduling format out there that all automation and scheduler vendors agreed on and universally used. Unfortunately, such is not the case. Instead, there's a alphabet soup of formats. To give just some of the differences: is the data layout within the file character delimited or column aligned? What's the delimiter character? Which fields are there? In what order? How wide is each field? How many digits are there in the cart numbers? Do the cart numbers have leading zeros? So on and so on...

These are just some of the parameters that can vary widely among various EDI file formats. Now let's add in the scheduling options: some sites use *no* external scheduler, but rely entirely on RD's native scheduling capabilities. Others use an external system and simply want to import that schedule for use in RD (your case). Others want to use *both* facilities, and merge the resulting schedules together. Still others use *two* external systems (one each for scheduling music and commercial material), each with their own different schedule file formats and requirements, which then need to be merged in with RD's own internally scheduled events. Did I also mention that this merging often needs to be incremental across time? --e.g. some stations import the music schedule weeks before the commercial spot schedule is available (so to give on-air talent time to generate voicetracks).

All of this I hope gives some sense of the general complexity of this problem. As a fully professional-grade radio automation system, RD must be able to deal with all of the scenarios outlined above (and some others beside -- we won't even go into embedded events, overscheduling or ELR here!). While doubtless other paradigms could be devised, the Event->Clock->Grid design paradigm of RDLogManager has thus far stood up very well. I have been personally involved with deploying RD into a wide array of facilities, ranging from tiny "Mom & Pop" operations, to large major-market clusters, to network "head-end" facilities distributing multiple channels of satellite audio. In every case, RDLogManager has managed to bridge the interface into each site's (sometimes extremely complex and convoluted) scheduling infrastructure. However, in every case, once all the configuration is done, importing and generating a log is just a matter of a few mouse clicks -- the person who's daily task it is to do this (typically someone in the Operations or Traffic department) doesn't need to understand all of the above, or even be aware of it -- they just need to know how to pick a date and then click 'Import...'.

Whew! I hope that answered your 'why?' question...  :)

A: to the How: But, to turn to the practical matter at hand: if all you want to do is import an external schedule into an RD log with no merging or other changes, the setup in RDLogManager is very simple: all you'll need is a single Event and Clock. In the event, just check 'From Music' in the 'IMPORT' section (you will probably also want to set the transitions to 'Segue', but that isn't strictly necessary). Then, in the clock, schedule that event for the entire hour (00:00 to 59:59). Next, put that clock into every hour of the appropriate service's Grid. Finally, go into RDAdmin->ManageServices and set up the 'Music Data Import' parameters for the appropriate service (detailed directions can be found in the Rivendell email list archives).

Once the above is done, logs can be generated by going into RDLogManager->GenerateLogs, selecting the service and the date, then clicking 'Create New Log', followed by 'Merge Music'. Not too complicated, I hope.  :)

Frederick F. Gleason, Jr. - Chief Developer - Paravel Systems