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I have tons of songs and music beds in inventory. Most of them don't seem to play and I'm getting gaps of silence in my stop sets. What could be the reason?
Author: Jeremy Argue Reference Number: AA-00261 Views: 2411 Created: 2010-11-19 15:45 0 Rating/ Voters

Silence is certainly an issue. We never want to have Dead Air. When there is dead air in stop sets this is usually a result of inventory issues.  When we’re looking at a specific scenario of Music Beds, this can be a specific subset issue.  So let's look at a few things that might be contributing to the issue:

99% of the time, if there is not enough inventory, or, if there are not enough categories selected in the Template and there isn’t enough content in inventory in those categories, the station will have dead air in the stop sets.  For Music Beds, there is usually a different root cause related to the durations of items.  So, the first thing to check is whether or not there are enough items in inventory.

To do so, just access the station’s inventory screen of the Injector Manager.  Check the Inventory Helper on the left side of the screen and see if any categories have less than 15 items listed.  If any do, simply add more content to those categories using the New Component Process (you can consult this article for more information on how to upload Fill material). 

If the Inventory Helper is showing more than 15 items in each category, then the issue Silence is most likely being created by a mis-configured Template.  To check this, click the Template link in the Nav bar and make sure that all of the categories that have content in inventory are selected in the Template.  Most of the time if there are lots of items in inventory and the station is getting Silence in stop sets, the Template doesn’t know that it can play items from those categories that have content.  To correct this, simply, check the boxes for the categories that have content and click Save.  IT will take about 10 minutes for this new Template to load, but once it does, that should resolve the situation.

If however, the station has lost of items in lots of categories and all of those categories are selected in the station template, the issue could be caused by a Cart Trigger configuration.  Especially if many of the items in inventory are of fairly long durations; more than 100 seconds.

To check this, we need to check a station’s Cart Triggers to see how they are configured. Click Injector Manager then choose the proper station and click the Cart Trigger Editor link. When the cart trigger list opens, look for the cart trigger that have Green arrows in the ACTIONS column and click edit for each one individually. Check to see if the "Use Incoming Duration" box is checked.

If it is, this is most likely the root culprit for longer form items not playing even though there may be tons of them in inventory.

For example, if the station has 17 Music Beds in inventory and only 3 have ever played and there is silence in the stop sets.  It is possible that the durations of the items have not played are too long to be considered playable. Especially if the Use Incoming Duration is checked.

Let us elaborate a little; Currently WXYZ is using one Cart Trigger to tell the Injector to play spots. That cart trigger is the say a COM Category code. The COM code is configured to use the Incoming duration (the length of the on air spots) to figure the maximum length of playable items.

Anytime "Use Incoming Duration" is configured in a cart trigger, the maximum allowable length of any injected spot will be no more than 120 seconds + the duration of the incoming element. So, if the station plays a :30 on air, when it goes to break, the maximum length of any playable item must be less than 150 seconds. If a :60 is played on air, the Max duration must be under 180 seconds.

Most likely, at the time the silence was heard the three Music Beds in inventory that have duration of under 180 seconds were unplayable due to frequency cap restrictions.

So, while there are 17 Music Beds in inventory and Music Beds are selected in all 10 slots of the station Template, only three of the 17 items are ever actually playable. Which is why they have played hundreds of times and the other ones have never played.

Even if the “Use Incoming Duration” was not selected there are some options that eliminate silence 99% of the time.  Here is a list of actions that any station can use to eliminate dead air in stop sets almost immediately:

1. You can enable the Unpaid category in more than a few places in the station template and add items from the PSA Wire tool
2. You can add more items to any fill category that is selected in the Template – we always recommend that there be at least 15 items in inventory in any category that is selected in the Template
3. You can check new columns in the template and upload content to those categories (if Use Incoming Duration is selected for the Cart Trigger, make sure that these items are shorter than 179.99 seconds)
4. If Use Incoming Duration is checked for the Cart Trigger, you could edit the current music beds so that they are under 180 seconds in duration
5. You can uncheck the "Use incoming Duration" box on the commercial cart trigger - which will allow the system to use the Max Duration field to determine the max length of playable items which means that you won't need to be so concerned with uploaded items being shorter than 180 seconds. If this is unselected you can now play full fill songs and full length music beds as filler content.

Any of the five scenarios should solve the silence problem ASAP while explaining why some items have played and other have not. If more than one of the above strategies is used, the station configuration will be further protected from playing silence in the future.  Also, enacting more than one strategy will also help prevent Burn of the Fill material.  So, it’s always best to take a comprehensive view of the inventory and manage it regularly so that listeners are always given content that creates the best possible listener experience.

Should you have any questions or need any assistance whatsoever, please feel free to submit a ticket through the link at the top of the page so that our support staff can assist you ASAP.

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