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Executing Interactive Programming with #engage and NexGen

This article is written for Program Directors Engineers Air Talent

This article is part of a series on NexGen.

There are several types of voting features that you can execute with NexGen:

  • "UPick" voting sessions - A few songs (typically 3) are pre-scheduled and listeners vote for the one that plays. At the end of the session, the losing songs are automatically deleted from NexGen. Learn more about "UPick" voting sessions here. This same functionality also works for Stylized Voting Sessions.
  • Top Song - A larger list of songs (typically 15-25) are available for voting online, and the song with the most votes is automatically inserted into NexGen. Learn more about Top Song here.
  • Takeover - Your music library is available online, and listeners pick every song that plays for an hour, a daypart, or a special weekend (within the parameters defined by your program director). The winning songs are automatically inserted into NexGen. Learn more about Takeover here. This same functionality also works for Takeover Countdown.
  • FaceOff - Pit two songs against each other, and also let listeners choose which two songs will face off next. Winners will be automatically inserted into NexGen. Learn more about FaceOff here.

This article will outline the NexGen-specific details for these features. We'd recommend that you consult with Futuri VIP Support before running any of these features for the first time, so that we can answer any questions about your station's specific programming plan.

Breaknote syntax for music schedulers

In case you want to set up all of the possible breaknotes/commands at once, below is a handy cheat-sheet on each available breaknote:

Breaknote info Music scheduler How to create
UPickStart - Activates the next pre-scheduled UPick-style voting session. Related links: GSelector Can either be set up as a Breaknote (under "Clocks") or as a Link (under "Linker"). The text UPickStart goes in the title field, and the Media field should be 20. All other fields can be blank.
Selector V12 (DOS) Set up in Linker with the title text UPickStart and the Media field 20. Note the Link's ID number so you can add it to the clock later.
MusicMaster Set up as a Lognote with the following syntax: ^20^^UPickStart (Note - some MusicMaster stations may need three carats instead of two between the number and the title. Check with MusicMaster Support to be sure.)
LDR Vote Options Start - Goes before the first vote option of a UPick session. Related links: GSelector Can either be set up as a Breaknote (under "Clocks") or as a Link (under "Linker"). The text LDR Vote Options Start goes in the title field, and the Media field should be 09. All other fields can be blank.
Selector V12 (DOS) Set up in Linker with the title text LDR Vote Options Start and the Media field 09. Note the Link's ID number so you can add it to the clock later.
MusicMaster Set up as a Lognote with the following syntax: ^09^^LDR Vote Options Start (Note - some MusicMaster stations may need three carats instead of two between the number and the title. Check with MusicMaster Support to be sure.)
LDR Vote Options End - Goes after the last vote option of a UPick session. Related links: GSelector Can either be set up as a Breaknote (under "Clocks") or as a Link (under "Linker"). The text LDR Vote Options End goes in the title field, and the Media field should be 09. All other fields can be blank.
Selector V12 (DOS) Set up in Linker with the title text LDR Vote Options End and the Media field 09. Note the Link's ID number so you can add it to the clock later.
MusicMaster Set up as a Lognote with the following syntax: ^09^^LDR Vote Options End (Note - some MusicMaster stations may need three carats instead of two between the number and the title. Check with MusicMaster Support to be sure.)
Begin Top Song - Activates a Top Song session. Related links: GSelector Can either be set up as a Breaknote (under "Clocks") or as a Link (under "Linker"). The text Begin Top Song goes in the title field, and the Media field should be 20. All other fields can be blank.
Selector V12 (DOS) Set up in Linker with the title text Begin Top Song and the Media field 20. Note the Link's ID number so you can add it to the clock later.
MusicMaster Set up as a Lognote with the following syntax: ^20^^Begin Top Song
End Top Song - Ends a Top Song session. Related links: GSelector Can either be set up as a Breaknote (under "Clocks") or as a Link (under "Linker"). The text End Top Song goes in the title field, and the Media field should be 20. All other fields can be blank.
Selector V12 (DOS) Set up in Linker with the title text End Top Song and the Media field 20. Note the Link's ID number so you can add it to the clock later.
MusicMaster Set up as a Lognote with the following syntax: ^20^^End Top Song
Begin Song Replacement - Begins a Takeover or Countdown session. Also used in combination with other breaknotes to trigger Top Song and FaceOff sessions. Related links: GSelector Can either be set up as a Breaknote (under "Clocks") or as a Link (under "Linker"). The text Begin Song Replacement goes in the title field, and the Media field should be 20. All other fields can be blank.
Selector V12 (DOS) Set up in Linker with the title text Begin Song Replacement and the Media field 20. Note the Link's ID number so you can add it to the clock later.
MusicMaster Set up as a Lognote with the following syntax: ^20^^Begin Song Replacement
End Song Replacement - Ends a Takeover or Countdown session. Also used in combination with other breaknotes to end Top Song and FaceOff sessions. Related links: GSelector Can either be set up as a Breaknote (under "Clocks") or as a Link (under "Linker"). The text End Song Replacement goes in the title field, and the Media field should be 20. All other fields can be blank.
Selector V12 (DOS) Set up in Linker with the title text End Song Replacement and the Media field 20. Note the Link's ID number so you can add it to the clock later.
MusicMaster Set up as a Lognote with the following syntax: ^20^^End Song Replacement
Begin FaceOff - Begins a FaceOff session. Related links: GSelector Can either be set up as a Breaknote (under "Clocks") or as a Link (under "Linker"). The text Begin FaceOff goes in the title field, and the Media field should be 20. All other fields can be blank.
Selector V12 (DOS) Set up in Linker with the title text Begin FaceOff and the Media field 20. Note the Link's ID number so you can add it to the clock later.
MusicMaster Set up as a Lognote with the following syntax: ^20^^Begin FaceOff
End FaceOff Next - Disables the bottom portion ("who should face off next") section of FaceOff (but does not entirely turn it off). Related links: GSelector Can either be set up as a Breaknote (under "Clocks") or as a Link (under "Linker"). The text End FaceOff Next goes in the title field, and the Media field should be 20. All other fields can be blank.
Selector V12 (DOS) Set up in Linker with the title text End FaceOff Next and the Media field 20. Note the Link's ID number so you can add it to the clock later.
MusicMaster Set up as a Lognote with the following syntax: ^20^^End FaceOff next
Empty Song Slot - Denotes a position for Takeover, Top Song, Countdown, or FaceOff to insert a winning song. Related links: GSelector Can either be set up as a Breaknote (under "Clocks") or as a Link (under "Linker"). The text Empty Song Slot goes in the title field, and the Media field should be 81. All other fields can be blank.
Selector V12 (DOS) Set up in Linker with the title text Empty Song Slot and the Media field 81. Note the Link's ID number so you can add it to the clock later.
MusicMaster Set up as a Lognote with the following syntax: ^81^^Empty Song Slot
Begin Facebook Live - Used to trigger a pre-scheduled Facebook Live video from the #engage Studio mobile app. Related links: GSelector Can either be set up as a Breaknote (under "Clocks") or as a Link (under "Linker"). The text Begin Facebook Live goes in the title field, and the Media field should be 20. All other fields can be blank.
Selector V12 (DOS) Set up in Linker with the title text Begin Facebook Live and the Media field 20. Note the Link's ID number so you can add it to the clock later.
MusicMaster Set up as a Lognote with the following syntax: ^20^^Begin Facebook Live (Note - some MusicMaster stations may need three carats instead of two between the number and the title. Check with MusicMaster Support to be sure.)

"UPick" voting sessions

NOTE: In order to execute a "UPick" voting session, the session must be pre-scheduled in your music scheduler so that Futuri has the vote options on file.

For a "UPick" voting session, the vote options are pre-scheduled in your music scheduler, and at the end of the session, NexGen will automatically delete the losers (so you'll only play the winner). Most stations wrap these voting sessions around a commercial break to drive Time Spent Listening and AQH.

Click here for more general information about voting sessions.

The vote options are bookended in NexGen by Comments called LDR Vote Options Start and LDR Vote Options End. The only elements between these two breaknotes should be the songs you want listeners to vote for (not imaging positioners, for example). Several minutes before these songs in the log, you'll have an Export Comment called UPickStart.

When the UPickStart plays in NexGen, it will be exported to Futuri, and we will trigger the next scheduled voting session from our copy of your music log. For this reason, voting sessions must be scheduled in advance in your music scheduler. NexGen will then "check in" with Futuri once every 30 seconds to see which song is winning at that moment. Then, when there are 60 seconds left until the LDR Vote Options Start, NexGen will automatically delete the losing songs, leaving only the winner to play next. The voting session on your station's website will then disappear when the winning song plays.

Some technical notes on voting sessions:

  • NexGen can only look ahead 64 elements into its log. This means that there can only be 64 elements between the UPickStart and the LDR Vote Options End (including those two breaknotes). If there are more than 64 elements, the voting session will appear on your website for users to vote on, but NexGen won't delete the losing songs. For this reason, we recommend keeping your voting session to 15 minutes or less.
  • NexGen will not delete the losing songs if a voicetrack borders the session (because it doesn't want to risk the voicetracker back-selling the wrong track). That's really smart thinking on NexGen's part, but it means that if you're running a voting session during voicetracked programming, you'll want to border it with either imaging or more music.
  • We'd recommend that you enable reconciliation between NexGen and your music scheduler, so that at the end of each day, the songs that didn't play are deleted from that day's log in your music scheduler. RCS Support can help you to set up reconciliation if you aren't already using it.

Remember, voting sessions must be pre-scheduled in your music scheduler (so that both your automation system and Futuri can see what's scheduled). Click here for instructions on setting up voting session clocks in your music scheduler.

Top Song

With Top Song, listeners view a list of songs on your #engage voting window and vote them up and down in a queue. The song with the most votes each hour (taking basic artist/title separation into account) is that hour's "top song" and is automatically inserted into NexGen to play.

Click here for more general information about Top Song.

Most stations run Top Song for an entire daypart (i.e. 7p-12a) or as a workday feature (10a-5p). When doing this, it's only necessary to turn Top Song "on" at the beginning of the daypart, turn it "off" at the end of the daypart, and then to insert Empty Song Slots in each hour where you want a winner to be placed.

To turn Top Song "on," you'll insert an Export Comment called Begin Top Song followed by another Export Comment called Begin Song Replacement. These elements can either be placed in your music scheduler or hard-coded into your actual NexGen clocks. When these elements play, Top Song will appear in your station's voting window online, and NexGen will begin to "check in" with Futuri every 30 seconds to find out what song is currently being voted #1.

Each hour when you want a song to be inserted, you'll add an Empty Song Slot. While Empty Song Slots CAN be pre-scheduled in your music scheduler, most stations have NexGen configured to delete all Empty Song Slots when a music log is imported. You can configure NexGen to not do this, but most stations find it easier to just manually insert their Top Song Empty Song Slots AFTER importing the day's logs (usually delegating that task to the on-air host for that shift).

NexGen will check in with Futuri every 30 seconds to find out which song is currently being voted #1, and then 60 seconds before each Empty Song Slot, the most recent #1 song will be automatically inserted into that Empty Song Slot.

When you're about to play your last Top Song winner, you can turn Top Song "off" with two more Export Comments, called End Top Song and End Song Replacement. It's recommended that you play these Export Comments right BEFORE you play the last winner. That way, users aren't voting after the last winner has already started to play. It's safe to disable the feature right before the last Empty Song Slot, because the winner will have already been inserted 60 seconds prior.

We'd recommend that you enable reconciliation between NexGen and your music scheduler, so that at the end of each day, the songs that won during Top Song are inserted into that day's log in your music scheduler. RCS Support can help you to set up reconciliation if you aren't already using it.

Takeover

With Takeover, listeners view your music library online and vote their requests up in a queue. The song with the most votes when it's time for the next song to play (taking your separation goals into account) is automatically inserted into NexGen.

For more information about Takeover goals, click here.

For more information about Takeover clock setup, click here.

To turn Takeover "on," you'll insert an Export Comment called Begin Song Replacement. This element can either be placed in your music scheduler or hard-coded into your actual NexGen clocks. When this element plays, Takeover will appear on your site, and NexGen will begin to "check in" with Futuri every 30 seconds to find out what song is currently being voted #1.

Wherever you want a song to be inserted, you'll add an Empty Song Slot. While Empty Song Slots CAN be pre-scheduled in your music scheduler, most stations have NexGen configured to delete all Empty Song Slots when a music log is imported. You can configure NexGen to not do this (by un-checking the box under Config > Station > Music > Modify/View > Delete Empty Song Slots), and if you do, NexGen will instead ASK you every time you import a music log whether you want to delete Empty Song Slots.

To set up each day's Takeover sessions so that it will include Empty Song Slots, there are two options:

  • Option 1 - Import every hour EXCEPT the Takeover hour(s), telling NexGen it's ok to delete the Empty Song Slots in those hours, and then do a second import for the Takeover hour(s), telling NexGen NOT to delete the Empty Song Slots in those hours. This option is typically chosen by stations that want to put their Takeover imaging in their music scheduler, or pre-schedule a couple songs during their Takeover hour(s).
  • Option 2 - Import every hour EXCEPT the Takeover hour(s), telling NexGen it's ok to delete the Empty Song Slots in those hours, and then place any imaging or extra elements for the Takeover hours directly in NexGen. In these cases, the music scheduler just doesn't schedule anything for the Takeover hours, and everything for those hours is managed directly in NexGen.

NexGen will check in with Futuri every 30 seconds to find out which song is currently being voted #1, and then 60 seconds before each Empty Song Slot, the most recent #1 song will be automatically inserted into that Empty Song Slot.

At the end of your Takeover show, you'll want to turn it "off" with an Export Comment called End Song Replacement. It's recommended that you place this Export Comment at the top of the NEXT hour (so it doesn't inadvertently get synced out at the end of the show). This element can either be placed in your music scheduler or hard-coded into your actual NexGen clocks.

We'd recommend that you enable reconciliation between NexGen and your music scheduler, so that at the end of each day, the songs that won during Takeover are inserted into that day's log in your music scheduler. RCS Support can help you to set up reconciliation if you aren't already using it.

FaceOff

With FaceOff, your station can pit two songs against each other, and also let listeners choose which two songs will face off next. The winners are automatically inserted into NexGen.

For more information about FaceOff, click here.

For more information about FaceOff clock setup, click here.

To turn FaceOff "on," you'll insert an Export Comment called Begin FaceOff and another Export Comment called Begin Song Replacement. These elements can either be placed in your music scheduler or hard-coded into your actual NexGen clocks. When these elements play, FaceOff will appear on your site, and NexGen will begin to "check in" with Futuri every 30 seconds to find out what song is currently winning.

Wherever you want a song to be inserted, you'll add an Empty Song Slot. While Empty Song Slots CAN be pre-scheduled in your music scheduler, most stations have NexGen configured to delete all Empty Song Slots when a music log is imported. You can configure NexGen to not do this (by un-checking the box under Config > Station > Music > Modify/View > Delete Empty Song Slots), and if you do, NexGen will instead ASK you every time you import a music log whether you want to delete Empty Song Slots.

To set up each day's FaceOff sessions so that it will include Empty Song Slots, there are two options:

  • Option 1 - Import every hour EXCEPT the FaceOff hour(s), telling NexGen it's ok to delete the Empty Song Slots in those hours, and then do a second import for the FaceOff hour(s), telling NexGen NOT to delete the Empty Song Slots in those hours. This option is typically chosen by stations that want to put their FaceOff imaging in their music scheduler, or pre-schedule a couple songs during their FaceOff hour(s).
  • Option 2 - Import every hour EXCEPT the FaceOff hour(s), telling NexGen it's ok to delete the Empty Song Slots in those hours, and then place any imaging or extra elements for the FaceOff hours directly in NexGen. In these cases, the music scheduler just doesn't schedule anything for the FaceOff hours, and everything for those hours is managed directly in NexGen.

NexGen will check in with Futuri every 30 seconds to find out which song is currently being voted #1, and then 60 seconds before each Empty Song Slot, the most recent #1 song will be automatically inserted into that Empty Song Slot.

Right before your second-to-last Empty Song Slot, place an Export Comment called End FaceOff Next. This is done because there is no payoff for the “which songs should face off next” at this point in the hour (because after the next head-to-head, the feature will be done for the day).

Finally, at the end of your FaceOff show, you'll want to turn it "off" with an Export Comment called End Song Replacement. It's recommended that you place this Export Comment in a position where it will NOT be synced out (i.e. by padding the end of the hour with pre-scheduled songs). This element can either be placed in your music scheduler or hard-coded into your actual NexGen clocks.

We'd recommend that you enable reconciliation between NexGen and your music scheduler, so that at the end of each day, the songs that won during FaceOff are inserted into that day's log in your music scheduler. RCS Support can help you to set up reconciliation if you aren't already using it.

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