Getting to grips with OAS Playout
Playout is designed to be an intuative, easy to use package but to gain full advantage of any powerful application, clear and coherent user guides, help and other documentation are a must. Playout's Quick Start Guide is the starting point for this, enabling you to quickly get up and running with the package. From there, a comprehensive User Manual walks through all the key features of the software, starting off from initial loading of music to discussing backup and disaster recovery strategies. There is also a detailed guide to creating automated customised playlists and a Developers Guide for taking Playout further. This is all backed up by a comprehensive OnLine help system which covers all aspects of the software.
We've also teamed up with our friends at Cultural Media Enterprise who now offer an industry recognized training course on Community Radio Broadcasting Skills based around the OAS Playout system.
With more and more internet only or 'net simulcasted radio stations coming to the fore, Playout provides dedicated support via optional plug-ins called track listers for providing information on "track now playing" information to the outside world. Any number of these modules may be loaded into Playout and each time it begins playback of a new track, each module is notified in turn of the new track details.
As standard, Playout ships with two modules - the first provides a simple mechanism for updating web page(s) with this information including a history of "last 10 tracks played". The second provides the capability of providing this information to ShoutCast servers. A ShoutCast server provides realtime MP3 streaming capabilities across the internet and the track details are then propogated out from the server to for display on client's players (eg. Winamp) and on the Shoucast web page itself.
The SDK shipped with Playout includes full details on how to go about adding further modules if desired. Alternatively OAS will be pleased to assist in the development of any customised modules.
Open database standard
The full version of Playout stores all the information about the system in an ODBC compliant database - which means in simplistic terms it communicates using an industry recognized standard. "Out of the box", Playout utilises a Microsoft Office Access database - it's simply a file named 'audio' which you can open up and modify if you have a copy of Access installed.
Users and developers familiar with the Microsoft Access package can interact with the Playout database just as they would with any other Access database. Developer information is provided with OAS Playout explaining the structure and relationships of the database allowing for powerful queries & data transfers to be implemented - for example to move information from other systems, process the music logs, generate playlists & generate custom reports.