Consolidating Broadcast Service Instances

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Steps for Consolidating Broadcast Service Instances

Why consolidate broadcast service instances?

When we first released broadcast services, we performed a migration of all existing subscriptions to "legacy" broadcast services, which were automatically generated. Due to the many varieties of station schedules and configurations, there was no reliable way to know how each station was using the receivers and ports for redundancy instead of for breaking news, for one-off specials, and so forth. To avoid any accidental modification of subscriptions, an individual broadcast service was created for each receiver and port in your account. For example, if you had two receivers you would have up to 8 migrated broadcast services (2 receivers x 4 ports).

We know, however, that many stations use the receivers for redundancy and want the exact same content, live and file, on multiple receivers. Broadcast services supports this redundancy functionality by adding multiple destinations to a single service and delivering all subscribed content to all of the assigned destinations so they are always consistent mirrors of each other. The "consolidating" process is a simple process that moves a receiver/port destination from one of the migrated broadcast services to another broadcast service to establish true redundancy. Without completing the one-time consolidating process, you will be responsible for manually maintaining redundancy by subscribing on two different broadcast services, similar to how you would have previously subscribed to multiple ports on multiple receivers with the legacy subscriptions. While broadcast services does require this extra consolidating step initially, the extra step is intended to make redundancy easier to maintain in the long run while also providing the foundation for features expected in the future system.

The consolidating process

The steps below walk you through the simple process of consolidating your broadcast services.

CAUTION: When done correctly, there should be no impact to on-air operations; however, we recommend performing these steps when the receivers/ports are not actively in use or during off hours when the risk of an impairment is low


Step 1: Identify the broadcast services to consolidate

Many stations may already know which broadcast services they want to consolidate based on how they normally use the receivers. For example, if you know that receiver 1 port 1 should always be mirrored by receiver 2 port 1 based on your physical station setup, you can move on to the next step. If you're not sure which broadcast services should be redundant, the best option is to look at your existing broadcast service schedules to find broadcast services with the same schedule.

Log into ContentDepot and use the top menu to navigate to "My Station→Broadcast Schedule". This schedule displays all the subscribed content for each of your broadcast services. Again, you may see 8 (or more if you have more receivers) migrated broadcast services on this schedule. Identify services carrying the same content that you believe should always be identical.

For example, in the above figure, the station is carrying "Morning Edition" on the migrated broadcast services delivering to port 1 of receiver 1 and receiver 2. The same is true of "Classical 24" on port 2 of receiver 1 and receiver 2. The broadcast services delivering to port 4 on the two receivers differs. In this scenario, consolidating the broadcast services currently delivering to port 1 would reduce the number of broadcast services and guarantee that they stay in sync and redundant in the future. The same process could be done for the broadcast services delivering to port 2 of each receiver.


Step 2: Disassociate a port from a broadcast service

Once you have identified the two broadcast services to consolidate, you need to select the service that will remain after the consolidation. If the subscriptions were completely identical on the ports before the migration to broadcast services, either service can be selected. In the example from above, we'll select "Pro Audio 1 Port 1 (legacy)" as the service to remain and "Pro Audio 2 Port 1 (legacy)" as the service we'll consolidate and eventually remove. Therefore, we must first disassociate the receiver 2 port 1 destination from the second broadcast service so we can associate it with the first broadcast service.

Use the top menu to navigate to "My Station→Broadcast Services". This page displays all your broadcast services and their current destination assignments. Find the service to be consolidated, "Pro Audio 2 Port 1 (legacy)" in our example, and click the pencil icon in the upper right corner to edit it.

 

The broadcast service edit dialog will appear with a number of tabs at the top. Select the "Destinations" tab to display the destinations associated with the broadcast service.

 
You can see, as the service name implies, that this broadcast service is delivering all content to Pro Audio 2 Port 1. Click the check box next to the port to uncheck it and disassociate it from this broadcast service. Once you click Save, ContentDepot will stop delivering content to this port and the port will be available to associate with another broadcast service. The receiver and port on the target broadcast service has not been affected and will therefore continue to carry all live and file content.

Click "Save" to save the destination changes to the broadcast service. You'll now see a warning on the broadcast service that it is not delivering to any destinations. This is the expected and desired state.


Step 3: Associate a port to a broadcast service

Now that the receiver port has been disassociated from the broadcast service to be removed, we can associate it with the broadcast service that we want to be redundant. On the same page, find the service to add redundancy to, "Pro Audio 1 Port 1 (legacy)" in our example, and click the pencil icon in the upper right corner to edit it.

The broadcast service edit dialog will appear with a number of tabs at the top. Now that we're about to add a second receiver and port to the broadcast service, it makes sense to also rename it to something more logical. You can pick any name that makes sense for your station. In our example we'll change the name to "WHAL-FM Talk" to indicate that this is our primary FM service with a talk radio format. Again, you can choose any name you want.


 
After editing the name, select the "Destinations" tab to display the destinations associated with the broadcast service. All available destinations will be selectable on this page. You can deliver subscribed broadcast service content to any number of destinations but in our example we just want to send it to receiver 1 port 1 (already selected) and receiver 2 port 1 to maintain the redundancy configuration of our station. Because we previously disassociated receiver 2 port 1 from the other broadcast service, it is available to be selected.


 
Select the port by clicking the check box. Click "Save" to save the destination changes to the broadcast service. You'll now see that the broadcast service has been renamed and it is delivering to two receivers and ports.
 

All the content subscribed on the broadcast service will now be delivered to both destinations, making them fully redundant for both live and file content. Any future subscriptions on the broadcast service will also be fully redundant with no additional steps necessary.


Step 4: Verify receiver schedule and repeat

Use the top menu to navigate to "My Station→Live Receiver Schedule" to verify that all live content is still being delivered to all of the destinations on the consolidated broadcast service. In our example this is receiver 1 port 1 and receiver 2 port 1.
Once you're happy with the consolidation, repeat this process for any other broadcast services you'd like to consolidate. In our example we could consolidate the ports carrying "Classical 24" and again with the ports carrying "NPR Newscasts". We won't consolidate the ports carrying "Breaking News" or "Squawk" because we want them each on a separate port, without redundancy. But your specific station configuration may vary and you should consolidate your broadcast services appropriately for your needs.


Step 5: Cleanup

At this point your broadcast services are consolidated, redundant, and named for easy identification. You can leave the broadcast services that no longer have destinations assigned as long as you want, but we recommend deleting them at some point so there is no chance of accidentally creating subscriptions on them in the future. To delete a broadcast service, use the top menu to navigate to "My Stations→Broadcast Services". Find the service to delete, which will presumably be one that no longer has destinations assigned, and click the trash can icon.

Confirm the prompts to delete the service, which you know is a safe operation because you already disassociated all destinations, and click "Delete Broadcast Service". You can always add new broadcast services and associate them with available destinations at any time.


Next Steps

After you have consolidated and named all your broadcast services, the next logic step is to update your station schedule by editing your subscription information to accurately reflect when you play-out the content you are subscribed to. This is a more involved process that will take more time so you may want to split it up into multiple sessions. The schedule data is currently only used for informational purposes for display on the Broadcast Services Schedule page and for reporting. In the future, however, it may be used for features such as delayed playback of live content and metadata distribution. We'll be sure to give plenty of warning to stations before any of these features go live but it would be good to get your station schedule cleaned up before that happens so you're ready to take advantage of these new features.