ContentDepot: Episodes

Back to top

Episodes are the individual occurrences of your program that are delivered to stations for broadcast. Click on the tabs below for more information.

  • Overview
  • Pre-Recorded (File-Based) Episodes
  • Air Windows
  • Publishing Episodes
  • Live Episodes
  • Special Events/Breaking News
  • Live Programs with Subsequent File Delivery
  • Promos
  • Rundowns
  • Modifying Episodes
  • Cancelling Episodes
  • Redelivering Episodes

Overview

An ongoing program or series may consist of daily, weekly, or monthly episodes. A one-time special may have only one episode. Regardless of the frequency of the occurrence, every program that is intended for distribution to stations must have at least one episode.

 

When stations subscribe to your program (see the section on "Subscription Lists"), the broadcast file(s) for every episode of your program will be delivered automatically to those stations. Additionally, the subscription package will include any episode-level promos, rundowns, and web modules that you may also provide. In advance of an episode's air window, the delivery system will send a pre-recorded program more than once to guarantee that every station receives the file, eliminating the need for refeeds. (Producers are only charged once for the transmission time to deliver the files—you are not charged for these additional delivery cycles of the same content.)

In order to create an episode in the ContentDepot, you must have a program page already set up and published. (Refer to "Programs" for information on setting up a program page.) Episodes must follow the format for the program established at the program level. For example, a live program can only have live episodes, and pre-recorded programs can only have file- based episodes.

Live and pre-recorded episodes are handled differently in the ContentDepot. If you will be uploading broadcast episodes as files, you can create episodes and upload them yourself via the ContentDepot portal. If you are transmitting a live program, episodes are created automatically when they are scheduled by the ContentDepot scheduling system.

Important Note: Episode format consistency is critical for stations to automate your program. In order to receive your program, a station will subscribe to it—most likely at the program level for an ongoing series. That means that the station will expect to receive a live program at the same time and for the same duration each week. For pre-recorded programs, stations expect to receive the same number of file segments each week.

Tip: Once an episode is created, there are many ways for you to navigate easily to that episode. Your published programs will display on your home page as quick links to navigate to the program pages. From there, you can locate episodes under the "Episodes" tab. Additionally, the "My Programs" link under "Programs" in the left navigation will allow you to quickly find all programs to which you have access.

Pre-Recorded (File-Based) Episodes

To create a new episode of your pre-recorded program, click on the "Add New Episode" link in the left navigation.

Tip: If you do not have a link to "Add New Episode" in the left navigation, you should verify with your local ContentDepot administrator that you are authorized to add and update episodes on behalf of your organization.

Select the program for which you want to add an episode. You will then be given the basic episode input form to complete. You must fill in minimal information or metadata to create an episode, including:

  • Episode title
  • Begin air date and time
  • End air date and time
  • Genre (this is completed for you based on the program genres, but can be changed to be specific for each episode)

Tip: It is recommended that you give episodes unique titles. If your episodes are not already uniquely named, the recommended convention is to use the program title followed by the episode date in yymmdd format (e.g., Beale Street 070801 for Beale Street Caravan's August 1, 2007 episode).

Air Windows

The air window is the duration during which stations are permitted to air a particular episode. The air window for your episode is defined by the begin and end air dates that you input. Remember that consistency is important for station automation. If you have a weekly program, make sure that the air window always begins on the same day of the week.

Cut identification numbers are assigned to each segment of your program when the episode files are initially uploaded. These numbers enable stations to set up templates in their automation systems to automate your program. Cut identification numbers will repeat consistently from day-to-day or week-to-week depending on the frequency of your program.

If you have episodes with overlapping air windows, multiple episodes of the program will be available to the station for broadcast at any given time. Because the cut identification numbers for the episodes will be the same, the last episode delivered will be the one placed in the station automation schedule. File names for each segment are always unique so stations can keep track of your episodes.

The duration of any episode's air window cannot exceed 12 months. This limit helps to manage episode overlap for stations and files that are stored in station receivers.

Tip: If you have a program with an unlimited air window or an air window that exceeds 12 months, we recommend that you also post copies of the episode files on the program page as the "evergreen episode." This evergreen episode can be available for as long as you like and can be requested at any time by stations that are subscribed to your program. When a station requests an evergreen, it can elect to have it delivered via Internet, FTP (if the station has an FTP site configured for ContentDepot), or satellite.

During the air window for your episode, stations can also download the broadcast file, promos, and applicable promotional materials via the ContentDepot portal if they so choose. After the air window passes, stations will no longer be able to download that content via the ContentDepot. However, as the program distributor, you will continue to have access to the content until you delete it.

Publishing Episodes

By default, the episode "Publish" box is checked at the bottom of the "Add Episode" page. If you need to unpublish an episode, you can uncheck the box. Unpublishing an episode will make it available only for members of your organization to search and edit. Stations will not be able to view the episode, and content associated with this episode will not be delivered. Therefore, use the unpublish feature very carefully. See the section on "Quality Control" for more information.

If you do unpublish an episode, you can publish it by selecting the "Update" button in the top right of the content area of your episode page. This takes you back to the edit screen for the basic episode information. Checking the publish box at the bottom of the episode page will publish your episode, making it available for stations to view and for content to be delivered.

Once you have completed the initial form to add an episode, you can now add broadcast files, promos, rundowns, promotional materials, and additional information to your episode record. How much additional information you add is up to you. Additional information you add to your episode metadata enhances searching for your content based on the additional criteria. It also gives stations more materials and information to enrich their promotion of your content.

Episode Page for a Pre-Recorded Program

Stations will see the same episode page that you can view, except that stations and other program distributors will not be able to edit your information. If you have been given episode edit permissions by your local administrator, clicking on the "Update" button next to each section of an episode page will allow you to edit the information in that section.

1. The basic information you input when you created the episode displays in the top, white area of the page.

2. The "Episode Files" section allows you to upload the broadcast content.

3. Use the "Rundowns" section to post your rundowns either by uploading a text file or by typing content into the text box provided

4. Use the "Promos" section to upload promo files. Promo files must be provided in MP2 format per the ContentDepot specifications (refer to the section on "Files"). You can upload multiple promos at a time by clicking the "Add Additional Promos" link to add more promo slots.

5. Use the "Photos/Logos" section to add promotional images in graphics format (.jpg, .gif, .eps, .tif). You can upload multiple images at a time by clicking the "Add Additional Images" link to add more image slots.

6. The "Credits" section gives you additional fields for metadata and also allows you to define your own fields that may not be available as part of the standard metadata selection.

7. The "Promotional Text" section allows you to add promotional text documents such as program listings, bios, and scripts in various text formats (e.g., .doc, .pdf, .txt, .rtf). You can upload multiple documents at a time by clicking the "Add Additional Documents" link to add more document slots.

8. Use the "Web Modules" section to upload content intended for station websites. These files must be zipped together using software such as Winzip that packages multiple files into one master file with a .zip file extension. You can upload multiple web module packages at a time by clicking the "Add Additional Web Module" link to add more web module slots.

9. The "Related Links" option gives you a way to point stations to other information that may be available about your episode on other websites. You can input multiple links at a time by clicking "Add Additional Links."

10. At the very bottom of your episode page, a button is provided to "Cancel Episode." If your episode has not yet delivered to stations, this button will cancel the episode delivery and send a notification to stations that the episode has been cancelled. You will not be charged for any deliveries that have not occurred. If your episode has already been delivered, then you will still be charged for delivery.

Refer to the online "Help" system available via the ContentDepot portal for more specifics about program and episode pages and metadata.

Deadlines for Broadcast Upload of Files

We advise that producers upload episode segments no later than the suggested times below:

Program Frequency Producer Upload Deadline
One-Time Special 4 hours before begin air date
Daily 4 hours before begin air date
Weekly 11 hours before begin air date
Monthly 14 hours before begin air date

These upload guidelines allow time for our Network Operations staff to QC segments, for stations to verify receipt before going to broadcast, and for producers to correct errors if needed.  The ContentDepot actually delivers files in advance of the air windows according to the guidelines above and sends automated reminders to producers if scheduled segments are missing.  Stations will also receive notification if episode content is not available two hours prior to the air window.  We strongly recommend that you provide an evergreen episode on your program page for stations to download in the event they miss an episode.  If you do not make the two-hour deadline, the files will still deliver to stations receivers within minutes after uploading.

To Add Broadcast Audio Files

The update buttons on the right side of each section of the episode page allow you to edit that section and/or add content. To add broadcast audio, select the "Update" button in the "Episode File(s)" section.

Tip: If you do not have an "Update" button for episode files, check with your local ContentDepot administrator to make sure you have been given permission to upload episodes for this program.

The "Episode Segments" page will allow you to select MP2 files from your local computer for upload. The number of segments that are available for you to upload is set at the program level. Keep in mind that the number of episode segments must be consistent from episode to episode for station automation. (Refer to the section on "Programs" for more information about program segments.)

Tip: If, by its nature, a program has variable segments from episode to episode (e.g., a classical symphony that has a different number of movements each week), designate the maximum number of possible segments for the program. When fewer segments are required, insert a "zero-length segment" (a one- or two-second audio file with no actual audio) to satisfy the automation requirements for consistency. Stations are still required to do local adjustment for proper playback, but the existence of zero-length segments assures continued (but not programmatically correct) operation in the event the station does not make the proper adjustments. Please advise stations when you insert a zero-length segment by sending a ContentDepot message and by noting this in the episode metadata under "Programmer's Notes."

When you have selected all your files for upload, make sure you "Submit" the page. If your computer is properly configured, the secure FTP application will launch in a small application window.

Important Note: If you are using a Mac OS9 computer, uploads will use HTTP. The secure FTP application is not compatible with OS9. Unfortunately, HTTP upload will not provide you with a progress bar, but it will return you to the episode page to verify upload upon completion.

Tip: If the FTP application does not launch within a couple of minutes, make sure it is not running behind your currently active window. If this is the first time you are trying a ContentDepot upload on this computer, you may need to install the appropriate Java applications. Refer to the section on "Browser Requirements" to configure your computer.

Tip: Firefox and Netscape users may be prompted to open the Java application. It is okay to accept these notifications by selecting "yes" or "okay."

Once the FTP application launches, a status window and progress bar will launch as each segment file uploads. Upon the successful completion of all segment uploads, a confirmation window will display with the status of the uploaded segments. If your file is not properly formatted per the ContentDepot specifications (refer to the section on "Files"), you will get an error message. The file(s) will need to be reformatted and re-uploaded.

Tip: The FTP feature is very robust and will run in the background-even if you log out of the ContentDepot. (You must, however, leave your computer running and connected to your network for the uploads to complete.) Once the upload process has begun, you can select the "Upload Complete" button to navigate away from the upload page and perform other transactions on the ContentDepot or to log out. Your upload will continue to run in the background. Depending on the reliability of your Internet connection, you may also be able to set up multiple episode-upload sessions at the same time by simply navigating to the next episode you want to upload and following the same procedures.

Tip: Depending on the nature of your Internet connection, you may see your upload progress occasionally restart if there are any disruptions in the connection to your ISP. These restarts will occur automatically as necessary to complete the upload. You do not need to take any action. You may, however, see your upload progress bar temporarily return to 0% when one of these disruptions occurs. If your upload is completely interrupted for any reason, the upload will resume at the point of the interruption if you return to the episode page and select to upload the same file again.

Important Note: The ContentDepot scans all ingested files for viruses. Depending on the type of file being uploaded, an alert will be provided to you when a file with a virus is rejected, or the Network Operations Center (NOC) will receive an alert and will contact you. The ContentDepot will not deliver your file if it detects a virus.

Broadcast files and promos that you upload in MP2 format will be automatically converted to broadcast wave (.wav) format by the ContentDepot for delivery to stations. This file will contain your MP2 audio file but wrap in metadata for processing by station automation systems. This process does not alter the audio file. The integrity of your original audio is not affected.

Important Note: Provided that you have the appropriate permissions set by your local administrator, you will be able to download broadcast audio files for your episodes. These files will have been converted to broadcast wave format. Most standard media tools will be able to play these files. However, we strongly recommend that you locally save your program master and own version of the original MP2 file for archive purposes. If you should choose to redeliver an episode at a later date, you will need to re-upload the original MP2 file to the ContentDepot.

Live Episodes

You will not be able to create live episodes via the ContentDepot portal. Because live episodes must be scheduled for transmission at a specific time, the ContentDepot scheduling system automatically creates episodes for live streams in the portal. When you create a new live program in the ContentDepot portal, your Public Radio Services Representative will be notified to contact you and schedule the program. Episodes can be scheduled in advance for up to one year.

As with pre-recorded programs, you can set the air window for live episodes. By default, the beginning of the air window (begin air date) will be the start of the scheduled transmission time. This is the first time that your episode will be available for stations to air. By default, the end of the air window is set to 23:59:59 p.m. on the day of the transmission. (If the transmission spans midnight, the end air date would be 23:59:59 p.m. on the following day.) If you want to extend the air window for a live stream, you can change the end air date.

Important Note: To enable stations to subscribe to adjacent live programs using the same decoder output, program producers must make sure to include five seconds of silence before the end of each live episode. Therefore, for example, no regularly scheduled live program audio should extend beyond :55 seconds of the final programming minute.

Tip: Even if an episode is live, you can still attach promos, rundowns, and web module files to your episode page. See the instructions below for associating these files with your episodes.

Cues signal to stations when a local cutaway occurs. For more information about cueing in live programs, please refer to the section called "Live Programs."

If you have specific questions about the format or delivery of your live episodes, please contact the PRSS Help Desk at 800.971.7677.

Episode Page for a Live Program

Stations will see the same episode page that you can view, except stations and other program distributors will not be able to edit your information. If you have been given episode edit permissions by your local administrator, clicking on the "Update" button next to each section of an episode page will allow you to edit the information in that section.

1. The basic episode information displays in the top, white area of the page.

2. The "Episode Files" section is not relevant for a program that is only delivered live.

3. Use the "Rundowns" section to post your rundowns as either a text file that you will upload or to type content into the text box provided.

4. Use the "Promos" section to upload promo files. Promo files must be provided in MP2 format per the ContentDepot specifications (refer to the section on "Files"). You can upload multiple promos at a time by clicking the "Add Additional Promos" link to add more promo slots.

5. Use the "Photos/Logos" section to add promotional images in graphics format (.jpg, .gif, .eps, .tif). You can upload multiple images at a time by clicking the "Add Additional Images" link to add more image slots.

6. The "Credits" section gives you additional fields for metadata and also allows you to define your own fields that may not be available as part of the standard metadata selection.

7. The "Promotional Text" section allows you to add promotional text documents such as program listings, bios, and scripts in various text formats (e.g., .doc, .pdf, .txt, .rtf). You can upload multiple documents at a time by clicking the "Add Additional Documents" link to add more document slots.

8. Use the "Web Modules" section to upload content intended for station websites. These files must be zipped together using software such as Winzip that packages multiple files into one master file with a .zip file extension. You can upload multiple web module packages at a time by clicking the "Add Additional Web Module" link to add more web modules slots.

9. The "Related Links" option gives you a way to point stations to other information that may be available about your episode on other websites. You can input multiple links at a time by clicking "Add Additional Links."

Tip: If you wish to cancel a live episode, you must call your Public Radio Services Representative. Cancellation charges may apply when a live episode is cancelled.

Refer to the online "Help" system available via the ContentDepot portal for more specifics about program and episode pages and metadata.

Multi-Hour Live Programs

Several live programs distributed through the ContentDepot are 24-hour services (e.g., Classical 24, BBC World Service) or multiple-hour programs (e.g., Morning Edition, All Things Considered). Since stations that only air selected hours of that programming throughout the day will not want to tie up their satellite decoders for the duration of the transmission, program distributors are breaking most multi-hour programs into multiple time-based programs that can be individually or collectively subscribed to by stations.

It is up to you as the program distributor to decide on the level of granularity that works best for your content and to balance those needs with the way stations will use the programs. Separating programs into multiple time-based programs means that you will have more individual episodes to maintain. However, this will give you the ability to measure station usage on an hourly or even daily basis. For more information about formatting your multiple-hour programs, please contact your Public Radio Services Representative.

Special Events/Breaking News

Major news distributors of special live events coverage may create 24x7 Special Events Coverage programs to which authorized stations can subscribe. Since breaking news can occur at any time, stations dedicate a ContentDepot decoder output at their station to receive this content whenever it occurs.

When special events coverage occurs, please contact your Public Radio Services Representative to schedule the coverage.

Live Programs with Subsequent File Delivery

Program distributors may elect to send programs in both live and file formats to accommodate repeat transmissions. If this distribution method is requested by a distributor, the ContentDepot automatically records the live program as it is transmitted as a stream, then delivers the episode segment files as they are recorded. Files will be segmented (see the section on "Live Programs") based on time or the cues embedded in the program stream. The number of segments is set on your program page and should be consistent from episode to episode. The Network Operations Center (NOC) will receive a notification if the expected number of segments does not record. Incomplete segment packages will still be delivered to stations but will trigger an automation error. You will probably want to correct the error by providing the expected number of segments and then notify stations of the change.

Stations that are subscribed to the live program will automatically receive the subsequent file delivery, or they can subscribe only to the files. Producers can modify individual segments of the recorded files if there are updates to a specific area of content. Updated segments will be delivered automatically to subscribed stations while the air window is active. You will be charged for the additional transmission charges associated with the updated segment(s) in addition to the ordinary delivery charges for this program delivery option.

If you have specific questions about the segmentation of your live episodes for subsequent file delivery or about pricing for this service, please contact the PRSS Help Desk at 800.971.7677.

Important Note: As with live programs, you must speak to a Public Radio Services Representative to schedule live-with-subsequent-file episodes before those episodes can be available in the portal.

Tip: If you distribute files using this record feature of the ContentDepot, make sure you verify the air window for your episode. Because these episodes follow the rules for a live program, the default air window will only be through 23:59:59 p.m. on the day of the transmission, which may need to be extended for the file-based repeats. Remember, files are deleted from station receivers at the end of the air window.

Promos

Promos for specific pre-recorded episodes are delivered as files. Promo files are uploaded to the specific episode page that the promo is promoting. Promo files are queued for delivery to subscribed stations as soon as they are uploaded, so make sure that you set up your episode page and upload promos in time for stations to air them prior to the episode you are promoting. Promos must be uploaded in MP2 format per the file specifications for ContentDepot (see "Files").

To add a promo, go to the specific episode page and select the "Update" button next to the Promo section.

Tip: The ContentDepot will allow you to upload an unlimited number of promos per episode, but the standard format is 15 and/or 30 seconds. The initial promo upload screen will give you three promo slots by selecting "Add Additional Promos." If you need to add more, selecting "Update" again by the promo option will give you another three slots.

Promos can be uploaded as files for live programs as well. These promo files will be delivered to stations on the program subscription list. Alternatively, you can continue to embed promos in your live feed as appropriate.

Rundowns

Rundowns provide important information to station operations personnel about the timing and cues for your episode. Rundowns should be entered on the specific episode page for distribution to stations as part of the subscription package.

To add a rundown, go to the specific episode page and select the "Update" button next to the rundown section. Rundowns can either be entered as text into the rundown input box or attached as a document file in .doc, .rtf, .txt, or .html format.

Tip: You do not need to enter rundowns separately as mail messages in the ContentDepot. When a rundown is entered via the episode page, stations will receive the rundowns as text files as part of the subscription delivery. They will also get an automatic notification of the rundown via the ContentDepot messaging system.

Tip: In the initial release, the ContentDepot text input areas (such as the rundown box) may not handle special characters if you cut and paste text from word processing software such as Microsoft Word. Special characters that are not recognized by the browser will turn into an upside-down question mark. For best results when cutting and pasting text, first save the text in a simple text format such as .txt or .rtf to eliminate special characters.

Modifying Episodes

You can update metadata for your episodes at any time (even after the air window has passed). Changes to metadata (begin and end air windows, for example) can result in redelivery of your content to stations and are subject to associated charges. For pre-recorded programs, you can also update individual episode segment files, promos, and rundowns. If you update an episode segment before the initial delivery has been transmitted to stations, there is no billing consequence. However, you will be charged for any updated segments that result in additional file deliveries to stations. Only the updated segment (not the entire episode) will be redelivered and consequently charged. Updates to promo, rundown, or web module files will result in redeliveries but are not charged to you.

Important Note: Updated segments and files will only be delivered to stations while the air window for your episode is still active.

Changing Program Format

If you decide to permanently change the delivery format for your program (from live to pre-recorded or from pre-recorded to live), you must contact your Public Radio Services Representative to assist you with this change.

If you will be producing a special episode that breaks format with the rest of your series (e.g., a live special of a program that is otherwise pre-recorded), you should create a new program series for the special and advise stations to subscribe to it. Remember, consistency is key for station automation of your program, so you do not want to make changes to your ongoing series that will disrupt station operations. See the section on "Messaging" for recommendations on notifying stations of changes.

Changing Time

For live programs, changing the transmission time of an episode can have serious consequences. Station subscriptions to live programs allocate a specific satellite decoder output to receive your program at a specified time for a specific duration. If the start or end time changes, this may result in the station not receiving your program (or another one that they intended to receive) because that decoder output has been allocated to another program.

Please consult carefully with your Public Radio Services Representative regarding any live program transmission schedule changes. If the change is permanent, stations will need to be notified and will need to modify their station equipment assignments. If the change is for a one-time special, you must set up a new program for the special to avoid disrupting existing station subscriptions.

Cancelling Episodes

You can cancel pre-recorded episodes yourself using the "Cancellation" feature at the bottom of your episode page. If the cancellation occurs before files have been delivered to stations, you will not be charged for delivery. If the episode has already been delivered, standard delivery charges will apply. Stations will be notified automatically when the episode is cancelled.

You must contact your PRSS Account Representative to cancel a live episode. Cancellation charges may apply.

Deleting Files

You can delete files from your episode pages by using the "Update" button next to the appropriate section and deleting the file. That file can then be replaced at your discretion.

If you wish to delete all files for an episode that is past its air window in order to free up storage space, navigate to the episode tab from your program page and select "Past Episodes." The resulting screen will give you the option to remove all files from a selected episode (or episodes).

Redelivering Episodes

If you wish to redeliver an episode that is past its air window, you must create a new episode and re-upload the content to trigger a redelivery.