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Zara Radio Tutorial
Zara Radio PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Farney   
Saturday, 01 August 2009

 

***This tutorial is out of date with the current application, but it's back by popular demand!  Some software versions, links, and newsfeeds are no longer available.*** 

 

Zara Radio is a complete radio automation solution for all your audio needs before and after your show.  Using DTMF, you can seamlessly change from Zara Radio to LOR and back without worrying about schedules or song lengths.  It's free, easy to use, and professional grade software used to run real radio stations. 

  

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Download Zara Radio 

Zara Radio Basics

Integration with LOR 

Download DTMF Tones

Troubleshooting DTMF 

Adding Time, Temperature, and Humidity Announcements

Installing Weather Watcher

Troubleshooting Weather Watcher

Adding News Feeds

Configuring the Zara Radio Option Screen 

Using the Scheduler

Troubleshooting the Scheduler

FarneyLights.com Radio Setup

Zara Radio Manual

Other Radio File Examples

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download Zara Radio

Visit http://zararadio.org/ to download your copy of the software and install it.  The free version (v1.6.2) is sufficient for your needs.

   

Zara Radio Basics

This is the ICE (Indiana Christmas Enthusiasts) MiniPlus presentation from 2009 modified for the web.  It covers the "why" you might choose Zara Radio and gives an introduction to the software, screens, and setup choices. 

View Part 1 on Vimeo.com

 

Integration with LOR

There are many options for integration with LOR including scheduling start/stop times, using DTMF, and using multiple sound cards.  This presentation covers the first two topics.  Using multiple sound cards is beyond the scope of this presentation. 

View Part 2 on Vimeo.com

Zara Radio uses DTMF tones toggle between playing audio and using the satellite connection.  That is the purpose of DTMF.  When you play the tone for Zara Radio to stop playing, Zara Radio will stop and unmute the satellite connection to allow the satellite audio to come through.  When you play the tone to tell Zara Radio to start playing again, the satellite connection will mute (to prevent accidental audio from coming from the satellite connection and overlapping on top of Zara Radio.)  

Satellite Connection Defined:  This is an auxiliary connection audio feed that Zara Radio uses upon demand via DTMF tones.  The DTMF feature is intended to connect to a different audio port on your computer to get a different audio feed.  However, most of us do not actually have LOR coming in on a different audio port.  As such, we never want Zara Radio to mute our main audio source. 

Muting Workaround:    In order to fix this problem, go into Satellite on the options screen and pick a port you do not use.  Then, when Zara Radio mutes this port, the muting will not matter.

Proper Satellite Connection Use with Two Sound Cards:  If you are using two sound cards, go into the Satellite on the Options screen and pick the sound card and port you are inputting the audio on.  Then, Zara Radio will mute the LOR input whenever Zara Radio playing, and it will unmute LOR whenever Zara Radio receives the DTMF tone to stop playing.  Users having this configuration will need to schedule enable the satellite connection a few minutes before LOR is scheduled to play or place an event in their queue to enable the satellite connection.  Otherwise, Zara Radio will not hear the DTMF tones because your LOR audio (DTMF tone) is muted.       

Where Can DTMF Tones Occur? - Zara Radio will "hear" any tone it can distiguish as long as it is on an audio line that is not muted.  So, DTMF tones can come in on any line such as aux, input, mic, output, etc.  DTMF tones do not necessarily need to come from the satellite connection.  

  

 Download DTMF Tones 

Note:  After downloading, you will notice these are labeled with start or stop Zara Radio for your convenience.  You must still go into the DTMF tab on the Zara Radio options screen, and set up the DTMF options to match the filenames.  You can, of course, rename the files and set up your the options however you like. 

59
69
88
90
99

Troubleshooting DTMF

  1. Make sure the tones are not being muted.  Can you hear them occuring on your computer?  If you audio is muting when you play the DTMF tone to start Zara Radio, you are having a satellite problem
  2. Make sure the tones are setup correctly.  Are the tone files you're playing matching the tone entries on the DTMF options screen?
  3. Make sure you have not reversed the tones.  Based on the verbage on the option screen, it is very easy to enter the the start and stop tones backwards.  Play both the start and stop tones on your computer to see if either one of them causes an action to occur.
  4. Make sure "Play the List" is selected instead of "Play Pending Events" on the DTMF options screen.
  5. Make sure DTMF is enabled on the DTMF options screen.
  6. Make sure no third party application is controlling your audio.  Did you have to install special software for your audio and/or do you use a different program instead of the windows volume control for volume?  Is there a sound application in your taskbar tray?  If so, you may need to configure your software or disable it altogether for DTMF to work.
  7. Not all sound cards will support DTMF.  Particularly, sound built into the motherboard may not have advanced enough drivers to handle DTMF.  When all else fails, install a spare sound card to test if DTMF works on that sound card.  If so, use that card or buy a new sound card for your computer.  

 

 

Time, Temp, and Humidity

Announce the current time, temperature, and humidity on your radio station! Here are several voices I have collected over time.  In addition, Kevin has graciously created additional voiceovers for us, so those who use Demented Elf for their display voiceovers will now have matching radio announcements!  Some Zara Radio Time/Temp/Humidity files were provided by Demented Elf Productions.

Voiceovers Supplied By: Demented Elf Productions
Take your Display to the next level with Demented Elf Productions!

If you are having trouble with static, noises, or pops during your time announcements, please see the AGC notice below.

Setup Time, Temperature, and Humidity Options

Download Time Voices
Download Temperature Voices
Download Humidity Voices


AGC Notice 

Automatic gain control may cause static and/or pops in some of the time file announcements.  Here are some notes from Greg who was assisting troubleshooting this issue: 

I have been working with Michael in proofing the tutorial.  As Michael had previously noted the problems we have been having are with the time/temp and humidity files.  We did get them cleaned up a bit and have corrected the problem as much as we are going to get it at this time.  I have been bench testing the files with one of our audio engineers at the television station I work at to see if we can correct this problem.  This is directly from him. 

I played them in several different programs and they all seem to play OK.  It may be possible that the max sampling rate of 48K cannot be handled for the AGC; however, since we converted all the files and still noticed the problem, this may not be the case.  It seems the AGC code that Zara Radio uses is too aggressive, and the settings for the playback of the time/temp/humidity are particularly affected.  The gate and threshold settings are not set up correctly.  The gate seems to open too fast and the threshold is set to high.  If you listen close it is possible to hear a cycle in the music files also, although this is not as detectable as individual files like the time/temp files, which seem to play fine in a playlist so something tells me there is a settings problem between the playlist and direct access to the mp3's in the specific folders.  Although the misc audio on the head and tail of the clips were under 5db Zara Radio amplified this many more times than the original level.  Greg, I would recommend you not to use the AGC setting for now.

We have done everything we could think of, converted them to different sampling rates, ran them through various filters, played them with different versions of Zara, re-dubbed them to different formats and couldn't correct the problem totally.  In the end we simply cleaned them up a bit, they do work now, however, you may experience some pops/or static.  Believe me this is much better then when we started.  Take note, this only happens when you have the AGC (automatic gain control) turned on.  Everything is fine if you have this setting off.  I normally run Zara with AGC off which was recommended to me.  I would also recommend this setting. 

Greg

 

Using AGC is a personal preference.  I prefer to have it turned on myself, because the files I use do occasionally need the gain corrected.  For everyone else, I'd say try it both ways, and if you don't see any advantage with AGC turned on, then turn it off. 

One last side note: The English Male announcements work just fine with AGC.  So you are not stuck if you wish to use the AGC normalizing feature.  In fact, in my 3 years of running Zara Radio, I've never run it with AGC off.

Michael 


Time Voices

Directions:  Unzip these files to your time directory.  The default directory path for Zara Radio is:  C:\Program Files\ZaraSoft\ZaraRadio\Time

Demented Elf Productions.zip - Thanks to Kevin for these!

Demented Elf Productions with ADDL.zip - Some of the voice files, particularly those occurring on the hour, have additional Christmas greetings built into them.  Thanks to Greg for sharing this previous version of Demented Elf voice files, and thanks to Kevin for allowing distribution of these files. 

British Male.zip - Need announcements from a good ol' Brit?

British Female.zip - Need announcements from a good ol' Brit?

Female Computer (DirEttore).zip - Time announcements from a female that sounds a bit too computer-like.  These announcements came from the original software I used, DirEttore.

 

Temperature Voices*  -20F to 120F

Directions:  Weather watcher must be installed. Unzip these files to your temperature directory.  The default directory path for Zara Radio is:  C:\Program Files\ZaraSoft\ZaraRadio\Temperature

Demented Elf Productions.zip - Thanks to Kevin for these!

Demented Elf Productions with ADDL.zip - All of these voice files have additional Christmas greetings built into them, and they only go up to 65F.  Thanks to Greg for sharing this previous version of Demented Elf voice files, and thanks to Kevin for allowing distribution of these files. 

British Male.zip - Need announcements from a good ol' Brit?

Male Computer Voice.zip - Temperature announcement from a male who sounds a bit computer-like.

 

Humidity Voices* 0 to 100%

Directions:  Weather watcher must be installed.  Unzip these files to your humidity directory.  The default directory path for Zara Radio is:  C:\Program Files\ZaraSoft\ZaraRadio\Humidity

Demented Elf Productions.zip - Thanks to Kevin for these!

British Male.zip - Need announcements from a good ol' Brit?

Computerized Male - Computer Voice

 

*Weather Watcher is required to pull current weather data

  

Installing Weather Watcher

Download the current version from Singers Creations if you are OK paying a subscription.  At the time of this writing, it is $10 a year.  However, all versions before 6.1.03 are/were FREE, and these versions are readily available online at various download sites.  As a courtesy, two free versions are available here.

Download Weather Watcher v6.0.6
Download Weather Watcher v6.0.1

Go into the options and setup Weather Watcher to your liking.  Here are a few key screens that show my setup, but Weather Watcher settings are mostly personal preference.  I basically disable anything unrelated to Zara Radio. 

Active City Tab

Auto Update Tab

Export Tab

General Tab

After setting up Weather Watcher file exporting, retrieve the latest weather forecast to generate the exported file.  Then, go into the TTH tab on the Zara Radio options screen.  Configure your TTH settings including telling Zara Radio the location of your exported file.  

Don't forget to disable all Weather Watcher sounds and popups.  Otherwise, you will get Weather Watcher sounds on top of your LOR audio and pop ups on top of your LOR video!

  

Troubleshooting Weather Watcher

  1. Verify Weather Watcher is pulling the correct weather information for your area.  If not, go back into the Weather Watcher options and make sure your active city is setup correctly.
  2. Make sure you have file exporting setup in the Weather Watcher options under the Export tab.  Using logging for weather data will not work.  Make sure Zara Radio TTH Options has the same file path as the Weather Watcher export tab. 
  3. Try changing your file path to this in both the Zara Radio TTH Options and Weather Watcher:  C:\Program Files\ZaraSoft\ZaraRadio\export.html  People have reported having good success with this file path. 
  4. Reboot your PC.  Weather Watcher does not create your first export file until it cycles through a few weather updates.  Even then, people still have issues getting the first Weather Watcher file on occasion.  Rebooting your PC fixes the issue for some people. 
  5. Right click on Weather Watcher and choose "Retrieve Forecast."  This will create your export file in the event you are still missing one.
  6. Verify the export file was created.  Open it and verify it has current weather data.  If YES, then there is a problem with the file path in Zara Radio TTH Options.  If your export file does not exist or is outdated, then there is problem with the settings on your Weather Watcher options export tab, or you have not retrieved the latest forecast.  See steps 2 through 5.
  7. If Zara Radio is skipping your temperature announcements, click on the temperature button on the main Zara Radio screen.  If the temperature announces, everything is working fine and you have a scheduling or queue problem in Zara Radio.  If you receive a message that the weather file is out of date, then check that you have an internet connection and that weather watcher is updating your exported file.    
  8. Wait 24-48 hours.  All people who have reported the export file not being created after having the options setup correctly, have had it just "start working" one or two days later.  Weather Watcher can be skiddish when it is first installed.  Reboot your PC.  If all else fails, triple check your settings and wait it out.

 

 

News Feeds  

Having real time news on your radio station gives it a professional feel.  You can add these free feeds directly to your Zara Radio queue or schedule them.  Just add them to Zara Radio as an internet stream and specify how many seconds the stream should play.  Additional podcasts are available at http://www.fsrn.org/podcast.

30 Second World News Headlines
http://64.26.15.101/feeds/FSNHeadlines.mp3

5 Minute World News
http://64.26.15.101/feeds/FSNWorldNews.mp3

3 Minute World News Bulletin (first 3 minutes of the 5 minute file)
http://64.26.15.101/feeds/FSNBulletin.mp3

  

Configuring the Options

This walks though the various option screens, and it will let you know what each option means and how you might use it.  

Quick Links
Fade
Satellite
Outputs
Log
Password
Silence Detector
Mixer
TTH
DTMF
Explorer
Tags
Talk Over
General 

  

Fade

Basic Fade Options / Configuration

  •  Overlap Tracks - Recommended Setting: 10 Seconds - When set to 10, this value does NOT mean tracks will overlap for 10 seconds.  It means Zara Radio will listen to the levels carefully during the last 10 seconds of the song and determine the best point to transition to the next song.  
  • Fade Tracks - Recommended Setting: 4 Seconds - This is the maximum possible fade time.  For example, when Zara determines the end of song has occurred, it will fade out the current song and fade in the new song over 4 seconds.  It may use ANY value smaller if there is less than 4 seconds remaining in the current track.  For example, when Zara Radio determines its time to transition to the next song and there are only 2.5 seconds left in the current song, then the fade time will be adjusted to 2.5 seconds. 
  • Fade on Overlap - Recommended Setting: Checked - When Zara Radio transitions from one song to another in the queue, it will use these fade settings.  Unchecking this box will disable fade settings.
  • Fade on Stop - Recommended Setting: Checked - When Zara Radio receives a stop command, it will use these fade settings.  Unchecking this box will cause an immediate, hard stop to occur instead.
  • Detect the end of the song - Recommended Setting:  Checked with slider at "-26db" - When enabled, this allows Zara Radio to intelligently decide the best the transition to the next song.  Once Zara Radio has reached your "overlap tracks" setting, it will wait until the volume drops below -26db, and then it will transition to the next track using your fade settings.  When disabled, the overlap and fade tracks feature will fade only at the specified fade time (4 seconds), and Zara Radio will not intelligently pick the best fade location.   

**IMPORTANT NOTE**  These settings will work for 95% of your songs.  If Zara transitions your song too soon due to very quiet audio at the end of the track, you can override the overlap value.  To bypass these settings and hardcode the overlap value for a particular song, the file must be renamed by adding "~overlap" to the filename, where overlap is a value greater than or equal to zero.  For example, Blues~1.mp3, Blues~2.8.mp3, and Blues~0.mp3 will set the overlap value to 1, 2.8, and 0 seconds respectively.  Blues.mp3 will overlap based on your fade settings because no value is specified in the filename. 

  

Satellite

Beginning users need to pick an audio port they do not use.  This will prevent muting issues some users have when using DTMF. 

Advanced users can use this OPTIONAL connection for auxiliary input such as a CD player, radio, or second sound card.  Zara Radio can accept or mute the input from this line.  The best use is for your LOR audio to input on this line using a second sound card.  However, many other configurations are possible depending on your goals.  Beginning users need not play with this option. 

  

  • Pick the sound card where your input is plugged into.  For a radio or cd player, plug the audio line to the input of your sound card.  For two sound cards, run an audio cable from the output of one sound card to the input of the other sound card.  Thus, regardless of what you setup, Zara Radio will now control this input.  Specify on this option screen the sound card and which port you are using for input.  The selected input is normally muted and un-mutes when the satellite command is active or when the satellite button is pressed. 

  

Outputs

Here you can configure your sound card(s) - If you do not have multiple sound cards in your PC, do not modify these settings.  Cue and Aux players are not useful unless you are being a live DJ with Zara Radio. 

  • Air Output - Recommended Setting: Your Personal Preference - Select the soundcard Zara Radio will output to.
  • Cue Output - Recommended Setting: Your Personal Preference - If you wish to cue a song to a particular point while Zara Radio is actively playing something else, pick a sound card here different from your "air output."  The cue audio will play on this sound card. 
  • Aux Player Outputs - Recommended Setting:  Your Personal Preference - If you are using the Aux players, specify which sound card each aux player shall use. 

  

Log

Configure Song Logging

  • Enable Logs - Recommended Setting:  Checked - When you initially setup Zara Radio or a new schedule, you will often have a few glitches occur (human error in schedule times, queue, directory, etc.)  This log is a lifesaver because you can go back and see exactly what happened, particularly if the file/directory wasn't found or if anything unusual happened in the scheduler.  When you hear a mistake, it is often too late to go back to Zara Radio and see what happened without a log.
  • Log only when using the first instance - Recommended Setting: Checked - This means a log file will only be created for the first instance of Zara Radio.  If you open a second or third window of Zara Radio, it will not log events or songs from the second or third window.  This helps prevent your log from being muddied up.  In the event you legitimately need to run two windows of Zara Radio at the same time, you may want to uncheck this if you desire both sessions to write to the same log file.
  • Folder - Recommended Setting: Your Personal Preference - Tell it where to put the log file.  Zara Radio will make one log file per day, so a separate directly is recommended because you'll accumulate files quickly. 

  

Password

Password protect Zara Radio features

  • Current Password - Recommended Setting: Disabled - If you previously enabled the password, you must enter it here to unlock the password features for changing.
  • Enable Protection - Recommended Setting: Disabled - Check this box if you wish to password protect portions of Zara Radio.
  • Password/Repeat Password - Recommended Setting: Disabled - When setting up a password for the first time or changing your password, enter your password here twice.
  • Elements to Protect - Events Dialog - Recommended Setting: Unchecked - Requires a password to open up and view or edit the scheduler.  
  • Elements to Protect - Discard the Pending Events - Recommended Setting: Unchecked - Requires a password to manually remove events from the queue in the "upcoming events" (scheduler) window. 
  • Elements to Protect - Play the Pending Events Manually - Recommended Setting: Unchecked - Requires a password when pressing play after highlighting an event in the "upcoming events" (scheduler) window.
  • Elements to Protect - Options Dialog - Recommended Setting: Unchecked - Requires a password to access, view, or change the options.
  • Elements to Protect - Enable/Disable Events - Recommended Setting: Unchecked - Requires a password to enable or disable the events window.

  

Silence Detector

This setting will automatically detect silence in your MP3s. It will not recover from hardware, system, or software failures.  It will, however, switch the track if the current track is silent for longer than the allowable threshold.

  • Enable the Silence Detector - Recommended Setting: Checked - This turns the silence detector on or off.
  • Silence Period - Recommended Setting:  5 Seconds - This is how many seconds of silence are necessary in a file before Zara Radio changes tracks.  If Zara Radio detects this length of silence anywhere in your audio file, including the beginning, middle, and ending, it will change tracks immediately.  Setting this value too low will cause false positives, and Zara Radio will switch tracks in the middle of your songs. 

  

Mixer

Select the volume control program

  • Mixer - Recommended Setting: C:\WINDOWS\system32\sndvol32.exe - This is the file path of the windows volume control.  If your sound card uses a different, special utility to change the volume, specify the file path to that program here.

  

Time, Temperature, and Humidity 

Specify your TTH settings

  • Temperature - Recommended Setting - Disabled - Here you can specify a manual value for temperature if you are not automatically pulling temperatures.
  • Humidity - Recommended Setting: Disabled - Here you can specify a manual value for humidity if you are not automatically pulling humidity. 
  • Import from File - Recommended Setting: Checked if using TTH, unchecked if not using TTH - Check this box and specify the location of your Weather Watcher file which contains the current weather information.  **You must have Weather Watcher installed and configured prior to setting up TTH.**    
  • File Location - Recommended Setting: The location of your Weather Watcher file - Select the location of the exported Weather Watcher file so Zara Radio will know the current temperature and humidity.
  • Disable Announcements after XX Minutes - Recommended Setting: 30 Minutes - Select how old your weather information can be before it is considered outdated.  Events such as loss of internet connection or other errors may cause your weather information to stop updating.  If this occurs, tell Zara Radio how long it is OK to keeping announcing this old, outdated weather information over the radio.  Once this time threshold is passed and no updated weather information is available, Zara Radio will skip all temperature and humidity announcements, even if they are scheduled to occur.  As soon as the weather file gets updated again to be current (internet connection is restored), Zara Radio will continue temperature and humidity announcements as usual.  
  • Temperature - Recommended Setting: Fahrenheit - Select whether your temperature announcements should be in Fahrenheit or Celsius.  Zara Radio will do the conversion automatically, but it needs to know which temperature scale to use for announcements.

Download Time, Temperature, and Humidity Voices

Download Weather Watcher 

  

DTMF 

Tell Zara how to use and interpret DTMF control tones.

  • Enable the Detector - Recommended Setting:  Checked if using DTMF, unchecked if not using DTMF - Select enabled if you plan on using DTMF to control Zara Radio and disabled if you will not use DTMF.
  • Disconnection Tone - Recommended Setting: 90 - Pick which tone will cause Zara Radio to turn off the satellite connection and start playing Zara Radio.
  • Action - Recommended Setting: Play the List - Choose what will happen when Zara Radio hears the disconnection tone. 
  • Tone - Recommended Setting: 69 - Pick which tone will cause Zara Radio to stop playing.
  • After XX Seconds - Recommended Setting: Disabled - After receiving a disconnection tone, this is the number of seconds that Zara Radio will play.  Zara Radio will automatically stop after this number of seconds. 
  • Don't Connect / Connect Manually - Recommended Setting:  Disabled - Choose this option if you do not wish for Zara Radio to stop playing automatically (DTMF or otherwise).  You will have to stop Zara Radio manually when this option is selected. 

Download DTMF Tones

  

 

Explorer

Specify which file types will show up in your tree.

  • Folder - Recommended Setting:  Disabled - Select a folder here to be the root for your menu tree if you are not using the special folder option.
  • Special Folder - Recommended Setting:  My Computer - Select a folder here to be the root your menu tree.

  

Tags

If you want to view tags in your queue instead of the filename, use this option.   For this option to work, you must have ID3 version 1 tags setup in your files.  (Right click on the song and select properties.  Fill out all the info like artist, album, genre, etc.)  If this info is filled out for all your tracks, tags will work.  Otherwise, tags will fail. 

  • Enable Tags - Recommended Setting: Your Personal Preference - Check this if you want your specified tags show up in the queue instead of the actual file path.
  • Format - Recommended Setting: Your Personal Preference - Specify which tags you want to show up in the queue.

  

Talk Over

This feature is only useful if you hook up a microphone and actually speak on top of your Zara Radio broadcast

  • Period - Recommended Value:  500 - This is how long it will take the current track to fade down to the "speech volume" level after the Talk Over button is pressed.
  • Speech Volume - Recommended Value:  2nd Hash Mark from the Bottom - This is what the volume level will be after the Talk Over button is pressed in Zara Radio.  After the Talk Over button is pressed again, the volume returns to 100%. 

  

General - General Options

  • Station Name - Recommended Setting: Your Station Name - Entering this will cause your name to show up on your Zara Radio window.  It looks neat but serves no functional purpose
  • Language - Recommended Setting: English - Choose the language to display the menus in.
  • Enable Auto Start - Recommended Setting: Checked - Checking this box will cause Zara Radio to automatically start playing when you open the program.  It will remember the last (saved) queue and will start playing from the top of the queue. 
  • Enable AGC - Recommended Setting: Checked - Enables automatic gain control which will even out volume differences between different files.  It makes every song played have the same (similar) gain so radio listeners do not have to change the volume on every song.  There is no noticeable audio degradation of either soft or loud sounds for most people.  Certain time announcement files may have static or a popping noise with AGC turned on.  If this happens to you, either use a set of time announcement files known to work with AGC (such as English Male), or turn AGC off.
  • Allow opening more than one instance - Recommended Setting:  Personal Preference - This allows you to open multiple windows of Zara Radio if you prefer.  I have not found a useful application of this for displays, but I leave the option checked because I see no reason to limit the software functionality.
  • Disable the events in secondary instances  - Recommended Setting: Checked - This will prevent your scheduled events from playing in a second Zara Radio window if you happen to have two open.  I suggest checking this option so you do not accidently get two Zara Radio windows playing something at the same time, which will give you "garbage" overlapping audio. 
  • Open the last list at startup - Recommended Setting: Checked - This will have Zara Radio automatically open the last (saved) version of whatever queue was playing last.  I leave this checked so when the computer reboots, Zara Radio will be ready to go without additional queue configuring or opening a saved file. 
  • Shutdown Confirmation - Recommended Setting: Unchecked - The idea behind this setting is to prevent you from accidently closing your radio station.  However, in the event of an automatic or scheduled reboot or similar processes on your computer, your computer will hang on this confirmation if there is no one to press the "yes" button. 
  • Play tracks by double-clicking on them - Recommended Setting:  Personal Preference - Double clicking a queue item when unchecked will put the green marker there, and it will be the NEXT thing to play.  Double clicking a queue item with this box checked will cause the track you click to play immediately. 

 

Using the Scheduler

The scheduler is an easy way to have events occur near a certain time without worrying about what state the queue is in.  The queue is best used to keep a specific amount of separation between various items.  The scheduler is best used to have an event occur at or near a certain time.  You will find these options when adding an event:

  • Periodicity  - Specify the schedule for when this event will play.  You can choose Once a day which means the event will only occur at the time specified in the "Date and Time" section.  Play every hour will schedule the event to occur every hour at the minutes and seconds you specify, regardless of the actual hour specified in "Date and Time".  For example, setting 3:58:30PM will cause the event to occur every hour at 58 minutes and 30 seconds past the hour.  Other hours allows you to choose the specific hours for the event.  Using the same example, the event will occur 58 minutes and 30 seconds after each hour you specify.
  • Date and Time - Start date and time is the time you wish the event to occur and the first date the event is allowed to play.  Setting up a date in the past will cause the event to always play as scheduled.  Setting up a date in the future means the event will NEVER play until that future date occurs.  Then, the event will occur as scheduled.
  • Expiration - If you wish for an event to stop occuring after a certain date/time, specify that date/time here.  After that date/time occurs, the scheduled event will no longer play.  When left unchecked, the event will play as scheduled with no expiration date.
  • Days - Here you specify which days this event is allowed to play.
  • Immediate/Maximum Wait Time - Immediate - This means the event will interrupt Zara Radio and cause the event to occur immediately when the scheduled time/date occurs.  Zara Radio will stop whatever it is doing and start this event.  Maximum Wait - This specifies the maximum amount of time that can occur before this schedule event is dropped from the queue.  If you never want an item to be discarded from the queue based on wait time, uncheck this box.  In the event Zara's currently playing song exceeds the maximum wait time specified, the scheduled event will be discarded.  For example, if a time announcement is scheduled for noon and has a maximum wait time of 5 minutes, when noon occurs, the scheduled event will wait for Zara to finish the current song.  If Zara Radio finishes its current song before 12:04:59, the time announcement will play next.  If Zara Radio does not finish its current song by 12:04:59, at 12:05:00 the time announcement will be discarded from the scheduler queue and will never play.  NOTE:  In order for an event to wake Zara Radio up from a stopped position, the immediate option must be used.  Zara Radio will not play scheduled events with a maximum wait time if Zara Radio is stopped. 
  • Priority - Priority is only useful when there are multiple scheduled events queued to play at the same time.  Zara Radio will empty the scheduler queue based on priority, starting with the oldest high priority event and working its way to the newest high priority event.  Once all the high priority events are played, it will empty the queue starting with the oldest low priority event and work its way to the newest low priority event.  
  • Event Type - Here you select what kind of event you want to occur.  Zara Radio accepts most common file types including batch files and executables. 

 

Troubleshooting the Scheduler

If the actions you are expecting do not occur as scheduled, check the following items:

  1. The yellow checkmark above the scheduler queue must be pressed down.  When this button is not pressed, the scheduler is disabled.
  2. Check the log file.  Sometimes the log file will spell out the exact problem or reason for unexpected behavior such as "file not found" or "maximum wait time exceeded" or "DTMF Tone XX Received." 
  3. The scheduler queue window (titled Upcoming Events) will display all things scheduled to occur in the next 15 minutes.  Double check your items show up in the scheduler window 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time.  If the event you are expecting does not show up in the window, it means you do not have the event scheduled correctly.  Go back into the scheduler and verify you have the correct date(s), time, periodicity, and days setup.  Also, verify your computer clock time is set to the correct time.
  4. If the item shows up in the scheduled window but does not play, either Zara Radio could not find the file/event you specified or the maximum wait time was exceeded.  Verify the maximum wait time is not set too low or disabled it.  Also, verify the item file path is correct and the file is still accessible.   
  5. Open the event window and verify the check box to the left of the event is checked.  If this box is unchecked, Zara Radio will not process the event.

  

FarneyLights.com Walkthrough

Take a look at my complete setup and how I work with heavy scheduling to turn Zara Radio is the true workhorse it is meant to be. 

 

View Part 3 on Vimeo.com

Check out these files I use on my radio station.  A few IDs can make the difference in the sound of your radio station. 

Station IDs

ID 1
ID 2
ID 3
ID 4

Station Promos

Promo 1-1
Promo 2-1
Promo 3-1

Promo 1-2
Promo 2-2
Promo 3-2

Promo 1-3
Promo 2-3
Promo 3-3

Don't forget to visit my website http://farneylights.com/.  There you can stream my radio station live if I have the radio up and running for the current (or next) season.  Try it out and see what you think.  For Halloween Radio 2009, after 5pm, the actual LOR show plays even though no lights are hooked up outside.

  

Zara Radio Manual

Looking for even more knowledge and want to dive deeper into Zara Radio?  Do you have a specific feature you want to learn more information on?  Try the Zara Radio Manual

 

Other Radio Example Files

Thanks for vendor http://www.radiovoiceimaging.com/christmas for allowing distribution of these files.  Special thanks to Greg for sharing the files and obtaining vendor permissions:   

879 4Gs Radio - Christmas ID 1.mp3
879 4Gs Radio - Christmas ID 2.mp3
879 4Gs Radio - Christmas ID 3.mp3
879 4Gs Radio - Christmas ID 4.mp3
879 4Gs Radio - Christmas ID 5.mp3
879 4Gs Radio - Christmas ID 6.mp3
879 4Gs Radio - Christmas ID 7.mp3
879 4Gs Radio - Christmas ID 8.mp3
879 4Gs Radio - Christmas ID 9.mp3
879 4Gs Radio - Christmas ID 10.mp3

More from Demented Elf Productions:

http://thedementedelf.com/

Check out my Halloween videos with Kevin's voice.

Demented Elf - After Hours.mp3
Demented Elf - Bad Weather.mp3
Demented Elf - Bad Weather2.mp3
Demented Elf - Close.mp3
Demented Elf - Final Night Close.mp3
Demented Elf - ID1.mp3
Demented Elf - ID2.mp3
Demented Elf - ID3.mp3
Demented Elf - ID4.mp3
Demented Elf - Opening Announcement.mp3
Demented Elf - Photo Op Few Minutes.mp3
Demented Elf - Photo Op Next.mp3
Demented Elf - Photo Op Now.mp3
Demented Elf - Power Company.mp3
Demented Elf - Power Company Gift.mp3
Demented Elf - Promo 1.mp3
Demented Elf - Promo 2.mp3
Demented Elf - Promo 3.mp3
Demented Elf - Reboot.mp3
Demented Elf - Reboot Halloween.mp3
Demented Elf - Request Line.mp3
Demented Elf - Safety Announcement.mp3
Demented Elf - Solar Power.mp3
Demented Elf - Speaker Shutdown 9pm.mp3
Demented Elf - The Web.mp3