Locator: Automator > Edit Script > Edit Script .
The Automator provides several methods for injecting Announcements (pre-recorded audio messages) into music programming. The music programming is paused for the duration of the announcement(s) playback. The Announcement audio files are added to the Soundlist as SoundItems just like any other audio file (mp3, wav, etc). You build a Script with Play Steps (for SoundItems, Listing 2) and mark the Script as Announcements (Figure 1, pick from 3 types of Announcements below).
There are a variety of flexible methods to schedule, time and repeat announcements depending on your project needs. You can also run an Announcement Script manually or add it to the running Scheduler. You can change announcement sets over the course of a day as often as you need to.
You mark a Script as Announcements by checking one of the checkboxes in the Special Processing > Process Steps as Announcements section of the Script Editor (Figure 1). There is no limit on the total number of announcements you can add to an Announcement Script.
If you are using the Automator Now Playing Screen projected full screen onto a display for crowd viewing, you can use specific Artwork and MP3 tags related to the announcement. See Music with Announcements Artwork section.
These Announcement Types perform different behaviors. Pick the one that fits your project requirements. You may decide to run multiple Announcement Scripts of different types over the course of the day.
After you have created an Announcement Script there are two ways to run it.
Select the Announcement Script in the Automator list then click the Run Script button () .
If no music Script is currently playing,
the Announcements will play by themselves. This will pause anything else that might be playing in the Scheduler or the Soundlist Editor. After Announcements have completed, paused music will be resumed. Note that in this case(1a), Insert Announcements will just end immediately since Insert behaviour depends on music tracks playing.
If there is a music Script currently running,
the Announcements will be injected into the running music script.
In a automation script, you can add a Run-Script Step to execute the Announcements script (see Listing 1. Master Program Script). It can be immediate execution, Offset-Timed or Scheduled like any other Step.
In this implementation, we will use three Scripts: 1) A Master Program Script to run the other Scripts; 2) A Script for the music playlist; 3) A Script containing the daily announcements you want to play on a timed interval over the course of the day. There are other ways to combine announcements with music but this is a modular approach that can be easily modified for future changes to either the announcements set or swapping music playlists.
To start the programming, simply run the Master Program Script by starting the Scheduler (Scheduler > Start menu item).
Listing 1. Master Program ScriptScript Name: Master Program Sched: At 8:00:00 AM Steps: 1. Run Script (Daily Announcements) 2. Run Script (Beatles Playlist)
Listing 2. Daily Announcements ScriptScript Name: Daily Announcements Announcements Type: Interval Interval: 15:00 Announcements Grouping: 2 Steps: 1. Play (Announcement1) 2. Play (Announcement2) 3. Play (Announcement3) 4. Play (Announcement4)
Listing 3. Beatles Playlist ScriptScript Name: Beatles Playlist Loop continously. Shuffle Steps when run. Steps: 1. Play (A Hard Day's Night) 2. Play (All You Need Is Love) 3. Play (Can't Buy Me Love) 4. Play (Come Together) 5. Play (Day Tripper) 6. Play (Eight Days a Week) 7. Play (Eleanor Rigby) 8. Play (From Me to You) ... 26. Play (Yellow Submarine) 27. Play (Yesterday)
You can also automatically force all announcements to have a Pre-Delay and/or Post-Delay which will add 'Silence' padding before and/or after each announcement (see Announcements - Delay Defaults settings in the Sound Item Options (Figure 7). It can provide a less abrupt transition between the music and the announcements if desired.
To make a smoother transition between the music and announcements, you can use the Auto-Fade feature. When Auto-Fade is applied, music will fade out and pause, the announcement will play. When the announcement ends, the music will resume and fade back in to its set volume. Auto-Fade-Out On Pause and Auto-Fade-In On Resume are the recommended Auto-Fades to use for this purpose.
If you are using Auto-Fades for the music programming, you may want to exclude your Announcements from Auto-Fade behavior. Do this by checking the option Exclude Announcements from Auto-Fades in the Sound Item Options (Figure 7).
See Announcements Volume vs Music Volume section below.
The Special Processing controls (Figure 2) work differently for Announcement type scripts.
For Insert and Interval Announcements type scripts, Loop continously and Repeat are ignored because by their logic they continue to execute until the music script is stopped or you Clear Announcements.
With Standard Announcements: Loop and Repeat work depending on the type of Play steps used.
After the designated Repeat Offset time expires, the script will run again. Example, Figure 2 sets the script to repeat every 30 minutes.
After all announcements have played in a cycle, the announcements are Shuffled into a new random order before playing again.
Any Announcement Play Steps that have applied time settings (Offset-Timed Or Scheduled) will ignore Shuffle steps.
This provides a convenient way to swap different sets of announcements in/out of your programming over the course of a business day. You can do it manually or scheduled in automation scripts. Clearing Announcements does not stop any music programming that is running.
Every time you run an Insert or Interval Announcements Script, its Play Steps get added to the stack of Announcements. That may or may not suit your needs. If you want an Announcements Script to replace (not add to) any existing set of announcements, you need to execute a Clear Announcements Step. This could be useful when you want to change announcements depending on a time of day.
Clear Announcements will stop any announcement that is currently playing. It will also remove any Scheduled or Offset-Timed Announcements Play Steps that are already set to run at a future time.
The Script is scheduled to run at noontime (12:00PM). Step #1 Clears all current Announcements including any scheduled Announcements. Step #2 runs another Announcements script to add Afternoon Announcements. Note that Step #2 waits until 2 seconds has elasped before executing (Offset: :02). That gives Clear Announcements time to finish its work before adding more Announcements. This script could also be run manually.
Listing 4. Clear Announcements ScriptScript Name: Setup Afternoon Announcements Sched: At 12:00:00 PM Description: Effectively replaces current Announcements with a new set (Afternoon Announcements). Steps: 1. Clear Announcements (All) 2. Run Script (Afternoon-Announcements), Offset: :02
You can view which Announcements are currently active (playing or waiting to play) at a given time. Where you look depends on whether your programming is running in Scripts run in the Automator run or in the Scheduler. The active list should change after executing Clear Announcements. Insert and Interval Announcements at the end of the list with a midnight time stamp but obviosuly repeat over time.
Announcements are inserted in-between sequentially playing music tracks. The Insert Frequency defines when to insert the announcement(s) (ex Frequency 1=after every music track, 2=after every two tracks, etc). The number of announcements inserted is determined by the Insert Announcements Grouping (see below). Announcements selection is cycled -- see Announcements Cycling below.
Cycling is used for Insert and Interval Announcements. You can specify how many announcements should play at a time (Grouping). So for example, assume you have 4 announcements to play and you set announcements to play every 10 minutes. You set the Grouping to 2 announcements. So at the 10 minute mark, Announcement-1 and Announcement-2 will play. At the 20 minute mark, Announcement-3 and Announcement-4 will play. Then at the 30 minute mark, Announcement-1 and Announcement-2 will play again and so on. This Announcements Cycling continues until you end the programming or Clear Announcements. You can also shuffle announcements (random selection) using the Shuffle Steps checkbox (Figure 3).
The Grouping number designates how many Insert Announcements will play when it is time for Announcements to be inserted. Example, Grouping=2 means play 2 announcements. If you have have an odd number of announcements but want to keep announcements paired when they play, you can use a Play step for an audio file that has 1-2 seconds of silence (ex. Play (Silence2secs)).
Set this under the Automator > Announcements > Insert Announcements Grouping menu.
This Script will play announcements after every 3 music tracks play. Grouping=2 means play 2 announcements at a time. After all 4 announcements have played, announcement selection begins again at Step #1 (Announcement1). Insertion continues as long as the associated music script is running.
Listing 5. Example - Insert AnnouncementsScript Name: Four Insert Announcements Id: 582127336 Announcements Type: Insert Insert Frequency: 3 Announcements Grouping: 2 Steps: 1. Play (Announcement1) 2. Play (Announcement2) 3. Play (Announcement3) 4. Play (Announcement4)
Announcement(s) are played at a regular Time Interval that you pick (ex. every 15 minutes) by suspending any currently playing music track. When the Announcement(s) end, the music track is resumed. The number of announcements played is determined by the Interval Announcements Grouping (below). Announcements selection is cycled (see Announcements Cycling above).
The Grouping number designates how many Announcements will play when it is time for Interval Announcements to play. Example, Grouping=2 means play 2 announcements. If you have have an odd number of announcements but want to keep announcements paired when they play, you can use a Play step for an audio file that has 1-2 seconds of silence (ex. Play (Silence2secs)).
Set this under the Automator > Announcements > Interval Announcements Grouping menu.
This Script will play announcements at an interval of every 15 minutes. Grouping=2 means play 2 announcements at a time. After all 4 announcements have played, announcement selection begins again at Step #1 (Announcement1).
Listing 6. Example - Interval AnnouncementsScript Name: Four Announcements - Interval Id: 1928030215 Announcements Type: Interval Interval: 15:00 Announcements Grouping: 2 Steps: 1. Play (Announcement1) 2. Play (Announcement2) 3. Play (Announcement3) 4. Play (Announcement4)
When Play Steps Are sequential (NOT Timed): (Listing 7). When the script runs, music tracks pause. Each announcement is played in sequential order (like a playlist). When the last announcement ends, music tracks resume. Also see the Special Processing with Announcements section above for Repeat considerations.
This Script is scheduled to run at 4:50PM, 10 minutes before closing time at 5PM. When it starts, it plays 4 announcements in sequence then ends to resume music playback.
Listing 7. Example - Standard Announcements - SequentialScript Name: Standard Announcements - For Closing Time Id: 1234191741 Sched: At 4:50:00 PM Announcements Type: Standard Steps: 1. Play (Announcement1) 2. Play (Announcement2) 3. Play (Announcement3) 4. Play (Announcement4)
Play steps are Offset-Timed: Each announcement Step is timed to play at an time Offset from the run start time of a Script. For example, if the Script starts at 1:00PM, and the Step Offset is 5 minutes, the announcement will play at 1:05PM. Also see the Special Processing with Announcements section above for Repeat considerations.
The Announcement type is a bit more work to setup than Interval Announcements. Generally, use this Offset Timed approach when you want announcements to play at irregular times. If you want to play announcements at regular intervals (ex every 5 minutes), it is much easier to use Interval Announcements.
If you want this script to Repeat, you MUST use the Repeats after Offset Time option (Figure 5).
This Script will play each announcement at the offset time shown. Offset clock starts as soon as the Script is started. Note that the offsets are at irregular times. See Behavior comment above for easier setup when the time is regular.
Listing 8. Example - Standard Announcements - Offset TimedScript Name: Offset Timed Announcements Id: 453840473 Announcements Type: Standard Steps: 1. Play (Announcement1), Offset: 05:00 2. Play (Announcement2), Offset: 15:00 3. Play (Announcement3), Offset: 22:00 4. Play (Announcement4), Offset: 25:00
Each announcement Play Step is scheduled for a Time Of Day and played by the Scheduler. Scheduled Steps do not Repeat even if the script is set to Repeat.
Note: You CANNOT run this script outside of the Scheduler by clicking the Run Script button (). Only the Scheduler can handle scheduled Steps.
If you plan to use Clear Announcements during the business day to change Announcement sets, it is a good practice to set this Script Schedule to run just before its first scheduled play step (in Listing 9 that is 4:29PM). Using that schedule time, you can perform Clear Announcements (Running Only) during the day and this script will still remain in the Scheduler Plan.
If you don't care when it gets added to the Scheduler Plan, just set its Schedule to run Anytime 24/7 (see button on Figure 5). In that case, it runs anytime the Scheduler starts.
This Script schedules a set of store closing announcements to play at end of business. Note that for Steps to get scheduled by the Scheduler, the Scheduler must be started/running. Also this script needs to be scheduled itself, or run by another script that has been scheduled. In this case, we scheduled the script to start at 4:29PM, just before its first play step which is scheduled for 4:30PM.
Listing 9. Example - Standard Announcements - ScheduledScript Name: Store Closing Announcements Sched: At 4:29:00 PM Announcements Type: Standard Steps: 1. Play (Store Closing in 30 mins), Sched: At 4:30:00 PM 2. Play (Store Closing in 10 mins), Sched: At 4:50:00 PM 3. Play (Store Closed), Sched: At 5:00:00 PM
You may want to change which Announcements are played based on time of day. Listing 10 shows how to programmatically change the announcements at noon. You could extend this approach to change Announcements multiple times during the day (morning, afternoon, evening, end of business day, etc). It is important to allow at least a couple seconds between Clear Announcements and adding the new set of Announcements. You can use Offset-Times rather than Time-Of-Day Schedule Times if needed.
It is important to consider that Clear Announcements will remove any scheduled Announcement Play Steps.
Ex. Play (Closing time announcement), Sched: At 5:00:00 PM
So if you Clear Announcements at noontime (12:00AM), the above Play step should be added to the scheduler sometime after noontime.
This Script is scheduled to start at 8:00AM. Step #1 immediately runs the 'Morning Announcements' script to setup announcements. Set #2 and #3 are scheduled to run at noon time. Step #4, begins the music programming ('Beatles album'). At noon time (12:00:00 PM), the 'Morning Announcements' are cleared. Then at 12:00:02 PM the afternoon announcements are setup. This allows a 2 second span of time for 'Clear Announcements' to finish its work.
Listing 10. Example - Announcements Changed At NoonScript Name: Announcements Changed At Noon Id: 852370811 Sched: At 8:00:00 AM Steps: 1. Run Script (Morning Announcements) 2. Clear Announcements, Sched: At 12:00:00 PM 3. Run Script (Afternoon Announcements), Sched: At 12:00:02 PM 4. Run Script (Beatles album)
You may want to change which Music Playlist is played based on time of day. Listing 11 shows how to programmatically change the Music at noon. You could extend this approach to change Music multiple times during the day (morning, afternoon, evening, at event times, end of business day, etc). It is important to allow at least a second between Stopping one Playlist and running the new Playlist. You can use Offset-Times rather than Time-Of-Day Schedule Times if needed. Changing Music Playlists can be combined with Changing Announcements (Listing 10).
This Script is scheduled to start at 8:00AM. Step #1 immediately runs the 'Morning Music Playlist' script. Set #2 and #3 are scheduled to run at noon time. At noon time (12:00:00 PM), the 'Morning Music Playlist' is Stopped. Then at 12:00:01 PM the afternoon Music Playlist starts. This allows a 1 second span of time for 'Stop Script' to finish its work.
Listing 11. Example - Swap Music Playlists at NoonScript Name: Swap Music Playlists at Noon Id: 859919818 Sched: At 8:00:00 AM Steps: 1. Run Script (Morning Music Playlist) 2. Stop Script (Morning Music Playlist), Sched: At 12:00:00 PM 3. Run Script (Afternoon Music Playlist), Sched: At 12:00:01 PM
If you have multiple Soundlists for various music programming purposes but want to use the same Announcements setup in each, there is an easy way to do that. You can import a Soundlist into another Soundlist. The Import includes all the Sound Items and Scripts. So create one Soundlist which contains only your Announcements Sound Items and Scripts. Then you can Import that Announcement Soundlist into any other Soundlist (click File > Import Another Soundlist ).
You may want to make Announcements and Music play at different Volumes. That is fairly simple to configure.