SAM - who is "he"?

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SAM - who is "he"?

Post by Tjoe » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:05 pm

If you've watched our chat box, or even the facebook page, you've seen one of us refer to SAM. SAM is our musical genius, our grand master DJ.

SAM - Spacial Audio Manager, is a computer program. My70sRadio uses the version called SAM Broadcaster Pro. It is a database manager and sound mixer. It runs on a dedicated server I rent from a web provider (different from the web provider the rest of the website runs on). It manages our library of over 12k songs (70s, Christmas, and Halloween).

SAM is a full-functioned radio station automation tool. It can be operated as a manned station (internet or terrestrial) with live DJs or completely automated 24/7/365 like we do at My70sRadio.

What sets SAM apart from other automation packages (that I've seen) is the extremely flexible clockwheel song rotation. Have you ever noticed that you don't here the same set of songs in a row? You may hear the same song a couple of times in a day, but never the same set of songs together (unless a requester or one of our DJs has done it). And, although you may hear the same song a couple of times in a day, in a few days you probably won't hear that song again for long while. This is all handled by the way the clockwheel here at My70sRadio is set up.

The clockwheel has nearly limitless custom ability. It can play songs in totally random ways, or in any order we want. There are a couple of randomization methods, and even a weighted system (each time a song is played, it has a value decremented from it so that it will play less often - helpful for making new songs get a lot of play at the beginning of their life in the playlist. We don't use the weighted system.

The default clockwheel is set up to be similar to an FM radio station back in the 1970s. It plays a handful of "Hits", and then it plays a "Deep Track" (in addition to station IDs and classic commercials). The hits uses one type of randomization, while the deep tracks uses a different one (lemming logic, whatever that is).

The Hits randomization is interesting in that it isn't a complete randomization of all 3k tracks in the Hits category, it seems to keep a few hundred of these songs in its buffer and then randomizes those. While it is bouncing around this list, it is adding some songs to the list and taking out some out. The effect makes it kind of like a top-40 station that is playing the same song periodically through the day as if it was popular, and then eventually you won't hear that song again for a long time (weeks, months). I picture it as a smaller wheel within a larger wheel. The larger wheel is the 3k songs (randomized) in the Hits category, and the smaller wheel is the several hundred songs that are being added to the queue randomly as necessary. As the smaller wheel slowly rides the inside edges of the larger wheel, it drops songs out and picks songs up. Listeners love that the queue always seems fresh. Even though they hear the same song a few times in a 24 hour period, they eventually won't hear that song again for a long time.

The Deep Tracks category is picked from using 2 different randomizers: the regular one and the Lemming Logic one. During the clockwheel, after a handful of hits have played, a track is picked from the Deep Tracks category using the regular randomizer. Then another handful of hits plays followed by another random deep track. After that another deep track is selected, but using the lemming logic randomizer. This one seems to pick an artist and then randomly play all of their songs until the list is exhausted. Then it picks another artist at random and does the same with them. The effect turns out to make a sort of Artist Profile.

So we have random hits most of the hour, with a couple of deep tracks, and then this artist profile kicking in about once an hour. These selections are added to the queue, which maintains a minimum of 5 songs. SAM won't automatically add songs to the queue if there are 5 or more in it. Meanwhile, if an online user makes a request, their request is added to the bottom of the queue (at queue position #6 if no other requests exist). SAM won't add another item into the queue unless it goes below 5 items.

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