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BROADCAST STATION LOGGER AND PRINTOUT SYSTEM
This invention relates to a system for logging and printing in natural language format a record of the entire content of the programs of a radio station, event- 5 by-event, in the chronological order in which they are broadcast, the system having particular utility with respect to, but not limited to, the logging of the program content of automated broadcast stations. The disclosure also includes a novel way of cueing recorded 10 sources with logging data.
Most of the radio programming which is broadcast at the present time is either pre-recorded or is taken from network lines, and only a small proportion of the programming is live. The recorded content is generally 15 taken from tapes which are played by various types of automatic tape machines, including reel-to-reel tape transports and/or cartridge and cassette machines which automatically handle and play one of many stored cartridges or cassettes selected by addressing a 20 particular machine to play whatever tape unit is stored at a certain one of its compartments or trays. These tapes usually have two or more recording tracks on them. For instance, the reel-to-reel tapes often have two tracks which can be used as right and left stereo 25 channels or which, in a mono system, can have one selection recorded for play in one tape-motion direction and a different selection for play when the tape is driven in the other direction. Most cartridges, according to standards set by the National Association of 30 Broadcasters, not only have audio tracks, but also have one additional and separate track known as a cueing track. Stereo cartridges therefore have three tracks. Both reel-to-reel and cartridge types of tape are used in broadcast stations, and these tapes are generally pro- 35 vided with "start" and "stop" signals which mark the beginnings and endings of the materials recorded on the tapes for the purpose of automatically controlling the tape machines at the proper instants. Usually reelto-reel machines are used as sources of recorded music 40 or lengthy pre-recorded programs, and since they usually do not have a separate cueing channel, the cueing signals are recorded in one channel, generally the left channel after the recorded material has concluded. However, where identification data is also included, it 4' has been the practice to record the data over the audio in one channel using superimposed supersonic frequencies. On the other hand, the cartridge tapes are generally used for recording not only musical selections but most of the commercials, the station-breaks including the F.C.C. call letters and station location, the time signals, various special event messages and announcements, etc. Since the cartridge tapes have separate cueing tracks or channels, the cueing signals as well as the J5 identification tags are recorded therein. It is the general practice in the industry to record these tags near the beginnings of the recorded materials which they identify. It is one object of the present disclosure to teach a technique wherein, with respect to the reel-to-reel 60 two-channel tapes, these are cued and identified after one selection of the recorded material has been concluded, and before the next is commenced.
In automated stations, the present practice for control of the station, whatever the manner of cueing and fe5 identifying the tapes, is to have the cueing signals read from the tapes and delivered to some type of programmed control system, which in the case of an auto
mated station takes the form of an automatic sequencer which automatically turns on the various sources from which the program material is to be taken according to a preset sequence, also switching the audio appropriately, and then changes to the next source in the sequence when the cueing signal of the preceding source indicates the end of the message. The automatic sequencer also receives real-time clock input from a clock source and interrupts the sequence at appropriate times, i.e. on the hour and the half-hour, for station breaks, time signals, weather summaries, and/or network materials. Automatic sequencers are in general use at the present time and are manufactured by several different companies to perform approximately as outlined above.
It is the principal object of this invention to provide an improved automatic system for accepting data from the various sources of material being broadcast, organizing it into the chronological sequence in which it actually went on the air, and printing a log of the material actually broadcast along with the real time at which the broadcast message commenced, such printing being in the form of the natural-spoken language as distinguised from a machine-language.
Another major object 6f the invention is to provide a system in which the real time sequence of broadcast is preserved in the log even though the identification tags on the tapes may be read into the system chronologically out of the sequence in which they were actually broadcast, it being noted from the above background discussion that, where for example a reel-toreel tape selection is immediately followed by a cartridge selection which may even overlap it somewhat as in a "hard-rock" format of broadcast, it is likely that the tag near the beginning of the cartridge selection may be read at an earlier time than the tag which follows the preceding reel-to-reel tape selection, or it may even be read concurrently therewith. There are other ways in which the logger system may be fed data in a real time succession which differs from the actual broadcast sequence, but in any event this data must be temporarily stored, sorted out, and organized for printing in the correct real time sequence.
Yet another primary object of this invention is to provide a system which is able to keep up with a very fast paced broadcast sequence by faithfully printing all of the information from the various program-material sources without loss of information, while at the same time using a conventional printer whose printing rate is very much slower than the rate at which data characters to be printed are often read into the logger. Basically, the problem results from the fact that the information tends to enter the logger in bursts, even though there may also be relatively long times between such bursts during which no characters arrive, perhaps as much as three or four minutes while a musical selection is being played. In one practical embodiment of the invention the printer prints only ten characters per second, but the identification tags are read out at the rate of about 128 characters per second. Moreover, at certain other times in a program there are many such tags read out during a span of only several minutes, for instance where the station broadcasts in rapid succession several spot-commercials followed by station identification, followed by a series of "jingles" and "stingers" each of which only lasts for a few seconds but is identified by a 128-character tag which must be logged. This
invention employs a number of temporary buffer memory registers and logic circuitry for organizing the information and presenting it to the printer in the real-time sequence in which it was broadcast.
The data to be logged includes, for example, fixed 5 data including real-time, event number, print control function and indication of source, i.e. whether network, studio, or tape machine and which one; and further includes variable data read from a tape source which is being broadcast to indicate the message con- 10 tent, i.e. commercial content and sponsor, or musical selection and licensing agency, A.S.C.A.P. or B.M.L, etc. Other information to be logged may also include certain fixed messages which are locally generated to indicate source, such as "studio," "network" identity, "time announcer," station identification when broadcast, nature of program content, i.e., non-commercial, news, commercial, special event, contingency, etc. A contingency mode covers unusual situations, perhaps 2rj temporarily affecting the station's ability to meet its obligations, such as a power failure, a failure of the broadcast transmitter, a special event interruption of the predetermined sequence, or a failure of a tape to deliver a proper cue signal, which failure is detected after a 25 brief interval by a silence detector which advances the sequencer to the next event, etc.
It is another major object of the invention to provide the above improved logger and printer system in cooperation with improved means for tagging the tapes 30 using a high-speed phase encoding which not only packs a very large amount of information into a short tape running time, about 128 eight-bit characters in less than one second, but also uses the optimum frequency range of the audio tapes and provides a type of modulation which is rather insensitive to variations in the play-back speed or amplitude output from the tape. Moreover, maximum recovery of information despite momentary dropouts in insured by providing a synchro- ^ nizing signal at the beginning of each new character. Since a full 128 character sequence can be included within one second, it is not necessary to tag tapes which have no separate cueing channel by logging over the selections at sub-sonic or supersonic rates. The logging 45 can be placed between selections, since there is conventionally more than one second separation therebetween.
Yet another major object of the invention is to provide means for printing out natural-language logs SO which: first, meet the FCC legal requirements pertaining to station identification records; second, provide proof to the sponsors that their commercials were in fact broadcast including the times thereof and the billing rates applicable; and third, keep full records of all 35 musical selections played including their titles, royalties payable, and the licensing agency to which they should be paid. The system can be interfaced with a computerized book-keeping and billing system to complete the automation of the station. 60
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent during the following discussion of the drawings, wherein: pp FIG. 1 is a block
showing a broadcast station including a logger and 6J printer according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a drawing showing a typical three-channel cartridge tape with a cue channel recorded thereon;
FIG. 3 is a drawing showing a two-channel reel-toreel or cassette tape with cue signals and tag signals recorded in its left channel;
FIG. 4 is a drawing showing the message format of the variable-data tag signals recorded on tape according to the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a drawing showing a timing pulse series located above a typical eight-bit character with synchronizing bits recorded by high speed phase encoding as taught by the present invention;
FIGS. 6, 7 and 8 when read together side-by-side comprise a block diagram showing in greater the components of the logger by which the various information is sorted out and presented chronologically to the printer; and
FIG. 9 shows a typical printout log prepared in accordance with the present system.
Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows the combination of a typical broadcast station and a logger and printer according to the present invention. The broadcast station includes a transmitter 10 coupled with a suitable broadcast antenna system 11. The transmitter is fed audio on a wire 12 by a pre-programmed sequence controller 14 which in the present example will be assumed to comprise an automation system.
This programmed sequence controller receives input from a number of different audio sources, various types of which are shown in FIG. 1. The sources include input from telephone network lines 16 through a network switching means 18 which delivers network audio on the lines 20 to the program sequence controller 14. The controller controls the network source lines 16 using its own internal control means. Another source of audio comprises a cartridge or cassette machine 24 which, for instance, may be of the popular "Carousel" variety including a rotating selection bin 26 having separate compartments or trays to hold tape cartridges such as the cartridges 28. The source 26 is controlled by the program sequence controller 14 by way of the cable 30 which delivers input into the machine 24 to indicate which tray location is to be played, the audio then passing through the wire 32 into the program sequence controller where it is internally switched onto the audio wire 12 when that source is being selected for playing. Although a single cartridge machine has been illustrated at 24 in FIG. 1, it is to be understood that there may be more than one, or there may be other types of multiple tape cassette or cartridge machines which perform a similar function, and these other machines are interchangeably usable in a broadcast system of the general type being discussed herein.
Another source of taped audio comprises the reel-toreel machine 34 having individual tapes carried by reels 36, each tape 38 being started and stopped by the control cable 40 extending from the programmed sequence controller, and the audio from the tapes 38 being coupled into the controller 14 on the wire 42 when a reelto-reel machine 34 is selected. The broadcast station also includes a real-time clock 44 which delivers time signals on the wire 46 into the programmed sequence controller 14 and into the logger unit 50.
The controller 14 can be one of any number of units currently available on the market for controlling broadcast stations automatically. For instance. Model AR 2000 manufactured by the Boradcast Products, Inc., is a unit which performs well in this particular setup. The controller of the type to which the present discussion