Smart Blocks make it easy to fill shows or gaps in your Airtime broadcast schedule. To create a new Smart Block, click on the Smart Blocks tab on the left side of the Airtime window, then click blue the +New button in the Smart Blocks window.
In the Smart Block editing window on the right side of the screen, there are text boxes where you can enter a name and description for your Smart Block. Below those text boxes are options to customize your Smart Block. The first option is for the type of Smart Block you are creating. When you input criteria, a static Smart Block will generate instantly. The advantage of the static Smart Block is that it gives you the ability to edit which tracks appear in the Smart Block after you click generate. A dynamic Smart Block allows you to apply the same criteria for track selection to multiple shows. Once a dynamic Smart Block is assigned to a show it will select the content, this allows for variety even when you use the same Smart Block in multiple schedule slots. Tracks in a dynamic playlists can only be edited after being added to a show.
The Allow Repeated Tracks box allows the same tracks to occur more than once within the Smart Block. If there aren’t enough tracks to fill the desired amount of time, you can click this check box to completely fill the Smart Block time allotment.
Tracks in the Smart Block can be sorted or randomized. The drop down menu below the repeat checkbox allows you to decide this. For example, if you chose to sort them from newest to oldest, Airtime checks the upload date and uses the tracks which were uploaded most recently, that fit your Smart Block criteria.
The Limit to setting in the Smart Block editing tab allows you to change the length of your Smart Block. The options are available in minutes, hours or number of tracks.
The Search Criteria field is where you provide the criteria that Airtime will use to select tracks for your Smart Block. Many of these fields use metadata for track selection so it is important that your tracks have up to date metadata.
Here are some examples of some popular criteria for making Smart Blocks:
- Owner (specify the user who uploaded it)
- Creator (for songs, that’s usually the artist)
- Title (better for use with tracks that aren’t songs, make a Smart Block of interviews, etc.)
- Genre (for music, it could be pop, rock, classical, jazz, drum and bass etc.)
- Year (you could use a Smart Block to create a list of songs from the 1980s)
- Language (you can choose to play only Japanese songs or Russian songs)
- Length (want tracks that are more the 2 minutes long? Use formatting 00:02:00.0)
It is also possible to add tracks to a Smart Block such that they fit multiple criteria. Click the blue +New Criteria button. Notice that the word “and” will appear at the end of the first line. Below is an example of a Smart Block being created with multiple criteria.
Be careful when using the blue +new modifier button. If you create overlapping criteria, you will get all the tracks in the Library added to your Smart Block. Notice that when you click the +new modifier button, the word “or” appears at the end of the first line.
There is an example below in which the user was trying to get a Smart Block which only has tracks from the 1980s. With the +new modifier button, it would include everything made after 1980 and everything made before 1990. Those criteria overlap and so the definition is too vague to produce the desired effect.
Instead of using the +new modifier button, you should set a criteria and select in the range from the middle drop-down menu, your Smart Block would yield the desired effect; songs made in the 1980’s.
When you have input your desired criteria for a static Smart Block, click the Generate button. Scroll through the tracks to make sure that your search criteria has generated the desired effect. If you wish to create a dynamic Smart Block, it is a good idea to create a static Smart Block first to check that your criteria is functioning properly, then switch the type to dynamic after you have achieved the desired result. In a static Smart Block, if there are tracks that are not to your liking, you can also manually remove them by clicking on the x beside the duration. Note that clicking the Generate button again will create a new list of tracks that meet your criteria. Click the red Clear button to remove all the tracks from the Smart Block. If you are satisfied with the tracks in your Smart Block, you can click shuffle button to change the order, or simply click and drag the song to the desired spot in your list.
The fade settings button is between the shuffle button and the clear button. It looks like two intersecting arrows. This button allows you to change the duration of time between tracks. Clicking on this button will open an option below the Generate button where you can adjust the fading to your liking.
When you are satisfied with your Smart Block, remember to click save at the bottom of the Smart Block editing window. A green notification will appear in the Smart Block editing window to let you know that your Smart Block has saved successfully and that it’s ready for use in your Airtime scheduling.