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Title:
A MANAGEMENT CONSOLE PROVIDING AN INTERFACE FOR FEATURED SETS OF DIGITAL AUTOMATION SYSTEMS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2006/101904
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A management console located proximate to a hub for managing at least one radio broadcast is disclosed. The console includes a connection to a digital automation system, the digital automation system directing the at least one radio broadcast and a software suite suitable for providing an interface for feature sets of the digital automation system via the connection.

Inventors:
STEELBERG, Ryan (11 Juniper Hills Drive, Newport Beach, CA, 92660, US)
STEELBERG, Chad (22 Beacon Way Drive, Newport Beach, CA, 92660, US)
Application Number:
US2006/009349
Publication Date:
September 28, 2006
Filing Date:
March 15, 2006
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
GOOGLE INC. (1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Building 41Mountain View, CA, 94043, US)
STEELBERG, Ryan (11 Juniper Hills Drive, Newport Beach, CA, 92660, US)
STEELBERG, Chad (22 Beacon Way Drive, Newport Beach, CA, 92660, US)
International Classes:
G06Q30/02; H04H20/10; H04H20/14; H04H60/04; H04H60/06; H04N7/025; H04N7/10; H04N7/16; H04H1/00; H04H7/00
Foreign References:
US6747760B2
US20060195863A1
US6820277B1
US20020099600A1
Other References:
See also references of EP 1867164A2
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SACHS, Robert, R. et al. (Fenwick & West LLP, Silicon Valley Center801 California Stree, Mountain View CA, 94041, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A management console located proximate to a hub for managing at least one radio broadcast, said console comprising:

a connection to a digital automation system, said digital automation system directing the at least one radio broadcast; and,

a software suite suitable for providing an interface for feature sets of the digital automation system via said connection.

2. The console of Claim 1 , wherein said digital automation system is Scott Studios.

3. The console of Claim 1 , wherein said digital automation system is Maestro.

4. The console of Claim 1 , wherein said software suite includes diagnostics, said diagnostics providing at least centralized automation system monitoring and alerting.

5. The console of Claim 1 , wherein said software suite includes a revenue suite, said revenue suite creates at least one new station revenue stream at least by helping to monetize unsold advertising inventory.

6. The console of Claim 5, wherein said creation occurs without manual trafficking.

7. The console of Claim 1 , further comprising a centralized view at least into the real-time status of the substantially on-air automation system for at least one station related to the at least one radio broadcast.

8. The console of Claim 1 , wherein said software suite provides detailed asset reports.

9. The console of Claim 8, wherein said asset reports are on a per station basis,

10. The console of Claim 8, wherein said asset reports are on a grouped station basis.

11. The console of Claim 1 , wherein said software suite provides at least on user the ability to view stations and activate solutions based on permissions.

12. The console of Claim 1 , wherein said software suite includes at least one user profile set to limit the user to view only access.

13. The console of Claim 1 , wherein said software suite includes at least one user profile set to limit the user to manage substantially the entire network.

14. The console of Claim 1 , wherein said software suite includes at least one user profile set to limit the user to activate solutions.

Description:

A MANAGEMENT CONSOLE PROVIDING AN INTERFACE FOR FEATURED SETS OF DIGITAL AUTOMATION SYSTEMS

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[1] This Application claims the benefit under 35 U. S. C. 120 of United

States Patent Application Serial No. 11/131 ,022 and of United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/662,951 and United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/571,668 under 35 U. S. C. 119(e) and incorporates herein by reference each of these cases as if set forth individually in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[2] The present invention relates to a system and method for broadcast management.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[3] Many broadcasters and advertisers struggle with managing broadcast and advertising campaigns, and try to identify which broadcasting and advertising is effective and, perhaps more importantly, which is not. For example, advertisers may spend thousand of dollars and dedicate countless hours producing

advertising campaigns, and subsequently monitoring and managing those campaigns, in an attempt to capture the attention of and maximize the response from a selected or targeted audience. Advertisers try to target advertising to particular groups of consumers by tailoring the advertising campaign media, the frequency of the campaign, the nature of the advertisements, and many other variables. Advertisers may place advertisements in newspapers, magazines, trade journals, direct mailings, yellow pages, radio, and television. Unfortunately, advertisers do not presently have an accurate and timely mechanism for monitoring and tracking the delivery or broadcast of their campaigns, let alone the response to their campaigns. This problem may be exacerbated in broadcast radio, where advertisers may not receive verification of delivery or broadcast of advertising campaigns for up to weeks after the scheduled run of campaigns. An automated system that is capable of providing the advertiser with real-time, tailored and accurate reports on which radio advertising campaigns and programs are and were delivered, and on which station, and when, has thus far eluded those skilled in the art.

[4] Attempts to identify and track where and when select radio advertising campaigns and radio broadcast programming are broadcast over the air have, to date, included using computer automated or manual listening posts deployed in geographic markets to record, log and analyze radio broadcasts over the air to

identify songs, advertisements, and selected programming. Advertisers may contract with broadcast monitoring firms to receive reports on what advertising and radio programming was broadcast. Such a mechanism is error-prone, inefficient, and untimely. Marketers and advertisers, who often focus on increasing sales and driving product and service demand, do not have the time to wait for reports to be generated, particularly when, even after waiting for a report, the report may include discrepancies and errors.

[5] Advertisers may be conducting costly advertising campaigns on a very tight schedule, and may need to act on a failed delivery or broadcast, either on a certain station or across a certain market, by finding alternative advertising opportunities. Such a method might come to be if the advertiser could verify immediately whether the campaign had been delivered. Monthly affidavits or reports are often inadequate to service the needs of advertisers. Reporting often does not capture crucial information to the advertiser, at least in that such reports generally fail to report the aggregate audience size, segmented by demographics and geography, at the time of advertising delivery. Such information is usually not available through any existing radio advertising and programming auditing or reporting services. However, such information may be valuable and crucial to an advertiser. An advertiser may prefer to identify the audience and those potential consumers who listened to the

advertising, and directly compare those metrics against response and sales numbers.

[6] An effective mechanism for an advertiser to monitor and track radio advertising delivery has, to date, eluded those skilled in the art. Accordingly, a need exists for a system and method for providing the broadcaster/advertiser with real-time, tailored and accurate reports on which broadcast and advertising campaigns and programs were delivered, including station information, such that the broadcaster/advertiser may identify the audience and those potential consumers who listened to the broadcast or advertising, and may directly compare those metrics against response and sales numbers.

[7] Additionally, radio stations often operate with daily unsold advertising inventory, such as public service advertisements, bonus advertisements, unsold and/or remnant advertisements and preemptible advertisements, for example, resulting from market demand factors, poor ratings, station inefficiencies, trafficking logistics, programming logistics, and 3 rd party variables. This daily unsold advertising inventory may account, on average, for up to 30% of the advertising on a daily basis.

[8] Specifically, a local station may load advertising orders into the traffic system and when these advertisements are scheduled against the schedule log gaps and holes may result. This may be

caused by not having an advertisement to schedule during a certain time slot. Generally systems fill these gaps with public service advertisements, bonus advertisements and/or low-priority advertisements in order to fill in the schedule.

[9] An effective mechanism to monitor and monetize unsold inventory has, to date, eluded those skilled in the art. Accordingly, a need r exists for a system and method for monetizing unsold inventory using the schedule file and replace unsold inventory with paid advertising.

Summary of the Invention

[10] A management console located proximate to a hub for managing at least one radio broadcast is disclosed. The console includes a connection to a digital automation system, the digital automation system directing the at least one radio broadcast and a software suite suitable for providing an interface for feature sets of the digital automation system via the connection.

Brief Description of the Figures

[11] Understanding of the present invention will be facilitated by consideration of the following detailed description of the present

invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like numerals refer to like parts, and wherein:

[12] Figure 1 illustrates an architecture of a communication system

100 according to an aspect of the present invention;

[13] Figure 2 further illustrates the system of Figure 1 ;

[14] Figure 3 illustrates a local proxy according to an aspect of the present invention;

[15] Figure 4 illustrates a direct connection according to an aspect of the present invention;

[16] Figure 5 is an illustration of an advertising buying environment in the present invention;

[17] Figure 6 is an illustration of a radio play environment;

[18] Figure 7 is an illustration of a radio play environment;

[19] Figure 8 illustrates a schematic diagram of the flow of information within the communication system of Figures 1 and 2;

[20] Figure 9 is an illustration of an introductory web page according to an aspect of the present invention;

[21] Figure 10 is an illustration of an introductory web page according to an aspect of the present invention;

[22] Figure 11 is an illustration of an expanded view of the contents of the management console according to an aspect of the present invention;

[23] Figure 12 is an illustration of an introductory screen of the solutions section of the management console according to an aspect of the present invention;

[24] Figure 13 is an illustration of an overview and status of the solutions available according to an aspect of the present invention;

[25] Figure 14 is an illustration of a summary of the revenue suite according to an aspect of the present invention;

[26] Figure 15 is an illustration of an activation print screen according to an aspect of the present invention;

[27] Figure 16 is an illustration of a summary of the revenue suite according to an aspect of the present invention;

[28] Figure 17 is an illustration of an inventory summary of the revenue suite according to an aspect of the present invention;

[29] Figure 18 is an illustration of an inventory summary of the revenue suite according to an aspect of the present invention;

[30] Figure 19 is an illustration of an inventory detail of the revenue suite according to an aspect of the present invention;

[31] Figure 20 is an illustration of a revenue detail report of the revenue suite according to an aspect of the present invention;

[32] Figure 21 is an illustration of a campaign preview report according to an aspect of the present invention;

[33] Figure 22 is an illustration of a revenue statement presented from the revenue suite according to an aspect of the present invention;

[34] Figure 23 is an illustration of a summary from within the data services portion of the management console according to an aspect of the present invention;

[35] Figure 24 is an illustration of an activation print screen of the data services according to an aspect of the present invention;

[36] Figure 25 is an illustration of a summary from within the data services portion of the management console according to an aspect of the present invention;

[37] Figure 26 is an illustration of a now playing log according to an aspect of the present invention;

[38] Figure 27 is an illustration of a summary from within the data services portion of the management console according to an aspect of the present invention;

[39] Figure 28 is an illustration of a campaign log for the data services according to an aspect of the present invention;

[40] Figure 29 is an illustration of an activation print screen for the diagnostics according to an aspect of the present invention;

[41] Figure 30 is an illustration of a summary diagnostics tool according to an aspect of the present invention;

[42] Figure 31 is an illustration of an activation print screen for the diagnostics according to an aspect of the present invention;

[43] Figure 32 is an illustration of a summary screen for the

Sarbanes-Oxley section according to an aspect of the present invention;

[44] Figure 33 is an illustration of an activation print screen for

Sarbanes-Oxley according to an aspect of the present invention;

[45] Figure 34 is an illustration of summary page for the content exchange according to an aspect of the present invention;

[46] Figure 35 is an illustration of a content exchange summary according to an aspect of the present invention;

[47] Figure 36 is an illustration of a new report from within the logger section according to an aspect of the present invention;

[48] Figure 37 is an illustration of a station list according to an aspect of the present invention;

[49] Figure 38 is an illustration of a more detailed station summary according to an aspect of the present invention;

[50] Figure 39 is an illustration of a station list according to an aspect of the present invention;

[51] Figure 40 is an illustration of a more detailed station summary according to an aspect of the present invention;

[52] Figure 41 is an illustration of a user list according to an aspect of the present invention; and

[53] Figure 42 is an illustration of a user setting configuration screen according to an aspect of the present invention.

Detailed Description

[54] It is to be understood that the figures and descriptions of the present invention have been simplified to illustrate elements that are relevant for a clear understanding of the present invention, while eliminating, for the purpose of clarity, many other elements

found in typical communication system and method of using the same. Those of ordinary skill in the art may recognize that other elements and/or steps are desirable and/or required in implementing the present invention. However, because such elements and steps are well known in the art, and because they do not facilitate a better understanding of the present invention, a discussion of such elements and steps is not provided herein. The disclosure herein is directed to all such variations and modifications to such elements and methods known to those skilled in the art.

[55] The present invention enables the monetizing of unsold inventory.

Specifically, the present invention utilizes a schedule file to identify unsold inventory, unsold avails, and files these slots with paid advertisements.

[56] The present invention provides a system and method for accurately and timely identifying where and when a radio advertisement or radio program is broadcast. The present invention may provide a communication environment configured to monitor, track, and report on radio verification of broadcast information related to a specific advertisement or program. This broadcast information may be transmitted via a network-accessible server and formatted for retrieval over a network. The present invention may be designed to permit a reporting-service subscriber to connect, such as via a network, to a server and request a report, which may be based on

the verification of broadcast information, for a selected advertising campaign or radio program.

[57] Referring now to Figure 1 , there is shown an architecture of a communication system 100 according to an aspect of the present invention. System 100 may include a networked environment 110 communicatively coupling party data 120, subscriber 130, at least one regional broadcast studio 140, and a broadcasting hub 150. At least one regional studio 140 may be further communicatively coupled to at least one radio transmitter 160.

[58] Communication system 100 may include a broadcasting hub 150 configured to store and forward verification of broadcast information of radio advertising and radio programming from at least one regional broadcast studio 140. This verified information may be forwarded to a data recorder for recordation of a sample of the information. Further, the recorded verified information may be parsed into campaign information and remainder of the broadcast information, wherein the campaign information may include radio advertising or radio programming information associated with a broadcasi event. The data recorder may make accessible the verified information to networked environment 110 such that a myriad of verified information may be accumulated as necessary. Networked environment may forward the verified information to a

subscriber 130 and/or broadcasting hub 150 responsive to a request for the verified information.

[59] According to an aspect of the present invention, the identification of when a radio advertisement or radio program was broadcast may be achieved. This identification may be performed within the broadcasting hub 150. Within hub 150 a data collector may identify verification of broadcast information related to an audio file associated with an advertising campaign or radio program, and may forward that information to networked environment 110. Hub 150 may include software for tabulating and formatting the information into a serviceable report, such as in response to a request by subscriber 130. The information in, for example, such a report, may be presented based on many different criteria, such as, for example, the total number of advertising or programming broadcasts per campaign, a listing of which stations the radio advertisement or program was broadcast over, an hourly breakdown of the broadcasts, the demographics of the broadcast audience, the geography of the broadcast audience, and/or the format of the radio stations, for example.

[60] According to an aspect of the present invention, the reports available to subscriber 130 may reflect the latest information available. The verification of broadcast information may be forwarded from the data collector to networked environment 110,

such as when the verification of broadcast information becomes available from broadcast hub 150. Such a substantially real-time report may provide subscriber 130 with substantially real-time data regarding the delivery of radio advertisements and radio programs.

[61] According to an aspect of the present invention, the verification of broadcast information associated with advertising campaigns or programs may be combined with other information, and may be stored in additional databases either resident on or accessible by networked environment 110, to produce reports of demographic information about the audience of the advertising campaign or program. Such other information for combination with the verification information may be obtained, for example, from relevant internet or intranet sites, either automatically in response to an instruction included with the submission of the program to be broadcast, or manually upon receipt of a subscriber request.

[62] In order to more fully describe the interconnectivity, an exemplary embodiment is set forth herein below. Referring now also to Figure 2, there is shown a system according to an aspect of the present invention. Subscriber 130 may conduct one or more broadcast or advertising campaigns by purchasing radio advertisements across several local and regional radio stations. Subscriber 130 may distribute audio commercials to the radio stations for scheduling by a regional broadcast studio 140. Subscriber 130 may verify the

delivery and track the broadcast of each of the one or more advertising campaigns and associated audio commercials. It may be beneficial for subscriber 130 to engineer the one or more advertising campaigns with a unique and corresponding file name. In this regard, each audio commercial digital file may have a subscriber 130 - associated, unique file name. The audio commercial digital files associated with the advertising campaigns are referred to in this discussion as "campaign creatives."

[63] Regional broadcast studio 140 may broadcast a campaign creative for subscriber 130. Regional broadcast studio 140 may initiate a broadcast of the campaign creative by scheduling broadcast delivery within its trafficking system 210 or programming system 220. The campaign creative may be loaded onto radio automation software 230 of station 140. Radio automation software 230 may include the scheduling and/or "flight" information as provided by trafficking system 210 and programming system 220. Broadcast hub 150 may forward scheduling information regarding the campaign creative, captured from radio automation software 230, to data collector. At the scheduled time, radio automation software 230 may stream the campaign creative to a station transmitter 160 for subsequent broadcast over the air. Broadcast hub 150 may forward verification of broadcast information regarding the campaign creative, captured from radio automation software 230, to

data collector. The data collector may accumulate and/or store the information passed from broadcast hub 150.

[64] According to an aspect of the present invention, data collector may isolate the verification of broadcast information related to campaign identifiers, for example, by including a table identifying the campaign identifiers. When verification of broadcast information arrives regarding one of the campaign identifiers in the campaign identifier table, the data collector may forward that verification of broadcast information ("campaign information") to hub 150. The data collector may forward the campaign information as it arrives, or on a timed basis, such as in fifteen minute increments, one-hour increments, several-hour increments, or other increment known to those skilled in the pertinent arts. The rate at which the campaign information is passed from the data collector to hub 150 may limit how current, or real-time, a report may be. In this regard, the data collector according to an aspect of the present invention may be configured to provide the campaign information to hub 150 in realtime, such as not later than a few hours after the campaign information becomes available at the data collector. A portion of hub 150 may include a web server that receives the verification of broadcast information associated with each campaign identifier (the campaign information) from the data collector and stores that information on a permanent storage medium, such as a hard disk drive. The web server may tabulate the campaign information

based on each campaign identifier. The table containing the campaign information may be as current as the rate at which the data collector provides the campaign information to the web server. Consequently, hub 150 via the web server may be able to generate reports of the broadcast of radio advertisements and radio programming in substantially real-time.

[65] Hub 150 may provide access to the tabulated data over internet

110. Although internet 110 may be described as a wide area network for making the reports available to subscribers, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the system and method of the present invention encompasses any wide area network that allows access by subscribers to data stored on hub 150. Subscriber 130 may access hub 150 via a connection to internet 110. The connection to internet 110 may be any conventional connection that allows access to hub 150. For example, subscriber 130 may access hub 150 using TCP/IP and a conventional dial-up connection over a modem, or a dedicated connection that provides constant access. Hub 150 may have a unique HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) address, a unique FTP address, or any other addressing scheme that allows subscriber 130 to identify hub 150.

[66] Hub 150 may include server software, such as within a web server, that may allow subscriber 130 to request a report of a particular radio advertisement broadcast or radio program broadcast at any

time. For example, subscriber 130 may connect to internet 110 in the middle of the day on a Tuesday. At that time, subscriber 130 may log on to hub 150 using a secure access protocol and issue a request to the web server to provide a report. The issued request identifies the particular radio advertisement or radio program of interest by campaign identifier. Hub 150 may respond to the request by reading the data stored in the table of campaign information associated with the campaign identifier provided by subscriber 130. Software resident on the web server may tabulate the report in accordance with the request. Finally, the web server publishes, such as in HTML or XML format, for example, the report to subscriber 130. In this manner, subscriber 130 may access and query the web server as frequently as desired to determine the broadcast of a particular advertising campaign or radio program.

[67] Hub 150 and the web server may be configured to transmit reports to subscriber 130 at predetermined intervals, such as immediately, hourly, daily, weekly, or other time frame. For instance, software may be configured to simulate a subscriber request and cause the web server to generate and transmit the report to subscriber 130. Alternative means of delivery may also be employed, such as via electronic mail. These and other alternatives will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon a study of the disclosed embodiments.

[68] Hub 150 and the web server may be configured to generate the report in response to a triggering event. Examples of such a triggering event may be a confirmation of broadcast for a select advertisement or program, or of a situation wherein an advertisement or program was scheduled to broadcast, but failed to deliver, or of an advertising campaign reaching a dollar cap value, for example. For instance, the web server may be configured to analyze the campaign information as it is received from the data collector. If the campaign information reflects that an advertisement with a specified campaign identifier was scheduled to broadcast at a certain time, but failed to broadcast, the web server may respond by issuing a flag to subscriber 130. According to an aspect of the present invention , the web server may be configured to extract from the campaign information the advertising client's telephone number, email, fax, or the like associated with the campaign identifier and transmit the broadcast information directly to subscriber 130 or someone associated with the subscriber, such as to follow up on the failed broadcast. The campaign information may be transmitted by digital or voice pager, by e-mail message, by human interaction, or by any other mechanism for alerting subscriber 130. In that manner, subscriber 130 may be substantially immediately notified that an advertisement failed to broadcast, and be provided with the radio station's contact information and advertising client information. Those skilled in the

art will see the enormous benefits created by this aspect of the invention over existing technologies.

[69] As may be evident to those possessing an ordinary skill in the pertinent arts, a myriad of reports may be created. By way of non- limiting example only, such reports may include campaign delivery by station, campaign delivery by market, campaign delivery by date, campaign delivery by hour, broadcast failure, and demographic reports. A campaign delivery by station report may identify upon which station a selected radio advertisement or radio program was broadcast. This report may enable subscriber 130 to verify delivery across a certain station, or within an associated geographic region. A campaign delivery by market report may identify the geographic market across which the campaign was broadcast. This report may enable subscriber 130 to verify delivery and coverage within a certain market. A campaign delivery by date report may provide subscriber 130 with per-day totals of broadcasts associated with a specified campaign. Subscriber 130 may use this type of report to easily identify those days with the heaviest advertising and programming response, such as for support planning purposes. A campaign delivery by hour report may provide subscriber 130 with per-hour totals of broadcasts associated with a specified campaign. Subscriber 130 may use this type of report to identify those day parts with the heaviest advertising and programming response for support planning purposes. A broadcast failure report may provide

subscriber 130 with a listing of the campaigns that were scheduled but failed to broadcast. This information allows subscriber 130 to attempt to manage sales support, and take action to remedy failure. A demographic report may be provided. For example, the advertising campaign, broadcast across a specific market, may be mapped to area code or zip code to provide subscriber 130 with a broad overview of geographic locations of the receiving broadcast audience. Additional databases, such as those available from Census information, may be employed to generate financial, ethnic, and age-related demographic information which may be of use to subscriber 130.

[70] Stations may desire and may be able to isolate themselves from the internet for a myriad of reasons. According to an aspect of the present invention and pursuant to what is currently deemed best practice for radio stations, stations may isolate mission critical on- air work stations from the public internet. Specifically, the present system may enable on-air workstations to connect securely to a data center over the internet without the on-air workstation being connected directly to the internet. Such a configuration may be achieved and optimized by using encryption and secure protocols, including, but not limited to outbound-only protocols.

[71] In addition, networking models may be designed to minimize the impact on existing network configurations. For example, currently

there are two prevalent equipments set: Scott Studios and Maestro found in the industry. Connection to each of these legacy systems without necessitating the redesign of either system may be beneficial.

[72] Any networking model may be used such as a local proxy or local connection for example. Connecting using a local proxy need not require internet connectivity, and instead may require only connection to a local area network (LAN). One computer on the LAN may have two network cards, one of which communicates with the local proxy which in turn communicates with the data center via an encrypted outbound only connection. On the other hand a direct connection may require on-air workstations to have internet connectivity and may provide an outbound only connection to the data center.

[73] As may be seen in Figure 3, a local proxy may provide an encrypted connection to the data center and a reduction in the overall network traffic. Local proxy may use the Scott Studios and Maestro along with the local proxy to create an encrypted and secure connection to the data center. For this to happen, Scott Studios or Maestro may be present on each of the on-air automation workstations along with a local proxy module within the network. To establish the encrypted connection with the data center, the modules may rely on the station to have a dedicated

internal automation system LAN and a separate corporate LAN with internet connectivity. There may also be one machine that is multi- homed, meaning it has two network cards and is aware of both networks. In most installations, the multi-homed machine is usually the dispatch or a server. This configuration has been and continues to be a hardware deployment by Scott Studios with both modules and hardware/network configuration in place, the Scott Studios and Maestro will automatically attempt to connect to the local proxy. Local proxy may, in turn, attempt to establish an encrypted connection with the data center. Local proxy may be designed to make use of the default network settings of the multi-homed machine for both the automation system LAN and the corporate LAN. Therefore, these network settings may remain largely unchanged. Additionally, the local proxy need not rely on Host name to connect to the data center but rather uses an IP address, therefore no DNS configuration should be necessary. Local proxy network settings may be modified if any of the default settings have been changed to block outbound internet traffic from the multi- homed machine over the corporate LAN or if inbound traffic from the automation system LAN has been blocked to the multi-homed computer. If these defaults have been modified, additional changes may be needed, such as: the multi-homed computer connecting outbound to the internet over the corporate LAN, such as on port 443 (HTTPS), for example; the multi-homed computer connecting

outbound to the internet over the corporate LAN, such as on port 10,000, for example; the multi-homed computer connecting outbound to the internet over the corporate LAN, such as on port 80, for example; on-air workstations connecting outbound over the internal automation system LAN to the multi-homed computer, such as on port 10,000, for example; multi-homed computer accepting inbound traffic from the internal automation system LAN, such as on port 10,000, for example. Under such a configuration local proxy module may use specific ports to direct encrypted outbound-only traffic over the internet. For example, ports 443 (HTTPS) and 10,000 may be used for transmitting encrypted station information and module control traffic. Selection between these ports may be optimized to preserve system resources. Port 80 may be used for downloading unencrypted media files from the data center. After configuring a station's network, the on-air automation workstations may connect to the data center through the local proxy module automatically.

[74] As may be seen in Figure 4, direct connection may be used for stations and station clusters that do not follow the automation system hardware deployment recommended for Scott Studios and Maestro equipment, stations that already have internet connectivity at each on-air workstation, or for stations that either cannot or chose not to deploy the local proxy model. Direct connection may use the Scott Studios and Maestro Modules on each on-air work

station to create a secure connection to the data center. To establish the secure connection with the data center, each on-air automation workstation may have access to a network with a direct connection to the internet. With the proper communication modules installed and an internet connection present, the modules may automatically attempt to connect out to the data center. Direct connection may be designed to make use of the default network settings of the on-air workstations and instead of relying on host names to connect to the data center may use an IP address. As would be evident to those possessing an ordinary skill in the pertinent arts, using an IP address may prevent the need for a DNS configuration. On-air workstations may connect outbound to the internet over the corporate LAN, such as on port 10,000, for example. On-air workstations may connect outbound to the internet over the corporate LAN, such as on port 80, for example. Direct connection may use these specific ports to direct unencrypted outbound-only traffic over the internet. For example, HTTP traffic may be sent on port 80 and may be used for transmitting station information and for downloading media files from the data center. Port 10,000 may be used for transmitting communications information. Once the station's network has been configured, the on-air automation workstations may connect directly to the data center automatically.

[75] Figure 5 is an illustration of an advertising buying environment in the present invention. Figure 5 illustrates a local, a national, and a network advertising buyer. Of note, the local buyer buys individual ads on particular stations. The national buyer can pinpoint specific buys within a particular group of affiliate radio stations. The network buyer buys advertising for all affiliates within a network, such as in a radio syndication show environment. In the illustrated embodiment, an advertising buyer buys an insertion order, and the advertiser request correspondent to the purchase order goes into "traffic". Radio traffic is scheduled by trafficking software. For example, based on an advertiser request, traffic software may schedule the play of a particular ad in three slots at three assigned times each day during the weekdays of Monday through Friday. Obviously, once advertising inventory builds, such as during rush hour or high desirability playtimes, conflicts arise between advertising requests.

[76] To address these conflicts, the traffic software shuffles the requested advertising to maximize the revenue generated from particular ads at particular times (of course, advertising at premium times and on premium days brings premium revenue). The traffic software compiles a list of items to be played, wherein each item on the list is assigned a cut number that links the plays on the list together. In a typical embodiment, a text file consisting of the traffic log is manually reconciled at least once per day.

[77] Figure 6 is an illustration of a radio play environment. The environment of Figure 6 includes a traffic log such as that discussed above, a program log, a merge application, an automation for play, a master schedule, a tracking log, and may include remote applications, including external inputs such as voice tracking, satellite, and FTP, for example. The traffic log, the program log, and the master schedule as illustrated preferably include identifications of the plays that are to occur in accordance with each.

[78] The traffic log is such as that handled by the traffic software as discussed hereinabove. The program log may include programs, such as songs, that are to be played over the air. The master schedule may include a validation of the media to be played, such as verification that the identification numbers included in the traffic log and program log are valid play items. In a typical embodiment, the merge application merges the traffic log, the program log, and the filling of any holes, such as by the automation, to create the master schedule. The master schedule is directed to the automation, and the automation monitors the inputs and outputs to and from the radio station for play over airwaves. The play log is generated based on the output of the automation as that output is generated over the airwaves. The output of the play log may be monitored before billing to advertisers to ensure that ads have properly been played by the automation.

[79] In the embodiment discussed above, the automation controls the final output over the airwaves of a radio play. The automation may switch for example from a satellite channel to a local channel, or to an internet channel, and back again to obtain play from various locations for incorporation into the automation play. Such plays, as received by the automation, may include a metadata channel that does not include the radio plays, but rather includes information regarding the radio plays in the traffic log. For example, a metadata channel may infer that a remote radio feed is about to have a "hard break" or a "soft break". A soft break is one which is at the option of, for example, a radio personality, and a hard break is non- optional. As such, in an exemplary embodiment, a syndicated radio show may arrive for local play in the form of a compact disc, or may arrive by a satellite to the automation and may include a metadata channel including the information regarding the satellite play. Consequently, in an embodiment wherein the play originates from a remote point, the metadata channel may allow for a local station to insert particular items for an otherwise remotely generated play. In such an embodiment, the automation may switch back to the local play generation point for a limited set time, during which the local play point may generate local play items into the otherwise remotely generated play. Upon completion of the metadata instructed local play period, the automation may switch back to, for example, the satellite channel for a renewal of the remote play. As such, in the

most frequent embodiments of present radio applications, all plays, from all locations, are controlled by the automation, and further, the automation provides validation, via the play log, that all plays have properly occurred.

[80] In certain embodiments, the traffic log fed to the automation may include one or more "dummy" files. Such "dummy" file positions can include the place holders that allow for mapping of information, such as mapping of remote information over the internet and/or via FTP. Such a mapping may include the bundling of remote files and/or local files into a mapped position. Such mapped positions are not held as open, but rather are held as closed play positions in spite of the fact that it is unknown to the local automation precisely what plays will occur in the position of the "dummy" file.

[81] Further, ads may be inserted via channel switching instructions fed over one or more metadata channels. For example, a plurality of regional ads, each dedicated to specific one or more regions of the country, may be simultaneously playing on a series of channels incoming to the automation, such as channels 4 through 8. A syndicated radio program may be piaying simultaneously on, for example, channel 3 incoming to the automation. Upon the occurrence of a break, in accordance with the traffic log and metadata channels, on channel 3, the metadata channel may include instructions for each region to switch during the break to its

correspondent incoming regionalized advertising channel. For example, a station playing the syndicated program on channel 3 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania may be instructed to switch, via the metadata channel, to channel 4 during a break in the program of channel 3 in order to play a regionalized ad on channel 4. Simultaneously, and during the same break on the program of channel 3, a station in Los Angeles, California may be instructed, via the metadata, to switch to channel 8 in order to play regionalized advertising for that region then playing on channel 8. In such an embodiment, upon completion of a break on channel 3, all stations then participating in a syndicated play of channel 3 are instructed via the metadata to have the automation switch back to channel 3 for continuation of the syndicated play. Similarly, advertising may be cashed on a particular channel to play in a particular order, and, when a break occurs on the channel then playing, a switch may be made to the cashed advertising channel to allow for whatever numbers of cashed ads to play that are capable of play during an allotted break window on the play channel. Upon closure of the break on the play channel, the automation may be instructed to switch from a cashed advertising channel back to the play channel, and may pick up on the next switch to the advertising channel with the next keyed cashed advertisement.

[82] In an embodiment, metadata may be shipped on a particular channel, and programming may be shipped on a plurality of other

channels. In such an embodiment, the metadata channel may be keyed to the play occurring on another channel and the metadata itself may call for insertion of data on the metadata channel or another channel onto the current play channel when a break, such as a soft break, occurs according to the metadata channel. Upon the occurrence of such a break in accordance with the metadata channel, a local feed may, for example, insert local advertising onto the current play channel, such as via switching to a local channel for the duration of the break according to the metadata channel.

[83] Switching of the automation in accordance with the switching policies described hereinabove, allows for a preemption of a radio play. In existing play embodiments, if a break is called for at a particular time, such as at noon on a Friday, the channel on which the break is to occur must be continuously monitored, and the metadata of the channel on which the break is to occur must be continuously monitored, to ensure that the break occurs at the prescribed time. In embodiments described herein, a monitoring of, for example, channels such as the metadata channel may occur in real time, and as such assigned time plays, particularly of advertising or information spots, are no longer necessary. In particular, a monitoring of the metadata channel, even during a play incoming remotely on a separate channel, provides sufficient information to switch to an advertising or alternative play channel in accordance with the incoming metadata. Thus, in prior

embodiments, the knowledge of the occurrence of a break must be pre-existent, and any movement of that break must be monitored. However, in embodiments discussed herein, no pre-existent knowledge of breaks is necessary. Rather, in embodiments discussed herein, the system of the present invention learns and gains knowledge of when preemption is to occur, and elects the proper preemption in real time based on the break then occurring as it occurs during the play. As such, the prior art merely inserts at a defined time, while the present invention preempts in real time based on a learning from the programming as it is playing.

[84] In order to allow for a proper learning and preemption, the present invention may include a learning module and a preemption module, which modules may be placed at any of a plurality of points within the radio play system discussed hereinabove. For example, the modules may be placed at the traffic log, at the master log, at the merge, or at the automation. However, because the goal of the use of the modules is to replace unsold or underpaid advertising spots with more lucrative advertising spots, the operation of a rule set from within the modules must be available at the point of placement of the modules. Consequently, although the modules may be placed within the traffic log or master log, advertising payment rate data is not typically available at either location, and cannot be used to operate at either location without being affected by the merge. Further, placement of the modules at the merge might allow the

rules of the merge to replace certain unsold or otherwise empty play spots with songs, or other information, thus eliminating the ability of the modules to replace the unsold or otherwise empty spots with more lucrative advertising. Consequently, it may be highly useful to place the modules within or in association with the automation, in order to allow the automation to follow a series of metadata rules on the replacement and reevaluation of a merged traffic log.

[85] Modules placed within the automation may allow for a remote viewing of the real time automated play, in order to allow for real time reevaluation of the current play, and a comparison of the evaluation of the current play with a locally or remotely located rate and rate time chart, for modification, or replacement, via preemption, of information in the real time play list. Such preemptions may be based on cost rules or other rules applied through the ad-in module or modules to the automation.

[86] However, since estimated times for plays as assessed at the merge may vary in accordance with the delays inherent in a radio play, the modules cannot use time estimates, or play identification estimates to assess proper preemption iocations. Therefore, the modules may preferably have available a secondary feed showing real time output data of the plays occurring on a radio location then being monitored by the modules. As such, the modules may estimate a proper play location for preemption, and may then monitor to

ensure that the preemption location receives preemption at the proper point. This secondary feed showing real time plays may be received from a variety of locations. For example, the play output log may be monitored in real time to assess the plays then occurring. However, even the output log may be subject to certain delays or flaws, and as such may not give a true illustration of real time plays. Alternatively, the modules may view, from within the automation itself, real time play inventory requests as they occur. For example, the automation may call a particular play from a given location at a given time and that location and time may be viewed by the modules and compared with the play list in order to assess, precisely and in real time, the comparison of the play list with the play then occurring, and any preemptions may be modified according to any delays or improprieties assessed.

[87] In an additional embodiment, because the merge may eliminate much of any available unsold or empty play slots, it may be preferable to insert the modules at the merge, rather than waiting for the automation to occur. However, in such an embodiment, the merge would still require availability of, among other things, rate listings and the rates of currently assigned plays. Further, because play does not occur from the merge but rather occurs from the automation, a built-in delay would need to be assessed from the automation back to the merge, in order to allow a real time monitoring of inventory requests at the automation to be applied to

the modules performing preemption back at the merge. Further, the modules, whether at the merge or at the automation, may be subject to any number of local or remote rules. The availability of such rules at the merge may allow for the variation of preemption rates at the merge, thereby allowing the merge to vary the amount of unsold or empty slots filled by the merge, such as by dependence on the time or day. For example, it may be more cost effective to a given station to fill more unsold or empty slots during rush hour than during the remainder of the day, because rush hour may bring higher premium rates from advertisers. As such, the amount of unsold or empty slots desired to be filled during rush hour at the merge may be higher from the radio station viewpoint, or may be lower from an advertiser's viewpoint, based on the controller of the modules performing preemption at the merge.

[88] Figure 7 illustrates an additional embodiment of media play capabilities, wherein the media played is varied based on the actions of one or more receivers of media that was played immediately proceeding. As used herein, the terms radio content and broadcast or broadcast content include any type of media that may be presented via audio, visual, or computerized output to one or more receivers of the output, and that is presently programmed or preprogrammed for media play. As used herein, the terms nonradio content, or nonbroadcast or broadcast nonspecific content, include any media that may be presented via audio, visual,

or computerized output to one or more receivers of the content, and that is not presently programmed or preprogrammed for media play.

[89] As illustrated in Figure 7, a hub may also have accessible thereto a variety of content, including nonradio and radio content. Such content may be local to the hub, or may be available to the hub from any of a variety of sources, including but not limited to intranet, internet, satellite channel, FTP or zipped files that may be accessed by the hub in accordance with one or more commands associated with the hub directing media play. The hub may have multiple portions, more specifically the hub may be any number of modules resident at any number of locations, so long as all such locations are accessible by at least one module resident at the location from which the media play is to occur.

[90] Further, the hub may have accessible thereto a plurality of secondary information, certain of which information may be available in real time, indicative of the success or failure, in accordance with predetermined criteria, of a media play. As such, subsequent media plays may be varied in accordance with the success or failure of proceeding radio piays.

[91] In a specific exemplary embodiment, the hub has accessible thereto a play list for at least one radio studio in at least one marketing region. Multiple radio stations may be available to a single hub, and a marketing region may be any geographic region including but not

limited to a city, a county, or state, for example. In this embodiment, the hub may, in part, direct the play list of the one or more radio stations, such as by preempting that which was to be played by the radio station in accordance with the play list with an intelligent insertion that is more likely to bring success in accordance with the predetermined criteria then would preempted play on the play list.

[92] In this example, the play list of a radio station may generally include advertising plays and music plays. As will be apparent to those skilled in the art, listenership generally decreases when ads begin to play and increases during a continuous music play on a radio station. There are exceptions, of course, such as wherein listenership falls for a radio station during play of an unpopular song, for example. Further, listenership even during advertising may not fall if the advertising is popular, such as wherein the advertisement is amusing or of significant interest to listeners. Likewise, listeners to a radio station may respond to certain advertising by undertaking the activity advised by the advertisement, such as by stopping for food at a food establishment or shopping at a particular retail establishment.

[93] In light of all this information, and additional available information, such as real time audio monitoring of what radio station listeners are listening to, such as audio monitoring of vehicles at a heavy

intersection, as is known to those skilled in the art, the hub may modify the radio station play list in real time according to certain predetermined criteria. For example, if listenership of the particular radio station begins to fall, the hub may decide to preempt certain advertising that was to play with popular music. Consequently, listenership for that radio station will rise. When listenership reaches a particular level, premium advertising rates may become available for advertisers, due to the vastness of the audience, and the hub may at that stage preempt the music play with premium advertising in order to maximize advertising revenues. Thus, when demand for advertising spots and advertising rates are high, a radio station may create more advertising spots to thusly increase advertising revenues. Further, advertisers willing to pay only lower rates will be able to place ads during times when the advertising can best be afforded by that advertiser.

[94] By way of non-limiting example only, an advertiser may desire to have their advertisement run only when listenership is above 100,000, regardless of the time of day. Using certain predetermined criteria, the hub may modify the radio station play list in real time to intelligently preempt music play, for example, once the 100,000 listener threshold set by the advertiser has been met or exceeded. Once the advertisement has run, the hub may return to music play or continue with running advertisements.

[95] It will be apparent in light of the description hereinabove that various sources may be mined in order to access any desirable variation in the play list. For example, popular music downloads, as assessed by certain internet sites, may give excellent guidance on what would be the most popular radio music plays at a given time. Obviously, playing not simply music but the most popular music at a given time will have the greatest return in increasing listenership to the radio station at that given time. Further, such an embodiment of intelligent preemption and insertion can make available to the hub even more refined decisions. For example, greater advertising rates can be charged for advertising that plays immediately adjacent to the most popular songs available for play by the radio station. The hub may also limit certain content to control the price of advertising by, for example, playing only a limited amount of the most popular music in a given time period. By way of further example, advertising rates may be set according to actual listenership either measured in real time or estimated based on broadcast content.

[96] Per the present invention, intelligent insertion may be performed in any media play context, including any radio source. For example, insertion may be made in a cellular telephone context, an SMS context, a WiMax context, a radio station context, an iPod context, or the like. The media play insertion may include a song, a

message, a news, traffic, sports, or weather update, one or more coupons, or an instant message, for example.

[97] The feedback provided and the information available in order to make decisions on preemptions and/or insertions to the play list also allow for the creation of templates for items to be placed on the media play list. For example, responses to certain media plays on the play list may be tracked, and in fact may be tracked in numerous different circumstances. For example, responses to advertising placed on radio stations having a particular format may be better than advertising placed on radio stations having different format. In such an instance, for example, responses to advertising placed for spring break vacation trips may be better on top 40 stations than on oldies-formatted stations. Further, responses to certain types of advertising may be better in certain environments, such as in certain weather or in certain traffic instances. As such, certain advertisers may wish their ads to play only during certain types of weather, such as when it's raining, or only in certain traffic patterns, such as during traffic jams.

[98] in light of the above, using responsiveness feedback, in certain existing environmental conditions present at the time of a media play, targeted templates can be developed for certain types of media play. For example, targeting templates can be created for advertisers desiring advertising success with a particular group of

people. These targeting templates can, for example, be used to maximize return on advertising and marketing dollars, and can be used to assess, for example, targeted cost per minute that provide the best return on advertising expenditures. Such templates may then be sold to advertisers in order to enable those advertisers to best create targeted advertising.

[99] Figure 7 is also an illustration of a parallel architecture for media play. In the illustration, media play may be available from any of a number of locations at the same time, and likewise, directives for media play may be available at those same or other multiple locations at the same time. As such, such as in a radio station environment, wherein radio plays occur based on a play list, a media play list may include tokens, tags, or reference points within a media play list that refer to locations other than the output location from which the media play occurs.

[100] The locating reference may be to any point other than the play output, such as to a location that streams content, such as songs or advertising, or a location that includes rules for subsequent play or that serves as an intermediary to go to a second external location to obtain a media play. The referral to the external reference point may be provided in any manner known to those skilled in the art, such as an external reference provided in metatag data that accompanies a media play, such as an HTML, FTP or VXML link,

that may be used as a hot tag to guide the media play output to a desired location. For example, a reference may be made in the play list to one or more portions of the hub, and the hub may serve as the accessor for a subsequent media play. The reference may also facilitate an insertion, for example, as disclosed above. Thereby, although the play list location appears to be filled to a merge or automation application at the media play output point, the filler is actually a reference point to the hub whereat the decision may be made as to what content may be obtained and played in that reference point location on the play list.

[101] Individual references points may, for example, be generated for multiple locations and be provided to multiple media play or non- media play locations. For example, meta tag data may incorporate a reference point generated at multiple locations and may be then distributed to any location. By way of non-limiting example only, the meta tag data may include information that includes real time listenership and may be directed to one hub to control media play and to a second hub to create information directed to market share and/or advertising rates, for example.

[102] By way of non-limiting example only, a locating reference may be generated by the actions taken by a listener of the media play. Such a listener may, for example, place a cell phone call in response to the media, such call creating an external reference

which may be communicated to the point of play output via a VXML server. Other action examples may include the use of a smartcard to purchase goods, the tuning in of broadcast media play by a listener, and the use of an SMS to enter a contest.

[103] Referring now to Figure 9, there is shown a schematic diagram of the flow of information within the communication system of Figures 1 and 2. Figure 9 shows information flow 300. Information flow 300 includes two principle regions, RAS 230 and flow 310. RAS 230 may include schedule file 320 and audio file 330. Flow 310 may include audio advertisement files 340, publisher 350, and master controller 360. The flow of information will be described with reference to the numerals labeling the arrows representing the flow of information.

[104] RAS 230 may include a flow of information for a new schedule file

1. New schedule file may originate with schedule file 320 and be transmitted to a first chain agent 370. This transmission may occur by an external software that publishes a new schedule file to the RAS 230 file system. A first chain agent 370, via a directory watcher process, detects new schedule file 320, and reads it off of disk. This new schedule file 320 may originate or be taken from several systems within the radio station and or from a location outside the studio itself (in the case of remote network programming). Eventually, schedule file 320 may be created while

remaining unpublished to RAD 230. The filling algorithm may be local, and the rules for filing the inventory may not be dynamic nor take into consideration a revenue maximization function. For example, 3rd party groups today will "buy" unsold inventory in advance and give the station 1-N ads, that the station can "fill" unsold inventory. The station in this case is selling unsolds in advance without a guaranteed schedule.

[105] First chain agent 370 residing in RAS 230 may pass information to a flow 310. This retrieval of a new schedule file 320 may be seen in Figure 8 as link 4. This information may be passed to a parse and store step located within flow 310. As the RAS chain agent 370 reads schedule file 320, the file may be transmitted to flow 310. The dD preemptible ad avails (dD Avails) may be parsed from schedule file 320 and stored for further processing. The original schedule file 320 may be stored for billing, accounting, and auditing purposes. This parsing and storing, shown and described to occur within flow 310, may be achieved at studio 140.

[106] After parsing and storing the schedule file, the information is transmitted to the IMS where the campaign is assigned to schedule file 320. This transmission is shown by label 5 and may occur within flow 310. This represents the delivery of the dD Avails to IMS. Rather than collecting the unsold inventory report in a central location, the central location, which tracks ad effectiveness, may

publish results to each station and the local station software may use this information to make "intelligent" insertion over unsold inventory. The available ads may need to be published or delivered to station 140 and station 140 may need to receive performance data on those campaigns, so that the local engine may make decisions.

[107] Similarly, after parsing and storing the schedule file, a validator checks for possible scheduling errors. The transmission of information to the validator is shown by label 6. The validator may input this information and analyze schedule file 320 for errors in tag structure, frequency of tags, station contractual obligations, such as minimum number of spots per period, and other errors known to those possessing an ordinary skill in the pertinent arts. This validation, while shown to occur within flow 310, may occur local to hub 150. The validator may output information to IMS on whether the schedule file 320 is validated. This validity feedback is shown by label 23. Once IMS receives an appropriate response from the validator, IMS may process the new dD Avails, by assigning dD advertisements and specific creatives to specific dB Avails. This IMS, while shown to occur within flow 310, may occur local to hub 150.

[108] After the IMS assigns campaigns to the schedule file, the processing may be complete, and the information in the schedule

transmitted to a publisher as shown by label 25. The result of the processing of dB avails is a dB Schedule, which is specific to each station. This creation, while shown to occur within flow 310, may occur local to hub 150.

[109] After publishing the schedule, information may be transmitted to the master controller as shown by label 7. The master controller may operate as the brains behind "trafficking" the unsold spots slated for preemption within the dB schedule file. The master controller receives the song feed, including ads, as to what is being played currently on a station. The master controller uses this feed to determine where in the current schedule file a station is. The master controller manages the replacement of the ads, and the swapping back of the original ad, once the spot has run. The master controller, while shown to occur within flow 310, may occur local to hub 150.

[110] A feedback system may be created for creating new schedules as shown by labels 8, 9, and 2. This transmission path may transfer information from the master controller to the publisher, label 8, from the publisher to the second chain agent 380, label 9, and from the second chain agent 380 to the first chain agent 370. Thus, there is a schedule for a given station, master controller instruction to preempt a spot, and master controller instructions to restore the preempted spot after it has played. The master controller

interrogates the dB Schedule file for a given station, identifying the names of all of the creatives that are scheduled to run, and publishes these creatives to the station via the 8-9-2 pathway. The chain agent examines a cache of previously stored ads to determine that it has stored all creatives. The master controller, if it determines that a spot is ready to be pre-empted, may send a notification via the 8-9-2 pathway, to instruct the chain agent to swap creative one for creative two. The chain agent may confirm receipt of this message via the 2-30 pathway.

The chain agent may manage the physical preemption process. Instructions to preempt an ad may be delivered via path 18 to audio files 330. The chain agent may preserve the original audio file X by either renaming it or moving it to a different directory on the file system. The original file, the dD spot and the slated pre-emption may be copied into a directory of the same file name. The header information within the file, used to populate the RAS screen, may be different and reflects the actual ad that will run even though the file name is the same. The header information may identify what is written to the RAS log files for billing purposes and the station may be aware that the preemption occurred. Once this preemption has been completed or failed due to some error, status may be published via pathway (2-30). The chain agent, which may be responsible for sending the song feed, known as the log, of what is actually playing on the station, such as by pathway labeled 22, may

monitor the feed to see the pre-empted spot run. Once it has run, the chain agent may swap the original ad back and notifies the master controller.

[112] The feedback pathway labeled 2, 31 may enable the chain agent to determine if the audio file is available. The chain agent may request the publisher, via pathway 30, to send it a specific creative. The publisher responds by sending the file along with a checksum to confirm the file was not corrupted in transmission via pathway 9, 2.

[113] The chain agent 370 may also prompt the song feed across pathway 22. The chain agent, depending on the RAS configuration, may either watch the log file on the RAS to determine what is being played over the air, or may receive a data feed from the RAS directly containing play history. The chain agent may scrub the feed and publish it to FLOW. The song feed may be exported directly over the WAN to FLOW and a local agent may not be required.

[114] In the event that the validator determines there to be an error, information may be transmitted across pathway 16 in order for notification of an error to occur. If errors are found in the schedule file, such as a result of a contractual breach or a technical issue, a set of rules may be setup dependent upon the type or error and the

station the error occurred on, to notify both systems and people that are tasked to resolve the errors.

[115] The event ad may be played. As shown in pathways 19, 20, 21 the information derived hereinabove may be transmitted to the gateway. The information may be transmitted to a radio tower across pathway 19. Radio tower broadcasts to an audience across channel 20. As the audience responds to the pre-empted ad, by calling a telephone number, FLOW traps the caller ID or is notified from the call center, in substantially real time, or on a daily basis, for example.

[116] New calls may be logged, and the information may be provided to IMS across paths 13, 12. As calls are logged, the calls may be tracked against the dB schedule file. Revenues and performance metrics may be tracked given audience size, Arbitron data, and other factors. This information may be used by IMS to optimize ad targeting.

[117] Campaign performance, in addition to being transmitted to IMS, may be transmitted across pathway 14 to a forecaster. Forecaster may compare actual performance with predicted performance and revenues. The IMS algorithms may be evaluated based upon the accuracy of the predications. Over time, the forecaster may project future revenues based on inventory flow and ad campaigns scheduled in the system. The forecaster may provide automated

notification to station traffic managers that the present invention may result in income.

A verification may occur. The pathway labeled 40, 42 may demonstrate the availability of verification. The master control, in addition, may instruct the local chain agent at the station to preempt a spot and, responsive to the notification, may notify a digital radio that can receive the broadcast of the station to record the ad scheduled by the master controller, such as by sending a schedule or a real time notification to start / stop recording. The audio may be streamed over the WAN and recorded within the FLOW environment. Verification may occur across transmission path 41 demonstrating an ad spot recorded off the air. Once the file is recorded, it may be transmitted to FLOW to verify. The verify process may compare the audio file recorded to the audio file that was shipped to the station. If there is a match, then the ad spot may be logged as verified, if no match exists, the file may be routed to a human capable of listening to the original and the recorded file to determine if the spot matches. If no match still exists, further action may be taken. Subscriber 130 may option to listen to the recorded spots and the original in one of several verification reports. This audio may be streamed over the WAN and recorded within the FLOW environment.

[119] The management console provides an interface for feature sets for the Scott Studios and Maestro customers. The console extends the functionality of both Scott Studios and Maestro digital automation systems. Solutions range from Diagnostics, which provides centralized automation system monitoring and alerting, to RevenueSuite, which creates a new station revenue stream by helping to monetize unsold advertising inventory, without the need for manual trafficking. Further, the console provides a centralized view into the real-time status of the on-air automation system for one or multiple stations. In addition, detailed asset reports are available for each station, showing all Scott Studios hardware currently deployed. The console provides users the ability to view stations and activate Solutions based on permissions. Profiles can be set to limit a user to view-only access to as few a one station or can go so far as giving a user the ability to manage an entire network and to activate solutions.

[120] Referring now to Figure 9, there is shown an introductory web page according to an aspect of the present invention. As may be seen in Figure 9, this introduction to the management console outlines the functionality of the management console. Referring now also to Figure 10, there is shown a print screen of the contents window accompanying the introductory web page shown in Figure 9. As may be seen in Figures 9 and 10, the present console includes solutions, stations and users. Within solutions there are diagnostics

designed to provide centralized automation system monitoring and alerting and revenue suite which creates a new station revenue stream by helping to monetize unsold advertising inventory without the need for manual trafficking. Within stations a view of each station may be provided including a centralized view into the realtime status of the on-air automation system for one or multiple stations and further provides asset reports for each station. Further, user management may be controlled. User management defines permissions to enable users to view stations and activate solutions. Users may have profiles set to limit user viewing to view only access from one station through giving the ability to a user to manage an entire network and to activate solutions.

[121] Referring now to Figure 11 , there is shown an expanded view of the contents of the management console described herein. As may be seen each level may be further expanded to include more detailed solution and capabilities, each of which will be described herein below.

[122] Referring now to Figure 12, here is shown an introductory screen of the solutions section of the management console according to an aspect of the present invention. As may be seen in Figure 12, the solutions are designed to extend the functionality of digital automation systems. Within the solutions section, solutions may be activated; summarized and real-time reports may be produced.

Referring now also to Figure 13, there is shown an overview and status of the solutions available according to an aspect of the present invention. Included within the present options are a revenue suite, data services, diagnostics, Sarbanes Oxley, content exchange, and a logger.

[123] Within the console management system is included revenue software, data services, monitoring and diagnostics, Sarbanes- Oxley compliance, content exchange and a logger. The revenue software helps stations maximize their revenue potential by turning remnant, unsold inventory into bottom-line profits.

[124] The data services provide a comprehensive solution for radio stations to broadcast and manage dynamic text information to both RDS and HD Radio equipped receivers through a single easy-to- use interface.

[125] The monitoring and diagnostics provides network level insight into the status of a station's automation system. The monitoring monitors critical system metrics in real time and provides user notifications of system problems before they become more serious.

[126] Sarbanes-Oxley helps radio stations become compliant with the

Sarbanes-Oxley legislation by creating encrypted air log files and providing centralized reporting through the Management Console.

[127] Content exchange provides automated delivery of syndicated content from leading distributors, all managed through a single web- based interface. With real-time reporting and instant email notifications, Content Exchange's patent-pending technology is the easiest and most efficient solution to manage syndicated content available.

[128] The logger provides radio stations with the means to log and view station now playing information through a centralized and highly configurable web-based interface.

[129] Referring now to Figure 14, there is shown a summary of the revenue suite. The revenue software helps stations maximize their revenue potential by turning remnant, unsold inventory into bottom- line profits. As may be seen in Figure 14, a market may be clickable selected, such as Newport Beach, for example, and/or a station, such as DMARC, for example, as well as the type of automation system, as shown a SS32. Date information is also presented to show the last served date and time.

[130] Referring to Figure 15, there is shown an activation print screen according to an aspect of the present invention. As may be seen in Figure 15, stations may be selected for activation or deactivation as necessary. In addition an employee of the management console system may be assigned to a given station.

[131] Referring now to Figure 16, there is shown a summary of the revenue suite. As may be seen in Figure 16, a market may be clickable selected, such as Newport Beach, for example, and/or a station, such as DMRC, for example, as well as the type of automation system, as shown a SS32. Date information is also presented to show the last served date and time.

[132] Referring now to Figure 17, there is shown an inventory summary of the revenue suite according to an aspect of the present invention. As may be seen in the print screen of Figure 17, a network may be selected to be detailed. A list of stations within the network may selectively click to provide a report. As may be seen in Figure 17, for example, 1 station is displayed showing 27 published and scheduled spots with zero having been played. This presentation may be altered to include hourly breakdowns for a given station of network as well.

[133] Referring now to Figure 18, there is shown an inventory summary of the revenue suite according to an aspect of the present invention. As may be seen in the print screen of Figure 18, a network may be selected to be detailed. A iist of stations within the network may selectively click to provide a report. As may be seen in Figure 18, for example, 1 station is displayed showing 27 published and scheduled spots with zero having been played. This presentation

may be altered to include hourly breakdowns for a given station of network as well.

[134] Referring now to Figure 19, there is shown an inventory detail of the revenue suite according to an aspect of the present invention. As may be seen in the print screen of Figure 19, a network may be selected to be detailed. A list of stations within the network may selectively click to provide a report. As may be seen in Figure 19, for example, zero stations are displayed showing zero published and scheduled spots with zero having been played.

[135] Referring now to Figure 20, there is shown a revenue detail report of the revenue suite according to an aspect of the present invention. As is shown in the screen revenue reporting for the day has not been closed. Otherwise a plot of listing of the revenue may be presented. Station may be clickable selected from within the chosen network and the date of the report may be selectively chosen.

[136] Referring now to Figure 21 , there is shown a campaign preview report. As may be seen in Figure 21 , a station may be individually selected providing a display of the campaigns that could potentially target that station based on targeting criteria and restrictions. All stations may also be selected which would display all campaigns that could potentially target to at least one of the selected stations. Within Figure 21 , there is a section where the ad name is displayed.

Run dates including the beginning and end dates may be displayed. Further the creative name for the campaign or ad may be presented.

[137] Referring now to Figure 22, there is shown a revenue statement presented from the revenue suite according to an aspect of the present invention. A network may be identified and a time or date range selected, such as 2005 October as shown for example. A revenue statement may be produced and printed for records or for delivery to another within the revenue chain of command.

[138] Referring now to Figure 23, there is shown a summary from within the data services portion of the management console according to an aspect of the present invention. The data services provide a comprehensive solution for radio stations to broadcast and manage dynamic text information to both RDS and HD Radio equipped receivers through a single easy-to-use interface. As may be seen in Figure 23, a market, such as Newport Beach, a station, such as DMRC, and automation system, such as SS32 may be selected. The status of such a station may be included as well as the last served date and time. The data services may include virtual radio display, recently played list. Campaign center, configure pass through and configure content depot.

[139] Referring to Figure 24, there is shown an activation print screen of the data services according to an aspect of the present invention.

As may be seen in Figure 24, stations may be selected for activation or deactivation as necessary. In addition an employee of the management console system may be assigned to a given station.

[140] Referring now to Figure 25, there is shown a summary from within the data services portion of the management console according to an aspect of the present invention. The data services provide a comprehensive solution for radio stations to broadcast and manage dynamic text information to both RDS and HD Radio equipped receivers through a single easy-to-use interface. As may be seen in Figure 25, a market, such as Newport Beach, a station, such as DMRC, and automation system, such as SS32 may be selected. The status of such a station may be included as well as the last served date and time. The data services may include virtual radio display, recently played list. Campaign center, configure pass through and configure content depot.

[141] Referring now also to Figure 26, there is shown a now playing log which is a compiled list of artist and songs along with the radio station call sign which piayed the song and the played date and time. Reports similar to that shown in Figure 26 may be generated based on date or station within a given network.

[142] Referring now to Figure 27, there is shown a summary from within the data services portion of the management console according to

an aspect of the present invention. The data services provide a comprehensive solution for radio stations to broadcast and manage dynamic text information to both RDS and HD Radio equipped receivers through a single easy-to-use interface. As may be seen in Figure 27, a market, such as Newport Beach, a station, such as DMRC, and automation system, such as SS32 may be selected. The status of such a station may be included as well as the last served date and time. The data services may include virtual radio display, recently played list. Campaign center, configure pass through and configure content depot.

[143] Referring now to Figure 28, there is shown a campaign log for the data services according to an aspect of the present invention. As may be seen report and logs may be generated based on a campaign showing the date, time and RDS display sequence.

[144] Referring to Figure 29, there is shown an activation print screen for the diagnostics according to an aspect of the present invention. The monitoring and diagnostics provides network level insight into the status of a station's automation system. The monitoring monitors critical system metrics in real time and provides user notifications of system problems before they become more serious. As may be seen in Figure 29, stations may be selected for activation or deactivation as necessary. In addition an employee of

the management console system may be assigned to a given

station.

[145] Diagnostic summaries may also be created, as may be seen in Figure 30. Referring specifically to Figure 30, there is shown a summary diagnostics tool according to an aspect of the present invention. A market, such as Newport Beach, a station, such as DMRC, an automation system, such as SS32 and an operating system, such as Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, for example, may be selected. The appropriate service pack, boot records, free memory and disk usage may be displayed as shown.

[146] Referring to Figure 31 , there is shown an activation print screen for the diagnostics according to an aspect of the present invention. As may be seen in Figure 31 , stations may be selected for activation or deactivation as necessary. In addition an employee of the management console system may be assigned to a given station.

[147] Referring now to Figure 32, there is shown a summary screen for the Sarbanes-Oxley section according to an aspect of the present invention. Sarbanes-Oxley helps radio stations become compliant with the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation by creating encrypted air log files and providing centralized reporting through the Management Console. As may be seen a summary is generated identifying the marker, such as Newport Beach, a station, such as DMRC, an

automation system, such as SS32, and the current status and last change of the status are provided.

[148] Referring to Figure 33, there is shown an activation print screen for Sarbanes-Oxley according to an aspect of the present invention. As may be seen in Figure 33, stations may be selected for activation or deactivation as necessary. In addition an employee of the management console system may be assigned to a given station.

[149] Referring now to Figure 34, there is shown a summary page for the content exchange according to an aspect of the present invention. Content exchange provides automated delivery of syndicated content from leading distributors, all managed through a single web- based interface. With real-time reporting and instant email notifications, Content Exchange's patent-pending technology is the easiest and most efficient solution to manage syndicated content available. As may be seen in Figure 34, the content exchange summary may provide the ability to select a market, such as Newport Beach or Philadelphia, a station, such as DMRC or RAB1 , and may further identify subscriptions, auto download status, root content directory, number of downloads, last download date and time, and may provide clickable reference to setup features.

[150] As may be seen in Figure 35, the content exchange summary may provide the ability to select a market, such as Newport Beach or

Philadelphia, a station, such as DMRC or RAB1 , and may further identify subscriptions, auto download status, root content directory, number of downloads, last download date and time, and may provide clickable reference to setup features.

[151] Referring now to Figure 36, there is shown a new report from within the logger section according to an aspect of the present invention. The logger provides radio stations with the means to log and view station now playing information through a centralized and highly configurable web-based interface. As may be seen in Figure 36, a station or group of stations, including all stations, may be selected along with a report date and time.

[152] Additionally, individual stations, groupings of stations, or cities and other delineated segments may be selectively viewed. Referring now to Figure 37, there is shown a station list for Newport Beach for example. As may be seen in Figure 37, the station list includes a listing of call signs and frequencies of select stations within the selected list set. Additionally, the station name and type of automation system is listed. The station list may further provide a solution status and network status indicator. Additionally, the station list provides a user with the ability to add a station to the list through the add station link.

[153] Referring now to Figure 38, there is shown a more detailed station summary of a station shown in the listing of Figure 37. As may be

seen the station, as an example, is DMRC which is listed as an active rock station using SS32. The network key is identified. There are three main areas of reporting as shown in the screen shot of Figure 38. A recent song feed section identifies date, time, song and artist of recently played songs and other radio broadcast information. The network status section identifies various network information, including, for example, comm module, comm module status, song feed, schedule log, and log tagged. Adjacent to each type of information is a status of that information such as the last connect and last disconnect date and times. Last received log file date and time and that the play schedule is tagged. Further in the setup and configuration section of the screen there are specific selectable actions that may be taken. In the present example, these actions include a questionnaire, asset listing, configure RDS, configure HD, export song feed, configure pass through.

Referring now to Figure 39, there is shown a station list for

Philadelphia, for example. As may be seen in Figure 39, the station list includes a listing of call signs and frequencies of select stations within the selected list set. Additionally, the station name and type of automation system is listed. The station list may further provide a solution status and network status indicator. Additionally, the station list provides a user with the ability to add a station to the list through the add station link.

[155] Referring now to Figure 40, there is shown a more detailed station summary of a station shown in the listing of Figure 40. As may be seen the station, as an example, is RAB1-AM which is listed as a news talk information station using SS32. The network key is identified. There are three main areas of reporting as shown in the screen shot of Figure 38. A recent song feed section identifies date, time, song and artist of recently played songs and other radio broadcast information. The network status section identifies various network information, including, for example, comm module, comm module status, song feed, schedule log, and log tagged. Adjacent to each type of information is a status of that information such as the last connect and last disconnect date and times. Last received log file date and time and that the play schedule is tagged. Further in the setup and configuration section of the screen there are specific selectable actions that may be taken. In the present example, these actions include a questionnaire, asset listing, configure RDS, configure HD, export song feed, configure pass through.

[156] Additional house keeping and console management management is includes within the present invention. Referring now to Figure 41 , there is shown a user list of the user permitted to access the management console of the present invention. As may be seen in Figure 41 , the user name, description, and assigned stations may be displayed a selectively selected. Additionally, options for each

user are available and include the ability to monitor each user's access, to limit the actions taken by a given user and other system level monitoring of a user account known to those possessing an ordinary skill in the pertinent arts. New users may be added by selecting the new user icon as shown in Figure 41.

[157] Referring now to Figure 42, there is shown a user setting configuration screen. This user configuration access allows a user to be created and the setting for a given selected user account to be modified and set. As may be seen in Figure 42, the account name, username, and email may be displayed or entered. The window on the right portion of the screen displays a listing of station assignments. This listing may be modified. Further information includes the time and date the user setting was created and the time and date of the last modification of the user setting. Within the user setting a given user may modify the password associated with the user as would be evident to those possessing an ordinary skill in the pertinent arts. Further, a notification section exists to identify the warnings, such as disk space warning, free memory warning, and last reboot warning associated with the user setting. The encryption status change is identified as well as the content exchange file upload and content exchange show upload.

[158] Those of ordinary skill in the art may recognize that many modifications and variations of the present invention may be

implemented without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.