Potok.FM is a monitoring and analysis system
that provides real-time broadcasting control
over the major Russian radio stations.

Who needs it?

Radio stations
and large media enterprises
Take advantage of a convenient approach
to quality control for broadcasting
and air time compliance.
PR agencies
and advertisers
Look up the broadcast archive,
monitor the number and duration of commercial spots
on various radio stations and broadcasting locations.
Professional musicians
and producers
Get your music rated and evaluate
for yourself whether it’s in demand.

How it works

Potok.FM is a distributed software and hardware system
which includes:

1

Servers with installed multi-channel FM-tuners providing a 24/7 live broadcasting record of up to 100 radio stations and 100 broadcasting points.

2

A central server provides the broadcast analysis and data comparison system, which generates data analysis for specific audio segments.

3

The web application searches and monitors the service interface for end users.

4

The control server carries out system management, moderation and user query execution, as well as data reception, processing and storage.

Broadcasting Monitoring

A permanent auto-comparison of regional and main broadcasts is made for each radio station. For instance: As a result of the St. Petersburg and Moscow broadcast comparison, mismatching audio segments have been revealed.

Broadcasting mismatch

A mismatch of regional and main broadcasts can occur for various reasons. For instance, if an unauthorized commercial has been broadcasted.

Radio silence

This means there’s no signal in the regional broadcast (during maintenance or a system error).

Regional Broadcasting

Agreed period of time when a regional radio station can broadcast local content.

Allowable Discrepancy

Authorized discrepancy according to a fixed or floating regional broadcast. For instance, if there is a specified criterion: a certain time period when local commercials can be broadcasted. The commercials should be no longer than 30 seconds and can be played in the time period from the 10th to 20th minute and from the 40th to 50th minute of each hour.

Maintenance

The time period when broadcast monitoring is not performed due to system maintenance.

Null Data

A period for which the system has no data. This includes times of the day which are still to come, or elapsed time when there was no monitoring due to a system failure.

Segment Playback

Users are able to listen or download each segment to compare the regional broadcast with the main one, and decide if there is a reason for discrepancies.

Live Broadcasting

Listen to all of the radio stations included in the monitoring system live.

Media Search

There is an option to look up an archive for sound bites within a given period
for all radio stations and cities included in the monitoring.

The user can structure the search results with a multi-tag system.

Media Monitoring

Combination of broadcast monitoring and search options gives real-time control of ongoing advertising campaigns. The service can also identify circumstances when a commercial was not fully played.

Summary Reports

For a brief overview of the monitoring system
there are summary tables for all the broadcasting cities of the selected radio station
or advertising campaign.

Data reports are provided on a weekly or monthly basis. In order to provide objective information, maintenance days are marked in orange. This implies that less than 100% of broadcasting time was monitored.

Reports

Potok.FM offers a variety of options for working
with data outside the web interface.

  • Printing template (color or black-and-white printing)
  • A PDF-report on current data
  • Summary PDF and CSV reports for the given parameters

Behind the Scenes

Moderation

A two-level system of manual moderation is used for continuous quality improvement in comparing the radio broadcast and the provision of the objective data. All segments with discrepancies are checked by authorized first-level moderators. As a result, the discrepancy is confirmed or rejected. A second-level moderator has to check the specific segment if the opinions of the moderators are different. The system provides a variety of pre and post moderation options.

Triggers and Actions

Regulations and Actions help to automate various system processes depending on the specific circumstances arising during the incoming data monitoring.

Triggers - templates with an unrestricted set of criteria within chosen radio stations and cities upon which the completion or non-completion of the criteria triggers an action. Triggers are specified with the template designer, the terms of which may take into account the start and end time of the segment, the type of segment, and the duration of the segment.

Actions relate to templates of automatic actions, such as a change of a segment status and type, creation of a specified type segment, notification of the selected users, or the generation of various reports.

Triggers and Actions are primarily used to create floating regional broadcasts, alert non-typical monitoring results, and automatically detect system failures.

Broadcasting Shift

Radio broadcasts consists of various segments such as music, news, jingles, and commercials, as well as the voice of the host.

It’s common for different cities to have some segments longer or shorter than others. Because of this, the start and end times for each segment shift, so a direct comparison of the two broadcasts would be a complete mismatch. Instead, the algorithm compares sound in short periods in several cycles with a slight shift in time for one of the broadcasts. This makes it possible to define segments that match, although they may have started at different times.

Raw Data Processing

Every hour the comparison system provides raw data and indicates how the broadcasts start and end times match up. Because of the broadcast shift tracking algorithm, the matching periods overlap. A raw data processing algorithm consistently monitors the time of each matching period until it detects an overlap. The difference in time between the start of one period and the end of the other is defined as a broadcasting discrepancy segment.

The algorithm complexity is necessary for constant comparison of processed and raw data from different hours and days, while taking into the account time zone differences and a fixed or floating regional grid of allowable discrepancies.

Daylight saving time

Before daylight savings time was discontinued in Russia, there was an algorithm that adjusted the raw data processing parameters automatically. Without this, on the day of the time change there would be a nonexistent hour with data when the time is shifted forward, and a duplicate hour when it shifts back.