Discover how to setup MetaRadio – an easy way to take Now Playing data from your radio automation system and send it to RDS Encoders, Digital Radio, Websites, Streaming Servers, Apps and more! This guide is part of the MetaRadio Support Guide. If you currently don’t own MetaRadio, give it a try.
MetaRadio is software which acts as a connector for your radio station’s metadata. It enables you to send your now playing data to dozens of different systems, and also unlocks new opportunities for revenue and promotions by inserting commercial and non-commercial messages between your song data. While many automation systems can send data to some of these third party broadcast systems, MetaRadio aims to connect all your systems together and provide advanced features.
Sending song now-playing information to other broadcast systems has clear advantages for your listeners and also your station. Now Playing data enhances the listener experience by allowing them to discover new tracks, increases a station’s website traffic, and unlocks additional advertising opportunities.
MetaRadio has a free trial available. You’ll need to tell us your name, email, and number of inputs you want to use. MetaRadio is licensed based on inputs:
- If you have one automation system with one channel, you only need one license – no matter how many places you want to send that data.
- If you have two data feeds from your automation system (such as a separate HD2 station), you’ll need two licenses.
- If you want to take data from an automation system, satellite system, or music fingerprinting system at different times of the day, you’ll also need multiple licenses.
When you sign up for the trial, we’ll email you a license key and an installer. Save these to your computer.
Where to install MetaRadio?
The next step is to work out where you want to install MetaRadio. MetaRadio runs on Windows. If you have a small station, you may want to install MetaRadio on the same PC as your automation system – this is the easiest option.
If you have a larger station, you may want to install MetaRadio on a separate Utility PC in your rack room, or even a Virtual Machine. This option is good if you want to keep MetaRadio away from your announcers, or perhaps if you want to connect multiple systems or multiple studios into the one instance of MetaRadio.
If you install MetaRadio on a different PC, you’ll need to know a little bit about networking, so you can send data between your automation computer and your MetaRadio computer. Many automation systems send data either via a TCP/IP connection, or a file on a network share.
Make sure you pick a computer that’s:
- Always turned on and always connected to your network, and
- Has a network connection to your output systems too, such as your FM RDS encoder, HD Radio exciter, DAB or DAB+ headend system, and so on.
Completing the Installation
Once you’ve decided where to install MetaRadio, copy both the installer and license file over to that PC. Log in as an Administrator, and then run the installer.
The first step of the installation wizard is to supply the License File. Once you’ve done this, you can accept all the other default settings, and complete the wizard.
You’ve now installed MetaRadio, and you’re ready to start configuring it!
Open MetaRadio from your desktop shortcut. It will open a black window showing the status, and if this is your first time running MetaRadio, it’ll also open a web browser with the MetaRadio Configuration App. If you don’t see the configuration app, the status window shows you the address you need to go to in your web browser. Any modern web browser, such as Edge, Firefox or Chrome, will work fine.
By default, the MetaRadio configuration app is available by going to http://127.0.0.1:9606/
MetaRadio’s configuration interface lets you control all settings within MetaRadio.
- The left contains the menu with various options – including the Input and Output settings.
- The centre of the screen contains information about your system, including license details, and a summary of the inputs and outputs you have setup.
The options you see available will vary depending on the version you have installed, and the license options you have installed.
Now that we’ve installed MetaRadio, we can connect it to our automation system.
MetaRadio allows you to send data from an Input, to any number of outputs. We need to configure the inputs first, and then our outputs second.
Select the “inputs” menu item on the left, and click “Add New System”. Scroll down through the list of systems and select your system.
Each input system has its own set of settings. You can find the help article for your specific system on our support page.
Testing Your Now Playing Data
Once you have connected your Automation System, go back to MetaRadio. If your configuration is successful, the black MetaRadio window will say “Now Playing” with some track details every time a new track plays in your input system.
This means your configuration is done, and you can now move onto configuring your Outputs.
Setup Output Systems
An Output in MetaRadio is any destination system you want to send data to – a RDS Encoder, HD Radio System, Website, Digital Radio, Streaming Server, Mobile App, etc.
In the left menu of MetaRadio, click on “Outputs”. Find your station, and click “Add Output”. Now you can select your output system from the list, and configure its settings. Our website has instructions on configuring all the most popular systems, or contact our support team if you need assistance.
Support & Next Steps
Thanks for choosing MetaRadio to manage your now playing song data needs. Make sure you explore all the features, such as station scheduling, message scheduling, and all of our advanced output options. Please get in touch with us if you ever need assistance!
If you have any trouble with this process or it’s not working, please send the MetaRadio log files through to our support team. We’re here to help! You’ll find the support bundle file in MetaRadio’s dashboard.
Can I have multiple Input Systems connect to one MetaRadio instance?
Yes. You can connect unlimited input systems (automation systems) to the one MetaRadio instance on one PC.
You will need one MetaRadio license per input. You can buy multiple licenses online. If you have purchased licenses separately and need them combined (so they can run one one PC), please email support your purchase receipts and we will make this change for you.
Can I exclude certain asset types from sending now-playing data?
Yes. Most input systems in MetaRadio allow you to exclude certain asset types (such as spots, sweepers, IDs, voice tracks, etc.) from being sent.
In MetaRadio you can use the “Allowed Asset Types” setting to restrict your now-playing data to certain asset types. Or you can use the “Minimum Track Duration (Seconds)” setting to ignore all tracks under a certain length.
Can I disable my Now Playing data during certain times?
Yes. This is a common request for stations that take satellite programming during certain hours, or for stations which use Audio Fingerprinting to detect tracks now played via your automation system. MetaRadio allows you to create a schedule for your automation system input. In your Input Settings, look for the “Input Settings” section. Any day/time entries specified here will disable your input system data.
What does “Zero items are currently playing” mean?
When a track is sent from your automaton system to MetaRadio, it checks a number of conditions before accepting the data and passing it onto your output systems. These settings include the configurable “Allowed Asset Types” and “Minimum Track Duration” settings. If these conditions are not met, MetaRadio will say “Zero items are currently playing”.
MetaRadio does not see my now-playing data and does not show any errors
The most common reason for this is MetaRadio has not received any data from your automation system. If your automation system uses a file, use your Windows File Explorer to double check the XML file has been written in the exact location you configured in MetaRadio. If your automation system uses IP, check your IP Address and Port Numbers match.
What does “Could not parse XML” mean?
This occurs when your automation system does not write XML to the file. Sometimes this is a user error – make sure you have configured your templates correctly. Sometimes automation systems send malformed data – contact us if you think this is the case and we will assist.
If you need assistance, please contact out support team.