Hi everyone, hope you’re doing great.

I’ve seen that mairlist is able to stretch items which is a great feature, but currently not as useful as it could be :
The time-stretch feature don’t affect the scheduled duration of an item when the point of this feature is precisely to edit the total duration of an item (and if you run your station in auto 24/7, it’s a dangerous feature because the scheduled duration of your playlist will not be the actual one).

It would be a very great idea to force mairlist to take time stretching into consideration when calculating the duration of an item. Also, this would make possible to create hours of exactly 60’00 (by streching manualy, or even better: let mairlist stretch all the hour automaticaly)

This would take mairlist to a even higher new level of professionalism !

It depends on the view you have onto it.

For sure, and this was not a way to say that mairlist is not.
Mairlist is already a great professional software (this is why we’re all here, right?)

Maybe i’m the only one, but i’m pretty sure many users would be interested in a way to stretch a complete playlist to match a specific time (for hours playlists or even to match regionalized commercials duration)

It is. My objections focus onthe fact that in my radio world timing via stretching is all but professional.

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I’m not telling you that I want to stretch 10s on a 60s commercial blocks. I already fill my commercials blocks with station promo when a regional block is shorther than another. But it’s never precise enough, because some spots are not exactly 30" or 20".

The more precise and easy way has always been to stretch the whole commercial block to gain or lose 1 second and fill perfectly the duration of the commercials (that’s why softwares used on national stations have this feature)

As soon as mairlist can “auto fill” a block with random items and stop them when all regionals blocks are finished, it could be a good feature to allow mairlist to stretch them.

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My question is shouldn’t the machine do what we want and be our servant, NOT we be the machine’s servant?

My hope is that mAirlist will start to think about how humans need the software to function rather than bogging the conversation down in what is the “Most professional” way to run a station and, in turn, how to “professionally” use mAirlist.

Although this stretching feature is about commercial breaks, I can see it also being applied to the whole hour when the system is running in Auto. For me, a Time Stretching feature would allow the whole hour to be stretched, so the whole hour runs to a 59:30 hr or a 60:29 hour. Or, if I dare to dream, that mAirlist will consistently run a 60 min hour. At the moment, the hours can range from 58 mins to 63 mins.

In my world, we run on a shoestring budget. We spend $1 where $50 should be. To get bogged down in the professional nature of if Stretching is ‘professional’ or not is an attack on my intelligence and unprofessional. At the moment, it seems that it is much easier to run a station with a person in the studio manipulating a machine to run to the top of the hour on the hour or run a commercial spot in the time allotted, than to make a suggestion on how a system could function just a little better. We need mAirlist to be more functional in the real world, where mAirlist IS left to run the station Automagically. When multiple stations are trying to be resynced after a commercial break, this feature would make the process easier.


@RichardCMH You’re 100% right, and that was what I meant by “more professional”: more adapted to what you need as final user, and make the station management easier.

I’m currently forced to tell mairlist to put short items at the end of the hour to increase the chances of being close to H+0

So it is professional to sell your customer thirty seconds, but broadcast only twenty-eight, a loss of seven percent of the paid airtime?

And it is professional to alter the spots your customers have delivered?


I don’t think you get what we mean by “stretching”.

We’re not talking about removing 2 seconds on a 30 seconds item. We’re talking about acceptable stretching: on a complete hour, you can gain or lose easily 60 seconds by stretching a little bit all the items.

On a commercial block, as I said earlier, the point is to gain or loss 2 seconds on the complete block. So NO, we dont remove 2 seconds on a single item, but on a whole block. You can also prevent mairlist from stretching some elements (for example, stretching only station promos).

I absolutely do know what you mean and it were not acceptable for me as a customer. I would sue you for any tenth of a second you detain from me.

And if you have, say, twenty items in an hour, it is three seconds per item to make up one minute.

I don’t know what is the standard in Germany, but I invite you to come and visit some national radio stations here in France, you will be more than surprised. When you have 1 national stream and 60 regional splits, I challenge you to make regional blocks of the exact same length, to the nearest tenth of a second. (And the French radios did not invent this process)

There is a reason if all main Radio Automation Systems are able to stretch commercials blocs / hours.
Customer know that the spot can be stretched a bit for timing reasons.

That is the point, maybe.

Zenon Media, which is a german company, has been integrating a similar system for stretching commercials for many years. I’m pretty sure this is not related to the country, but rather related to the point of view. This parallel debate leads nowhere, and I am in no way criticizing the other ways of doing things. I simply propose to add a new one, which is already used and proven, despite what you may think.

Well, if you read my posts carefully, you may have noticed that I was talking about

And I am just a grumpy old man.

So, Hopefully this will be an insight.
“Stretching” has existed in radio since the days of CD. One of my workmates was telling me of hardware that was installed into the audio chain to do exactly that stretch and shrink the music with the expressed purpose of finishing the hour on the hour every hour.

It would be great if we could get all commercials/ ads to be exactly 30sec long and for announcers to talk for exactly the time they are given, plus have the right amount of 3min songs that every listener loves so they never turn off. I would also like to ride a unicorn one day and see pigs finally fly.
One final point on this side discussion is that paid ads. Commercials, ads or sponsorship, where someone is paying for air time, should always run to the time the customer has paid for. It’s not hard while in production to run the music bed for exactly 30sec then fit the script to that 30 sec. Of course, you could record a script that runs over and give more time to a customer, but why? If they pay for 10 sec, then record a 10 sec spot. If they paid for 30 or 60 sec then make the spot that length.

Now back to the actual subject of this discussion.
The feature that I would like to see, that this post is supposed to be about, is “Stretching”, where a series of songs throughout the hour could be slowed down or sped up by ± 0-10% operationally it would more than likely be set at ±3-4%. My learn-ed colleague chstd would like to use a similar or the same feature to apply it to an ad break.

Is this something that could be developed and implemented in mAirlist?

Because it exists in other automation playout systems.

I would like to know how other stations run mAirlist so it finishes exactly on the hour without fading or truncating the last track in fully automatic mode with no human in the moment intervention.



I don’t think you are really knowing what you are talking about:

Come on, these are totally absurd values. Ten percent of an hour make a difference of six minutes – you can’t tell me there are no other ways to fit your programme than time-shifting. Any content treated like that will sound like crap. Don’t believe me? Here’s a song „I like“, maybe your listeners do as well:

Too short? No problem, we’ll fix that:

Other way round:

You will experience that your audience won’t like the song no longer. (Yes, I know you promise not to set the values that high but other people will do.)

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Zetta, Zenon, Win Media, Dalet, Adeuxi, Dira, … but ok maybe Radio DJ cannot do it.

You should listen to a french radio regional commercial block. Where I work, we can gain or lose max 4s on a 3’08 block. I challenge you to tell me if a block is stretched up or down.

Yeah probably someone will be crazy enough to stretch an item by 15%, so what ? It’s his problem, not ours. mAirList is a powerfull software, then why not continue to improve it ? Don’t prevent new functions from being added only because maybe some users won’t use it properly.

Come on, the fact that this is not how things works in “your” world is fully understandable, but needs are evolving, and so the solutions are. I agree with you that stretching can quickly become a problem, but you can also use it with precision. :slight_smile:

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Hey, Tondose, I agree, 10% is very aggressive. After some more investigation, I would revise this down to ±5% Personally, I would never use that speed, but there needs to be some headroom in this setting.
I’ve run a station on another playout system for many moons. Once I mistakenly set its “Auto Speed” feature to 4%, it sounded very, very bad. In that playout system it has individual settings for the + and the -. Currently set to +2% and -2%, this feature, in combination with other features, like the overlapping of intros and outros, allows this station to run very close to the hour and very rarely runs over or under by 20 sec unless a human has done something wrong. As I said, the Min/Max ± of 5% is all about the headroom.

From the other playout systems Help doc Auto Speed: When enabled, said Automation system will play category tracks (songs, not spots) slightly faster or slower to gain or lose time.
The Min and Max speed defines the minimum and maximum speed said Automation system may use, in percentage. said Automation system will calculate the required speed based on the remaining time, the total duration of remaining songs in the playlist, any Song Outro Times set, and the length of the last track it determines will be playing at the top of the hour, or the next instant event time. Maximum values are Min -5 and Max 5. eg. Min -2, Max 3.

Also from the other playout systems Help doc "Song Outro Times: When enabled, said Automation system will utilize Outro timed songs to shorten the playlist time. Tracks will segue earlier at a calculated position between the Outro and Segue times. Most songs should be Outro timed using the Feature in said Automation system for this feature to work well.

Your samples, side by side, do sound bad. But played in a set of songs most listeners wouldn’t notice.

All that said. My problem still remains “How do I set mAirlist to play closer to the top of the hour?”

I regularly get a song starting with only 20sec to the top of the hour.
How can I stop this?

Is there a time-checking feature that I can set?

Will mAirlist consider a stretching compressing “Speed of song” feature?

Has someone developed a script that will insert audio that will end the hour within a ±30sec window?

Richard, I do not know anything about your station, but if you are not afraid of playing instrumental titles (these timing issues derive only from format constraints) you might start these on time but muted and create a transition by putting in a drop or a mod. The audio (one with a cold end, of course) will end right on the hour and won’t be (annoyingly) faded early. I have written a script before to achieve this automatically.

Hi Tondose,
Your script could be a solution, but do you think it could be modified to play a series of Program promos?

We play music for the last 10-15mins of most hours with IDs in between. The last item is an Item that selects short 2-at most 5sec ID with “Timing” set to “Backtimed”. After this we have an Item call “End Of Hour” with “Timing:” set to “Soft fixed time”, “Fixed time:” set to 01:00:00 and in the “Options” section “Prevent Floating around this item” is selected. At the top of the hour we have an Item call “Start Of Hour” with “Timing:” set to “Soft fixed time”, “Fixed time:” set to 00:00:00 and in the “Options” section “Prevent Floating around this item” is selected.

Is there anything you can see that maybe done differently?