FTP Naming Guidelines

As the world gets more hectic and resources disappear, it is all the more important for radio stations to download their programs automatically. This requires some cooperation on the part of program providers to help us out with how they name their program (audio) files on their FTP sites.

These guidelines are sponsored by the Christian Radio Technical forum, CRTech, made up of the broadcast engineers who attempt to keep Christian radio stations on the air despite the afore-mentioned disappearing resources.

The guidelines are pretty loose (i think) but will help us out a lot. You as a provider will also benefit. Simplifying your filenames not only helps automate downloads, but also helps automate the uploads on your end, saving you time and cutting down on those peskie humin errrors.

The path (folder) name

Ideally, the path is short, but can be as long as it "needs" to be. It should end with a name identifying the program, eg
/our ministry/weekend programs/the cross weekly
/our ministry/daily programs/the cross daily
but could be as simple as
/our ministry/the cross
with the daily or weekly as part of the filenames.

Some providers feel a need for yearly and monthly folders. Wow! Why? Is this a distribution point or an archive? You're paying for that space. Two months' worth of a daily program is only about 44 files in a folder. But i can deal with a monthly folder, even yearly, if they have some sense, like just yyyy for the year, and two digits for the month, or perhaps the month name, eg
/our ministry/2013/the cross daily/07July
Just be consistent if you use month names. Either use the full name or the 3-letter abbreviation. So many start well, March, April, May, but after May they forget and continue in 3-letter mode Jun, Jul, Aug. One or the other, please.

And please resist the "need" for weekly folders, especially if you throw in a number that changes every week and the starting and ending dates of the week in free format. Remember, for the most part a computer is going to be looking for your files, and since computers are good with numbers, it would much prefer "2013-07" to "4832 week of July 1, 2013 - July 5, 2013".

The file names

In keeping with our "number are good" theme, use two digits each for the month and day (eg 01 thru 09, etc). They can be run together or separated with an underscore, period, hyphen, space etc. The year is optional and can be 2 digits or 4, and can be before or after the month and day. Also, just a short name or abbreviation identifying the program. Eg,
thecrossdaily-07-01-2013.mp3 or
07-01-2013-thecrossdaily.mp3 or
TCD_07012013.mp3 or just
2013-07-01.mp3 is fine as long as the path/folder identifies the program.

Avoid putting the program title in the filename.
TCD_07-01-2013_How I Came to Know the Cross and Was Saved at a Very Early Age.mp3
This is a lot of work on your part, and an automatic download will just ignore it, renaming it into a local name that the next automated process will recognize, like TCD01. Titles can be included in a 'cartchunk' or, with mp3 files, in an ID3 or TAG/ID2 field. That way, the information can often be passed along to the board operator or a live stream. For human consumption, a text, doc, or pdf file is best.

Thank you for your consideration!

For more information, you can contact me, dave allen. For several years i have written software for downloading and processing audio files from satellite receivers, and recently have added FTP downloads to that software.

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