Community Bulletin board messages must be either for events in town, or in a neighboring town if they are likely to be of general interest to the residents of Amherst. No political advocacy content is accepted (we do “attend this meeting to learn about the issue”, but not “vote this way”). Submissions also need to come from Amherst residents. Community bulletin board content runs between all regularly-schedule programs.
For bulletin board announcements, single jpg pictures in 4×3 form factor are best, and single powerpoint slides are second best. PDFs (unless in 4×3 screen format) and anything in poster format is very bad… I’ll put it up, but it will be illegible. Announcements can run up to 30 days. Officially, we say to allow a week from submission to broadcast, but if it’s in the right format and I’m not slammed, stuff usually goes up in 24 hours. You can also send raw content and we’ll format it for you, but that does take many days to get done, and the artistic value is low… we just put up the words in a legible way. Event notices are limited to ONE slide, except in extremely rare instances.
Bulletin Board submissions really need to be concise… What, When, Where. The complete history of the organization or event just obscures the key message. Detail descriptions of EVERYTHING that’s going to happen just obscure the key message. Let me say it another way: Less is More.
The bulletin board slide deck is typically about 60 slides long, and each one usually dwells on the screen for 15 seconds. It loops continuously with background music between scheduled programs.
Powerpoint slides can’t have any animations on them… they actually get converted to jpgs for display. Our system is also capable of displaying Flash animations.
Now available: We can directly take powerpoint slides with embedded animations (but not embedded flash or multimedia content) and display them directly. This will make it easier and faster to post content, and make it more visually interesting. The biggest change for submissions will be that slide makers will need to avoid the margins of screen… every TV has a “safe area” that is guaranteed to be displayed, and optional margins that it may or may not display. Important message content that MUST be displayed has to be central to the picture (roughly the middle 85% of the slide), as not all TVs will display content outside the margins. With automatic posting, the human editor will be out of the loop in exchange for faster turnarounds, whether the slide is totally legible or not.
Also, we are able to scroll up long text descriptions in a slide, so a large message can be displayed in its entirety, instead of editing for key points. But just because we can now show a lot of text doesn’t mean the audience wants to read it! One example of how we use this is press releases. Because the longer the press release is, the longer the slide is on the page scrolling (I can’t make it go too fast or it’s unreadable), the time press releases will be displayed depends on their length. Typically, they will only run for a week — long ones for fewer days.