Test Drive: The Tapscan Continuity Director

by Jerry Vigil

This month's Test Drive veers away from the usual studio hardware to take a look at an interesting piece of software from Tapscan, Inc.. The computer program is called The Continuity Director, and for stations where the Production Director is also the Continuity Director, the program might be the next best thing to hiring a separate Continuity Director.

The Continuity Director is a cart/copy/co-op management system that can be used as a standalone system, or it can be interfaced with Tapscan's Director Series Traffic, Logging, and Billing System. This review will look at The Continuity Director as a stand alone system.

The IBM based program is menu driven and fairly simple to use. From the main menu there are five main choices: Client Copy, Generic Copy, Assign Carts, Utilities, and Quit/DOS. There are sub-menus for each of these main selections, and sub-menus for some of the sub-menus (with the exception of the Quit/DOS selection).

Let's start with the Client Copy selection from the main menu. When you select this function, you are given another menu of three choices: Enter Client Copy, Review/Edit Client Copy, and Report on Client Copy. The program's word processor is accessed here when writing your own copy. The program also provides a generic copy file where generic scripts can be loaded and edited to suit your needs.

When you select the Enter Client Copy function, the Enter Client Name screen appears. You are asked to enter the client's name. After typing two letters of the client's name, a list of all clients with the same first two letters appears, and you continue typing the name until only the client you want remains on the screen. This feature elimi-nates typing errors that could screw things up a bit by avoiding having a file for Bob's Bar and another one for Bobs Bar (no apostrophe). If no match is found, you simply enter the client's name then press Enter. Once this is done, you are asked if you would like to review generic copy for possible use. If you answer yes, you are taken to the generic copy file. A screen appears with a list of categories to choose from.

The program we were supplied with for this review contained 232 generic scripts in a total of nineteen categories including Automotive, Bars/Nightclubs, Education, Electrical/Appliances, Entertainment/-Recreation, Fashion/Clothing, Financial/Insurance, Grocery/Drugstore, Health/Fitness, Home Furnishings, Jewelry, Real Estate/Apartments, Restaurants, and Shopping Malls to list a few. Move the cursor to the category you want and press Enter. The Continuity Director then displays a list of scripts available in that category with a title for each. Browsing through the scripts is easy, and once you've found one you like it can be edited to your satisfaction and selected as the script for your client. One nice touch to the generic script file is a list of ideas at the bottom of each script which can be used to enhance the script and the client's promotion. The ideas range from things clients can do to add some punch to the promotion as well as ideas that involve the station promotionally in one way or another.

Once you have a script selected, you are sent to the Enter Client Data For This Copy screen. This screen is used to enter such things as contract numbers, copy start and stop dates, the salesperson's name, and co-op information. If the client is an existing client (one already in the system), the Category and Salesperson fields are filled automatically. You simply enter information in the Product field. If you are using script, this may be the title of the script. If you're entering data for a tape received from an agency, this field would reflect the spot ID number or title. If the copy is co-op copy, entering a "Y" in the Co-op field will mark this script for future co-op reports. Additional co-op fields at the bottom of this screen are used for entering other co-op information you will need when it's time to invoice the client.