Field Report: vCreative PPO

April 1, 2010

After 12 years of radio production sorting stacks and stacks of production job orders, I finally came to the conclusion that there has to be an easier and more streamlined way of doing it. There are on-air automation programs, traffic and sales programs, and even programs for promotions. After trying to create my own with Excel and still ending up with the same result, I came across a paperless production job order system on one of my resource networks. This program was able to take all those prod orders and compile them into a user-friendly database much like my e-mail. It's called Paperless Production Order System (PPO) from vCreative. Creators John and Jinny Laderer also had the same idea of making the radio production process more efficient and streamlined. It only took me one demo to see the potential this system had to offer my department.

PPO is designed to streamline the entire production job order process between AEs, traffic and production. The system is set up with an inbox, tasks, starts tomorrow, starts soon and so on. With a few easy clicks on the headers of each column orders can be sorted much like Excel.

Performance at a glance
Web-based production order system
Easy-to-use forms with required fields
Submits instantly to traffic and production
Submit orders anywhere, anytime
Tracks status of each order in real time
Monthly fee or barter arrangement
Eliminates make due expenses
Saves on consumables

The production order form itself is designed to be user friendly and has plenty of fields to input all the data the AE would use in a paper form. At first glance the form may seem overwhelming with all the fields but not all of them need to be filled it out. It is purposely designed to cater to every situation to give the AE an opportunity to put in as much information as he feels is needed. Because the system is not customized for only one station or cluster, it must be able to fulfill the needs of every station no matter how big or small.


The order is split in seven collapsible cells that open when certain information is input into the designated fields, which helps guide users through the rest of the process. There are even required fields that must be completed to submit the order, which helps eliminate errors.

The system has some great interactive features:

  • Ability to upload scripts, prod notes, tag info and music beds
  • Streaming audio of the final spot
  • Access from any computer including a mobile phone
  • Ability to store every spot uploaded on vCreative's own servers, allowing orders from years ago to be accessed with full search.
  • Calendar
  • Reports
  • Out of office notification
  • E-mail notification
  • History of each order
  • -- continued on page 2

    There is no software to install and it's completely Web-based. The only setup involved on my end is adding users and some general system options. We have been running PPO for close to two years now and it has only experienced one or two hiccups, which were fixed in a matter of 20 to 30 minutes with one e-mail to John Laderer.

    The production order form is user-friendly.

    The production order form is user-friendly.

    This leads me to another aspect of the system I really like: customer service. When I first started with the system I noticed some areas I liked and some areas I thought could use some tweaking. John was very willing to take the time and hear my thoughts, which led to many weeks of brainstorming and tweaks to get it not only to run for my department, but current and future clients. To this date I can shoot John an e-mail with a suggestion and get a response the same day. This also goes for anybody who uses the system: Just click the feature request, fill out the form, hit submit and you're done!

    Once the order is submitted the process can start on everyone who is involved. For example: After the AE fills out the order and submits it I can then assign a producer, assign it to the copy writer, traffic and continuity can enter it in the traffic system and assign it numbers, and the whole time the AE looks at his screen and sees the status. We used to have a problem with orders waiting to get processed, but now everyone involved can work on it at the same time, which means better efficiency.

    Switching over

    The only real struggle I dealt with was how to make the switch from our old paper system to PPO without an all-out revolution from the sales people. I selected a couple of sales people to be guinea pigs for two weeks. They gave me instant feedback. After all the adjustments were made, I rolled the system to the entire sales staff and never looked back.


    PPO isn't a system that can stand alone like on-air automation; it requires everyone involved to his part and needs constant attention. Some production directors I have spoken with feel it can replace them and they would be out of a job. PPO doesn't voice or produce the spots, nor does it use some complicated formula to create and delegate the orders. Without someone at the helm steering and telling it what to do this system will simply sit there and do nothing. PPO is a very useful tool that benefits everyone using it and I predict that in the very near future it or systems similar will become an industry standard much like a DAW and Internet-based music libraries.

    I think I can speak for everyone at our five-station cluster in saying that it has been one of the most useful and beneficial systems we use. It's interesting to look back and remember the days of piles of orders sitting on my desk and trying to make head or tails of them. I wonder how I was able to keep my sanity in this thing we call radio.

    Pallarino is the creative director at Entercom Upstate, Greenville, SC.

    Editor's note: Field Reports are an exclusive Radio magazine feature for radio broadcasters. Each report is prepared by well-qualified staff at a radio station, production facility or consulting company.

    These reports are performed by the industry, for the industry. Manufacturer support is limited to providing loan equipment and to aiding the author if requested.

    It is the responsibility of Radio magazine to publish the results of any device tested, positive or negative. No report should be considered an endorsement or disapproval by Radio magazine.

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