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IBC Sneak Peek: Wheatstone Glass LXE Virtual Console

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 00:00

Modeled on Wheatstone’s LXE console, Glass LXE takes it to the touchscreen. It will function within the WheatNet-IP environment, including  attached consoles, talent stations, I/O units, accessories and SIP phone and codec distribution appliances.

The Glass LXE GUI imitates the physical look of the hardware LXE while also matching functionality, including familiar buttons, knobs and multitouch navigation and menus for setting EQ curves, filtering and other custom settings, according to the company.

Wheatstone Applications Engineer Kelly Parker said, “You can run it on a laptop or on multiple PC screens from a cloud. Glass LXE can be used alone or combined with the physical LXE surface to give broadcasters full console control anywhere that’s needed, and on a UI that is very familiar.”

Glass LXE comes with a hardware mix engine.

IBC Stand: 8.C91

Info: www.wheatstone.com

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The post IBC Sneak Peek: Wheatstone Glass LXE Virtual Console appeared first on Radio World.

Belgium’s Wallonia-Brussels Federation Redefines Radio Landscape

Mon, 08/05/2019 - 14:00

BRUSSELS — On Thursday July 11, the Conseil Supérieur de L’Audiovisuel officially revealed the new frequency plan for Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the French speaking part of Belgium. It published the final list of license winners on July 17.

With four networks we double our presence in the Walloon radio landscape,” said Marc Vossen, CEO NGroup. “We commit ourselves to DAB+ and are willing to invest.” Photo courtesy of NGroup

In January, the media watchdog invited broadcasters in the federation to apply for analog (FM) and/or digital (DAB+) frequencies. In total, the CSA received 123 admissible applications.

The CSA subsequently gave the green light to 72 FM frequencies for independent stations and four frequencies for provincial radio networks. In addition, six “national” (for the South of Belgium) and urban networks were granted an FM license.

In the digital domain, 75 independent and four community stations (covering Wallonia-Brussels Federation) received access to DAB+ multiplexes.

CSA’s decision to redefine the Wallonia-Brussels Federation radio landscape for a nine-year term marks an important step toward digital radio development. The inclusion of independent radio stations makes DAB+ offerings in the French speaking part of the country one of the richest and most diverse in Europe.

With 11 FM frequencies and 141 DAB+ licenses still available for local and independent broadcasters, the CSA plans to organize a new frequency round, which will allow more independent stations to go on air. The Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles government also announced that it would financially support local radio stations in their technical transition to DAB+.

“Never before has a commercial radio station in the French-speaking part of the country been granted a DAB+ license,” said Francis Goffin, CEO of maRadio.be, an organization that brings together public and commercial radio stations to promote DAB+.  “Although the RTBF was not involved with the current frequency allocation round, the public broadcaster will expand its current six DAB+ stations with two extra services this year.”

[Read: Five New Digital Channels for Sublime]

Broadcaster NGroup, with a current market share of 22.1% (source: CIM) received two FM frequencies for Nostalgie and NRJ, plus four DAB+ licenses for Nostalgie, NRJ, Chérie and newcomer Goldie. This makes NGroup the leading commercial radio player in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

The government supports a technical transition to DAB+ for local stations. Photo courtesy of maRadio.be

“It was a long process, but I want to thank our teams for obtaining these frequencies. We might be disappointed for not having won an FM licence for Chérie, but with Goldie we offer a new brand targeting 7- to 77-year-olds via DAB+,” said Marc Vossen, CEO of NGroup.

With LN24, the region also welcomed its first 24/7 news station — the channel will officially launch on Sept. 2 with independent news broadcasts on TV, internet and DAB+.

The “Nos Radios” project, which groups six local TV stations in a frequency application and RTL’s “Mint” channel were among the stations not receiving a broadcast license.

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The post Belgium’s Wallonia-Brussels Federation Redefines Radio Landscape appeared first on Radio World.

GatesAir Keeps STL Transport Hopping for WJKS

Mon, 08/05/2019 - 10:11

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Headquartered in West Lebanon, N.H., Great Eastern Radio owns 15 radio station in three states, including several in Vermont. WJKS(FM), known to listeners as KISS 104.3, serves the Burlington/Plattsburgh, N.Y. market with a classic hip-hop format.

The WJKS transmitter site, as we like to say, is on the “wrong side” of Lake Champlain. The rural site is distant and challenging to reach both by vehicle and STL transport. For the latter, Frontier Communications provides a long-distance fiber connection to the transmitter with very reliable service.

However, a fiber connection doesn’t work when the wire is cut — an unwelcome event we experience several times a year when a snowplow or vacationer comes in contact. Traditionally, these events silence our signal for up to 48 hours. When this happened recently month, we had an ace up our sleeve: A GatesAir Intraplex IP Link solution that can now seamlessly switch between three network feeds. 

We have long used Intraplex T1 STL systems, several of which remain on the air with recent IP module upgrades. As T1s fade and broadcasters adopt IP transport with confidence, systems such as IP Link have become the primary transport system. We selected the cost-efficient base model — the IP Link 100 codec with a standard configuration that places the encoder at our studio and the decoder at the transmitter site. Each device integrates dual power supplies for maximum redundancy, along with support for numerous compression algorithms.

[WKGC Plays Through Hurricane With GatesAir Transmitter]

Our IP Links manage three streams: an uncompressed stream over fiber; an AAC stream over a Cradlepoint 4G network; and an Icecast streaming service. When the fiber connection went south last month, the full uncompressed stream automatically switched to the Cradlepoint AAC stream. With the fiber connection down for 28 hours, the AAC stream kept us on the air with no noticeable difference in audio quality. In the future, if the Cradlepoint 4G feed temporarily fails, the IP Links will grab the Icecast feed from our streaming server. 

GatesAir’s Dynamic Stream Splicing (DSS) software provides the secret sauce for reliable transport delivery. We have two streams operating over the fiber service that are offset by several hundred milliseconds. If packets are missing in the primary stream, the DSS software grabs those packets from the secondary stream to repair the missing audio. While it is not live on the other networks, the DSS software could be applied to take audio from backup transport networks — an option we are looking at for future rollouts on other Great Eastern Radio stations.

Configuration of the IP Link codecs is simple, with an intuitive process that requires little more than logging into the web interface and managing some basic settings. The two codecs were passing audio within a half hour. We folded the IP Link codecs’ SNMP monitoring capability into our VPN network infrastructure. The two codecs monitor SNMP traps and will dispatch alarms in the event of any immediate or impending failure. To date, we have had no such issues. 

[NAB Exhibitor Viewpoint: Bruce D. Swail, GatesAir]

Otherwise, the devices interoperate cleanly with other systems in the air chain: A Wheatstone Blade feeds the encoder at the studio, and the decoder at the transmitter site feeds AES and analog audio to Wheatstone X3 and FM55 audio processors, respectively. The fact that the IP Link integrates AES and analog outputs is an important benefit, as we can switch between the two processors during firmware upgrades and other maintenance procedures.

The IP Links have been so reliable that we are already planning a single-format, three-transmitter Intraplex system that will cover sites in Keene, N.H., and two sites in Vermont (Stratton Mountain and Mount Snow). These sites have also been affected by fiber line damage in the recent past, especially during winter months. We will use the same exact network configuration — fiber with Cradlepoint and Icecast redundancy — with IP Link codecs managing transport over all three networks.

For information, contact Keith Adams at GatesAir in Ohio 1-523-459-3447 or visit www.gatesair.com.

The post GatesAir Keeps STL Transport Hopping for WJKS appeared first on Radio World.

IBC Sneak Peek: ChyronHego Upgrades Lineup

Mon, 08/05/2019 - 08:51

Graphics and “visual storytelling” products developer ChyronHego promises the IBC2019 audience peeks at product upgrades across the company’s line.

The company’s Camio newsroom platform is seeing an upgrade to its GUI allowing features from it stablemate Prime such as “XMP, autofill, layers, and GTC movies, and the Camio Rundown now enables Prime Graphics scene playout on screens of all sizes and shapes, including studio walls,” according to a release. In addition there is a new Media Engine for rendering stills and animations in numerous media workflows to more efficiently handle pixels.

And speaking of Prime (pictured), Version 3.5 will be seen in Amsterdam. This attest version has a new G-Sync/command scheduler that synchronizes outputs between channels of the same server or between different servers — giving operators the ability to synchronize graphic events to multiple screens.

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The LyricX graphics creation reaches Version 4.1, now including enhanced auto-hide features for building more logic into a scene and a new advanced keyboard with flex keys that offer flexibility with application and scene-based control. The new keyboard can be configured to support over 300 commands and supports modifier keys. The new LyricX enables users to create warp clips built in Adobe After Effects and attach them to any object in the scene for highly creative transformations of a scene object’s pixels.

IBC Stand: 7.C21

Info: www.chyronhego.com

The post IBC Sneak Peek: ChyronHego Upgrades Lineup appeared first on Radio World.

NYC OTA Viewers Need to Rescan for New Channels

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 21:45

With the channel repack entering its final year, Durst Broadcasting — which manages the broadcast antenna facility atop One World Trade Center — announced this week that it had successfully completed Phase 4 of the repack. The organization urged New York City residents to rescan their TV sets in order to receive the channels in their new spots on the spectrum band.

The channel repack is a result of the 2017 FCC spectrum auctions, which requires nearly 1,000 U.S. television broadcasters to move to new channels to make way for new wireless companies to occupy former broadcast spectrum. For New York, where most of the TV stations host their antennas on top of One World Trade Center, Durst has been planning and coordinating the transfer for years, according to John Lyons, assistant vice president and director of broadcast communications for The Durst Organization.

“We have been working with the broadcasters and equipment suppliers for well over a year to make this transition a smooth one,” Lyons said. “Thanks to the efforts of the New York City broadcast community, equipment supplier RFS Myat and systems integrator DSI RF Systems Inc., we were ready for this operation on Aug. 1 as scheduled. Within a few minutes, the stations were on their new channels.”

The stations involved include:

WCBS

WLIW

WNBC

WNJU

WNYW

WWOR

WRNN

WPXN

Planning for the repack began before the World Trade Center Broadcast site became operational in mid-2017 and involved the installation of a redundant combiner and antenna systems that allowed all the stations to continue operations while Durst updated existing hardware.

Consumers who watch television over the air will need to rescan their TV sets in order to receive the new channels. Subscribers to satellite or cable TV do not need to rescan. Viewers should also rotate their antennas toward One World Trade Center for the best reception.

For more news and insight on the repack, visit TV Technology’s repack silo.

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The post NYC OTA Viewers Need to Rescan for New Channels appeared first on Radio World.

Community Broadcaster: EAS Test Time

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 21:32

The author is membership program director of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. NFCB commentaries are featured regularly at www.radioworld.com.

Community radio stations have so much to handle on a daily basis. There are volunteer training sessions. There are local underwriters and their needs. Then there’s the broadcast, which needs to be lively 168 hours each week. Oh, let’s not forget the technology needs, from headphones to transmitters. Every manager’s notepad, it seems, is filled with tasks.

And do not forget the unexpected weirdness that can only be community radio. Buy me a drink sometime and I will tell you about the time I had to corral a baby opossum out of a studio with one of those cheap plastic mail bins (sorry, U.S. Postal Service). Community radio has lots of those kinds of tales!

[Read: Community Broadcaster: Rocket Fuel]

So, with all the big and small to-dos in our faces, it is easier to forget more stuff than you realize. However, next week’s Emergency Alert System national test should be on your calendar. With plenty of reminders, because this test is required and impacts every radio station, whether commercial or noncommercial.

On Wednesday, Aug. 7, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission will be jointly conducting a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System. Should there be a last-minute rescheduling of the EAS signal going out to everyone, the secondary test date is set for Wednesday, Aug. 21.

This directive includes your community radio station, as well as religious broadcasters, commercial radio and, well, everyone.

In addition, both full- and low-power radio stations are required to participate. Following reported issues last national test for low-power FM stations, the FCC has sought to walk station through its processes. In July, the commission ’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau hosted a webinar for LPFMs, featuring an overview of the EAS and instructions on how to register and file all appropriate documentation.

Indeed, there is a fair bit of documentation for community radio stations to complete. All stations had to file Form One by early July, but the deadline was extended due to technical issues. If your station has yet to file Form One, you should do so as soon as possible. You can check your form status by logging in to ETRS, the EAS Test Reporting System set up for stations to share their compliance with this effort.

If your station has lost its password — and, let’s face it, who hasn’t lost a password from time to time, right? — you can request a password reset here. New accounts, if your station has never had one, which includes a handful of broadcast outlets, can get an account set up here.

Form One is not a station’s only obligation. Form Two is a day-of form to be completed on test day. On or before Sept. 23, radio station staff members must file the detailed post-test data sought by Form Three. Given you may already be in EAS form completion mode now, your station may wish to start compiling this data while it is fresh and file Form Three early if possible.

Emergency preparedness services are one of the most evident and critical ways a community radio station can serve its listeners and broadcast area. In addition, a community radio station’s ability to fill this need beyond what a commercial broadcaster does may help it make a much more compelling case for its local work.

The national Emergency Alert System test is a requirement for all radio stations. Everyone involved in a station should be ready to go on Aug. 7. However, you may also see this day as one to help lift up all your operations.

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The post Community Broadcaster: EAS Test Time appeared first on Radio World.

Multilingual Emergency Broadcasting: A Moral Imperative for the Radio Industry

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 21:15

The author is Earle K. Moore Fellow at the Multicultural Media, Telecom & Internet Council. Radio World welcomes opinion and points of view on important radio broadcast industry issues.

According to a 2011 Census Bureau report, 21% of the U.S population speaks a language other than English at home. Yet, many of these individuals find themselves at a profound disadvantage when emergencies strike because very few of America’s radio stations routinely transmit emergency information in widely spoken languages other than English.

Notably and infamously, in August 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, close to 100,000 Spanish-speaking individuals were left with no radio lifeline after the only Spanish-language station in New Orleans was knocked off the air.

[Read: Sirius XM Gets EAS Technical Waiver on Four Channels]

To date, the FCC has no multilingual emergency broadcasting requirements. “It means that if you speak only Spanish, and a hurricane hits, you are on your own,” said Brent Wilkes, the former CEO of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency supports extending alerting to the non-English speaking populations, stations have the choice to provide emergency information only in English.

America has no official national language, so it is imperative that the broadcast marketplace ensure that those who do not speak English still receive life-saving information during emergencies.

The idea of requiring EAS in languages other than English is not a new concept and can work if each local area has a “designated hitter” selected in advance to broadcast in languages other than English. The concept is based on the U.S. Army’s training of platoons: if a soldier goes down when the platoon is taking a hill, another soldier takes his or her place, and the job still gets done.

In 2018, this idea worked when three radio station groups voluntarily cooperated to provide vital information to Spanish-speaking residents to communities in threatened by Hurricane Florence. At the request of MMTC and LULAC, Miami-based Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) voiced and transmitted Spanish-language alerts for Cumulus Media and Dick Broadcasting, which serve Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head.

The execution of the process was quite simple. According to Dick Broadcasting’s Aaron Wilborn, “Broadcasters can pick up the phone and in two hours it can be broadcast, put on the air and done.”

These broadcasters made it possible for 22,000 Hispanic residents in Myrtle Beach and 21,000 Hispanic residents in Hilton Head to receive information about health care issues, avoiding injury, shelters, and where to find missing bodies after the hurricane hit. The initiative worked because “[W]e are accountable as broadcasters and license holders,” said Jesus Salas of Spanish Broadcasting System, the largest Hispanic-owned media company in the United States.

“These companies are an example to other broadcasters of the essential services that they should provide to the public they serve in times of disaster,” said MMTC President Maurita Coley. “America’s broadcasters should engage now, in this hurricane season, to save the lives of everyone, no matter what languages they speak.”

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The post Multilingual Emergency Broadcasting: A Moral Imperative for the Radio Industry appeared first on Radio World.

To Sell or Not to Sell?

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 13:54
Getty Images/exipreess

Over the last handful of years, we have seen the rise of tower leasing companies nationally and worldwide. 

These companies will build new towers but also often buy existing broadcast towers to use as a “rental property” and lease back to the broadcaster. 

Selling their tower is appealing to some broadcasters because it puts a large sum of money in the broadcaster’s hands immediately upon the sale closing. Also the tower maintenance, lighting, site upkeep and other overhead items now become the tower leasing company’s responsibility. Overall, this concept adds a nice bit of money to use for other areas of the business. 

I must say, on the surface, this arrangement looks very appealing to a cash-strapped station owner. But unless the station owner reads and negotiated the details of the sale and lease-back agreement carefully, he or she may eventually encounter some unexpected situations. 

DEVIL IN THE DETAILS

Once the broadcast tower is sold, the new tower leasing company is free to put whatever antennas and services they desire on that tower. 

In today’s world those antennas typically are cell site antennas, although microwave links, LPFM, FM translators, FM broadcast, TV and two-way antennas are still being installed on leased towers. 

During the installation of those antennas, it is not unusual for tower climbers to ask that the broadcast station turn down or turn off its signal for the climbers’ RF safety. 

Without a doubt RF safety is an extremely important issue, but station owners are not happy when their signal is off. This is an important consideration when you think about selling your tower.

SELL YOUR FM-ONLY TOWER? NO PROBLEM

Selling an FM-only broadcast tower is an ideal situation, as very few things can go wrong with the lease back arrangement. The only issues that plague these towers are the occasional request to power down the FM station so workers do not get RF overexposure. 

Site maintenance, road access and vegetation control are small items that come up but are often quickly remedied. 

YOUR AM TOWER? UH OH

Over the years, I’ve seen an increase in AM stations using skirted FM towers for their antenna. This is a great way to consolidate your tower usage when you have an FM station along with your AM. 

However, if you choose to sell that tower to a tower leasing company, you may find issues with that AM skirt antenna that you weren’t expecting. For instance, I have seen skirt wires shorted out by the installation of new cell antenna platforms. The installation crew just let the skirt antenna wire rest against the grounded platform and knocked the AM station off the air. 

Unfortunately, many tower crews are well educated at cellular antenna installations but know little about AM antennas. So the radio station owner contemplating the sale of a tower that has a skirted AM antenna may want to include written protection of that AM antenna into the sale and leasing contract. 

HIDDEN TROUBLE FOR AM TOWERS

Another issue that I have run into when dealing with leased towers is the AM ground system. 

Often, the AM tower is sold and the land around it is purchased by the tower leasing company. Frequently, the cellular companies will build their facility in a 10-by-12-foot building close to the tower. During the construction of the building, I’ve found, in some cases, the AM ground system is dug up and destroyed and the AM station’s signal is significantly reduced. 

Understand that this is not malicious destruction, just a result of an industry that is focused in a different direction than AM broadcasting. 

When contemplating the sale of any tower that functions as an AM antenna, a long discussion regarding the protection of the ground system is needed. While you are at it, mention the buried coax cables and signal lines you may have, too. 

STATION OWNERS BEWARE

Radio station owners need to be aware that once the tower is sold, crews will be accessing the tower to climb, often without prior notice to the broadcaster. It is not unusual for radio stations to get a phone call from a tower crew asking that the station shut off immediately so they can perform their work. 

Therefore, it is wise to include a 24- to 48-hour advance notice shut-off clause in the sale or lease contract. This would give you the right to protect your station’s programming and have some say on when your station is shut down. 

Radio station owners can help shape the sale and lease back contract and include whatever provision they feel important. A discussion with your station engineer is wise in order to make sure you are protected from technical mishaps. 

WHAT I’VE SEEN THIS YEAR

Another item that radio station owners need to keep in mind is site maintenance, which includes the roadways, building roofs, vegetation control, sometimes air conditioning and heat, FCC-required signage and tower lights. I mention these as I have seen neglect in these areas by some tower leasing companies. 

One company with a very tall tower near Chicago has tower light issues. I’ve checked and found that they keep renewing their NOTAM (Notice to Airmen). After eight months, the tower, which is located near a regional airport, is still unlit. An issue like this could fall back onto the broadcaster if they are not careful. 

A broadcaster in Connecticut I visited recently was having site access issues because site vegetation had become overgrown. He knew this was no longer his responsibility but had to chop his way to the site to work on his transmitter. He also complained about a damaged air conditioner the tower leasing company keeps promising to fix. Needless to say, he isn’t happy with how this lease arrangement has deteriorated. 

The same broadcaster has another issue that has affected his revenue. The new site owner sold off some of the site land, only to have a residential home built on it and the AM station ground system dug up and never repaired. This is disheartening, as I measured signal deterioration of the station due to this problem. 

THE BOTTOM LINE

Selling your broadcast tower to a tower leasing company can put some cash in your pocket, but you have to be specific about the conditions included in the sale and the lease-back arrangement. 

A wise station owner will have their engineer and lawyer review the sale and lease-back documents and include stipulations that protect the station operation and technical equipment. Make sure the sales and lease-back contract address how any future damage to radio station gear will be dealt with, in the rare case that it does happen. Who will pay for those repairs, address the timeliness of repairs, discuss compensation for off-air time and negotiate common area costs for site maintenance?

If you iron out all the details to your satisfaction, you can create a comfortable arrangement that frees up some operating expenses and keeps your radio station running smoothly. 

Comment on this or any article. Email radioworld@futurenet.com.

Dave Dybas is a veteran broadcast chief engineer and the owner of AM Detuning Services in Chicago. Visit www.amdetuning.com.

The post To Sell or Not to Sell? appeared first on Radio World.

IBC Sneak Peek: 2wcom Unveils DAB-4c Converter

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 06:00

DAB+ operation in expanded networks that use EDI and ETI multiplexers as sources can prove challenging. Implementing legacy ETI and EDI transmitters in parallel as well as operating DAB in already existing infrastructures not intended for DAB (e.g. DVB-S/S2 or ASI) may also cause obstacles. 2wcom says that its new DAB-4c converter addresses these issues and offers several features that are designed to help users easily navigate switchover phase.

The DAB-4c converter allows operators to receive data signals from legacy ETI and EDI multiplexers simultaneously to converting the signals to the EDI/ETI transmitters in the field. As a high-density solution, the device offers four ETI outputs and four ETI bidirectional interfaces (I/O) to increase the number of ETI outputs if required.

Moreover, the unit is equipped with two Ethernet I/O data interfaces and features an optional satellite tuner for the integration of already existing satellite distribution systems and coverage optimization in regions still lacking broadband IP.

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For the synchronization of all sites, the DAB-4c uses PTPv2 or an external 10 MHz signal. In the case of failure, an internal recovery from the EDI stream by jitter removal ensures  ongoing synchronized transmission.

For monitoring purposes, the device measures the main DAB+ parameters and provides realtime statistics. On air monitoring at transmitter sites is also possible by means of an optional DAB tuner.

IBC Stand: 8.E78
Info:
www.2wcom.com

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SCMS Adds Wireless Division

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 16:48

Dealer SCMS Inc. has added a new division, which it dubbed Sole Source Wireless. The company says it will offer “more comprehensive wireless solutions to its broadcast customers.” 

Specifically, Vice President Matt Cauthen said the move will help to provide “reliable and cost-effective microwave and in-building wireless systems” to “core customers.” 

Tony Fulton has been named director of sales and marketing for the wireless division. Fulton said Sole Source Wireless “will continue to add strategic suppliers and resources” to support growth in the commercial in-building and wireless broadband markets. 

[SCMS Named U.S. Sales Rep for MaxxCasting System]

The company announced a new partner company, SIAE Microelettronica, an Italian backhaul solution manufacturer. Its portfolio features microwave, millimeter wave and Ethernet-based transmission solutions. 

SCMS President and founder Bob Cauthen said, “Microwave radio solutions are ideal for broadcasters migrating to all IP-based infrastructure for their studio transmitter links and LAN networks.” 

The release also quoted SIAE Microelettronica Vice President of North America Augustino Lucenti, who said they offer systems “from 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps.” 

The post SCMS Adds Wireless Division appeared first on Radio World.

IBC Sneak Peek: Orban Unveils Optimod 8700i LT

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 11:09

The new Orban Optimod 8700i LT audio processor is a light version of the firm’s flagship Optimod 8700i.

According to the company, the economical Optimod 8700i LT combines versatile five-band and two-band processing with various features of the 8700i. It supports both analog FM transmission and digital media including DAB+, HD Radio and streaming.

[Get your product info in front of show attendees by nominating it for a IBC2019 Best of Show Award]

In addition, it provides functionalities such as the multipath mitigator phase corrector, which the company says, can reduce multipath distortion without compromising the stereo separation. The unit also features a subharmonic synthesizer so users can add modern-sounding bass punch to older recordings.

With dual redundant power supplies and safety bypass relays, the 8700i LT promises carefree 24/7 operation. Like the 8700i, the 8700i LT includes Orban’s MX limiter technology, which lowers distortion, improves transient punch, and minimizes preemphasis-induced high frequency loss.

Further features include digital MPX output, ITU BS-412 multiplex power control, ITU-R BS.1770-3+ loudness control as well as a built-in RDS encoder.

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Orban also offers an upgrade option where the 8700i LT can be transformed later into a full-featured 8700i. This upgrade includes a dual-redundant Dante AoIP interface with full AES67 support and a streaming monitor output. Additionally, the XponentialTM loudness algorithm will be added which brings hyper-compressed music back to life.

IBC Stand: 8.D93
Info: www.orban.com

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KILT Stays Connected With Comrex BRIC-Link II

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 09:44

HOUSTON — SportsRadio 610 KILT(AM) has been the home of the Houston Texans Radio Network since the team’s inaugural year. From 2002 to 2017, ISDN lines were used for backhaul from each stadium to our network studios, and as the primary link to our satellite uplink in Dallas. In 2017, an unexpected 1,000% rate increase on all of our ISDN BRIs let us know the end was near for that technology.

Though the price increase was jarring, it wasn’t totally surprising. For us, ISDN had already become problematic. We had discovered that we could no longer rely on it for most of our remote broadcasts, because installations of new ISDN service for normal remote broadcasts at sports bars, restaurants, etc., had already become pretty hit and miss. It would typically take the local phone company two or three tries to deliver a working circuit, and we were wasting an enormous amount of time repeating site checks.

Because of repeated ISDN install failures, we had already migrated most of our local remote broadcasts to IP using Comrex Access 2USB codecs. Using CrossLock VPN with two cellular modems from different carriers, our remotes had achieved ISDN quality while reducing costs dramatically and removing install headaches entirely. We decided it was time to leverage Comrex IP technology for the Texans Radio Network.

For the uplink to Dallas, we selected Comrex BRIC-Link II. Using the internal NIC and an optional USB NIC, we’re able to leverage CrossLock VPN for this critical connection. The BRIC-Link II delivers both audio and the contact closures for affiliate automation to our uplink at Texas State Networks.

Game audio is fed to the studios using a first generation Comrex Access Portable via SRB2 from Sports Backhaul Network a private IP network that connects all NFL stadiums with their radio broadcast partners. Though we haven’t ever needed it, we use an Access NX with one cellular modem and whatever internet connectivity the stadium provides for our backup connection to the studios.

After two seasons, I’m happy to say our IP audio solutions have delivered reliably for the Texans Radio Network. In an environment where failure isn’t an option, I’m glad we have solid solutions from Comrex to power our Texans broadcasts on SportsRadio 610, the Spanish Texans broadcasts on Mega 101 KLOL, and our 37 network affiliates.

For information, contact Chris Crump at Comrex in Massachusetts at 1-978-784-1776 or visit www.comrex.com.

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The Internet’s Impact on International Radio

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 00:00

OTTAWA — During the height of the Cold War (1947–1991), the shortwave radio bands were alive with international state-run broadcasters; transmitting their respective views in multiple languages to listeners around the globe.

A QSL card sent to SW listeners confirming their reception of “The Two Bobs” on Swiss Radio International. Credit: Bob Zanotti.

The western bloc’s advocates were led by the BBC World Service, and included Voice of America, Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, Radio Canada International and a host of influential European broadcasters. The eastern bloc’s de facto team captain was the USSR’s Radio Moscow (with its unique hollow, echoing sound), supplemented by broadcasters in Soviet satellite countries (like East Germany’s Radio Berlin International) and allies like Fidel Castro’s Radio Havana Cuba.

Then 1991 arrived, and the Cold War apparently ended with the fall of the Soviet Union and the destruction of the Berlin Wall.

Bob Zanotti at the microphone today, webcasting via www.switzerlandinsound.com. Credit. Bob Zanotti.

In the seeming peace that followed, many governments no longer saw the sense in spending millions on multi-megawatt transmitters and vast antenna farms to keep broadcasting their messages globally.

The leader among them, the BBC World Service (BBCWS), trumpeted the web and webcasting as modern, cost-effective alternatives to expensive shortwave broadcasting (along with satellite radio and leasing local FM airtime in the countries they used to broadcast to). This is why the BBCWS ceased shortwave transmissions to North America and Australia in 2001 and Europe in 2008, while retaining SW broadcasts in less-developed parts of the globe.

[Read: Sentech Shuts Meyerton Shortwave Site]

“It is my understanding that it was the BBC that started to spread the notion that shortwave was dying or already dead,” said Bob Zanotti; co-host of Swiss Radio International’s popular “Listener Mailbag” show “The Two Bobs” from 1970 to 1994. (He now runs the English-language Swiss information webcaster www.switzerlandinsound.com)

BBC World Service antennas in Akrotiri, Cyprus. Credit: A. Savin/Wiki Commons

“Swiss Radio International accepted this uncritically and was the first to announce the complete closure of its shortwave operations. Later, others like Radio Netherlands, Radio Sweden, Deutsche Welle and Austrian Radio followed suit.” So did Radio Canada International, Radio Australia, Radio Budapest, Radio Portugal, Radio Finland, Radio Denmark and even Radio Moscow. Renamed Voice of Russia in 1993 (and Radio Sputnik in 2014), this Eastern European powerhouse left the shortwave bands for good on April 1, 2014.

Radio Moscow 50th anniversary commemorative stamp. Credit: Postal Service of USSR

Now it is 2019, and another Cold War has resumed with the West on one side and Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea on the other. But this time, many of the powerful international voices that brought Western news and views to nondemocratic countries are now only found on the web — where adversarial governments can easily block them.

“In my opinion, the abandonment of shortwave for international broadcasting was a mistake,” said Zanotti. “It was based on what many believed to be the end of the Cold War. However, events since then have proved that to have been a false (and even foolish) notion.”

“Today, there is very little uncensored information available on shortwave. Classic information and entertainment are also practically nonexistent,” he added. “The clever Chinese strategy seems to have been to wait for all the major western shortwave players to leave the scene, and then move in to fill the vacuum, making China Radio International virtually the only shortwave show in town.”

Radio Canada International’s Sackville, New Brunswick transmission facility; now demolished. Credit: Verne Equinox/Wiki Commons

THE SEDUCTION OF THE WEB

The official reason the BBC World Service moved away from shortwave (although not entirely) was because the web was where most 21st century listeners were going.

“Digital technology has undoubtedly come of age. Now the hype over the internet revolution is behind us, the real benefits to businesses and to broadcasters are shining through,” declared then BBC World Service Director Mark Byford when he delivered the 2001 Cornwall Lecture.

“For the World Service, it means that people who could never receive our radio transmissions in the 42 languages can now listen to live output, or catch that program they particularly want to hear, at a time when it suits them, anywhere in the world.”

SW broadcasters like the Voice of America would send souvenir cards to listeners who reported when they heard identified transmissions, on what frequency, and at what signal strength and quality. Credit: Voice of America/Wiki Commons

“For media users, the internet unlocks a whole new world of information tailored to you as an individual,” Byford continued. “You can listen to a program when you want. You can have your say to a global audience.”

The BBC World Service’s web-first focus was subsequently adopted by many state-run broadcasters, who also cut back on their shortwave broadcasts (or left the band entirely) in favor of the web.

There was logic to this argument: “Large government broadcasters, have always tried to reach the ‘influencers’ in a country; those who might eventually help guide a country’s policy and international relationships,” said Thomas Witherspoon, editor of the shortwave listener website www.SWLingPost.com. “And the great majority of these influencers, according to audience research, have moved to social media and the internet as a source of information.”

A 1960s’ vintage National Panasonic multiband shortwave radio receiver. Credit: Junglecat/Wiki Commons

The unofficial reason for so many governments leaving shortwave was to save money. “Shortwave broadcasting is expensive when compared with streaming or ‘broadcasting’ online,” Witherspoon said. “The power requirements of shortwave transmitters pumping out 50, 250, or 500 kW is substantial, and the infrastructure — the large antennas, feedlines, transmitters, power supplies — all require regular maintenance from expert technicians.”

Money was a major factor in the death of Radio Netherlands (in Dutch: Radio Nederland Wereldomroep), which was succeeded in other media (including the web) by RNW Media. But it wasn’t the only factor; populism also played a part.

“In 2012, public international radio in The Netherlands had to stop broadcasting, said Jennifer Bushee, RNW Media’s communication and stakeholder manager. “The Dutch government had decided to cut the subsidy to Radio Nederland Wereldomroep by 70%. The broadcaster was no longer seen as relevant, and there was a real effort to reduce subsidies from conservative or even more right-wing politicians … So we were cut off and had to go off the air.”

ASSESSING THE IMPACT

General Manager Jeff White in the control room of WRMI Radio Miami International. Credit: Jeff White

It is true that the web has changed the very nature of international communications. In the past, only the most powerful broadcasters could address the world, simply because it took massively expensive transmission farms to send the signals out. Today, anyone can do it from the convenience of their laptop computer and their local ISP.

This said, moving away from shortwave has plunged many once-distinct international broadcasters into obscurity — and in some cases, into extinction — precisely because they are competing directly with the millions of streaming services the internet has to offer. (This extra choice has certainly cut into the audience for shortwave radio, as has the growing variety of multiple media sources in countries around the world. This said, shortwave audiences were and are not measured by any ratings services, so evidence as to their decline is mainly anecdotal.)

The Control Room in the U.S. government’s Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station near Greenville, North Carolina. Credit: Thomas Witherspoon.

“What really disappoints me are the international broadcasters who have stopped shortwave in favor of internet, usually because it’s much less expensive to operate, but ostensibly because the internet is ‘new technology,’” said Jeff White, general manager of the commercial United States-based shortwave broadcaster WRMI Radio Miami International. “Then they end up some months later shutting down their internet broadcasts and websites also, leaving the world with no means of hearing official broadcasts from these countries. This is particularly the case in Europe.”

THE SHELL OF A TITAN

In its Cold War heyday, Radio Canada International was one of the world’s most listened-to international shortwave broadcasters. Popular programs like “The SWL Digest” made RCI announcer/producer Ian McFarland into a bona fide shortwave star. (Even today, airchecks of the SWL Digest are being shared online.) They were broadcast from RCI’s Atlantic Ocean transmission farm in Sackville, New Brunswick.

Some of the antennas arrays at the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station. Credit: Thomas Witherspoon

Sackville’s North American/European reach was so good that many international broadcasters rented it as a relay site. (Historical note: According to RCI’s website, the first Montreal home of the then-named Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s International Service was “a former brothel and garment factory.”

Founded in 1942 during World War II, RCI prospered until the 1991 thaw in the Cold War. Then the cuts made by successive cash-hungry governments began: First the number of broadcast languages were cut back, followed by the replacement of RCI-produced content with domestic programs made by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Eventually some RCI-produced content returned, but the cuts continued: By 2012, an 80% cut in federal funding forced RCI to abandon SW and satellite radio broadcasting entirely and retreat to www.rcinet.ca. The famed Sackville transmission farm was torn down two years later.

“In the wake of the 80% budget cuts, RCI is down to 23 staff members, editor-in chief included and is now part of Radio-Canada’s News department,” said Soleïman Mellali, RCI’s web editor-in-chief. (Radio-Canada is the country’s French-language public broadcaster.) “Content is produced on weekdays to cover all seven days.”

It took an extensive amount of staff training to get RCI’s web content to its current level,” said Mellali. “The team had a solid radio background but felt uneasy about RCI’s transition to web-only, which has left them a bit off kilter.”

The effort has paid off. According to Mellali, RCI’s number of monthly visitors has tripled since its web was made more user-friendly. “Social media participation has (also) increased,” he said. “On Facebook, for instance, we’ve shot up from 1,200 fans to over 18 000.”

SW writer Colin Newell flanked by Mounties. Credit: Colin Newell

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Nevertheless, RCI’s transformation into a web-only service has substantially narrowed its scope, said McFarland, and the service’s ability to reach listeners worldwide.

“When RCI deserted the shortwave bands in favor of the web, the service’s philosophy also changed,” McFarland told RWI. “It went from appealing to basically anyone who was interested in Canada, in what was happening here and our relationship with the rest of the world, in favor of broadcasting to people who might be interested in immigrating to Canada.”

“Meanwhile, the computer was now the only way to hear broadcasts from Canada: Listeners in African, Asian and European countries who tuned to Canada on cheap shortwave receivers were no longer a segment of the worldwide listening audience that RCI was interested in reaching,” he added. “This change in target audiences was a great slap in the face for RCI’s long time and very loyal listeners around the world who held Canada in very high esteem for many decades of successful broadcasting on shortwave.”

Other international broadcasters who have abandoned shortwave for the web have likely experienced this loss. The reason: Access to “high-speed internet is not a universal thing,” said Colin Newell, a shortwave enthusiast since 1972 and operator of the shortwave listener site www.DXer.ca. (“DX” is an old Morse Code abbreviation standing for “long distance.”) “It is surely widespread and available in the oddest of places, but it is not universal or universally reliable.”

VULNERABLITY TO CENSORSHIP

When it comes to the fallout from international broadcasting moving to the web, there is one fact that everyone agrees on; namely the internet’s vulnerability to censorship by hostile powers.

Back when international programming was delivered via multiple high-powered shortwave transmitters using many locations and shortwave frequencies, “jamming of broadcasts was an expensive and often ineffective method of blocking ‘the message,’” said Newell. Today, “jamming is as simple as a few clicks of a mouse on a national internet service. Full scale censorship is a significantly easier technological exercise.”

The bottom line: Today’s international broadcasters are nowhere near as capable as their Cold War predecessors were in getting messages through to the “other side” — and those who rely solely on the web can’t guarantee content delivery at all.

This is a textbook case of irony. By eschewing shortwave for the web, many international broadcasters have lessened their ability to serve their target audiences at all times; and in some cases, eliminated this capability entirely.

Take Radio Canada International: During the Cold War, its shortwave signals managed to reach listeners in the Soviet bloc. But today? Should he ever want to, Vladimir Putin could cut RCI off from Russian audiences in seconds.

Now it is theoretically possible that Radio Canada International could return to shortwave broadcasting. But this would require building a new transmission farm.

The demolished Sackville site isn’t available. Several New Brunswick Mi’kmaq indigenous communities purchased its cleared 90-hectares in 2017 to add to the Fort Folly First Nation reserve. But even if it were, the Canadian government would be unlikely to spend the money required to build a replacement shortwave facility. This is likely true in other countries that have demolished their shortwave transmission sites as well.

The inescapable conclusion: Moving to the web has fundamentally compromised international broadcasting’s ability to do its job, compared to what it could do back in shortwave’s glory days. And unless something happens to motivate governments to reinvest in expensive shortwave broadcasting, this will remain the case from now on.

James Careless reports on the industry for Radio World from Ottawa, Ontario.

 

The post The Internet’s Impact on International Radio appeared first on Radio World.

FCC Stakes Out Position on LPFM Modernization in NPRM

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 14:32

Radio World previously reported that the Federal Communications Commission intended to tackle LPFM modernization during its August open meeting, according to the preview FCC Chair Ajit Pai shared in a blog post.

Now it’s “officially official.” The commission posted a notice of proposed rulemaking tackling the issue July 30. It mirrors the draft Pai shared earlier in July, tackling issues brought up in MB Docket No. 19-193 and MB Docket No. 17-105. 

Note that comments are due by Aug. 29 and reply comments must be submitted to the commission no later than Sept. 13. 

Read the full NPRM online here. 

The post FCC Stakes Out Position on LPFM Modernization in NPRM appeared first on Radio World.

AoIP for 2020

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 13:54

Audio over IP technology has touched thousands of radio and audio facilities to date, and the AoIP landscape continues to evolve and grow. AoIP continues to have a huge presence at technical conferences and in discussions about new facility installations; and the subject is one of the most popular that Radio World has explored over the years.

Now, in a special double-size ebook, Radio World asks engineers, manufacturers and industry thought leaders about trends and best practices in AoIP for radio today.

What’s next in AoIP? How have these trends affected design of technical centers, rack rooms and control rooms? What standards issues or best practices have yet to be finalized? How do AES67 and AES70 complement various AoIP solutions? What is the status of efforts to create full interoperability and “discovery”?

The free ebook “AoIP for 2020” explores these questions. Read it here.

The post AoIP for 2020 appeared first on Radio World.

Bask in the Glow: Summer of Products 2019

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 12:54

It’s new equipment season!

This annual feature is all about new gear that has come onto the market in recent months, especially during spring convention season.

Check out this installment of products, and also find previous batches online here.

Angry Audio Guest Gizmo and Bidirectional Balancing Gadget

Angry Audio has introduced itself as a problem-solver.

Its Guest Gizmo (shown above) is a multifeatured RF-resistant metal panel for studio guests. It has a cough button and a headphone amp with volume control. According to Angry Audio, the cough circuit can connect to a small mixer’s insert jack, or to the muting logic of a broadcast board. The Guest Gizmo can even light up a mic arm tally, according to the company. It can be installed in a cable/grommet hole.

Also Angry Audio says that its Bidirectional Balancing Gadget has exclusive “ground-breaking” technology that suppresses ground loop noise while converting unbalanced signals to pristine, broadcast-grade balanced audio. It converts one stereo pair from unbalanced to balanced, and a second stereo pair from balanced to unbalanced — for the likes of recording devices computers.

Info: https://angryaudio.com

 

Bittree Patch32A Dante Patchbay

Interconnects specialist Bittree says that its Bittree Patch32A was “the world’s first Dante audio patchbay to market.”

According to the company, “the Bittree Dante patchbay will interface with Dante Virtual Soundcard, countless Dante devices, and almost any analog component in the same system, including audio distribution equipment, digital audio workstations, digital signal processors, mixing consoles, multitrack recorders and video routers.”

Bittree Senior Sales Consultant Bryan Carpenter said, “This patchbay streamlines the integration of analog and digital network audio patching, and establishes a foundation for interconnectivity across facilities within central equipment rooms, production studios, and IT closets among other locations. It is flexible enough to immediately solve problems in existing facilities, or optimize flexibility from the start in new facility designs.”

Bittree’s Dante patchbay supports a sample rates ranging from 24-bit/44.1 to 192 kHz. The design utilizes balanced TT connections to Dante analog and digital conversions.

Settings are configurable using Dante Controller, including sample rates and channel assignments to and from Dante networks.

The compact standalone or rack-mounted 1.5 RU powder-coat enclosure has redundant DC power, external word clock I/O, network status and LED metering.

Info: www.bittree.com

Burk Arcadia Cloud Service

Remote control products manufacturer Burk Technology is promoting its latest version of the Arcadia Cloud Service.

Burk explains that Arcadia “delivers secure web-based access to remote site information for managers and engineers on the go.”

Summary screens for each site are generated automatically providing an instant overview of facility status.

Custom views highlighting critical information from multiple sites are created on the fly and stored for future use. Arcadia’s user interface adapts to fit each browser’s screen size, enabling easy viewing on smartphones, tablets or PCs, according to the company.

NOC facilities running Burk’s AutoPilot software can also leverage the Arcadia cloud-based communications architecture, the company says. AutoPilot custom views and alarm logs in the NOC refresh continuously from the Arcadia cloud server, increasing network efficiency and improving coordination among multiple NOC operators and facilities.

According to Burk, “Arcadia’s cloud-based resources scale as needed, offering high performance for very large networks and cost-effective operation for smaller installations.”

Burk Senior Vice President Worldwide Sales Jim Alnwick said, “Arcadia delivers consolidated access to each user’s authorized sites over a single encrypted web link, leveraging the power of HTML 5.”

Info: www.burk.com

 

Inovonics INOmini 679 FM/HD Radio Monitor Receiver

Inovonics describes its INOmini 679 as a third-generation, small form-factor FM and FM band HD Radio broadcast monitor receiver.

It receives both analog FM and digital HD1–HD8 radio channels for confidence monitoring and delivers a high-quality audio feed for rebroadcast or program distribution throughout a broadcast facility with adjustable analog and AES digital audio outputs.

Onboard is a sensitive, DSP-based software-defined radio. Balanced analog and AES digital program line outputs are available simultaneously. The levels are independently adjustable. The screen displays RBDS, PAD info, RSSI, SNR, Cd/No, multipath and HD level metrics to help with receive antenna alignment.

Front-panel alarms and rear-panel “tallies” indicate HD reception loss, low signal and audio loss. Inovonics says the 679 will stay on-mode and on-channel through signal and power loss and won’t blend between FM and HD Radio as consumer units do. Split Mode audio monitoring aids transmission diversity delay setup.

Free firmware updates are easily installed in the field via USB.

Info: www.inovonicsbroadcast.com

The post Bask in the Glow: Summer of Products 2019 appeared first on Radio World.

Inside the August 1st Issue of RW

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 11:41

Have you ever considered selling or leasing your broadcast tower? If the thought has crossed your mind, Dave Dybas breaks down some of the potential pros and cons in a guest commentary. And don’t miss this month’s Buyer’s Guide, which focuses on audio transport/STL products. We also feature two articles that imagine what the user interface will look like in car dashboards of the future.

 

COMMENTARY
UX Clash in the Dash

Consulting firm Strategy Analytics recently surveyed consumers in six major countries about their use of audio infotainment sources in the car. We invited Roger Lanctot, associate director in the Global Automotive Practice, to comment about the study’s results and their implications.

NEW GEAR
Summer of Products

It’s new equipment season again! Radio World’s “Summer of Products” feature is all about new gear that has come onto the market in recent months, especially during spring convention season. Over several issues we feature equipment that caught our eye.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

The post Inside the August 1st Issue of RW appeared first on Radio World.

Silicon Labs Adds SDR Technology to Chip Line

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 17:28

OEM chipmaker Silicon Labs has announced that software-defined radio technology is being introduced into its Si479xx line of chips.

The notable point of the announcement is that the Si479x7 set will offer DRM digital radio reception along with AM/FM.

[Check Out More Products at Radio World’s Products Section]

Juan Revilla, general manager of Broadcast Products at Silicon Labs said: “Our tuners with advanced digital radio features enable radio manufacturers to develop a single platform to demodulate and decode worldwide digital radio standards, greatly simplifying car radio designs and reducing system cost. A single digital radio platform can be achieved either with an SDR-based design approach or by using a tuner-plus-co-processor design.”

The announcement also notes that : “These features enable automotive radio manufacturers to support global digital radio standards with a common radio hardware and software design. This added flexibility helps OEM and Tier 1 customers reduce design, qualification, sourcing and inventory costs while avoiding the complexity and inefficiency of supporting multiple automotive radio platforms.”

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The post Silicon Labs Adds SDR Technology to Chip Line appeared first on Radio World.

MultiTech Installs Tieline Codecs for Steadfast STLs

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 12:24

SWANNANOA, N.C. — I started in radio in an on-air capacity while pursuing an engineering degree and, while still in college, transitioned to a station engineering position. In the years following, I served at several facilities in roles from maintenance engineer to director of engineering. Since 2001, I have operated MultiTech Consulting, offering a full range of services tailored to the broadcast and information technology industries, including facility and system design, installation/integration and equipment performance verification/measurement.

We have clients throughout the U.S., and some of the networks I have consulted with include Relevant Radio, VCY Networks, Salem Communications, and ABC television O&Os to name just a few.

I have followed the progression of Tieline ever since they advertised the original Commander in Radio World 15 or more years ago. Since that time, I have installed a range of Tieline codecs including Genie STL, Merlin, Merlin Plus, Bridge-IT, Bridge-IT XTRA, Commander G3 Studio and Field, and i-Mix G3. Primarily, the codecs have been used as STLs, but also for remote contribution.

We recommend Genie STL codecs to customers because of the range of features and built-in redundancy options. Key features that are significant factors in our recommending the product include configurability, the IP distribution options, and backup features like SmartStream Plus, ISDN and POTS. That, coupled with the customer support Tieline has always provided, makes the selection easy. 

Our typical configuration is a single-IP stream, either unidirectional or bidirectional, as well as multiple peer-to-peer IP streams, or several multi-unicast streams. We have also configured multicast connections for clients.

REDUNDANCY STRATEGIES

So long as properly engineered networks are implemented, we have found IP connections to be extremely reliable. Redundancy requirements vary from client to client, but are largely fulfilled by the built-in redundancy afforded in the Genie: redundant power supplies, SmartStream Plus redundant streaming, and failover to a backup connection, etc. 

Larger clients may implement an N+1 configuration to ensure complete redundancy and utilize the Genie’s built-in PSU failure, temperature and connection loss alarms, or more elaborate external silence detection and network traffic monitoring. We have also started to utilize SNMP traps for SNMP monitoring.

Our clients utilize everything from DSL to point-to-point fiber, or microwave IP transport. It is dependent upon location and availability. The most popular options are cable modem for general use and metropolitan area Ethernet networks for our “hardcore” clients. Noticeably, a growing number of studio and transmitter sites are unable to be linked via traditional RF point-to-point methods, or face the ongoing sunsetting of the ISDN and T1 infrastructure. As more and more “real-time” traffic is carried by IP networks, I believe QOS and dynamic bandwidth allocation will require more planning and attention.

We frequently utilize MPEG 2 encoding for its transcode and cascade resilience. Where bandwidth allows, such as with metro Ethernet circuits, we use uncompressed audio. For field work/remote broadcasts, etc., we find AAC and Tieline Music/Music Plus algorithms work well.

Contribution and STL encoding bitrates are usually at 256 kbps or greater, and remote broadcasts at 64, 96 or 128 kbps. With cellular connections we used to employ 32 or 48 kbps, but with the cost of bandwidth almost constantly decreasing and the reliability of mobile networks increasing, we rarely, if ever, still connect at those bitrates.

[Tieline Puts Excitement in Small-Market Stations]

As clients have transitioned to IP operations, most have adapted to the slight amount of latency that is inherent within the digital environment. Where latency is critical, such as with IFB or comms channels, choosing an appropriate low-delay algorithm like AAC-LD or G.722 is key.

We use a mix of auto and fixed jitter buffering based upon the application; however, we find for most situations auto works quite well. FEC is also a valuable tool for mitigating packet loss.

The Toolbox web GUI interface has always been straightforward and easy to work with and the transition to the HTML 5 interface has made remote configuration and control from virtually any browser even easier.

We recommend clients take full advantage of the built-in security options, have a schedule for password changes and make use of a firewall. The ability to implement SSL security certificate connections is a great addition to the feature set and in many cases removes the need for a VPN connection to securely administrate the codec.  

For point-to-point connections, we recommend limiting, via a firewall, the IP addresses that can connect to the codecs. In all situations, we advise they open only the necessary ports, maintain and review logs of connections and connection attempts, and implement firewall monitoring that generates alarms for excessive traffic on administrative addresses/ports.

Clients who use the Genie for STLs often compare it to their former RF-based systems. We most often hear: “Just like the old system — we set it up and forgot about it.  It just works.” That level of reliability allows them to focus on other day-to-day tasks without worrying about the STL.

For information, contact Dawn Shewmaker at Tieline in Indiana at 1-317-845-8000 or visit www.tieline.com.

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IBC Sneak Peek: Tieline Launches TieLink Traversal Server

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 03:58

Tieline will launch the new TieLink traversal server at IBC2019.

Designed to facilitate simple codec discovery, NAT traversal, and connections throughout an entire network, TieLink, suitable for large networks or small stations, simplifies IP network configuration with Tieline codecs.

According to the company, TieLink is a secure, independently hosted global server network, with multiple global backups. It centralizes Tieline codec contact list management and provides self-discovery of codecs within customized “call-groups.” Users can view the online or offline status of all codecs in a group and whether it is connected or disconnected. It also provides NAT traversal to simplify connections.

[Get your product info in front of show attendees by nominating it for a IBC2019 Best of Show Award]

TieLink operates over most wired and wireless IP networks. Plus, adds Tieline, it’s as simple as making a phone call to get connected. It is free to use with all ViA, Genie and Merlin codecs and TieLink Traversal Server licenses can be purchased for Bridge-IT and Bridge-IT XTRA codecs.

What’s more, when combined with the Cloud Codec Controller, which is designed to manage an entire fleet of Tieline codecs remotely, engineers can configure, connect and monitor all remote codecs from the studio more easily than ever before.

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The company will demonstrate TieLink and the Cloud Codec Controller on its booth during the show.

IBC Stand: 8.E74

Info: www.tieline.com

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