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INSIDE AGENDA • IBC is set to open the doors to its 2018 edition in Amsterdam — Page 3
The News Source for Radio Managers and Engineers
.radio Internet Domain Grows as New Stations Launch Approximately 2,500 domains registered in the first year of new EBU-operated domain BY WILL JACK SON GENEVA — Nearly 2,500 .radio domains have been registered since the launch of the new Top Level Domain in August 2017. ICANN, which manages internet domain names and IP addresses, granted the new .radio TLD in July 2016. It can be used for web and email addresses, and is managed by the European Broadcasting Union with the support of other world broadcasting unions. The .radio domain is reserved for the
exclusive use of the radio sector, broadcasters, internet radio stations, people working in radio, companies supplying goods and services to the industry, along with radio amateurs.
Prices for .radio domains depend on the registrar, however for individuals, a .radio domain is likely to cost around €25 (US$30), or for companies, around €220 (US$255). To prevent “cyber-squatting,” applications for domains are checked by the EBU .radio team to ensure they meet
the required criteria. Alain Artero, who manages the domain for the EBU, found that a significant number of initial registrations during the launch period were “defensive,” (continued on page 5)
•A ctualités et informations des pays francophones — Page 14
Malaysia’s Astro Radio Takes Virtual Approach
Implements fully touchscreen virtual consoles in its live radio broadcast studios
Photo courtesy of Astro Radio
BY JUDE ISA DAWSON AND BALA MURALI SUBRAMANEY KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Astro Radio has embarked on a third generation of radio consoles for its new radio studios in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This virtual console is a full digital radio console with all the features and functionalities of a professional broadcast console — on a touchscreen. • Audio transport gear ensures quality content throughout the signal chain — Page 18
Astro Radio began operation in 1996. Our cutting-edge audio (continued on page 6)
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INTERNATIONAL EDITION Vol. 42 No. 9
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www.twitter.com/radioworld_news www.facebook.com/RadioWorldMagazine CONTENT Managing Director, Content Paul J. McLane, firstname.lastname@example.org Content Director Marguerite Clark, email@example.com Senior Content Producer — Technology Brett Moss, firstname.lastname@example.org Content Manager Emily Reigart, email@example.com Technical Advisers Thomas R. McGinley, Doug Irwin Technical Editor, RWEE W.C. “Cris” Alexander Contributors: Africa: Gregory Lagat, Lameck Masina, John Masuku; Asia: Md. Azizul Alam Al-Amin, Martyn Green, Frederick Noronha, Mark Timpany; Australia: James Cridland; Europe: Andy Bantock, Kevin Branigan, Giuseppe Camonita, Nuno de Sousa, Charles Flores, Blazo Guzina, Lawrie Hallett, Will Jackson, Hans K. Kristjansson, Drew Leifheit, Raúl Llarull, Urmas Loit, Marc Maes, Davide Moro, Emmanuelle Pautler, Panos Polyzoidis, Bernd Trutenau, Andreas Tzanakos, Thomas Völkner; Latin America: Jorge J. Basilago, Carlos Eduardo Behrensdorf, Juan G. Buenaventura; Eduardo Curuchet, Arturo Valentino; New Zealand: Nick Gerritsen; North America: John Bisset, James Careless, Scott Fybush, Randy J. Stine Production Manager Caroline Freeland Managing Design Director Nicole Cobban Senior Design Director Karen Lee ADVERTISING SALES Publisher, Radio World International Raffaella Calabrese, firstname.lastname@example.org, +39-320-891-1938 VP/Media Technology Group Carmel King, email@example.com, +1-703-852-4602 SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE To subscribe, change your address, or check on your current account status, go to www.radioworld.com and click on About Us, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call +1-888-266-5828, or write P.O. Box 282, Lowell, MA 01853. ARCHIVES This magazine is available for research and retrieval of select archived articles from leading electronic database and search services, including ProQuest. For microform availability, contact National Archive Publishing Company, +1-800-521-0600, or search the Serials in Microform listings at napubco.com. Back issues are available. For more information, contact www.proquest.com. REPRINTS/PERMISSIONS This magazine may not be reproduced or quoted in whole or in part by printed or electronic means without written permission from Future. To obtain permissions, contact Wright’s Media, +1-877-652-5295. MANAGEMENT Managing Director/Senior Vice President Christine Shaw Chief Content Officer Joe Territo VP/Marketing Meg Estevez Managing Director/Europe Mark Burton Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance FUTURE US, INC. 28 East 28th Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10016
All contents ©Future US, Inc. or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents, subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions.
Risqué Radio Reaches Malta
Controversial talk show traverses traditional cultural barriers title of “Let’s Talk about Sex.” LTAS hit the airwaves in April and deals BIRKIRARA, Malta — Malta’s liberalwith “sex, relationships and anything ization of the airwaves in the early ’90s in between.” did not necessarily mean a liberalization According to the station, the idea of ideas. Although the consequent advent for this “risqué” talk show “stemmed of the new private stations and increased from the seemingly lack of informacompetition triggered the emergence of tion about the subject in local media.” new styles and innovation. Xfm says it’s addressing this lack of Yes, while most stations here are fitted information and taking a more avantwith top-notch studios and equipment, the garde approach by deciding to launch same cannot be said about their programthis program. ing. In what has habitually been considered Melanie Kelly is LTAS presenter as a staunchly Catholic country, certain and has been active in the Maltese topics and methods of discussion have been Melanie Kelly presents Radio and TV scene for the past 11 slow in the taking. Not that there haven’t “Let’s Talk About Sex” on years. During the program each week been previous attempts to break the mold. Thursdays at 7 p.m. she invites experts and guests into the Taboo subjects like divorce, homosexuality studio to share their knowledge and and sex have up until recently mainly been treated in a shed light on issues such as monogamy, infidelity, love very generic way, often hardly scratching the surface and desire — topics a majority of Maltese would tradiand making sure, perhaps fairly, there was the moral tionally consider taboo. guru next on the panel to contribute his or her view on But things are apparently changing. With Malta’s the topic at hand. fast-growing economy, the influx of thousands of young Maltese radio however has taken a more open route workers from all over Europe and other parts of the lately with the introduction of a new English-language world has undoubtedly further nurtured this need for an radio program on Xfm 100.2 MHz with the not so subtle innovative approach. BY CHARLES FLORES
◗NEWSWATCH IBC READIES FOR 2018 SHOW Industry professionals are gearing up to attend the largest media, entertainment and technology show in Europe, to be held Sept. 13–18 at the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam. IBC2018 organizers say this year’s conference, which runs from Sept. 13–17, will feature a host of keynote speakers from across the media, entertainment and technology sectors, including presentations from leaders at HBO, Viacom, Discovery, BBC Studios, YouTube and Amazon. More than approximately 400 speakers are expected during the fiveday conference. In addition, the IBC exhibition floor, which runs from Sept. 14–18, will cover 15 halls across the RAI convention center and play host to over 1,700 exhibitors. The exhibition will be open from 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m. on Friday Sept. 14 and from 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m. for the remainder of the show. Of special interest for audio and radio broadcast professionals will be a session held on Sept. 14 from 2:45– 3:30 p.m. entitled “Power of the Podcast: How to Reach New Audiences Through Audio.” During this gathering, a panel including Lisa Tobin, executive producer of audio, The New York Times; Eduardo Martinez, director of technology, Streamguys; and Sheena Peirse, editorial director, Online, ITV will discuss how to reach new and niche audiences through audio, exploring the latest business models and monetization opportunities. “Object-Audio Capture Systems for Sports Broadcast,” is another session of interest for audio industry players. During this presentation, taking place Sept. 16 from 4:45–6 p.m., three media firms — Dolby Laboratories, BBC Research & Development and AMBEO — will cover 3D audio developments and more. Also, on Monday Sept. 17 at 9 a.m., WorldDAB will take a look at “Radio’s Digital Strategy.” This conference will discuss ways in which radio is innovating itself and delivering new content to the listener amidst an evolving industry landscape that includes the likes of Google, Amazon, Sonos and Apple Music. — Marguerite Clark
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.radio (continued from page 1)
in order to reserve particular names. Now however, he believes most registrations are linked to new projects such as internet radio services, new broadcast radio stations, radio-related thematic websites or are linked to a change of main domain. The majority of the new .radio registrations have come from North America and Europe. Artero says: “We’re now beginning a campaign to develop the awareness of .radio and its adoption in the other parts of the world, especially in Africa and Asia.” Artero believes that some radio stations are reluctant to change their wellknown domains, perhaps because of a lack of knowledge of the migration process. “A simple web redirection from the old domain to the new .radio domain makes it all transparent to the users,” he explained. “They can keep using their old internet addresses — old URLs — or the new, with the .radio domain, and see the right content in all cases without a glitch. If registrants need support in this respect, we are happy to advise for free.” EBU research has identified a number of factors influencing a decision to change a current domain name. The primary reason is to add meaning to a domain name through the .radio extension. Other reasons include to follow a new trend or be a pioneer, to simplify or shorten a domain, or to have a more modern and fun name. Artero says he’s also seeing radio stations taking advantage of the new domain to develop a profile on social media, citing the new
The EBU’s Alain Artero at the Arab Radio and Television Festival in Tunis.
station Bigtime.radio as one example. The owner and founder of Bigtime. radio, Charles Cawood, comes from a music industry background, as an artist, label and publisher — and is now taking on traditional broadcast radio with his business partner, Ronnie Sparks, who shares his interest in helping artists and listeners with “feel-good” music.
and he was very helpful in guiding what I needed to do. I soon registered, then I built the website, and set up the radio platform from which we now run two stations. We now have over 12 million touch points running through our social channels, and we’re growing with tens of thousands of people visiting our websites.” Cawood says the .radio domain is a
key part of this success. “We feel that for our international brand, .radio is perfectly aligned to what radio is, and should always be. We are more than just radio stations, and offer extended services to artists within our community. Our aim and passion is to help talented artists get aired and heard and also get paid their royalties. We have a tough model, but we want to do all we can to help good music to be heard worldwide. With nearly 3 billion new internet users in developing countries coming online via mobile or new internet networks, it gives bigtime. radio specifically an edge in the world.” “As a radio owner, we are building a group of companies that want to help the art and music world,” says Cawood. “We have plans for TV shows and many more exciting and new things with technology that we are looking into. Through our radio channels, we have seen artists get signed with labels and this brings joy to us.” Meanwhile, Artero is also looking to a bright future. “We are now developing new services reserved to .radio registrants, which we hope will bring interesting added value to the .radio domain,” he explains. “One of them is intended to help registrants to use their domain. It targets individuals and small stations who don’t have time and/or skills to implement their web presence.”
“Almost a year later we decided to work collectively, and formed a group of companies under BigTime Radio,” said Cawood. “We had a discussion about domains, and then we found .radio. I called Alain
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Astro Radio (continued from page 1)
routing system and digital radio broadcast consoles back then were heavily customized, based on our technical requirements and built by a reputable German manufacturer to be very powerful, highly configurable and very reliable. By 2006, Astro Radio required much more functionality, which would simplify studio workflows and give on-air talent more time and flexibility to focus on delivering compelling content both on-air and online. We had to rethink how a studio broadcast console should be in a rapidly evolving commercial FM radio industry. We took the best features of our first console, analyzed common operator mistakes and gathered improvement suggestions. We condensed all of this invaluable data into a comprehensive document as our mandate to German broadcast console manufacturer Lawo AG for a brandnew broadcast console. Lawo’s answer was the zirkon 2s modular broadcast console. The zirkon 2s was truly simplicity, personified in both form and function for our on-air talents. For example, a press of a macro button could simultaneously record telephone calls, edit talk sets and run an outside broadcast.
In 2015, Astro Radio picked up on the touchscreen technology trend and leveraged on in-house expertise to brainstorm on advanced broadcast consoles for a transforming radio industry. Building on the success of the NewsRoom Lawo
Virtual Console, which we effectively deployed in 2016, Astro Radio embarked on a third generation of radio consoles for its new studios in Kuala Lumpur. In mid-2016, we began sketching out plans for a virtual console for Astro Radio, which would shift the paradigm on the industry perception of a broadcast console. We wanted to radically reimagine what an on-air studio would look like, including what to fit inside the studio and what to leave out. The studio environment would impact how the on-air talent uses the technology inside the studio with the new virtual console as its focal point.
The virtual console needs to be very simple and intuitive to use for first-time users. The virtual console would respond to expectations of our new breed of onair talent. Today’s radio on-air talent in Malaysia is already well-known online personalities with huge fan bases and following. Our radio stations leverage on these talents’ star-power to both maintain and grow radio listenership — on FM, streaming online and on popular social media platforms. Content managers expect new on-air talents to quickly build momentum and get up to speed. They are expected to
BUILDING A FUTURE-PROOF FACILITY In 2017, Astro Radio acquired two new radio stations and needed space for new on-air studios, producer workstations and equipment room. However, our broadcast facility already had 13 on-air studios, seven news studios, three voice-booths, eight audio production studios and edit suites, six equipment rooms and three equipment storerooms. So, our first task was to secure space to build our new studios. We share our headquarters with many business units and divisions. Astro Radio shares a floor with our group’s Astro-Finance department. They had space we needed for our new studios. They needed space to run their meetings. Ultimately, we compromised and came to a mutually beneficial arrangement. We would take their meeting rooms, which were located just behind our Master Control Room. In return, we would share our current and future meeting rooms with them. We engaged the services of an interior designer that understood our design ethos, criteria and expectations. Our mandate to the ID was to create designs for three on-air studios, which were minimalistic, stunning, functional and meet Noise Criteria Rating 20. We wanted designs, which would inspire our on-air talents to deliver compelling content on-air and on-line for today’s radio. We also wanted designs that were forward-looking in anticipation of how
Photo courtesy of Astro Radio
deliver “catchy” talk sets on-air, produce compelling video content online and engage with listeners on social media regularly during their shifts — everyday. There is very little time for training or to familiarize themselves with the technology inside the on-air studio. The virtual console therefore needs to be very simple and intuitive to use for first-time users. It should also be quick and responsive to execute commands, highly configurable and securely “idiot-proof.” The virtual console “platform” allowed for a faster software development cycle. We were able to develop new features
radio could evolve in the next five to 10 years. The studios would be devoid of equipment racks, tableclutter and unsightly cables. We ensured our designs also addressed building health and safety requirements. These included concealed cabling-trunking and access holes for all cabling inside the studios, equipment room and in-between. We decided the studios would have standingheight tables with adjustable high-chairs. We also identified the best combination of color and materials for the fabric wall-panel, carpet, table, wall cornice and skirtings, ceiling, joinery, furniture and fittings and lighting. We went through over 50 drawing versions before settling on the confirmed designs. Our new studios are box-within-a-box designs whereby each studio is placed on its own isolated floor platform, to ensure vibrations would not carry between the rooms. The wall structures use a multilayered system of 16 mm and 20 mm cement sheets and vacuum buffers. The glass fittings used to create a transparent effect were vacuum packed. Special acoustic materials were used to ensure sound integrity of the space. The end-results speak for themselves. Our content managers and on-air talents are so blown-away by how the studios look, we’ve received nothing but praises and smiles all around. — Jude Isa Dawson and Bala Murali Subramaney
and functionality both for “default” and user-specific “snapshots.” We could easily customize the console layout or ‘skins’, redesign and resize fader and button shapes and colors, incorporate macros and GPIO signaling. This flexibility gave us the freedom to explore new possibilities in console design paradigm. For example, we added more channel faders per screen and moved monitoring level-controls to a pop-up screen.
TOUCHSCREEN, CONNECTIVITY CHALLENGES
We spent close to six months evaluating 15 touchscreen products available in the market — both consumer and industrial-grade devices ranging from off-the-shelf tablets, point of sales (POS) machines and built-for-factory devices. We also explored consumer tablet devices but quickly dropped that idea because these devices are neither robust enough for 24/7 operation, nor adequately secure to connect safely to the studio router via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. We refined our selection criteria to device dimensions, screen size, display area, fanless cooling, wide viewing angle, anti-glare screen with high brightness, capacitive touch-enabled and suitability for 24/7 operation. Soon after, we ran into our biggest roadblock. Most touchscreens have a limited viewing angle and had to be tilted at an angle to be clearly seen. However, the virtual console had to be flush-mount into the studio table. The deciding factor was screen brightness. The brightness of most touchscreens is 500 nits or less. For our virtual console, a brightness of greater than 500 nits overcame the viewing angle issue. We finally settled with a built-for-factory touchscreen device for the virtual console. (continued on page 8)
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Astro Radio (continued from page 6)
There are many questions that arise from the choice of interface. For example, what if the touchscreen hangs, fails or is damaged? The answer lies with the Vistool-PC. In addition to the standard features, it also shows all the virtual modules of both touchscreens. The user can control all channels, faders and buttons on the touchscreen from the VistoolPC interface. Similarly, if a touchscreen fails, the on-air talent can also control the console via the Vistool-PC. This gives the engineer time to replace the faulty touchscreen with a spare unit. In addition, it is possible to clean dirty touchscreens in an on-air studio by simply disconnecting the USB control cable to the touchscreen. One advantage of the virtual console is cost-savings on physical consoles. There is no longer a need to stock-up on expensive console spare parts and accessories. The virtual console is also aesthetically more pleasing to the eyes, and gentle on the hands. Astro Radio took a huge risk by implementing fully touchscreen virtual consoles in our live radio broadcast studios and from the happy faces of our
Photo courtesy of Astro Radio
A view of Astro Radio’s Studio 14 fitted with a Lawo virtual console.
on-air talents and their content managers, our “high-stakes” gamble has paid off handsomely. Jude Isa Dawson is senior manager, broadcast operations, and Bala Murali Subramaney is chief technology officer for Astro Radio.
◗NEWSWATCH WECODEC RELEASES REPORT ON JOHANNESBURG DRM+ TRIAL Digital Radio Mondiale has announced that Westbury Community Development Centre (WECODEC) has presented the results of its DRM+ trial that took place in Johannesburg from March to October 2017 to Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). The publication of the document coincides with ICASA’s open hearings taking place now in South Africa’s largest city and details the DRM test, which WECODEC, an organization serving disadvantaged communities around Westbury, Sophiatown and near Johannesburg, carried out with its community radio station Kofifi FM 97.2. During the DRM+ trial, Kofifi FM broadcast BBC and local content. The document concludes that the DRM broadcast did not interfere with the analog FM transmission of neighboring stations. “The audio decoding was possible at almost all predicted areas showing a similar of better behavior than the FM audio reception or the analog signal transmitted from the same site. The power consumption was also much lower than in FM,” the report stated. It also demonstrated that despite Johannesburg’s full FM Band, DRM was able to fit between two FM stations where a gap existed, thus requiring no extra spectrum space to provide additional content. For the trial, which was supported by the BBC and other DRM members, ICASA granted WECODEC an eight-month license. The station used a complete transmission system, which included an RFmondial ContentServer, A/D interface and VHF DRM modulator as well as a Nautel exciter/transmitter and a 2.5 W power amplifier.
GATESAIR SIGNS FM DEAL IN BULGARIA Bulgaria’s BTC has purchased GatesAir Flexiva FAX 10 kW transmitters for eight high-power FM radio sites through New Tek, GatesAir’s local channel partner. Specifically, says the firm, the transmitters will be delivered in redundant N+1 configurations and include Direct Drive designs to simplify RF designs and enhance efficiency. Deliveries will take place across three phases — the first delivery, anticipated in the next several months, will cover the two main network sites. GatesAir recently also installed its Maxiva DVB-T and DVB-T2 transmitters at BTC television facilities. “Low power consumption and reduced operational costs associated with GatesAir transmitters were cited as key factors in the decision,” said the company in a press release.
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Feast your eyes on the new ruby mixing console. Intuitive. Uncluttered. Powerful, yet so refined. Streamlined from every angle. Optimized controls: everything you need, nothing you don’t. Only 5 cm (2”) tall, from the bottom of its exquisitely cast side frames to the tops of its carefully chosen rotary selectors. But great design goes beyond mere good looks. Which is why ruby is expertly crafted for both speed and accuracy — controls perfectly placed to fall naturally to hand. Premiumgrade displays, faders and switches. Standards-based AES67 networking. Powerful features like AutoMix smart mixing and instant one-button switching between live and production modes. Up to 96 channels of DSP and 1,920 routing crosspoints*. The cherry on top? A customizable, contextsensitive touchscreen GUI that puts virtual control of mixer functions, playout software, studio devices, even Web feeds, social media and video, right at your operator’s fingertips.
Welcome to your command cockpit. Graphical, intuitive, customizable: ruby’s onscreen interface, powered by our VisTool GUI builder, is so much more than just meters and a clock. Multi-touch controls instantly give what’s needed to control studio devices, tweak dynamics, adjust virtual faders, meter true loudness — even design your own custom screens. The possibilities are virtually limitless.
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◗MARKETPLACE WorldCast Manager Control: The WorldCast Manager from WorldCast Systems is an enterprise network monitoring solution (NMS) and operation support system (OSS). This product has been devised to provide a centralized and unified interface for the monitoring and management of all connected equipment across any network or facility. Comprising what the company describes as “a comprehensive set of user modules and back office engines;” the WorldCast Manager uses industry standard protocols (such as SNMP), to provide efficient communication with connected devices regardless of their manufacturing origin. A single centralized database can display local, national or international installation details and flag faults visually as they occur. The latest version of the system includes a ticket management system for the allocation fault repairs, incident tracking and subsequent resolution. Info: www.worldcastsystems.com
Airence-USB Adds VoIP: With D&R’s latest upgrade to its Airence-USB onair mixer, users can now order the unit with standard telco modules or with 2x VoIP modules at no additional price. D&R says AirenceUSB’s new VoIP modules allow operators to get a clean-feed output for an external digital hybrid, as well as a remote socket on the back that can control signaling. The Airence-USB is a split-version radio on-air production mixer, featuring an integrated USB-based control section. The company says the console especially suitable for the self-op production DJ. Info: www.d-r.nl
Two-Way Interaction to Streaming Media: multiCAM Systems has integrated two-way interactivity into its video production systems, which include MultiCam Radio and MultiCam Studio. According to the company, using the ARES Interactive Media platform developed by multiCAM Systems partner ARES Interactive Media, streaming media originators can now receive online comments from viewers in real time. These viewers can also ask the host questions as well as participate in online contests and polls during streaming events. When integrated within the MultiCam Radio automated visual radio system and MultiCam Studio for local TV and PEG stations and live remotes, the ARES Interactive Media platform allows show producers to contact viewers during live video streams, and put them “on air” using the viewers’ own web cams. The platform can support an online video window of the host, plus windows of the viewers being interviewed. MultiCAM adds that the ARES Interactive Media platform further immerses viewers into the event by allowing webcasters to utilize them as production resources. For example, the ARES Interactive Media platform allows on-air hosts to poll audiences on their views during live broadcasts, compile those results automatically and deliver the results in seconds. In addition, says the firm, hosts can deliver a breaking news story by using the links supported by ARES Interactive Media to reach people in the affected area. Info: www.multicam-systems.com
Mozart Next: DB Elettronica has introduced Mozart Next, a new line of FM transmitters. According to the Italian company, the new range features high modulation, low maintenance and an efficiency of up to 75 percent.
In addition, the company says the Mozart Next line offers easy maintenance, allowing users to safely remove individual modules from the front during operation; Automatic Current Sharing; and maximum redundancy. The system can be used with an app available for Apple or Android. Info: www.dbbroadcast.com
Actualités et informations des pays francophones
September 2018 publicité
◗LES ÉCHOS MÉTIER DU
COUPE DU MONDE DE FOOTBALL, RÔLE CLÉ D’AETA POUR LES RETRANSMISSIONS
Le 15 juillet dernier, l’équipe de France de football remportait à Moscou sa deuxième coupe du monde de la FIFA. Évènement majeur s’il en est, avec plus de 4 milliards de téléspectateurs, et près de 100 000 heures de radiodiffusions. Depuis la fin des années 90, AETA Audio Systems se spécialise dans la fourniture de matériel pour les retransmissions sportives.
Jeannot Resseguié @RMC
coupe du monde de football détenu par actuellement 3 joueurs seulement. Selon la société, Scoopy+S a prouvé sa polyvalence et sa capacité d’adaptation. Utilisé en IP, mais encore aussi beaucoup en ISDN pour les retransmissions des matchs en directs, il a rendu de grands services à ses utilisateurs, qui, grâce à son module interne 3G/4G, ont pu réaliser leurs contributions à peu près n’importe où, dans la rue, à l’hôtel ou dans un café. Cette coupe du monde était aussi la première pour le ScoopTeam, codec de commentaires nouvelle génération, avec ses 4 positions commentateurs, son double codec mono et son interface Ravenna AES67, autant plébiscité pour une utilisation Ci-dessus : Coupe du monde de football, Kazan, Russie, comme codec de transmissions, qu’en pur FIFA2018 — codecs Scoopy+S. pupitre de commentateur avec l’interface À gauche : Coupe du monde de football, Nijni Novgorod, Ravenna. Russie, FIFA2018 — codec Scoop Team. AETA Audio Systems, proposant des produits qui ont su suivre les évolutions techniques de Lors de cette toute récente coupe du monde ces vingt dernières années, offre à ses utilisateurs des AETA était encore fortement représentée en solutions toujours plus simples, toujours plus fiables, tribune presse, dans les stades et autour. pour garantir la réussite de leurs retransmissions, Le Scoopy+S, produit phare de la marque, pour le plus grand bonheur de leurs téléspectateurs était présent pour la 5ème fois sur une coupe et de leurs auditeurs. du monde de football. Clin d’œil, 5 participaInformations : www.aeta-audio.com tions, comme le record de participation à une
TIELINE LANCE UN MICROPROGRAMME GRATUIT POUR LE CODEC DISTANT VIA Tieline Technology a annoncé la sortie du nouveau microprogramme v2.18.32 pour le codec distant ViA, avec de nouvelles fonctions exhaustives d’enregistrement et de lecture de fichiers. Les fonctions d’enregistrement et de lecture sur l’écran tactile flexible vous permettent : diffusion, enregistrement et lecture simultanés ; sélection et enregistrement de toute entrée, retour audio et fichier audio de lecture ; visualisation et gestion des enregistrements ; création des listes de lecture d’enregistrements locaux et de fichiers importés ; contrôle de l’acheminement de la lecture vers les encodeurs spécifiés de codec, ainsi que vers les sorties analogiques et numériques ou les supports d’enregistrement ; surveillance de repérage de lecture hors ligne ; et enregistrement de programmes entiers prêts à être téléchargés en tant que podcasts. « Utiliser ViA de Tieline, c’est comme prendre un studio de radio avec soi sur la route », a déclaré Charlie Gawley, vice-président des ventes APAC & EMEA. « On n’a pas besoin de matériels supplémentaires tels que mélangeurs, égaliseurs, compresseurs, enregistreurs et appareils de lecture, avec ViA tout est regroupé dans un seul codec portable compact et léger ». Pour plus d’informations sur le codec distant ViA, rendez-vous sur www.tieline.com/via. Informations : www.tieline.com ; www.savediffusion.fr
radioworld.com | RADIOWORLD
◗DU CÔTÉ FABRICANTS
La vitrine des produits broadcast professionnels les plus recents.
Adaptateur de radio numérique : L’adaptateur radio numérique GR-227 de Gospell Digital Technology Co Ltd. est conçu pour faciliter l’utilisation de la radio numérique dans la voiture. Le compact GR-227 peut être ajouté aux stéréos des voitures, via un câble USB, afin de recevoir des programmes numériques de radio et les données correspondantes. Basé sur une technologie radio définie par un logiciel et utilisant le codec audio étendu xHEAAC, le GR-227 est compatible avec les deux modes du standard Digital Radio Mondiale ainsi qu’avec les standards de radio numérique DAB et DAB+.
Selon Gospell, le GR-227 fonctionne avec des stéréos des voitures équipées d’un port USB. En utilisant la technologie en instance de brevet de l’entreprise, l’adaptateur se comporte comme une clé USB lorsqu’il est branché sur un port USB, ce qui le rend compatible avec la plupart des récepteurs de voiture. En outre, le GR-227 comporte également l’application Gospell Smart Tune pour Android. Lorsqu’il est associé à une chaîne stéréo fonctionnant avec Android, cela permet aux utilisateurs de lire le programme audio diffusé ou de bénéficier des services de données. « En tirant parti de SDR, nous pouvons maintenant combiner plusieurs standards de radiodiffusion afin d’offrir une flexibilité et des avantages en matière de coûts, avec en plus une installation facile sans avoir besoin d’acheter une nouvelle stéréo de voiture, comme dans les solutions traditionnelles », a déclaré Haochun Liu, directeur DRM chez Gospell. Informations : www.goscas.com Codecs APT IP : WorldCast Systems a dévoilé plusieurs nouvelles fonctionnalités pour sa gamme de codecs audio APT IP. Celles-ci incluent la transmission MPX évolutive, la nouvelle fonctionnalité d’horloge NTP et la prise en charge de Dante, la technologie muticanal de mise en réseau de médias numériques. Une nouvelle carte multicanal d’E/S pour le codec AoIP multicanal APT
offrira aux utilisateurs la possibilité de se connecter directement depuis le codec à un réseau Dante ou AES67. Cela, explique l’entreprise, permet au codec de s’intégrer pleinement dans l’écosystème réseau interne, assurant ainsi l’interopérabilité avec une latence et une synchronisation quasi nulles. La nouvelle fonctionnalité de la gamme des codecs APT est l’aligne-
ment temporel NTP, qui permet de contrôler la latence lors de la distribution de la programmation sur plusieurs décodeurs, et un nouveau mode de transmission MPX limité prend en charge l’échantillonnage sur 128 kHz, transmettant les signaux audio et RDS mais limitant la bande passante MPX à
64 kHz. WorldCast explique que cette limitation de la bande passante permet d’économiser la capacité du réseau, réduisant la nécessité d’avoir 3,2 Mbps pour 16 bits d’audio sur 192 kHz à seulement 2,048 kbps sur 128 kHz. Informations : www.worldcastsystems.com
1.252.638-7000 Âˇ firstname.lastname@example.org
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Audio Transport/STL: Codecs, Internet & Satellite
Merlin Codecs Provide STL Magic for Mediacorp Tieline solutions shine in Singapore broadcaster’s new facilities
◗USERREPORT BY IAN DUDDRIDGE
Engineering Director Telesto Broadcast Solutions SINGAPORE — Mediacorp is a Singapore media com-
pany that pioneered the development of Singapore’s broadcasting industry. In 2016, Mediacorp relocated to a new office in Mediapolis@one-north, Singapore’s first digital media hub. The Mediacorp Campus is the anchor tenant at the 19-hectare media hub and features two large studios, post-production suites, plus news gathering and broadcasting facilities. Mediacorp broadcasts 12 stereo radio channels in Singapore. As a result, they required a new and reliable solution for delivering program content from Mediapolis to their Bukit Batok transmitter site in western Singapore. Telesto Broadcast Solutions Pte Ltd, a system integrator based in Singapore, participated in Mediacorp’s tender process for 56 audio codecs in 2014. Telesto has a substantial track record of successfully implementing similar innovative transmitter link systems in Brunei and throughout Australasia. We recommended Tieline codec solutions to Mediacorp and were subsequently awarded the tender in 2015.
In parallel with the construction of new premises at Mediapolis, Mediacorp’s engineers had the opportunity to review and implement innovative workflows, systems and equipment for their new studios prior to moving there in 2016. IP was the primary and backup transport of choice and Telesto Broadcast Solutions worked closely with Mediacorp to design a tailored solution encompassing Tieline’s TLR5200M Merlin codec, together with the Tieline CMS (Codec Management System). Mediacorp had stringent IP redundancy requirements and Telesto outlined the salient features of Tieline’s Merlin codecs in line with operational requirements. Stereo STL data is transported over separate fiber and microwave links to maximize IP packet redundancy and minimize service interruption. Twenty-four Merlin codecs are used to transmit and receive 16-bit linear PCM audio at 48 kHz sampling over the primary fiber links. Twenty-four backup Merlins encode and decode with 24-bit aptX Enhanced encoding at 48 kHz sampling and these act as a hot standby for each primary connection. This means that all components can be exchanged
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delivery and installation of all hardware. All codecs were thoroughly bench tested, configured and loaded with the latest firmware. This preparatory work led to a seamlessly fast install and commissioning when building infrastructure was completed. Tieline’s Codec Management System is installed and used to control and configure all codecs installed and offers network management tools for remote control, monitoring and configuration. It allows Mediacorp to create and manage primary and backup connections, view audio PPMs and IP statistics to maintain mission critical connections. You can also adjust individual codec settings like algorithms, jitter buffers and forward error correction. The system also offers detailed alarm and fault detection information. After installation and final commissioning, Tieline’s Charlie Gawley provided training to Mediacorp’s engineers. He commented that he was “impressed with the engineers’ knowledge of the product and its capabilities,” which was testament to the meticulous groundwork and preparation by both Telesto and Mediacorp. Overall the project has been a huge success and has been operating flawlessly since handover in 2016. Telesto Broadcast Solutions has provided widespread
Loan Hon Pheng (left) and Tieline’s Charlie Gawley with the Merlin codecs.
and replaced at any time and there is no common single point of failure in either the main or backup hardware configurations. Four codecs at each end are also configured with backup programs so they can be swapped out with any of the other 48 codecs installed. Using common technology for both the main and backup systems has reduced training and configuration requirements. It also ensures there is a minimal requirement for holding spare parts. Tieline’s SmartStream PLUS technology delivers seamless and silent switching of IP data packets sent across diverse LAN/ WAN networks. This was a key Mediacorp requirement for the main and backup links. By integrating dual-redundant downstream switches, the possible failure of any hardware component is covered by switching to the backup path. This applies to the codecs, the network switch or the fibre/microwave link. Both physical ports on the codec are set up with multiple IP connections that effectively build a mesh of connections between the source and the destination. It was not sufficient to treat the fiber link and the microwave link as the only main and backup connection, it was also necessary to look at the way the audio is transported to each physical interconnection.
MANAGEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
For the studio-to-transmitter links, Telesto Project Manager, Loan Hon Pheng, liaised with Mediacorp and their overarching systems integrator to ensure timely
advice and support to broadcasters throughout the Asian region. The company has a relationship with Tieline that goes back over 10 years and the company has sold and supported the entire range of Tieline audio codecs for both Outside Broadcast and studio-to-transmitter link applications. Factory support is delivered within the region and clients can also call upon the full assistance of the excellent Tieline support team at the factory in Perth, Western Australia. Loan Hon Pheng, project manager, Telesto Broadcast Solutions, contributed to this article. For information, contact Charlie Gawley at Tieline in Australia at +61-8-9249-6688 or visit www.tieline.com.
BUYER’S GUIDE Audio Transport/STL: Codecs, Internet & Satellite
Barix Redundix Aids Vectis Radio
Dual stream technology greatly reduces audio glitches for island broadcaster
◗USERREPORT BY KELVIN CURRIE
Director Vectis Radio CIC
internet-based approach. We purchased Barix equipment for our STL encoder and decoder based on a recommendation from another community radio station. They were rea-
sonably priced and straightforward to operate, so we deployed an Instreamer for our studio and an Exstreamer at the transmitter site. The encoder and decoder worked great right away, but I can’t
NEWPORT, Isle of Wight, England — Serving as “The island’s voice” for
so using temporal redundancy on a single network link, and/or by sending a redundant stream over a second path. With just one connection, we chose the former approach. A Redundix unit at the studio sends the 128 kbps MP3encoded RTP stream from our Instreamer twice, once with a time delay; the second Redundix at our transmitter effectively merges the two into a single “healed” Barix Exstreamer, small box at lower right, and Redundix, upper left, at the Vectis Radio transmitter site.
the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England, Vectis Radio delivers news, weather forecasts and community programming about the local economy and culture. Launched as an internet-only radio station in 2009, we went live with our first FM broadcast on 104.6 MHz in November 2017. We faced a number of challenges in linking our studio to our 25 W transmitter, which is located basically in the middle of nowhere. The transmitter site is a rented space at a golf club at the top of a hill — a rather unusual place for a golf course, I’ll say! We could not use a direct microwave link, as the studio is almost at sea level, and part of the hill is in the way. Dedicated private circuits were cost-prohibitive, so we chose an say the same for the internet connectivity between them. The internet service provider we use at the studio is reliable but could not provide a high-speed connection at the transmitter site, as it’s so far from any main communications highways. The local ISP near the transmission site put in a short microwave link to the transmitter, but like any such link, it is subject to issues like packet loss and rain fade. Those turned out to cause a lot of headaches for us.
A VAST IMPROVEMENT
Our on-air signal has suffered from sporadic, unpredictable audio glitches. Working with Barix support and Andrew Nordbruch, the managing director of local IT consultancy Wight Computers Ltd., we identified the cause of the glitches as significant, irregular packet loss on our internet link. The packet loss varies considerably for no good reason. Weather does play a factor, as we get more packet loss when it’s very windy and rainy, but we’ll sometimes experience a great amount of loss even in clear conditions. The problem was so erratic that the ISPs were unable to resolve it for us. Barix offered to let us test their new Redundix product, and we jumped at the opportunity. Redundix is designed to avoid such audible glitches by repairing lost RTP packets in the stream. It can do
stream. Working together, Andrew and I determined the optimal time delay to be 800 ms. That introduces a bit of latency, but we can live with it to give us stable, high-quality delivery. The Redundix units work well and clean up the transmission considerably. Our packet loss is severe enough that we still get glitches on occasion, but Redundix has eliminated at least 90 percent of them, and the glitches are significantly shorter as well — to the point that most listeners won’t even detect them. If we have the money in the future, we may add an ADSL link to the transmitter site as a backup and enable Redundix’s pathbased redundancy as well, which I expect would eliminate the few tiny remaining glitches. The Redundix interface provides a lot of valuable information about our network connectivity, and I love that I can access all of the Barix boxes — the Instreamer, Exstreamer and both Redundix units — through web-based interfaces. As the sole technical guy for the whole station, being able to troubleshoot any issues remotely from home is convenient. But the Redundix units themselves have helped us overcome our biggest issue, minimizing the impact of network packet loss and thus improving our audio quality for our listeners. For information, contact Reto Brader at Barix Technology in Switzerland at +4143-43322-11 or visit www.barix.com.
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BUYER’S GUIDE Audio Transport/STL: Codecs, Internet & Satellite
AGM Chooses Wheatstone for Bakersfield WheatNet gives flexibility to operations while also interfacing with other Wheatstone equipment
◗USERREPORT BY RUSTY W. BURCHFIELD
Corporate Director of Engineering American General Media BAKERSFIELD, C alifornia — I was out of town and enjoying a mini vacation from my duties as American General Media’s corporate engineer when I got the call. Two politicians had shown up unexpectedly at our studios in Bakersfield at the same time, and staff wanted to do a “town hall meeting/ mini debate.” The main studio was too small, and they needed to move things to our larger performance studio down the hall. I asked when they wanted to make the switch, and they said about six minutes
after the news. No problem. I pulled out my iPad, VPNed into our WheatNet-IP network server and, using the system’s Navigator software, I set up a cross point between the performance studio and the main studio about 300 feet away. I then mapped each mic to its own console channel and routed talkback from the studio to the host headphones. I was able to do this faster than they could have walked down the hallway and done a mic check.
This sort of flexibility is why I decided to go with WheatNet-IP audio networking after a fire destroyed American General Media’s Bakersfield studios almost two years ago. The fire started with faulty electrical in the TOC, melting the servers there. The smoke
damage was so extensive, the studio facility for all six of AGM’s stations in Bakersfield, California, was a total loss. AGM, which has stations throughout California, New Mexico and Colorado, had WheatNet-IP in the Albuquerque facility so I was more than familiar with the system. For Bakersfield, I did look at other systems but decided for certain to go with WheatNet-IP when I ran across a WheatNet-IP system installed by a European vendor to showcase their on-air lights. It says something when a vendor buys a product to make their product look good. I purchased IP-12 consoles for the six on-air studios, each with talk studios and a shared central mixing studio with glass all around, plus a large production studio and a performance studio complete with a stage and lighting. The entire facility was outfitted with Wheatstone’s modular QuickLine furniture and networked together through the WheatNet-IP audio network. There’s not a soundcard or relay box in sight. Through IP audio drivers, I was able to tie in critical pieces of audio gear. For example, VoxPro digital audio recorders/editors are in every on-air studio, networked through WheatNet-IP for intense show productions requiring shared files and editing functions.
In addition, I was able to add video to our webstreams using camera automation tied into WheatNet-IP in each studio, and enhance shows and sportscasts with graphics from its new digital content department complete with greenroom. It’s all controlled and managed through one IP audio network platform
accessible from phones or laptops. As expected, the installation was fairly stress-free. It took about 10 minutes per studio to install the QuickLine furniture, which is why they call it QuickLine. This is Wheatstone furniture that comes in five modular components that are reversible, so you can get up to 32 functional configurations. Hooking up the WheatNet-IP system was straightforward. They’re not kidding when they call it plug-and-play. I simply plugged the Cat-6 cable into a Blade (I/O unit) and it self-installed into the network. This was certainly a lot easier than most of the studio projects I have managed in the past — and I’ve been involved in 900 studio projects in my career as a broadcast engineer. I can recall the enormous amount of time and engineering spent on tracing, stripping and punching down wire and making up connectors. By the time you add in time and labor, plus the punch down tools, shrink tubes, external relays and matchboxes, it can easily cost four times as much to do a punchblock routing system as an AoIP system. In the case of WheatNet-IP, I just put the Blade in a rack, got the premade XLR cables sitting on the bench and plugged it in. Just about everything is done using software; and by the way, we ordered all the connectors through Amazon, so it all came right to our door. The hardest part was ripping out the copper wiring that had been installed for the punchblock routing system used back in the day. For information, contact Jay Tyler at Wheatstone in the United States at +1-252-638-7000 or visit www.wheatstone.com.
radioworld.com | RADIOWORLD
BUYER’S GUIDE Audio Transport/STL: Codecs, Internet & Satellite
AEQ Sends Radio Centro América Across Mato Grosso Broadcaster relies on Mercury codecs to connect radio stations to the heart of Brazil
ticular facility a Mercury connects to the network through either the digital AES/EBU inputs or electronically bal-
◗USERREPORT BY LUIS ANTONIO BOTELHO DE CRUZ
Engineering and Technology Manager Televisao Centro América
anced line-level analog inputs. What’s more, the Phoenix Mercury offers exemplary coding algorithms, and thanks to the recently incorporated Opus algorithm, we can easily establish low-delay and low-bitrate bidirectional communications. Another advantage is that, since they don’t have front-panel controls and we don’t want to have to relocate our staff, (continued on page 25)
CUIABA, Brazil — Radio Centro Améri-
ca 99.1 FM is the only broadcaster in the state of Mato Grosso offering easy listening programming. The station provides its listeners with an exclusive selection of classic music and latest hits, focused on the adult, modern public. The radio station is part of the group Centro América, à Rede Matogrossense de Comunicação, a TV network held by the Zahran Group, affiliated to Globo Network.
We have two central studios in Cuiaba with a powerful transmitter at 99.1 MHz, allowing our listeners located up to 80 kilometers away to receive our signal. In addition, we have another four stations throughout the entire Mato Grosso state territory. We connect signals from the Cuiaba studios to the rest of the stations of the network using AEQ Phoenix Mercury audio codecs: Radio Centro América Hits FM at Araguaia (99.9 MHz), Cáceres (103.1 MHz), lradio Hits FM at Rondonópolis (101.5 MHz) and Sorriso (89.3 MHz).
SIMPLE YET EFFECTIVE
An audio codec used for broadcast programs is different from a mixing console. The device may have a modest appearance, but must be neutral and effective, while providing reliability and good quality. That’s why we chose the AEQ Phoenix Mercury. They are simple, small, half-width 1U rack devices, without unnecessary controls on the front panel. Yet they are extremely powerful and offer great sound quality. Depending on the par-
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BUYER’S GUIDE Audio Transport/STL: Codecs, Internet & Satellite
BRIC-Link Leaps Over Mountains for KSUT IP codec reliably handles STL duty for multiple transmitters
◗USERREPORT BY SCOT T D. HENNING
IGNACIO, Colorado — KSUT(FM)
is a public broadcasting organization that serves the Four Corners area in the western United States, with studios and offices on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. As an independent engineer, I recommend equipment, help with configuration and troubleshoot any technical problems that may arise.
KSUT produces two broadcast streams from their headquarters in Ignacio, Colo. The Four Corners/NPR programming is delivered to five transmitter sites around the Four Corners, while Southern Ute Tribal Radio programming is delivered to two transmitter sites. About six years ago, KSUT installed the first BRIC-Link IP codec as an STL for the tribal programming service. I
liked the BRIC-Link’s reliability and AAC compression, so we went on to add five more BRIC-Link pairs as primary STLs. For years, KSUT ran a Comrex ISDN unit as an STL to a remote transmitter site. The Comrex units were so reliable
that after a lightning strike, which blew out the main output, it continued to work for several more years. When we started having interference problems with our radio STLs, KSUT began using Comrex BRIC-Links to bypass the interference issues.
One of the reasons I chose Comrex equipment is the great support. I always read the manual, but it’s helpful to be able to call and speak with a person who has a wealth of knowledge about our equipment. The Comrex support team has been especially helpful in configuring our BRIC-Link infrastructure. We have some challenging connections — for example, there’s a 3,000+-meter mountain between our studio and one of our transmitter sites. The internet pathway is punctuated with microwave hops. Despite the geographical challenges, our BRIC-Links reliably run at 128 kbps and I rarely have to do anything to the connection or the equipment. The BRICLinks have a GUI interface that allows troubleshooting from any computer. KSUT has been very happy with the Comrex products and support. The BRIC-Links have been reliable and so far, we have had no major failures. Because of the dependability and excellent support from Comrex, I would recommend a BRIC-Link system to anyone. For information, contact Chris Crump at Comrex in the United States at +1-978-784-1776 or visit www.comrex. com.
BUYER’S GUIDE Audio Transport/STL: Codecs, Internet & Satellite
◗TECHUPDATE APT MOBILE SURESTREAMER HANDLES FIELD AND STL DUTIES BORDEAUX-MÉRIGNAC, France — The APT Mobile SureStreamer (MSSr), a technology from WorldCast Systems, is a mobile network access solution for live and local remotes and OBs for sports broadcasters and journalists. The company says it improves the quality and reliability of IP audio remotes to maximize on-air time while delivering pristine, uninterrupted audio and video from the field. SureStream works by utilizing two different LTE or 3/4G carriers and replicating the IP packets across both networks. Using toolsets and features incorporated within SureStream, the MSSr delivers broadcast audio from anywhere on any network. Some of its features are zero field-configuration for high user-friendliness and high speed and simplicity of connection, a TCP-free signal chain for optimal latency of milliseconds for real-time
AEQ (continued from page 23)
they can be remotely controlled by an intuitive software application. This means operators can run them from our central control room or anywhere else for that matter, providing they have a laptop and available network access. We are also able to configure and monitor each
codec from a distance and visualize the VU meters, check the input and output signals both for the transmitted program and from each station’s return for contribution or bidirectional programming. We know we can rely on the great technical support from AEQ. That, in tandem with the reliability level demonstrated by the firm’s products, is the reason we have purchased a large pool of equipment from them, not only codecs, but also digital mixing consoles and audio-over-IP interfaces with Dante technology and AES67 compatibility. For information, contact Gustavo Robles at AEQ in Spain at +34-916861300 or visit www.aeq.eu.
on-the-air broadcasting and a single hardware unit approved for all networks. The company says it is compact, light and robust, and comes in a protective bag so broadcasters are ready at all times to deliver live and local content to their audience. WorldCast says its SureStream technology set an early precedent deliver-
ing flawless audio over affordable public internet links and is now well-established for professional AoIP STLs. For information, contact Christophe Poulain at WorldCast Systems in France at +33-557-928-928 or visit www.worldcastsystems.com.
radioworld.com | RADIOWORLD
BUYER’S GUIDE Audio Transport/STL: Codecs, Internet & Satellite
AoIP Evolution With GatesAir at Washington’s WAMU Intraplex IP Link codecs and Dynamic Stream Splicing technology solidify signal chain
◗USERREPORT BY MIKE BENONIS
Assistant Director of Engineering WAMU(FM) WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Ameri-
can University-owned WAMU(FM) has been the primary NPR member station for the Washington area since the birth of NPR, broadcasting a mix of a national content, hourly NPR news and locallyproduced public affairs programs. In recent years, WAMU has transitioned almost exclusively to IP for audio production, contribution, and distribution. This includes our AoIP studio plant, studio-to-transmitter links, and backup links to NPR’s Network Operations Centers. We rely heavily on GatesAir’s Intraplex IP Link codecs to ensure uninterrupted audio delivery. Intraplex IP Link codecs provide audio connectivity to all of our transmitter facilities. Our IP Link codecs are the primary STL paths to our auxiliary transmitter site, collocated with WETA(FM) in Arlington, Va., as well as to our satellite station WRAU(FM) located in Ocean City, Md. Both sites are fed via diverse public internet links. Dropped packets are inevitable even with the most stable internet connections, but Intraplex IP Link codecs have a feature called Dynamic Stream Splicing, which
virtually eliminates audio dropouts. Dynamic Stream Splicing works by combining packets from multiple streams to reconstruct any missed audio frames. This can be done over separate internet connections, or even a single internet connection by delaying one stream by 50-100 ms and adding forward error correction (another built-in feature of the Intraplex IP Link codecs). We also use Dynamic Stream Splicing on the return path from WRAU so we know that what we hear at the station is what listeners hear over the air 150 miles away. We’ve been blown away at how well this feature works, and it’s extremely rare that the Intraplex IP Link cannot deliver flawless audio. Another great feature of the Intraplex IP Link is the ability to set up multiple failover audio sources. These can be additional RTP streams (from a different source Intraplex IP Link device), AAC or MP3 web streams from a CDN, or even a USB Drive preloaded with audio. This flexibility enables us to deliver continuous audio to listeners even in the event of audio or total primary stream loss. Audio from our Intraplex IP codecs is delivered to AES switching networks and ultimately the audio processors located at each transmitter site. For our main site, which maintains a native Livewire path as its primary connection, the Intraplex IP provides a redundant backup via diverse links in case of interruption to the leased fiber link that
conveys our Livewire connection. It’s a very robust setup. We also convey our nationally distributed program, “1A,” to NPR’s primary NOC in Washington and backup NOC in Saint Paul, Minn. While we still rely on legacy T1 technology to get us across town to NPR, we are working to transition to a new standard that would utilize
◗TECHUPDATE AETA µSCOOP SIMPLIFIES STL TASKS LES PLESSIS ROBINSON, France — AETA’s µScoop full-duplex IP audio codec, available with analog or digital input/outputs, is designed to utilize IP connections over wired IP networks. Two types of packet duplication functions ensure transmission. This, says AETA, makes it possible to improve the resistance to packet losses, thus increasing connection reliability. The auto redial feature lets users configure the number of redial attempts in case of a connection loss along with a waiting time before each attempt. If the link is dropped, the codec relaunches the call and sets the link up again. This feature is also effective in the case of a power failure, with µScoop recalling the remote unit as soon as it restarts. Thanks to the new AETA Remote Access feature, µScoop can now be controlled remotely and in real time via the internet. The system relies on using a remote access server as an intermediary between the codec and the control device. It allows the user to access the embedded html servers of the codec, and thus to control all the settings and parameters of the codec in real time. In addition, µScoop features multicast transmission; Ethernet remote control from its embedded HTML server; configurable status and control relays (GPIO) that inform users when the remote µScoop is synchronized; a choice of encoding algorithms including Opus and MPEG AAC; and SIP or direct RTP modes. For information, contact AETA Audio in France at +33-1-41-36-12-01 or visit www.aeta-audio.com.
the Intraplex IP Link over the public internet at 256 kbps AAC to reach both the primary and backup NPR NOCs, which makes the Dynamic Stream Splicing application that much more valuable. At each NOC, IP Link codecs receive the signal and provide the same stream reconstruction service as we use at our transmitter sites. This is a fairly straightforward operation, though once again the reliability and stability of the IP Link has proven exceptionally valuable. If the main NOC in Washington were to go down, the backup NOC in Minnesota picks up the stream to ensure an uninterrupted national broadcast. Once decoded, the signals are then re-encoded in IP Link devices for national satellite delivery. Our most recent use of the IP Link codecs involves reimagining our main program channel streaming service. We’ve begun experimenting with the IP Link hardware to eventually replace Microsoft Windows-based stream encoders to deliver the audio to StreamGuys, our CDN and streaming media service provider. Like many stations, we were often faced with the typical performance glitches that come with computer misbehavior. We believe that moving to dedicated hardware for audio encoding with the IP Link 100 will eliminate the shortcomings of a computer-based encoder. (continued on page 29)
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BUYER’S GUIDE Audio Transport/STL: Codecs, Internet & Satellite
Telos Has the Right Codec for the Job Z/IP ONE comes through in the clutch at Rhema Central Coast
◗USERREPORT BY STEPHEN WILKINSON
Technical Operations Manager Hope Media Ltd. SYDNEY — I’ve been with Hope Media Ltd. for 14 years as technical operations manager; during that time I think I’ve seen it all, or at least most everything. Hope Media is a not-for-profit organization that runs Hope 103.2 on FM and Inspire Digital on DAB+ in Sydney. As one of the largest nonprofit community radio stations in Australia and due in large part to the resources that it has at its disposal, one of Hope Media’s missions is to foster, encourage and provide technical assistance to many smaller stations. These stations are located all over Australia and attention is given specially to rural areas, to help improve their content, fundraising and sponsorship. As a part of this ongoing mission, Hope Media loans me, generally at no charge, to stations in the community sector to help them with various technical projects. Recently one of these projects brought me to 94.9 FM Rhema Central Coast. It’s situated about 1.5 hours drive north of Sydney in Erina, and has a population somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000. A couple of years ago they had to move transmission sites due to the land being reclaimed where their tower stood. Unfortunately, their existing 850 MHz STL wouldn’t work with the new
transmitter location due to a hill being in the path and they weren’t able to install a big grid pack antenna to the new tower as they were collocating with existing broadcasters. As a result, there was going to have to be a two-hop link to get to the new
that they were suffering from interference at times with the 5.8 GHz link. So an alternate backup path was needed in order to achieve the stable signal that they desired. We tried 4G in the short term, but data plans would be prohibitive for the station in the long
transmitter site, and there weren’t any extra STL frequencies available. They installed a two-hop 5.8 GHz Ubiquiti link — the first hop is 8 kilometers/5 miles and the second is 3 kilometers/2 miles. It’s a small Axia Livewire facility. When I was brought onto this project I recommended running Livewire over the Ubiquiti link and installing their Omnia One processor at the transmitter site. This was reasonably successful, except
term. The transmitter site was hard to get an internet connection to. Like most transmitter sites it was a bit remote, but we eventually were able to get an ADSL connection installed with limited bandwidth and differing amounts of latency. Due to the station having limited funds, we tried multiple cheaper codecs over nine months, but unfortunately due to the ADSL conditions, it proved difficult and we were not getting the results that they needed. Fortunately, the station had
applied for a local government grant for codecs, and they were awarded it. Because of the ADSL conditions, I recommended Telos Z/IP One IP codec, which I have used extensively for backup paths and program distribution with Hope Media. The Z/IP Ones are great because of the Agile Connection Technology (ACT). It adapts to the connection’s conditions, you can set a minimum and maximum bitrate and also a minimum and maximum buffer. It will
try to use the highest quality bitrate and lowest buffer, but if packets start dropping it will increase the buffer or reduce bitrate, all on the fly. Since installing, the Rhema Central Coast connection has been rock-solid, running at AAC 320 kbps without any dropouts, and they couldn’t be happier.
For information, contact Cam Eicher at The Telos Alliance in the United States at +1-216-241-7225 or visit www.telosalliance.com.
◗TECHUPDATE DIGIGRAM IQOYA *X/LINK OFFERS FLEXIBLE OPERATION MONTBONNOT, France — The Iqoya *X/Link from Digigram is a 1U rack audio codec for the delivery of one or several audio programs over IP networks. The unit can be used in legacy analog and AES/EBU audio infrastructures, as well as in full-IP infrastructures, thanks to the support of Livewire, AES67 and Ravenna technologies. Using Digigram’s FluidIP technology, Iqoya *X/ Link provides for the transport of audio content over managed and unmanaged networks and for continuity of audio service on transmitter sites. According to the company, unique features include its four RJ-45 network ports, allowing for the integration into full IP infrastructures (full separation of IP traffic: AES67/Ravenna, dual streaming on WAN, control). The multi-encoding and multiprotocol streaming lets users stream a radio program
simultaneously to transmitter sites, DVB multiplexers — MPEG-TS/IP, web radio CDNs — Icecast/Shoutcast and other studios. The system can support up to 16 I/O channels (four analog I/O channels, four digital I/O channels on AES/EBU, and AES67/Ravenna I/O channels) and has a full AES/EBU transparent transport through PTP or external 10 MHz synchronization. Iqoya *X/Link is based on a lowconsumption, fanless dedicated hardware platform powered by two redundant power supply units. It features four analog audio I/Os and two stereo AES/EBU I/Os, and supports synchronous AoIP I/Os (Livewire, AES67, Ravenna). The unit supports one to eight stereo I/Os, and allows for multi-format and multi-protocol encoding and streaming of each audio source. The four
network ports allow for the separation of IP traffic: control and monitoring, redundant dual streaming through two network paths, and synchronous AoIP (Livewire, AES67, Ravenna). The Iqoya X/Link range also includes the X/LinkLE, X/Link-Dual and X/Link-AES67. For information, contact Digigram in France at +33-4-76-52-47-47 or visit www.digigram.com.
BUYER’S GUIDE Audio Transport/STL: Codecs, Internet & Satellite
◗TECHUPDATE AVT’S MAGIC ACIP3 2M SUPPORTS STL APPLICATIONS NÜRNBERG, Germany — AVT Audio Video Technologies GmbH has introduced ModNet, a DSP-based hardware management platform for use with Magic ACip3 (2M) audio codecs and designed for STL applications. ModNet can be equipped with one E1 (2 Mbps) interface and/or three independent Ethernet interfaces, which can be used for the main audio signal distribution, for backup and also for control and monitoring. With the standard version, one stereo ISO/MPEG Layer 2 audio codec is available. With the optional twocodec upgrade two independent stereo audio signals can be transmitted with one system. If low latency is required, the system can be upgraded with the optional Enhanced aptX 16-/24-bit algorithm. Using the 24-bit format the highest quality for compressed audio transmission with the lowest delay is possible.
GatesAir (continued from page 26)
We plan to utilize the IP Links in a true redundant configuration so that our web stream remains on the air if either of our wide-area network connections is lost, or if we need to perform updates on the Intraplex IP Link hardware. A common benefit across all of these applications is ease of setup and use. GatesAir has made the process very simple to understand, and easy to replicate across any application. It is consistently the same process regardless of the network characteristics or type of connection. As T1 and ISDN become more difficult to maintain and IP solutions continue to evolve, there is no question that broadcasters should aggressively complete the transition to IP. Having redundant connections will provide excellent protection, while advanced error correction and mitigation techniques in products like IP Link will ensure the best possible quality and performance for any audio contribution and distribution needs. For information, contact Keith Adams at GatesAir in the United States at +1-513-459-3447 or visit www.gatesair.com.
Via the E1 interface, the system allows the transmission of multiple stereo or mono audio signals depending on the selected bitrate. Additional codecs can be connected to the main scheme via E1 using the Drop & Insert feature (which the company says offers
low latency) or alternatively via IP. With the IP version, each encoder can transmit five remote sites simultaneously. One network can consist of up to 99 systems, all of which can be managed via the ModNet application. With the optional Backup upgrade,
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users can secure remote sites with an automatic backup functionality if a network fails. Operators can also assign E1 as main distribution signal and IP as backup network or viceversa. Also possible is a pure IP transmission via two independent IP networks. If main and backup networks fail, you still have the possibility to play out an audio signal from an SD card. For information, contact AVT in Germany at +49-911-5271-0 or visit www.avt-nbg.de.
BUYER’S GUIDE Audio Transport/STL: Codecs, Internet & Satellite
◗TECHUPDATE 2WCOM INTRODUCES MM04C FLENSBURG, Germany — 2wcom says its new MM04C AoIP codec is a one-stop solution based on know-how the company gained through its work on the MM01 codec and MM08E encoder. Developed for STL and SSL applications, the unit is designed to ease a broadcaster’s daily cross-media tasks. Equipped with four channels, the point-topoint or point-to-multipoint codec offers compatibility to all interfaces and supports a range of protocols for streaming, control and status. These include EBU Tech 3326, AES67, Ravenna, Livewire+, Dante, SMTE ST 2110, PTPv2, RTSP, SAP, SIP, Discovery, Bonjour, SNMP, HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTPS and Ember+. Furthermore, the exchange of additional information such as GPIO and ancillary data between the audio networks is possible. Another advantage the MM04C
offers is the implementation of a variety of algorithms such as MPEG and AAC (extended HE xHE, Opus, Ogg Vorbis, Enhanced aptX, Dolby Digital Plus and PCM). In addition, the unit allows users to combine audio streams to multichannel streams with one device able to generate multiple streams independently. To simplify operation, features and applications are configurable via software. The MM04C can integrate into existing systems and third-party applications. To enhance transmission robustness, the MM04C is equipped with a flexible redundancy concept, which includes individual configuration of alternative input sources, Pro MPEG-FEC, Dual Streaming and Stream4Sure. For information, contact 2wcom in Germany at +49-461-662830-0 or visit www.2wcom.com.
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advertiser 25 2wcom Systems 8 AETA Audio Systems 20 Aldena (Telecomunicazioni) SRL 23 Ampegon 13 Axia - The Telos Alliance 5 Broadcast Bionics 19 Calrec 27 Comrex Corporation 1 DB Elettronica Telecom. 12 Deva Broadcast Ltd 22 Digigram, S.A. 24 GatesAir 31 Inovonics Broadcast 10–11 Lawo AG 9 Nautel 14 NeoGroupe 32 Orban 21 RCS 1, 14 RFE Broadcast 15 Save Diffusion 4 Thimeo Audio Technology 7 Tieline Technology 2, 16–17 Wheatstone 29 Winmedia
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