25-Seven PDM Keeps it Clean at GCN
EGAN, Minn. —
Genesis Communications Network
is a rapidly growing, 24/7 talk radio network based in the Minneapolis-St. Paul
area that provides programming to 350 AM/FM stations, XM Satellite Radio,
shortwave and Internet audiences.
GCN delivers some 395 hours per week of
programming via affiliates and directly to listeners using four satellite
uplinks and multiple Internet streams to accommodate a range of browsers, apps,
podcasts, along with streamed and on-demand telephone listen lines. There is an
enormous responsibility on our part to provide profanity-free programming.
Profanity needs to be dealt with at the
point of production before distribution.
Our foremost concern is the immediate
fines that could be imposed on affiliate stations. Next would be the
degradation of affiliate trust that we have painstakingly earned over a great
deal of time. Simply pulling the caller off-air, or pushing mute after the
fact, and saying “Oops” when the FCC knocks on your door, won’t cut it. In
today’s economy, profanity fines can put you out of business or at least, set
you back on years of hard work and achievement.
When presented with the idea of
protecting our programming, I was not looking forward to scheduling every event
seven to eight seconds early in our automation, to cue affiliate stations and
adjust for satellite and T-1 delay. When we got our first 25-Seven Systems PDM
in 2008 to “drive it around the block,” the real ticket for GCN was the ability
to enter and exit delay before and after commercial breaks to keep our automation
programming simple. Next was the ability for a show host, hundreds of miles
away from our facility, and right smack in the conversation on air, to “dump”
objectionable content using PDM’s built-in Web interface.
PDM’s PD Alert feature is beyond
incredible in the event of a profanity incident. Peace of mind for the board
op, the host and management is the result. We are usually put at ease within seconds
due to this one feature.
PD Alert sends out emails to multiple
recipients with details and attached audio of each profanity event, thus
answering the questions that flood our minds and disrupt our workflow when a
dump event occurs.
It provides an immediate means for key
personnel beyond the board op and host to monitor frequency of dump events,
and, if needed, make better decisions as to the risk of certain programs. In
short, it’s the “tattletale” you will never have to add to the payroll.
The PDM’s noise specs, headroom figures
and sound quality are within our needs and specifications for the quality media
product we’ve set out to accomplish.The support on the PDMs for GCN has been wonderful. 25-Seven has
listened to our needs and requests, and I believe we have been a part of
developing the PDM into what it is.
On several occasions I’ve opened up an
Internet path into our PDMs to allow the engineers at 25-Seven to SSH in to
review our system log files, check settings and update software.
We run four PDMs 24/7 on the main feed
out of each of our four mixers before the board distribution amp which delivers
to one of our four main channels and our two recording computers for our
archives, podcasts, on-demand players and emergency replay.
Just the other night, I was with a
colleague who was running a show. He put a call on air and almost immediately
the caller went “blue” on our host. The dump button was hit; the call hung up
and the host got onto the next call while the buffer was rebuilding. But the
next caller dropped three “f”-bombs consecutively. The dump was pressed again,
the “bypass” was pressed and seamlessly we were rebuilding from 0.
This all happened in just under a
Within seconds, we were listening to
audio in the PD Alert e-mail to verify what got dumped. Result: the last half
of the “k” on the last “f”-bomb got out. A close call, no doubt. PDM kept us
clean and in good graces with our affiliates, once again.
Prondzinski is the chief engineer for Genesis Communications Network.
For information, contact Geoff Steadman
at 25-Seven Systems in Massachusetts at (888) 257-2578 or visit