Software developer Arctic Palm Technology
Inc. is in the business spotlight because of its acquisition by DTS Inc., announced last week. Founder
Stu Buck will make the transition to DTS in a product development role but relocate
to the Columbia, Md., office of DTS. We contacted Buck to ask a
few questions that arose in the wake of the announcement; he replied
Radio World: What prompted the creation of
Arctic Palm 19 years ago; and what was your background prior?
Stu Buck: At the time I was a senior systems analyst with The Blackburn
Group Inc., a multimedia company in London, Ontario. BGI owned The London Free
Press, a major daily paper in Southwestern Ontario, CFPL Broadcasting
(CFPL-AM/FM/TV) and CKNX Broadcasting (CKNX-FM/AM/TV). I started with the
company in 1971 and was on the development team computerizing the newspaper operations.
By 1978 we had computerized the newspaper and I was assigned the broadcasting
My introduction to broadcasting was the
development of a traffic system for both radio and television, and I was
hooked. These were all mainframe systems, and PCs were just coming into the workplace.
As the “mainframe” developer, we did not have PCs in the office, but I did have
one at home and found areas in broadcasting where PC applications were needed.
At that point I developed my first PC application, which is now our CS Copy
Management package. Today’s version is a lot different than the original but it’s
where we started.
In the mid-90s BGI started selling the
broadcasting companies and I received all rights to the software along with the
right to continue development, sales and marketing. In 1997, I received the Canadian
and U.S. copyrights, and Arctic Palm was born.
I understand it, you pretty much are Arctic Palm, there are no other
employees, yes? But Arctic Palm seems to have a lot of products for one person
to create, market and support …?
Buck: For the
most part yes, I am Arctic Palm. Fran, my wife, is also an employee and handles
accounting, and Al Hillman, another ex-BGI programmer, wrote our CS Call
Management package. Al and I have worked together for over 30 years and he
covers support when I’m traveling.
More than 45 years of
experience designing and programming computer software for media has resulted
in Arctic Palm products that are very functional and reliable in minimizing the
time required for user training and support.
are best known for our datacasting products posting metadata to a variety of
devices and services, we also have several “paperless” studio products to
minimize or eliminate hard copy documents. These include CS Copy Management, used
by creative script writers and producers; CS Contest Management for
prize/contest scheduling; CS Call Management, our Call Screening package for
Telos studio phone systems; CS Interactive for automated FTP/LAN and WAN file
transfers; and our most popular product, Center Stage Live (CSRDS) for
datacasting and paperless live copy scheduling. We just added the CS Public
Radio Metadata (CSPRM), an add-on for Center Stage Live that supports the PRSS
You’re right, it sounds like a lot
when you spell it out, but working in media for that long has given me a
detailed understanding of the business of broadcast and the technical skills to
meet the needs of broadcasters. The tools, techniques and skills I have learned
in that time result in very fast and reliable development; and as our client
base has grown we have been examining various expansion options.
RW: DTS cites your work in recent years with digital radio and data
products. Can you tell me more about how Arctic Palm’s tech has been used to
date in HD Radio, MetaPub and other platforms, that we might not be aware of?
Buck: We have worked with digital radio since there
has been digital radio and kept up with all the advancements. This started with
basic PAD data and now includes The Artist Experience as well as advanced
content for on-air events.
Our CS Scheduler module included
in the Center Stage Live package allows stations to schedule any number of
informational, promotional or commercial messages to the various devices or
services including HD Radio.
We currently capture
metadata from about 70 different automation systems, satellite services, web
services like MetaPub, metadata logs, local weather forecasts, EAS message, etc.,
and post that data to RDS/RBDS encoders, HD Radio, DAB/DRM, websites, streaming
services, web services such as TagStation/Next Radio and TuneIn, and even post
to FTP sites for use on digital billboards.
Stage Live package includes several modules to perform various special
functions like time shifting, providing metadata for repeat broadcasting, post
metadata when playing from outside an automation system or long-play
programming. When used with other Arctic Palm packages we can post contest
information or topic and call in information for talk shows. To quote some
users, “It’s the Swiss Army Knife for metadata.”
Arctic Palm product line branding change; will your product line remain as we
see it today on the website…?
Buck: The Arctic
Palm product lines will remain the same, as will our great relationships with distributors,
partners and our clients.
RW: What else should we know?
Buck: I am very happy
to be part of DTS, as their commitment to radio is a perfect match for Arctic
Palm. We share the same goals to make our clients the best they can be and
provide listeners with the best possible radio experience. The shared resources
will benefit not only our companies but the radio industry.