The author is a marketing and technical communications specialist for Tieline. Comment on this or any article. Email [email protected].
At this year’s NAB Show, The MaxxKonnect Group partnered with the Beasley Media Group on 96.3 KKLZ-HD2 and the SurferNetwork to launch MaxxRadio. This was a full service radio station, set up entirely from scratch on site in the West Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) in just days, and broadcasting live before and during the show.
“MaxxRadio was truly unique and hadn’t been done before,” said Josh Bohn, president and CEO of The MaxxKonnect Group. “It was quite something to see it all come together so quickly in Vegas and I have to credit my team for their achievements and thank all the vendors who supplied such great equipment to make it happen.”
So how was it all put together? “The entire studio plant was Wheatstone,” said Bohn. “All WheatNet-IP with WideOrbit automation using Wheatnet drivers. The Tieline Gateway with WheatNet-IP was the heart of the system as it was used for STL and remote contribution. For the STL, IP audio left the NAB show floor via the Gateway using MaxxKonnect Wireless prioritized LTE, and traveled back to MaxxKonnect world HQ in Pelham, Alabama.
“There it was received on a Tieline Genie Distribution codec with WheatNet-IP and routed through our in-house Wheatstone system to the SurferNetwork streaming encoder, as well as back out via the same Genie to another Genie Distribution codec at the Beasley plant in Las Vegas to air on KKLZ’s HD-2. The booth signal was also sent to a small transmitter on-site at NAB. We used AAC-ELD codecs at 128k on all codecs and the sound was excellent. We also had a return monitor from the WideOrbit in Pelham back to the NAB studio for sync purposes, as after 6 p.m. daily we threw programming back to HQ so we could shut the booth down.”
“The 3rd set of stereo codecs on the Gateway were used with our roving ViA fitted with an internal cellular module with dual MaxxKonnect Prioritized LTE data SIM cards,” said Bohn. “Isis Jones, our Program Director at MaxxRadio, roamed the event halls at NAB doing multiple remote broadcasts and interviews with vendors and guests around the show floor during the first 3 days. The performance of the Tieline gear, as always, was flawless. Paired with the MaxxKonnect LTE service, we had ZERO off-time due to codec or connectivity drops. Amazing considering what all we were doing from the packed LVCC.”
“I have to say Tieline’s Clould Codec Controller was a saving grace in all this,” said Bohn. “It allowed me to see exactly what was going on at all times on my codecs in real-time and it worked great.”
Wheatstone equipment included the studio furniture, a Blade-3, an L-12 console and an MG-1 processor was used on the main mic. A M4IP mic processor was in the racks along with two SS8 button panels that provided switching for programming and monitoring at the booth.
The first iteration of MaxxRadio has set the bar high at NAB and definitely proved what was possible when combining high-end remote gear like the ViA with MaxxKonnect Prioritized LTE data.
“When Josh first approached Tieline about helping out with the MaxxRadio project at NAB we were so excited about the possibilities,” said Jacob Daniluck, Tieline’s technical sales specialist for the Americas. “I think Josh has only scratched the surface of what may be possible with MaxxRadio, and in true Josh Bohn style he has delivered beyond expectations to prove what is possible in pushing the boundaries of live radio.”
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“For vendors like Tieline it’s also great as it allows us to explain what’s new at NAB and this is important when launching new products to educate engineers about new technologies,” said Daniluck. “It is also an opportunity to show how audio can be routed between different digital ecosystems. For example, Josh needed a few additional WheatNet-IP I/Os. As the local Gateway acts as a Wheatstone ‘Blade’ and had I/O available, we were able to convert our channels 1 to 4 (Stereo Pairings) to 2 ‘Analog to Wheatnet’ inputs and 2 ‘Wheatnet to Analog’ outputs with the use of the internal audio routing system within the Gateway. And most importantly, the fact that the unit supports not only AoIP but Analog/Digital audio. This was done to allow installation of Phone Hybrids the day before the show started.”
“It’s also a lot of fun and we recorded a great light-hearted video with Josh, Chris Roth and myself when we were live on MaxxRadio, explaining in more detail about how audio was routed to make MaxxRadio work. I would encourage everyone to take a look,” said Daniluck.
And what about plans for NAB in 2024? “We had so much incredibly positive feedback that I am sure MaxxRadio will be back at NAB in 2024,” said Bohn . “In fact I am already cooking up bigger and better ideas for MaxxRadio, so stay tuned for more details in coming months!”
Below, view the video of Josh Bohn, Jacob Daniluck and Chris Roth chatting live on MaxxRadio during NAB.