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Redundancy and You: Is Your Station Emergency Ready?

Let's take a leaf out of the Boy Scouts handbook

The Boy Scouts motto is “Be Prepared.” This motto also easily applies to broadcasters. As situations arise that prevent normal operating procedures, is your station ready for the worst-case scenario?

Redundancy is a topic that management does not like to talk about. Redundant systems can take up real estate and expenses for something they hope will never be used.

Although not all broadcasters have or can afford redundant systems, let’s take a look at the different types of redundancy. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a redundant playback system?
  • Is there a backup studio?
  • Does your studio facility have backup power from a generator or battery?
  • Is your IT network backed up? (Most equipment depends on this now.)
  • Are there multiple paths to get programing to your transmitter? (Hopefully not dependent on the same system.)
  • Does your transmitter site have backup power?
  • Do you have a backup transmitter?
  • Do you have a backup antenna?
  • Do you have a backup transmitter site?

Very few stations have all of these, but the engineer and management should know the answers to all those questions. This is the key to staying on the air. 

These answers will also be crucial if you ever have to file a “loss of business” claim to you insurance company.  

The past few years we have seen failures in our aging power grid. Also, bad storms have caused many disruptions.

Keeping emergency preparedness in mind, there should be full staff tests done regularly to check all systems functionality.

I once visited a facility that built new studios where sales used to be. Sales moved to the old studio area. When a power failure happened, sales had backup power and the studios were dead! No, I will not name the station. 

Needless to say, major electrical renovation was needed because of poor planning.

Some stations have survival kits (i.e. MRE food, water, cots) that is determined by management on how long they want to be protected.

Sometimes stations can come to agreements with other stations in their area for backup. It does pay to be a good neighbor. Remember that a backup antenna does need to be FCC approved.

The best time to contemplate this is before the need. Nobody wants to play Monday morning quarterback on what you should have done.

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