Tim Kochis stands in front of a BSI Simian installation at WMYU(LP). OOLTEWAH, Tenn. — When you think about the equipment we have used at radio stations over the past many years, computers have become one of the most reliable. When it comes to the radio automation software, however, that could be a challenge.
I have used a number of automation systems, and none have been as reliable and feature-packed as BSI Simian Pro. BSI designed Simian as easy-to-use (and easy-to-learn). This approach designed Simian to be used for Webcast stations, small radio stations, and all the way to a network operation.
I have had the opportunity to work with Simian on many levels, from small mom-and-pop stations to major-market stations including radio networks with 80+ affiliates, all using Simian Pro.
On the radio network level, I have Simian Pro in either live-assist or fully automated mode doing two background records while sending metadata to the Webcast, sensing network relay closures for news and sending relay closures through the satellite uplink system. Simian can handle the most arduous tasks with ease.
As with any computer, a properly maintained and up-to-date filing system keeps everybody happy. In today’s broadcast studio operation, the automation is the center of the operation, a key element within the system … without a good automation system your operation will be inefficient.
Operating and programming can be done directly through Simian’s onboard tools or by radio music programming and commercial log software. Simian is compatible with many radio programming and commercial log software systems on the market. Again, versatility in real-world situations is important in the ever-changing broadcast environment.
I don’t just talk about Simian — I actually have two Simian systems at my radio station and both systems work reliably, giving me walk-away time without worry. When clients ask me about the reliability, I let them know I program my station using Simian, and that the system itself has been running continuously for more than three months.
Simian Pro is packed with features and programming options that are standard and practical. These include auto and live assist modes with a replace function for missing data and files, crash recovery that automatically reloads the last log and starts playing at the position in the log that it left off at, voice tracking, two record decks for live or background recording, hotkeys for the live performance, and configurable audio device pass-through volume mixing that works directly with our AudioScience card I/0.
Simian can back-time and flex-time audio to fit an exact period of time. For the webcasters, streaming metadata is easy with Simian. It will output song and title data directly to your streaming application via HTTP. Simian also has built-in metadata formats for popular streaming encoders — including Windows Media Encoder, Icecast, Shoutcast SimpleCast, Live365 and Optimod PC.
Another great addition, the Simian Gateway system allows users to log into Simian Pro utilizing a TCP/IP portal, giving you the ability to create and insert voice tracks remotely using Simian’s voice track utility. The voice track editor can download intro and segue cuts that the Simian Gateway creates for the songs surrounding your voice track. Users can then carefully preview and set cross points for the voice track. The Simian remote clients are free; all that is required for them to connect to the studio is to purchase is the Gateway software.
The majority of the features found in Simian either matches or exceeds those of many more expensive systems on the market; those systems may not be as easy to use. I have built a number of radio stations, and work with my clients directly. If you have any knowledge of a computer system, you can operate Simian. I have learned this first-hand from some clients who have not spent much time behind a keyboard (let alone a radio station automation system), and with some basic training, they understand Simian within a short time.
Even though Simian can do complex operations, when programmed properly, it surprises a lot of my clients that they can walk away and let Simian run the whole operation reliably when needed.
From a cost standpoint, Simian is easy on the budget. Today, most of my clients want a system that can be amortized over a short time,
As for Simian technical support, BSI has always been responsive whenever there’s a question. The tech support team is knowledgeable and helpful solving all system issues, even when they’re due to operator error.
I recommend purchasing a turnkey system by BSI; this makes sure you are getting a system optimized for broadcast use. This also gives you a tech support package for one year.
The system comes with other great BSI products that are useful tools in the studio — WaveCart virtual cart machine, Stinger clip player and Speedy CD ripper.
Simian comes in two flavors. Simian Pro is feature-packed while Simian lite is more for a Webcaster or very small radio station. Simian Gateway is sold separately as an optional add-on while the remote client for Simian is free.
From Internet radio to a broadcast radio station to a network, I have used Simian every time and Simian performance exceeds my expectations. If this makes my clients happy, that makes my job so much easier.
For information, contact Marie Summers at BSI in Oregon at (888) 274-8721 or visit www.bsiusa.com.