SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Farm Journal Radio is part of the Farm Journal Co., which has properties in print, web, data, television and radio, all focusing on agriculture. On the radio side we have two syndicated talk shows called “AgriTalk” and “Market Rally,” as well as a daily syndicated feature called “American Countryside.”
Chip Flory, host of “Market Rally” and a reporter for “AgriTalk,” uses Report-IT from the field, literally. “AgriTalk” is a live, one-hour syndicated talk radio program focusing on agriculture and rural America and it airs on 90 affiliate stations throughout the Midwest. The show’s host, Mike Adams, has been with the program since 2001; he travels more than 100 days a year to do remote broadcasts that facilitate discussions about issues and ideas important to rural America.
We use Tieline Commander and i-Mix G3 codecs for all of these remotes and I have used them since 2003 when I joined “AgriTalk.” Back in those days, we mostly connected over a POTS line to go live. Nowadays, we connect over IP almost exclusively.
I was also an early adopter of Tieline’s Report-IT Enterprise smartphone codec app solution and we have been using this for several years. Where Report-IT really shines for us is our annual crop tour. We have teams of market analysts, farmers, reporters, etc. who fan out across the Corn Belt every August and measure samples from corn and soybean fields.
It’s the largest on-the-ground estimate of the crop and is closely watched by the industry and grain traders. We have reporters literally out in the fields connecting to our radio shows live and delivering the latest information on the condition of the crop they are observing. They interview experts live and the information they gather conveys early indications of expected crop size.
Logistically, it’s huge. Our teams of editors and reporters drive thousands of miles visiting farms throughout South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas in the west, into Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri, and then eastward into Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
This will be our fourth year using Report-IT on our annual crop tour, and it’s been tremendous. We purchased 10 user accounts and we have a Commander G3 rack unit and a Bridge-IT IP codec in the studio that we use to receive calls from reporters using Report-IT. The Report-IT Enterprise app is preloaded onto all of our phones, and I configure the settings for each user account using Tieline’s Tieserver Console app for Report-IT administrators.
Our teams carry two cellphones from different telcos in case service for one network is more reliable than the other in different locations. We rarely encounter any cellphone coverage issues and I have been pleasantly surprised about how reliable it’s been overall.
We use Tieline iRig adapters to attach a handheld microphone or a headset to our cellphones when reporting. The quality is so much better than a regular phone call, and it’s amazing when you hear people reporting from such remote areas standing in the middle of a field. It’s remarkable how Report-IT frees users up and just fits into a pocket.
The Report-IT feeds come into our main studio in South Bend, Ind., and these are mixed with feeds from studios in Jacksonville, Ill., and Cedar Falls, Iowa. One of the remote studios uses an i-Mix to connect and the other uses a Bridge-IT over IP. Every remote endpoint receives a mix-minus feed from our main studio to facilitate bidirectional communications. This allows us to integrate reporters from multiple locations simultaneously.
Report-IT has worked very well for us, even in some rather remote locations. It’s portable, it’s simple for reporters to use, and has improved the workflows and quality of our remote broadcasts.
For information, contact John Lackness at Tieline USA in Indiana at (317) 845-8000 or visit www.tieline.com.