SAN DIEGO — Envisage Radio Group is a new radio program syndicator based in southern California. Our vision for flagship program “Rock All Night” is to create an overnight community of listeners that brings live voices back to the airwaves after 7 p.m. The program delivers a mix of rock music and related talk that is also designed to serve as an ideal morning program lead-in.
For some time, I have been drawn to the idea of using audio over IP to distribute syndicated program audio and contact closures for ad breaks, show opens and other needs. The high cost of satellite delivery made it clear that the ROI is far quicker using IP, considering the fairly low cost of the devices and monthly operating bills.
Doug Tharp at equipment dealer SCMS recommended that we evaluate the Intraplex IP Link 100 audio codecs from Harris Broadcast. To date, we these have units up and running at the encode and decode points, transporting high-quality 128 kbps MP3 streams to broadcast “Rock All Night” at KXRC(FM) in Durango, Colo. Audio quality has been excellent, and we expect to install additional units to support more streams as new stations are added to the network.
Harris Broadcast has been at the top of our vendor list for some time, as we recently purchased a complete “Desktop Radio” solution through SCMS featuring a PR&E Oasis console with a direct automation connection. We were drawn to the company for IP audio codecs because they deal specifically in broadcast, and we heard from other broadcasters who offered positive feedback about their use of the IP Link 100 as an STL backup.
The IP Link 100 price is similar to a satellite receiver but, as noted, the ongoing costs of operation for IP delivery are far less expensive than satellite. We dug into the boxes after performing our cost analysis, and have found the feature set to have everything we need. Setup was simple. Configurations included routing the outside IP address to an internal IP address on the network, followed by opening two ports to initiate streaming.
During configuration, we provided the transmitting and receiving information for format and bitrate, along with the necessary contact closures. The IP Link 100 encodes and transmits all audio and closures in sync so that all commercial breaks are received at the proper time.
The biggest benefit is on-air reliability. The broadcast in Durango just recently went live, but in three months of testing, the units went down only once — and that was due to an electrical outage. Built-in redundancy, which they call “dynamic stream splicing,” offers three ports to ensure that there is no packet loss during audio and closure transport. These three ports include a management port and two streaming ports.
Built-in audio memory or a plug-in USB thumb drive add another layer of redundancy, allowing us to add content to the IP Link 100. This enables direct play-out from the unit in the event of unusual on-air silences.
Moving forward, we will get a second service provider soon, with a dynamic stream splicing feature, giving us one primary and one secondary feed that can ultimately borrow from each other if necessary. This will ensure the dependability of the Intraplex brand’s STL products.
It’s an exciting opportunity to be able to launch a new syndication network with IP as a distribution platform. It is a great way for small groups and start-up syndicators to enter the marketplace and deliver programming from station to station easily, reliably and cost-effectively. The IP Link 100 audio codec is helping us to achieve these goals without hassle.
For information, contact Brian Clifford at Harris Broadcast in Ohio at (513) 459-3714 or visitwww.harrisbroadcast.com.