Author Christopher Ranck is associate director, program and operations services for WESM(FM)/Delmarva Public Media.
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. — Once a two-station NPR based in Salisbury, Md., Delmarva Public Media expanded to a three-station group in January through a collaboration with WESM(FM), a local public station based in southern Maryland.
While WESM still broadcasts limited NPR programming, Delmarva Public Media has become an independent public radio group, with each station establishing a unique programming identity.
The three stations share some common technology platforms that, while mostly used autonomously, can also be used collaboratively across the three stations. This includes ENCO’s DAD radio automation and production system, which has long been the automation choice at WESM and sister stations WSCL(FM) and WSDL(FM).
Like most public radio stations, WESM has syndicated and independent programming coming into the station over multiple platforms. Some of these programs, such as “The Red Rooster Lounge,” have long been manually downloaded — an often time-consuming and confusing process.
Thankfully, the recent addition of ENCO’s enConveyor automated file download utility to WESM’s DAD immediately solved this problem.
enConveyor not only automatically downloads these programs off of FTP and other websites, but it automatically places these programs in the proper folders. enConveyor is a fire-and-forget application that eliminates the operations manager eternal anguish of, “Did I remember to load that show?” while driving home from work. It also reduces the workload burden for our nontechnical staff, now that they only have to look at the enConveyor program to confirm that all programming is in the proper folders.
enConveyor runs within DAD as a standalone module, which makes it easy to add to existing systems. It runs in the background, which eliminates any danger of turning off the application accidentally. Once downloaded, enConveyor assigns the audio to the correlating cart number, and overwrites the content from the previous week. When everything is where it should be, the operator simply adds the programming to the playout schedule.
DAD is used across four locations at WESM: the on-air host station, two production studios, and a central computer running automation by the transmitter. We use DAD in the production studios to record underwriting messages, weather reports and other short-form interstitials that are subsequently uploaded to FTP. enConveyor again provides value here by adding these into the appropriate playlists upon recognizing the upload.
While enConveyor was added in the past several months, DAD’s feature set runs deep and we continue to benefit from other ENCO applications.
This includes ENCO’s Scheduling Wizard program, which specifically creates playlists for our syndicated programming. That application also interoperates with our Marketron traffic and billing system, which allows our traffic operators in Salisbury to send underwriting messages to WESM.
The Scheduling Wizard merges these messages into our DAD system, and most importantly, has eliminated the longstanding WESM process of creating playlists by hand, again saving us time and money. It’s an excellent example of how we can share ENCO’s workflow benefits across all three Delmarva Public Media stations.
DAD’s general ease of use is noteworthy. DAD is known for its colorful and legible interface, and our on-air hosts can easily switch between several customized mini-arrays for playing out show promos, public service announcements and other content. We have a small staff, and our hosts find it helpful to click from one page of mini-arrays to another to quickly find what they need, rather than searching through extensive libraries.
We have consistently updated our DAD system at WSCL(FM)/WSDL(FM) over the years, and we have taken that philosophy to WESM. Beyond enConveyor, we’ve purchased the Weatherology application from ENCO.
Like enConveyor, this is a module that will silently run in the background and ensure that weather reports are consistently accurate and up to date. Weatherology will automatically receive and schedule forecasts within DAD, so there will be no more reports of sunny weather when it’s raining outside.
DAD has been a technical win for all three stations while helping us change the way we work. Our workflows are simpler, our cost savings are up, and we are covering a much larger underwriting territory with WESM in the mix. And in the COVID-19 era, ENCO provides the flexibility to record underwriting and other content from home, and drop it into an FTP site where enConveyor once again does its magic. DAD has ensured that our operation continues uninterrupted, without added effort.
Radio World User Reports are testimonial articles intended to help readers understand why a colleague chose a particular product to solve a technical situation.
For information, contact Mark Stewart at ENCO Systems in Michigan at 1-248-827-4440 or visit www.enco.com.