Sherrie and William Bowin with an Omnia.7 FM.BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio — Home to Olympic snowboarder Louie Vito, this town is a small bedroom community in northwest central Ohio. Many of its residents commute to nearby Columbus and Dayton, so they’re familiar with large-market radio. With that in mind, the sound of one of our client stations, WPKO(FM), was starting to become a bit dated so we knew it was time for a new audio processor.
Having used the Omnia.9 at some of my other clients in larger markets, we were excited to try its little brother, the Omnia.7 FM, in Bellefontaine. It did not disappoint.
Installation was quick and painless, although we did actually have to consult the manual to locate the password. While the front panel is easy to navigate, it’s much more convenient to use the remote software, NfRemote, to tweak the settings. In fact, through VNC it’s possible for the operations manager to adjust the sound of the station from the comfort of his living room or even from his car.
WPKO plays a variety of music from the ’60s right through to today. It dedicates whole segments to older music, such as the “Lunchbox Oldies” hour while evenings are reserved for requests and dedications, usually from the younger folks.
As with most small-market stations, Friday and Saturday evenings are time for high school sports. WPKO’s Omnia.7 FM handles this variety of programming with ease. The “Undo” feature restores a bit of life to today’s overly processed music, and the rest of the processing algorithms don’t bring up the noise often found in older recordings. Even the sports broadcasts sound a bit better.
One of the disturbing results of the installation of the Omnia.7 FM was the discovery of some of the flaws in the WPKO airchain. The .7 FM is so much cleaner and brighter than the previous processor (it has response out to 16.5 kHz) that WPKO is in the process digitally reloading some of the material into its automation system that was recorded years ago at a lower sample rate. Additionally, the .7 FM provides such a nice bass punch that we found some of the electrolytic capacitors in the console were a bit tired and not up to the task.
We purchased the .7 FM through a major broadcast supplier who offered a free RDS upgrade so for the first time, the station has RDS capabilities. Right now it’s simply displaying a static RDS slogan, but the .7 FM can accept dynamic information and they’re planning to add that at a later date.
It is also “futureproofed.” With plans in the works to upgrade to HD, all that is needed is to purchase the HD1 feature and install the unlock key.
The Omnia.7 FM can handle the analog diversity delay should it be decided not to implement it in the exporter.
Would we recommend the purchase of another Omnia.7 FM? Absolutely. In fact, when an FM translator is added to the AM, we definitely see another .7 FM in WPKO’s future.
For information, contact Brian Kerkan at Omnia Audio in Ohio at (216) 241-7225 or visit www.telosalliance.com.