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NAB Exhibitor Viewpoint: Dave Letson, Calrec

“It’s a perfect time for us to re-enter the radio market”

The spring NAB Show is here again. Radio World has conducted several short Q&As with manufacturers about their plans and offerings, to help you get the most out of the big annual trade show. David Letson is president of sales for Calrec.

Radio World: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend at the 2018 NAB Show?

David Letson: At this year’s show, we’ll hear a lot about how the rise of IP streaming services is affecting radio broadcasting. IP delivery methods are impacting on the traditional broadcast radio market — listeners want more control over what they listen to, which leads to smart algorithms that can identify and promote personalized content to create individually tailored playlists. It’s no wonder that these services are giving broadcast radio fierce competition for listeners.

These dynamics are forcing radio operators to make unprecedented changes in a hurry, and to adapt their output to drive the market. The future of broadcast radio is more likely to be a hybrid service that combines live broadcasting with social and interactive channels, producing targeted content to a more diverse market of consumers. Stations are already making their offerings more interactive through expanded phone-ins, closer monitoring of media feeds, and more dynamic creation of social content. Listeners are encouraged to play a more active role in programming, and radio providers are getting much better at targeting their programming to these listeners.

It’s all about strengthening listeners’ emotional connection to the station and therefore build strong brands with which people can identify. Streaming delivery over multiple devices with a limitless capacity for interactivity and immediate feedback has accelerated this new approach.

The emergence of open IP standards is also fueling creation of a very stable and flexible backbone across multiple radio sites. Forward-thinking radio broadcasters can take advantage of standardized networking technology, together with the widespread adoption of AES67.

RW: What new goodies will your company be showing? Why should attendees visit C7408?

Letson: As broadcast audio specialists, we at Calrec are very excited about these new opportunities. It’s a perfect time for us to re-enter the radio market, and we’ll be pleased to introduce Type R — a new range of customizable, expandable, and flexible radio systems.

The result of an intensive research and development effort, Type R is a thoroughly modern and customer-focused radio console system delivering all the resiliency, power, functionality, and scalability you’d expect from Calrec. Type R adapts right along with the station as its needs evolve, offering simple customization across networks and control protocols together with surface personalization.

Type R’s physical control system consists of just three small and sleek panels: a fader panel, a small control panel, and a large control panel. Each panel offers a simple bank of hardware controls, and each is powered over Ethernet via COTS hardware to keep cabling to a minimum. Each touchscreen control surface is designed around simple and colorful elements for definable multiple functions. Flexible and portable, the soft panels provide either landscape or portrait formats and can be tailored to fit the needs of talent, while ensuring overall control is maintained by the station’s technical team.

Type R has a simple 2U core at its heart, with integrated I/O resources to get stations up and running immediately. A single core can power up to three independent studio environments with no sharing of DSP resources. Fader panels can be added or removed simply by plugging or unplugging an Ethernet cable, creating a radio infrastructure that makes upgrades a breeze.

RW: How is your new product different from what’s available on the market?

Letson: Type R provides several unique capabilities such as native IP backbone for audio and control; simple, widget-based control panels — choose from either large or small; easy expandability with the ability to run three consoles from one central core and scalability.

I should add it has compatibility with COTS POE+-based switches; panel control and power over Ethernet, keeping cabling to a minimum along with direct interaction with radio control systems via considered and simple GUIs. We also have a parts exchange program to get up and running for less.

RW: What is it about the NAB Show that brings you back every year?

Letson: We wouldn’t miss the NAB Show — it’s the world’s largest event covering the creation, management, and delivery of content across the media and entertainment industry. Year after year, NAB provides the perfect forum for us to showcase our latest innovations and expand visibility across our entire product family.