March 11: NAB says it will not hold the NAB Show in April. However, Radio World conducted several short Q&As with manufacturers about their plans and offerings ahead of the show. Learn about what these radio newsmakers feel is important to the industry right now.
Jochen Richter is head of sales, Radio, while Clark Novak handles radio marketing for Lawo AG.
Radio World: How has business been for the company since last year’s NAB Show?
Clark Novak: Business has been excellent. AoIP networks have been installed by the world’s largest broadcasters, and now medium- and even small-sized radio stations are either actively planning for or investigating IP adoption. Lawo has always been a vocal proponent of standards-based networking, so the latest studies showing how AES67 has helped accelerate the AoIP transition are very encouraging. Those studies also theorize that ST2110 standards (for interoperability between audio and video systems) will spur AoIP adoption even further, which is why Lawo’s newest radio products are ST2110-30-compliant.
RW: What are you hearing from your customers about their business outlook this year? In what areas should we expect growth or the most interesting projects?
Jochen Richter: We’ve seen more investment in AoIP technology for joint TV and radio facilities — the RadioFr MediaPARC project in Switzerland is one of the most visible, along with projects by large public broadcasters in the U.S. and Canada. Engineering managers are seeing with their own eyes the monetary benefits and economies of scale that IP networking and interoperability bring to their tables.
RW: The last year has proven rather rocky for much of the radio industry with the largest group owner making a big move to chart a new business/operational model. Stepping away from your particular segment, what is your feeling for the overall health of the radio industry?
Novak: It’s true that the landscape has been changing in the U.S.A., but Lawo’s presence in International broadcasting has shown us changes of a different nature in other countries. Mostly, it’s for the better. We believe that, from a global perspective, radio is very much alive and very healthy.
RW: You’ve been active in the radio broadcast equipment market for many years. What’s the biggest problem or challenge facing users in this segment right now?
Richter: The biggest challenge for users will be keeping and improving efficiency in daily workflows, as radio broadcasters are increasingly called on to serve multiple platforms for linear plus on-demand services. Top management expects high efficiency, and that means all workflows have to be streamlined. Lawo is a great fit for the radio part; our software applications, like VisTool, provide collaborative platforms that easily integrate with both third-party applications and the RƎLAY family of applications for IP-streaming and virtual radio scenarios.
RW: What new goodies will your company be showing? Why should attendees visit your booth, C3012?
Novak: Radio is always looking for ways to maximize budgets, so we think people will really want to see Power Core MAX. It’s a new version of our very popular Power Core AoIP mixing engine that can power two, three or even four mixing surfaces, depending on how you size them. Very powerful, and very cost-effective.
We’ll also be showing AoIP Stream Monitor, which is the first diagnostic tool expressly designed for radio plants using AES67-compliant IP networks. You can build monitor walls with information for up to 16 critical streams, and look at detailed statistics for each one. It can even be virtualized to allow multiple screen displays with real-time status on dozens of channels. It’s an indispensable tool for modern radio.
RW: AoIP and touchscreens have been technology marvels that have dazzled at the NAB Show in the last few years. Any cool stuff we should know about this year?
Richter: I think we will continue to see more touch-based mixing interfaces. They’re intuitive, easy to customize, cost-effective, and younger broadcasters love them. They’re a natural fit for AoIP applications.
RW: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend at the 2020 NAB Show?
Novak: The interest in virtualization, and moving applications to cloud-based servers continues to increase. I believe more vendors will showcase products aimed at serving this interest.
RW: Will you be attending any sessions or looking forward to any events?
Richter: Lawo has already gained a lot of experience with large cloud-based infrastructure projects, so we plan to focus on sessions that center around all cloud-based production and processing workflows. We are very interested to see and be a part of shaping the next trends in software orchestration and workflow optimization.
RW: You’re a show veteran, how has the show changed since your first visit?
Richter: Since the mid-’90s, NAB has very clearly decided not to concentrate only on technology, but has changed its focus to workflow and business needs as well. The attendance by top management has definitely increased and this means decision makers are attending, which is good for the whole industry, and definitely for the business of radio. Finally, the convergence of media and the focus on user experience, including streaming services, are central points now.