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Radio TechCon Talks Tech

Including the challenges and practical implications of delivering broadcast audio to listeners via IP and mobile platforms

LONDON — The United Kingdom’s Radio TechCon Conference covered a diverse range of topics this year. Taking place on Monday Nov. 25 at the IET [Institution of Engineering and Technology] in Central London, individual sessions covered subjects, ranging from the strategic to the practical.

The audience at TechCon 2019. All photos: Radio TechCon/Vincent Lo

Supported by the IET and by various specialist broadcasting companies, including: Broadcast Bionics; Arqiva; Broadcast Radio; RCS; and Calrec, more than 100 people from the U.K. broadcast radio industry attended the event.

PERTINENT TOPICS

Over the years, Radio TechCon has developed a strong reputation for the range of content it offers and this year was no exception. From moving major broadcasting studio complexes, such as Virgin Radio, TalkSport and the famous BBC Maida Vale music studios, through to improving the user experience for broadcasters and coping with change in professional situations, there was something on offer for just about everyone.

Dr. Lawrie Hallett explains how to build an SS-DAB MUX to the audience.

Perhaps one of the most strategically important topics covered this year was that of platform development and the challenges and practical implications of delivering broadcast audio via IP and mobile platforms (5G), as these become increasingly important for listeners.

Broadcast delivery via IP delivery is, as one of the session presenters, Simon Mason, head of broadcast radio technology at Arqiva, points out, far more expensive than FM delivery, which in turn is similarly more expensive than equivalent DAB delivery. The core on-going difficultly for broadcasters is the need to deliver via multiple platforms, each with its own incremental costs.

Since the demise of the Sound Broadcasting Equipment Show (SBES), some years back, Radio TechCon has increased the number of trade stands open across the day and situated in the main refreshment area. These companies, including HHB; Vortex; and Luci were busy showing equipment and discussing services over lunch and between sessions.

ON SHOW

Dino Sofos, editor of Brexitcast (left) and Robin Pembrooke, director, content production systems, BBC speak about the ‘The Technology Behind Brexitcast.”

At least one company, Systembase, used Radio TechCon for the public launch of its latest product.  It has developed “SIPit  pro” to allow SIP compliant codecs from a variety of manufacturers to easily communicate with each other.

The product not only removes many of the networking issues associated with AoIP connectivity, but also it provides one-time configuration, such that a SIP configured device can be moved from location to location whilst still retaining the same fixed ID, rather like a roaming mobile phone.

As part of its remit to support the U.K. radio and audio industry, the company behind Radio TechCon (TBC Media Ltd.) also runs a master class for those potentially interested in a technically-based broadcasting career and organizes a bursary scheme for attendance of the main Radio TechCon event.

This year a wide range of industry organizations supported the various elements of the bursary scheme. These included Cleanfeed; Bauer Media; The UKRD Group and the European Broadcasting Union, along with further support from the main event sponsors.

With such wide-ranging support from across the U.K. radio broadcasting industry, and a sell-out full house, quite clearly Radio TechCon remains an essential event in the U.K. radio calendar.

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