DALLAS — KERA (North Texas Public Broadcasting Inc.) is a not-for-profit public broadcasting organization that serves the people of North Texas. KERA TV broadcasts on Channel 13.1 and KERA World on 13.2. KERA FM broadcasts on 90.1 in Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton, 88.3 in Wichita Falls, Texas 100.1 in Tyler, Texas and 99.2 in Sherman, Texas.
On Nov. 9, 2009, KERA’s new public radio music station KKXT(FM) joined the family of services provided by North Texas Public Broadcasting Inc. KKXT is a AAA-format public radio station found at 91.7 FM in North Texas and at www.kxt.org.
KKXT FM features nine to 11 hours of local programming each weekday, bringing an eclectic variety of artists and genres, including a number of performers from North Texas and elsewhere in the Lone Star State.
While laying out the new radio station, we needed to find a profanity delay solution that would meet our needs regarding compliance with FCC’s obscenity rules. The device had to be easy to install and configure. We chose 25-Seven Systems’ Program Delay Manager.
As with any purchase, we had to get as many features as we could with a limited budget. We needed it to provide a Web interface for configuring the device, a GPIO so we could trigger it remotely and XLRs for the audio in/out. The PDM provided those things and a few we did not know we needed, until we got them and started using them.
A feature that impresses me most is PD Alert. Every dump event is logged automatically, and the audio — both what hits air and what was prevented from hitting air — is recorded. We can adjust the length of the audio clips to suit our needs and the audio clips are time/date-stamped.
The PD Alert feature allows me to set the device to send an e-mail, with or without the audio clips, each time the dump is triggered. These alerts can go to everyone at the station who “needs to know” what happened. Until we started using it, I did not realize how important PD Alert would become in our operations.
I also appreciate the fact the audio quality allows us to trigger a dump event during a song, for as much as 90 seconds with no change in pitch, and still maintain high-quality audio. A feature missing from PDM that I think would be great to have is to make the PDM compatible with WheatNet.
The delay is set to operate in two stages totaling 10 seconds. The first trigger goes back five seconds and hitting the trigger twice in succession sends it back the full 10 seconds. The on-air jocks use this not only to prevent objectionable material from hitting air, they also use it to cover technical or operational miscues, such as times when a file hangs up on automation or the wrong file is selected.
I’m writing this the same week I’m dealing with a transmitter issue. If not for this article, I wouldn’t even be thinking about the PDM because, for the year that we’ve had it, it just keeps working. As budget manager for my department, I was pleased with the price. We are in the process of upgrading KERA FM to digital and I will be purchasing another PDM.
Robert D. Butler, CSTE, is chief engineer with North Texas Public Broadcasting, Inc.
For information, contact 25-Seven Systems in Massachusetts at (617) 789-4673 or visit www.25-seven.com.
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