HOUSTON — Liberman Broadcasting has five radio stations and one TV station in the Houston market. All of them are using the Burk Technology ARC Plus Touch Remote Control System, which is monitored and controlled by Burk AutoPilot software.
We chose the ARC Plus for our sites because Burk has always been the go-to company for facilities remote control systems. Before upgrading to the ARC Plus system, we were utilizing the Burk GSC3000, which was also monitored by Burk AutoPilot software.
Upgrading to the ARC Plus system was an easy choice as it used the same monitoring and control software. Burk also made upgrading from the GSC3000 to the ARC Plus a snap because ARC Plus offers the Plus-X GSC Adaptor which allowed us to use all of the previous wiring without needing to reinvent the wheel. The ARC Plus also has the ability to communicate with most IP-enabled broadcast gear using SNMP protocol.
I am currently monitoring and controlling transmitters, modulation monitors, audio processors, power meters, thermostats, UPS and Nielsen PPM encoders and monitors — all done via IP so we did not have to run individual control wires to all of the different equipment. Having the ARC Plus utilizing SNMP has opened up a new world of monitoring and control possibilities.
All of my sites are being monitored by the AutoPilot software running on a computer back at the studio, with custom views for each individual station. This enables me to drill down and pinpoint issues that may arise. I have one main custom view that has all of the important data for each site all on one screen. With a glance I can identify any issues on any site on one screen, making it efficient and clear. If there is a parameter out of tolerance, that meter or status is highlighted in red. This feature prohibits information overload, letting me know everything is as it should be.
One of my favorite features of AutoPilot is the custom line charts. This feature allows me to track a trend over a period of time, such as temperature, incoming building voltage, current UPS draws and other variants that would explain an alarm, or a potential issue. I even have custom views with different time durations like 24-hour, 12-hour, and two-hour charts.
Another one of my favorite features in Autopilot software is the link to the National Weather Service radar. This allows me to stay in the program, check my map and know immediately if my generators are running due to environmental conditions, or if there is a separate technical issue. Texas is known for erratic weather, and this option makes checking alarms on sites located all over convenient and fast without the need to switch through a bunch of different browser windows or trying to remember website addresses.
The computer running my custom view screens utilizes Tight VNC for the remote access. I installed the VNC viewer application on my iPad allowing me to connect to the AutoPilot computer from anywhere. My custom view screens have been designed to be in an iPad-friendly format in full screen mode, eliminating the need to “pinch and zoom” or to open multiple windows. The ability to create these iPad-friendly custom view screens is the biggest time saver and is an incredibly efficient route to access the multiple indicators and meters.
In conclusion, the days of carrying laminated cheat sheets in my wallet are gone. I just access every site through one application. Line charts, remote access and weather maps help to streamline the process of identifying issues, and choosing how alarms need to be responded to in a timely and efficient manner.
For information, contact Matt Leland at Burk Technology in Massachusetts at 1-978-486-0086 or visit www.burk.com.