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Tieline Puts Excitement in Small-Market Stations

Ohio broadcaster wants to sound like the “big boys” but without their budgets


WERT’s Scott Alan and Ron Burt are courtside with the Tieline Report-IT.

VAN WERT, Ohio — I have owned WERT(AM/FM) and WKSD(FM) since 1995. WERT 1220 kHz is a 250 watt nondirectional station with a 29 watt night-time authority, licensed to Van Wert, Ohio, since 1958. In 2016, I added a full-power 250 watt translator operating at 104.3 MHz. WKSD 99.7 MHz is a Class A FM station licensed to Paulding, Ohio, a community approximately 12 miles north of Van Wert.

Being farming communities, both stations carry early morning agricultural programming as well as a full complement of sports — covering six high schools as well as the Ohio State Buckeyes and University of Toledo Rockets. Thanks to long-time local ownership and heavy involvement in the community, WERT and WKSD enjoy a loyal audience and have been very successful in competing with the many other stations in adjoining larger markets.

Small-market magic

What small-market radio station owner/operator hasn’t been envious of the high-quality sound of the “big boys,” especially for remotes and sports play-by-play? Well, I can tell you, this one sure was. The dialup telephone connection was the best we could do, while other stations, not so cost-encumbered, seemed to be able to show up and broadcast from anywhere with a sound indistinguishable from that of their studios. For the little guys like me, cost is everything; that kind of equipment purchase cash outlay was out of the question. Then along came from Tieline.

Bridge-IT XTRA is back at the studio to receive the live game feed.

Everyone on my staff has a smartphone and knows how to download a free app. When I discovered that I could get that quality sound (in both directions) by installing a relatively low-cost Tieline Bridge-IT codec at the station and link to my individual staff members through their free Tieline apps, that changed everything. Who knew that most smartphone mics sound that good?

Suddenly, impossible remotes became possible. Basketball and football games sounded like the big leagues, and staff members and even some clients could simply use their smartphones to send everything from sports and weathercasts to copy changes in their spots. (We have a lot of sponsors who voice their own commercials.) Our Sunday morning church services are even broadcast using Tieline Report-IT and the church’s own smartphones and devices.

The day my Tieline Bridge-IT XTRA showed up I had a high school football game with an early evening start time. Thanks to the accompanying two-page, 10-step quick start guide, I had it on the air less than an hour after taking it out of the box.  

Am I impressed? Yup. Did I break the bank? Nope. In fact, I bought a second one. Now, the sky is the limit.

For information, contact Dawn Shewmaker at Tieline USA in Indiana at 1-317-845-8000 or visit