The author is chief engineer of The Joy FM.
Playing the best in Christian Contemporary Music, listener-supported The Joy FM has been serving Florida, Georgia and Alabama for over 30 years. As part of the Radio Training Network family of stations, The Joy FM also supports multiple sister stations including WAFJ(FM) in Augusta, S.C., as well as KWND(FM) and KWFC(FM) in Springfield, Mo.
With more than two dozen transmitter sites in five states, audio-over-IP solutions are essential components of our multilocation infrastructure. Barix’s Instreamer and Exstreamer product lines are our “go to” codecs for a variety of critical use cases.
Sister station LF Radio offers positive alternative, pop and hip-hop music, while our Joy Worship station supplements worship during the week. Joy FM supplies Joy Worship and LF Radio as HD2 and HD3 to six cities from our Sarasota, Fla., headquarters.
Of course, EAS must match between all of the subchannels at each site, so the same EAS that’s on HD1 must also be on HD2 and HD3. We run all of our HD importers for Joy Worship and LF Radio virtually in Sarasota, so we use Barix Instreamer 100s and Exstreamer 100s to backhaul the EAS from each location back to Florida.
At each of those six transmitter sites, a Barix Instreamer takes in the EAS from the HD1 and analog channel as well as GPIO from ControlByWeb, which provides Ethernet IO for remote relay control. The combination of Barix and ControlByWeb is ideal, as both are reliable and robust. Barix sends the EAS and GPIO to our Florida office, where we use Axia Pathfinder to do the logic switching between sources to provide the HD importers with either the music feed or EAS feed.
We also use Barix for another HD Radio use case. WAFJ in Augusta offers its own worship channel, The Song. We use Barix codecs to bring The Song down to our importers in Sarasota, so WAFJ listeners get The Song as HD2 (instead of Joy Worship) and LF Radio as HD3.
We also use Barix codecs for our backup STL at most of our sites. We have nine independent stations in Florida alone, each with its own traffic breaks, liners, IDs and other elements that make them local. Each station is created and mixed in Sarasota, where a 1RU system encodes 14 Livewire feeds to AAC+ streams that are sent to an external server.
A Barix Exstreamer at each transmitter site pulls the stream, which then goes through level converters. The backup STL stream is always on, rather than on-demand, and a Broadcast Tools Audio Sentinel automatically switches transmission to the Barix-decoded stream if the main audio path fails.
All of our sites have at least two internet connections, if not more, with separate ISPs for fault tolerance if one of our internet providers has an outage. Our backup STL workflow has worked very well, as the Barix devices are so reliable and easy to work with.
I use Barix codecs for other applications, from confidence monitoring for PPM to simply distributing audio from my office throughout our extensive facility. Whenever I have a new need to get audio from Point A to Point B via an IP network, I’ll grab a Barix box. They’re robust, they’re cost-effective, and they can pretty much do whatever you need on the first try.
Info: Contact Barix at 1-866-815-0866 or www.barix.com. For international queries contact Reto Brader in Switzerland at +41-43-433-22-11.
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