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WVOK Updates Capability With Gateway and ViA

Tieline codecs support its sports coverage and other remotes

Radio World Buyer’s Guide articles are intended to help readers understand why their colleagues chose particular products to solve various technical situations. This month’s articles focus on products that support remote and sports broadcasting.

WVOK(AM/FM) in Oxford, Ala., reaches the Anniston-Oxford metropolitan area and into East Birmingham around 70 miles away. Its FM broadcasts a hot adult contemporary format while the AM is oldies.

“We have used Tieline Commander G3 codecs for years for remote broadcasts and also use Report-IT, often as a backup,” said Program Director Jock Burgess. “We also use a Tieline Bridge-IT as an STL on our AM link.”

Tommy Wood, rear, and Barry Thompson broadcast from Auburn University’s Jordan Hare Stadium for the
Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Super 7 State Football Championship. They were covering the
Girls Flag Football State Championship game between Oxford High School vs. Auburn High School.

The station does a lot of sports remotes, so when it came time to upgrade its G3 codecs, it chose a Tieline Gateway 8 for the studio, equipped with a WheatNet-IP card to be ready for a planned installation of a Wheatstone console. This will facilitate routing of audio streams across the WheatNet-IP network. 

“We also acquired two ViA codecs,” Burgess said. “The ViAs are regularly deployed for play-by-play coverage of Yellow Jackets football games at Oxford High School on our FM station, and a traveling game of the week for high school football games on our AM.”

A typical gameday broadcast commences with a half-hour pre-game followed by the game. For home games with the Oxford Yellow Jackets, they add a one-hour tailgate show. “In addition to football we do remotes from major events like the Oxfordfest and the Noble Street Festival and to promote local businesses.”

He appreciates the flexibility of the ViAs for various remote applications. “It’s simple to use and really is a studio in a box. The unit seems sturdy and rugged, very reliable. There are lots of options to connect, and really nice features like record and playback.”

Jock Burgess with the rack-mounted Tieline Gateway codec

The ViA connects up with the Tieline Gateway at the studio. “Installation of the Gateway has allowed us to consolidate our studio setup and replace two codecs with one. Plus we can do two simultaneous remotes if we want and still have additional capacity for Report-IT or other setups we may consider.”

For streaming live remotes, they have an AT&T hotspot that connects to one of the ViA’s LAN ports. At most football games they can access a hardwired LAN connection in the press box and stream over their network back to the Gateway at the studio.

“I usually preconfigure the codec before it goes out. Our commentary teams use headset mics and find the codec is user-friendly and the touchscreen easy to navigate. They just hit the green button and connect. At games we usually have two hosts with an occasional half-time guest. A producer back at the station can run the audio board and communicate back to the remote site as needed.”

[Read More Buyers Guide Reviews Here]