The author is general manager of Hills Radio 88.9FM.
ADELAIDE HILLS, South Australia — Hills Radio was established in 2014 by Chris Carpenter as a community radio station to serve the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, with the focus of providing a local voice for the 100,000 residents within the two council areas.
AEQ and Broadcast Components have been with us from the very first day someone mentioned outside broadcasting. The undulating countryside made line of sight transmission impossible and we needed an effective and affordable solution. The AEQ Phoenix Alio, a portable codec, and Phoenix Mercury studio codec provided stable, simple and reliable transmission solutions for Hills Radio. What started as the live call of local football soon developed into a regular outside broadcast to the many townships scattered throughout the Adelaide Hills.
The Alio being both 3G- and 4G-compatible allowed us to utilize the local telco provider to effectively connect to our studio. We have found the unit to be amazingly simple, just plug and play. Our remote broadcasts are usually conducted via our OB vehicle affectionately known as BOBB (Big Outside Broadcast Bus). BOBB is a converted Toyota Caster bus that we have converted to a full mobile radio station. BOBB has a green room to relax and chat in and a full studio at the rear complete with our Phoenix Alio for commentary of sporting events and interviews at community events and live broadcast of local music events.
Initially our connection to the studio based in Mount Barker, South Australia, was via ADSL, however, this year we transitioned to the new Australian NBN telecommunications system and this has made even the most data intense transmission a breeze.
To demonstrate how good the AEQ Phoenix Alio is, Hills Radio was recently awarded winner of the “Excellence in Outside Broadcast” Category in Australia at the November CBAA (Community Broadcasting Association of Australia) Awards. The award was made possible through the use of the reliable and robust AEQ Phoenix unit and our sound engineers who took the feed at the Mt. Barker Carols In the Park Christmas function and broadcast it on air to our many listeners. General Manager Chris Carpenter said. “The community event is there for everyone, and for those who could not attend the live broadcast to our listeners highlighted the importance of our community engagement through our radio station and it was made possible with the brilliant simplicity of the AEQ Phoenix Alio unit. Everyone who uses our outside broadcast equipment always comment on the simplicity of the setup and how user friendly it is.”
Hills Radio has a channel permanently open on the studio desk via an AEQ Phoenix Mercury unit so it is simply a matter of plugging a codec in at any venue and the OB is ready to go. The OB crew also connects via a VPN to utilize a remote desk connection and laptop, thus providing a duplicate studio for BOBB the bus anywhere it travels. Announcers can choose to broadcast from within the bus studio or take the AEQ equipment outside to create a wonderful public exposure of what is happening on the day via Hills Radio.
Hills Radio 88.9FM would like to thank Shane and Sean Pritchard of Broadcast Components Sydney, They were fundamental in the setting up of our AEQ componentry and have always been available via phone to sort any technical issue we may encounter, and may I say that other than finger trouble on our part all of the AEQ units we use have behaved absolutely faultlessly each and every time we call the units into action, which by the way is almost daily.
Broadcast Components Managing Director Shane Pritchard commented that he has been delighted with the technical capability of the Phoenix codec family since the original POTS and ISDN devices. With the Alio, advanced configuration options including SIP and IP (RTP) connectivity as well as improved audio algorithms including Opus down to 12 kbps ensures simplicity and stability in outside broadcasting. Broadcast Components has implemented the Alio into an “OB in a Box” to improve speed of deployment and ease of operation, with excellent feedback from the Australian market.
For information, contact AEQ in Spain at +34-91-686-1300 or visit www.aeq.eu.