HOBBS, NEW MEXICO — New Mexico Junior College is a community college in Hobbs, N.M. It is heavily involved in career paths and continuing education. While NMJC had programs in media preparation and publishing, it did not have a broadcast segment. A change in ownership of a crosstown broadcast group put them one station over the ownership limit, so they donated their Class C2 100.9 MHz FM signal to the school. This made them operators of 50,000 watt KNMJ but they had little familiarity with broadcasting — that’s where I came in as a facility designer, contractor and coach for the young staff.
Format is hit songs from the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s plus locally produced talk and interview programs and signature coverage of NMJC Thunderbirds basketball. KNMJ serves a lot of rural New Mexico and west Texas. Mobile coverage is spotty in many of the square miles, sometimes even on the highways through the area. Staff, students and officials live throughout a vast area, sometime on large ranches or farms. We needed something that would hold together with iffy bitstreams.
Processing needed to handle a wide range of styles of music (dawn of compact discs to the age of downloads) and our talk shows and play by play games. We wanted low bitrates to make the most of our listeners’ data connections, yet good sound at low bitrates.
I have used HTML5 Live Streams elsewhere and feel it is the best way to deliver a stream over challenging networks. AAC+ is a remarkably good sounding codec down to the 48K rate we use. We saw John Schaab and Greg Ogonowski at the Texas Association of Broadcasters trade show. They talked to us about their family of processors/encoders/streaming servers. They also had experience in streaming using internet “cloud” services like Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, etc.
KNMJ equipment studio equipment includes BSI Simian automation, Axia and Livewire drivers and hardware console, Comrex Bric-Link and Access codecs. We feed the StreamS 3111 using an AES output of the Axia console and send our stream out to a simple Amazon AWS-3 account. It worked without burdening our IT department. We have not yet been able to overload the system, and it is cheap, cheap, cheap.
It works in places where cell calls are not stable.
Two examples: one hour drive from Lamesa, Texas, to Midland, Texas, has no drops at all. The 75 minute Lamesa to Hobbs run has a pair of two minute outages on Hwy 180 between Lamesa and Seminole. This contrasts with 10- or 15-minute gaps in good cell coverage.
Our 3111 is an integrated processor, encoder and HLS streaming server. It uses the Orban PCn1600 processor with Greg presets. I never thought a software-based processor was the way to be Nth degree but experience with this unit makes me rethink that. The same size unit could handle up to four stations. Our device includes digital I/O, a processor, encoder and stream server in an industrial one rack unit computer. It runs Windows, with most of the auto update routines disabled or otherwise managed. An analytics routine is in the works and expected from StreamS soon.
For information, contact John Schaab at StreamS in Texas at 1-940-206-7702 or visit www.streamindex.com.