CASPER, Wyo. — I am director of engineering for 11 stations across the Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting group. I look after four FM stations and one AM station in Casper, one FM and AM station in Rawlins, Wyo., plus AM and FM stations in both Custer and Hot Springs in South Dakota.
Virgil Scigla shows Report-IT on his smartphone.
We recently sought a portable remote solution to allow us to do live sponsorship remotes on KASS(FM) 106.9 MHz and all four FM stations from a variety of locations around Casper and all of Wyoming.
KASS/Kick107FM is a 100 kW Class C station. We were replacing old Marti technology that had been used on remotes for years but had many limitations, namely line-of-sight requirements and a lack of portability. Critically, we wanted more flexibility to broadcast from anywhere, and the gear needed to be simple enough for nontechnical DJs to use.
After investigating alternatives and pricing, we settled on acquiring Tieline’s Bridge-IT IP codec for the studio and a Report-IT Enterprise 10-pack for Android/iPhone.
Report-IT connects over a cellular or Wi-Fi connection and in my experience I’ve had solid connections every time. It’s easy to configure and add user accounts with the TieServer Console smartphone app, which runs on an Android or iOS phone or tablet.
KASS runs a classic rock format; the first Report-IT remote went for over two hours from a car dealership with a Monster Truck onsite to promote an upcoming event. Most people use a cellphone’s built-in mic with Report-IT, which delivers studio-quality audio. The other option is to use the external headphone and mic jack on smartphones with a hand mic or portable mixer. In our case we utilized a Motorola Moto G Smartphone with Wi-Fi and cellular connections using an audio adapter cable to our mixer.
We also used a laptop computer with Radio DJ Free automation software with our classic rock library installed. We hooked the computer into the mixer along with the mic and presto — we had a mini radio station at the site. This sort of setup engages listeners who come to the remote location and see a functional radio station.
At first we intended to use the sponsor’s Wi-Fi connection at the dealership, but it was poor, so we ended up connecting Report-IT to a Verizon cellphone hot spot over Wi-Fi and this worked perfectly. Utilizing Tieline’s Music encoding algorithm at 64 kbps allowed us to provide FM-quality mono audio from the remote site using the smartphone to tie into IP networks.
During the morning we included one of Casper’s best foodbanks, Joshua’s Storehouse, which helps feed those in need. So we promoted this great cause at the same time and gave away free tickets to the Monster Truck show at the Casper Events Center.
Four hours later we did another two-hour remote for KASS from the Ramkota Hotel, where families, kids and adults all showed up to meet the drivers. We used a similar setup over Wi-Fi and this created more interest in the Monster Truck event. Report-IT broadcasts mono due to the hardware design of smartphones. However it’s such good quality that we will always broadcast remotes this way.
Report-IT is also suitable for weather and traffic reports so I am integrating Report-IT into our AM station KVOC 1230AM. It features a talk format and we have lots of regular contributors who call in. From now on all our regular guests will use Report-IT.
Cities in Wyoming generally have good cell coverage with Verizon, AT&T and Union Wireless, so we can connect from most places quite easily. Rural areas can be spotty as the state is large with lots of mountains and deserts.
Why use 20th century technology when we have simple and affordable products like Report-IT that can deliver studio quality audio from a smartphone? We can send each guest a mix-minus studio feed and really improve our audio quality on-air.
Tieline’s support is great too. Just after we bought Report-IT, I called Bill Miller, Tieline’s support guy in Indiana. He talked me through everything and within 15 minutes or less I had a complete remote system configured.
I describe Report-IT as being “kick-ass” and versatile. For us it ticks all the boxes, and people rave about our audio quality on-air. Thanks to Tieline we’ve even picked up the two-year contract as Casper Events Center’s radio broadcast group. Our competitors have held this contract for years. Thanks to our efforts during the Monster Truck broadcasts, we delivered a new level of remote broadcasting capability and this impressed them greatly.
For information, contact Dawn Shewmaker at Tieline in Indiana at (317) 845-8000 or visit www.tieline.com.