KXRA(FM) afternoon drive announcer Mike Lommen works with the Smarts Skylla system on the screen.
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — Paradis Broadcast’s operation consists of three radio stations in Alexandria, Minn. Our community of license is, essentially, 16,000 people living within a county of approximately 36,000, located about 120 miles northwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul on I-94. We have a full-service news-talk AM station, along with a classic rock FM, and a hot AC (’90s and now) FM.
We installed a new Skylla automation system from Smarts Broadcast Systems in May of 2010 to handle all facets of on-air and production demands for the three stations. Now that we’ve had more than a year to work with the Skylla system, I can report that we have been very pleased.
On all three stations, we do a considerable amount of live programming, along with network-provided programming for evenings and overnights.
We needed an automation system that would, among other things, handle the following kinds of situations: simultaneous record and playback in any studio at any time; seamless flow from “live” or voice-tracked programming, to fully automated, with no interruption of any kind; simple, flexible, voice-tracking capabilities; user-friendly interfaces/screens that allow the operator to make changes quickly and easy access to inputting commercials and other production work from any Skylla producer-equipped Windows computer in the building. This allows us to put rough audio into either of our two production rooms, and then do the editing and finalizing of that production work from our own computers on our desks elsewhere in the building. This frees the production rooms for others.
In addition, we required a server system in a RAID format, along with the ability automatically to back up the audio, text and data files offsite if desired.
One other thing we found to be important: We hired a great installer from Smarts, who spent the better part of two weeks with us, not only setting up all of the hardware, software and programming, but also teaching our staff how to use the system.While this part of the installation may not be inexpensive, we found it totally worthwhile.
We have found the people at Smarts to be open to our suggestions on how to update the software to accommodate certain procedures, and they have responded quickly to any actual software problems that might come up. Also, we have been using Smarts Traffic and Billing software along with Skylla automation, and we have found them to work together well. The ease of log reconciliation each day is a great feature, along with the software’s ability to give us a list of any missing commercials and to provide us with all of the reports we need quickly.
Brett Paradis is the owner of Paradis Broadcasting.
For information, contact John Schad at Smarts Broadcast in Iowa at (800) 747-6278 or visit www.smartsbroadcast.com.