Radio World publishes User Reports on products in various equipment classes throughout the year to help potential buyers understand why a colleague made a given equipment choice. These are unpaid testimonials by users who have already purchased the gear. A Radio World Product Evaluation, by contrast, is a freelance article by a paid reviewer who typically receives a demo loaner.
RED DEER, Alberta — We started streaming CJUV(FM)’s audio (hits from the ’60s, ’70 and ’80s) on the Internet four years ago using a PC with XP Media Center, a sound card and an Internet connection. Connection losses, computer freezes and audio dropouts were constant problems.
With the launching of our second radio station, top 40 CKIK(FM), in the larger market of Red Deer, Alberta, we knew that our method of streaming was not going to be a hit with the computer-savvy top 40 listener. This obliged us to take a look at other means to stream our audio online. We soon discovered another driving force: revenue generation.
I discovered StreamOn while attending the radio exhibits at NAB Show in Las Vegas.
The StreamOn hardware really took us no time to install. The streaming hardware (appliance) required an Internet connection with its own static IP address, connection to our automation system Scott Studio SS32 for playlist data and an audio connection (XLR balanced). I installed the audio after our Omnia 6 audio processor to make sure that the audio into the appliance was the same as what we put to air.
Once this setup was done it was a quick call into StreamOn support and they had us streaming within 30 minutes. Technically, I have had nothing more to do with the appliance beyond the initial setup.
I provided the appliance with its own dedicated ADSL Internet connection to isolate it from the rest of our network. Initially I had it on our office network behind the firewall but opted to provide it with its dedicated connection after additional network requirements were being implemented. I have had no connection problems with the appliance since it was installed.
One of the problems I had initially with the service was the DSM32 software I was using to get the play data to transfer to the StreamOn appliance from our legacy Scott Studio automation system.
The program would stop sending data, which resulted in having to reset the program on the Scott server on a regular basis. The fix came when WideOrbit came out with a newer version of the DSM32 program, which corrected this communication problem.
The data transfer between the Scott system and StreamOn has been rock-solid since. I do recommend checking your stream and player periodically to make sure that it is working correctly. There have been a couple of times where I have caught a problem before it went unnoticed for a period of time.
A big selling point for the StreamOn system for us was the revenue-generating potential. Offsetting costs of a service is an important consideration when it comes to purchasing new gear. The player provided us with the opportunity to customize it, not only for our own station’s identity but to create a client sponsorship of the service.
We developed our skin to match the look of our website as well as provided our sponsored client with their banner on the player, a link to their site and pre-player launch audio commercial.
It did not take our sales people long to find a client who wanted this type of exposure. In the year that we have been using StreamOn we have experienced a doubling of our listening hours and a steady increase of our daily listeners.
We also had an iTunes link added to the player’s “now playing” information, which provides the listener with the opportunity to purchase the music from iTunes. We have set up a partnership with iTunes through Linkshare so we receive a small commission from every song purchased by our listeners.
With the purchasing of a service like StreamOn, you must look at this as being another way for your radio station to make money. There are plenty of broadcasters streaming their audio online but I believe that we, as the technical support group, must look to revenue generation as an important consideration for equipment purchases.
The author is chief engineer with LA Radio Group Inc., serving CJUV(FM) and CKIK(FM).
For information, contact StreamOn in California at (951) 801-2309 or in Canada at (780) 438-1482 or visitwww.streamon.fm.