Cumulus Transition to High Quality Remotes with Report-IT
By Bryan Waters
IT Manager, Cumulus Colorado Springs
Bill Douglass (left) Engineering Asst. & Bryan Waters
Cumulus Colorado Springs IT Manager/Asst. Engineer
We had been looking for an alternative to the RF Marti units used by our FM stations for remotes because we were encountering difficulties due to topographical shielding caused by mountains in Colorado Springs, CO. We found that the Marti units almost always sounded like you’re “cooking bacon” in the background.
No one wanted to do client interviews over a standard cell phone call; clients pay good money for a live broadcast and low bandwidth cell-phone audio quality would not have been acceptable.
Our Solution: We decided to build some ‘remote Report-IT boxes’. We purchased four Pelican 1120 cases, one for each of our FM stations, and then modified the cases with an external XLR and ¼” jack for a mic and headphones. We wired our external plugs to IK Multimedia iRig PREs to give us a balanced mic input into our iPhones. This feeds out to our headphone jack as well for monitoring.
We were able to flush mount everything using the standard foam inserts which come with the Pelican cases and hid all the wires underneath. We set the iPhones to only show the Report-IT app to simplify it as much as possible for all our DJs. We connect two of the boxes using Bridge-IT IP audio codecs, and the other two using a dual program configuration on a Commander G3 rack unit. We hard-wired the units directly to studios, as well as to a patch bay to route to production rooms as required.
It makes a wonderful portable box that is easy to use and still maintains the complete look and feel of a normal remote broadcast.