Flying Solo with Bridge-IT
My name is John DeRosa and I’m a consultant engineer for KHNS as DeRosa Consulting LLC. I’ve been an engineer of many flavors in my career, including a long stint as a software engineer. However, broadcast engineering over the last 5 years has brought me back to my roots.
KHNS is a public radio station that broadcasts 25 two-hour live DJ shows a week catering to various musical tastes, NPR and PRI content, independent productions, Alaska-specific content and local news. All our DJ shows are hosted by local, talented volunteers in both the main and remote studios.
Before we purchased Tieline Bridge-IT codecs around 2 years ago, we transported our audio from the remote studio in Skagway to the main studio in Haines via three transmitters, three receivers, and six antennas. The sound was poor and the maintenance was high, including yearly brush cutting. Replacing all that with the pair of Bridge-IT codecs gave us great sound and reduced maintenance, which is extremely important given that access to the remote studio is by plane, ferry or a 7 hour drive (on a good day).
When we first installed the Bridge-IT codecs, we were broadcasting about 5 two-hour shows a week from our remote studio. These shows were limited to office hours because a staff person had to be in the main studio control room in Haines to get the remote DJ on the air.
Subsequently, I came up with a system using the functionality of the Bridge-IT, our control board and other 3rd party hardware, to allow remote DJs in Skagway to get on the air without a staff member in the Haines studio. This provides the opportunity to expand our remote programming to include early morning, late night, and weekend shows.
To “fly solo” we’re using one codec relay at the remote studio and two codec relays at the main studio. From the DJ’s perspective,all they need to do is press the ‘dial’ button on the codec’s front panel to get connected. After the two codecs connect the announcer simply flips the “DJ Switch” to ‘on’ and they are on the air!
After that it’s smooth sailing. During some two hour shows there is a 5 minute news break at the top of the hour. To facilitate this, the remote announcer toggles the DJ switch to ‘off’, so that the automation at the main studio can broadcast the news break. Then they toggle the DJ switch to ‘on’ to resume and go live again after the news break.
We’re using a standard DSL connection in our Skagway studio and encode using Tieline’s low latency MusicPLUS in mono at 96kbps and the sound quality is excellent. By connecting automatically to the main control room our remote DJ’s are available for more shows, the remote community is better served, and the workload is reduced in the main studio.
Our DJs are excited about the opportunity this provides to expand programming from the remote studio. In addition to music programs, this now allows us to add a local magazine program specific to Skagway, which will alternate with the Haines version. It also allows us tomove into morning news hosting from Skagway.