By Ray Baker, Group Technical Manager, ACE Radio Broadcasters
The ACE Radio Network owns and operates several AM and FM stations in Victoria. The company is also a major communications sponsor and media partner of the Victorian Variety Bash, which is Australia’s longest-running motoring event raising money for families of children who are sick, disadvantaged or who have special needs.
This year’s Bash journeyed from Melbourne in Victoria to Fraser Island in Queensland. ACE Radio fielded a team which consisted of three cars trekking around 3,226 km over 10 days. Fund raising is an important aspect but it’s also a fun event for participants and everyone dresses up in costume. Our car was a 1976 Holden Statesman HX and we dressed as the Blues Brothers.
Along the way we broadcasted into the Morning Rush program from places such as Canberra, Newcastle, Narooma, Lake’s Entrance, Bathurst, Coffs Harbour, Toowoomba and Fraser Island. The show is networked on 3YB, 3SH, 3WM, 3CS, 3HA and Gold1242.
Morning Rush co-host Jon Vertigan travelled with us and used a Tieline ViA codec to broadcast live between 7am and 8.30am each morning to a Tieline Commander G3 codec at our studio in Warrnambool.
Jon Vertigan broadcasts into the Morning Rush show
with ViA from Newcastle
Jon received a mix-minus IFB feed to chat in real-time with co-host Kate Meade back in the studio. Using a headset/mic combo we broadcasted from breakfast venues and numerous open-air locations along the way. We attached a hand-held microphone to the ViA to interview sporting personalities, celebrities and participants in the Bash.
We first trialled Tieline’s ViA codec through our dealer Sonifex before the Bash and we were so impressed that we bought one for the trip. As we were travelling to remote locations, it was important to have portability, self-sufficient power and wireless connectivity. ViA ticked all the boxes.
Tieline ViA codec ready to go live in the Variety Bash
We connected the ViA codec to the Telstra 4GX cellular network using a Netgear Nighthawk Wi-Fi router. This is battery-powered and the ViA also has an internal battery that lasts for hours. We took a cable to charge devices in the car, but it was never required. Often we didn’t even bother to recharge using AC at night because both the ViA and router could run for days without recharging.
The ViA has built-in Wi-Fi which made it very simple to connect to the router and go live. Over IP we used Tieline’s low-delay Music encoding and round-trip audio latency was never an issue.
Most people were amazed that we could broadcast like that and they streamed the show during breakfast to hear what Jon was saying. We also generated a lot of extra traffic to the Morning Rush Facebook page which was great. Travelling in the old Statesman was awesome. We all enjoyed driving the car and it had its own personality. Doing a Blues Brothers theme also made for many funny moments. There was another Blues Brothers car in the Bash so we did many activities together.
Overall the broadcasts were flawless and we were so impressed with the ViA that we have already ordered another unit. It fits neatly into our occupational health and safety plan to reduce onsite risk by minimising cables on outside broadcasts wherever possible. ViA’s many wireless connection options deliver on this in spades. We also plan to integrate battery powered PA systems on OBs as well.
In summary, the 2017 Variety Bash was a terrific success and raised a grand total of $1.25 million for children in need. ACE Radio was thrilled to promote the event with our live broadcasts and we received great feedback. The team is planning to be back again for next year’s Bash and I anticipate the broadcast will no doubt be bigger and better.
For more information about ViA and other Tieline codecs, visit http://www.tieline.com