By Noah J. Chelliah, President of Altispeed Technologies, an IT consulting company in North Dakota.
In 2017, the Linux Action Show, the longest running Linux podcast, ended. As the former host, I knew I wanted to continue creating content about Linux and open source technologies. I decided to approach a local LPFM station with an idea: A call in talk radio show focused on these topics that I would host.
In just a few short weeks, the ‘Ask Noah Show’ was born and had an air date, but there was one big problem… I still had my company to run, and that meant frequently being on the road or flights all over the country, sometimes with little or no notice. I needed a broadcast system that would fit in a carry on case, with low latency to facilitate call-ins, and (most importantly) reliable high quality audio. It needed to be something I could have up and running in 10 minutes. So I knew what I wanted, I just didn’t know if it existed.
Then one day the answer fell into my lap while doing my day job; a hotel was facilitating another radio station’s talent to do a remote broadcast from the hotel. The station’s engineer sent me an email with the firewall and router modifications they wanted. As I watched how simply and effectively that radio host pulled his Tieline Commander G3 out, plugged a headset in, and went live in under 2 minutes, I knew I had to learn more about Tieline.
Later that night, I was on my computer doing research about the company when I noticed a link to try the gear for FREE. Up until this point, I had just assumed that hardware IP codecs were the same as Ipdtl or SourceConnect Now. I was wrong. A few days later I had codecs in our studio connected to our console, with our show going over it. I was sold instantly. I sent the audio sample to my producer and spent the next 15 minutes trying to convince him that yes, I was in fact outside the studio. I was remote. That’s what sold me.
Noah J.Chelliah in his home studio with Tieline ViA
I’m a sucker for high quality; I can hear the quality difference between the Tieline system and the software codecs. It’s really a curse, once you hear how pristine the audio is from the Tieline products. I sat up at night with my wife and tried to convince myself that Skype was “good enough.” I tried to convince myself that we could live with some one of the many WebRTC software based codecs. The problem is once you hear the quality of the Tieline it’s a splinter in the mind and you can never go back.
The truth is the purchase decision for an expensive piece of gear like that goes a lot further than just making a good product. The support team at Tieline has been fantastic. Jacob Daniluck in particular patiently answered my numerous emails and phone calls. He and I must have gone through 10 different setup scenarios until I finally landed on purchasing the ViA.
With redundant Ethernet ports there is never a concern about a reliable connection at one of the multiple Linux events I broadcast from. During the summer, the built-in Wi-Fi chipset lets me connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot and broadcast the show from my RV at the lake, instead of having to drive two and a half hours into the studio.
The built in compressor and audio processing means my entire setup consists of a mic, a pair of headphones, and the ViA, in a Pelican 1510.
I’ve traveled all over the world. I’ve done remote broadcasts from Sydney, Tokyo, and Amsterdam as well as all over the US. The most challenging broadcasts though are from my lake. If you put your phone at just the right angle you can get LTE but to say that it’s spotty is a gross understatement. The ViA and Tieline’s Music PLUS codec handle it like a champ. I’ve done hours of broadcasting with some of the worst internet anywhere in the country and the studio has never had to drop me. My Tieline ViA keeps me on the air, it’s that simple.
After my initial success with the Tieline system, KEQQ purchased a Bridge-IT XTRA and a Commander G3 for all their on-air personalities to remote broadcast as well. The ‘Ask Noah Show’ is now broadcast live from Altispeed Technologies in a studio that I handcrafted with my team.
The LPFM station also purchased a Bridge-IT for my custom studio to connect to the radio station. I still do about half of my broadcasting using the Tieline ViA, either on location or my hotel room when traveling.
My listeners have no idea I’m remote unless I tell them! We have actually used headsets a few times just as a style thing so people can tell we are in fact on location. My audience is a technically savvy crowd. You just can’t have the guy telling you what technology is best using second class gear to do the show.
The ‘Ask Noah Show’ airs every Tuesday at 6:00pm CST and is streamed live on the internet at www.asknoahshow.com. The show continues to grow but it would have likely never gotten off the ground if it weren’t for my mobile broadcast kit with the Tieline ViA at the heart.
For more information about ViA and other Tieline codecs, visit http://www.tieline.com
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Note: This article was first published in Radio World.