By Malcolm Sully, Technology Manager, Nova 93.7 in Perth.
Nova 93.7 breakfast announcers Nathan, Nat and Shaun recently walked eight kilometres to work while broadcasting their 6-9am breakfast show live from the streets of Perth.
Coinciding with the official ‘Walk to Work Day,’ the trio travelled on foot from Maylands to Subiaco to see what life is like outside the confines of the studio. This presented some obvious technical challenges, however we were up to the task thanks to some creative thinking and cellular wireless technology.
My colleague and Technology Support Engineer Simon Lovell and I turned to Tieline’s ViA codec in order to design a robust wireless solution, with the redundancy required to ensure our top-rating breakfast show stayed on the air.
Technology Support Engineer Simon Lovell
with the ViA codec
The ViA is a portable codec with 3 mic/line XLR inputs. It was perfect for our requirements and we connected 3 cabled hand-held microphones for Nathan, Nat and Shaun. We also attached two USB modems to the ViA codec – one for the Telstra cellular network and one for Optus. I am a big believer in backup and diversity, so we employed Tieline’s SmartStream PLUS dual redundant streaming over the two connections back to a Tieline Merlin at the studio. We fed mono program audio back to the studio and received a mix-minus on the return path.
Nathan, Nat and Shaun broadcasting
live with ViA
Simon walked with the breakfast crew over the 8 km journey and carried the ViA and a battery-powered Sennheiser IEM transmitter, which was fed mix-minus audio from the XLR output on the ViA. The IEM transmitter was mounted on a pole above Simon’s head, which was probably a little bit of overkill, but it ensured a reliable link to each announcer’s receiver as they walked through the streets.
The team was joined by sporting personalities and other guests along the way and the entire broadcast was brilliant. It was an incredibly successful OB and the ViA using SmartStream PLUS exceeded all expectations. We anticipated perhaps one or two dropouts, but we had none! We had a slight increase in the jitter buffer at one stage, but the codec managed the streaming seamlessly and after we passed through this area, the codec returned to regular low latency transmissions.
Walking and talking on ‘Walk to Work’ Day
Simon walked the hard yards on this one and did a sterling job. Some of the team remarked in good humour that he resembled something very similar to a Ghostbuster, which was quite amusing. Simon was using the codec for the first time and remarked, “the ViA blew me away, it’s a great little unit!”
Given the success of the broadcast, and the breakfast crew’s new-found love for the outdoors, there’s every chance going forward that our Nova studios will be used less in future! We’ve also proved beyond doubt that you can achieve rock-solid cellular live broadcasts from pretty much anywhere using the technology available nowadays.
For more information about ViA and other Tieline codecs, visit http://www.tieline.com