Townsquare Media is the third largest US radio network and Mike Hutchens is a Regional Engineer for the company based in Evansville, Indiana. He oversees the engineering requirements for stations in Indiana, Illinois and Maine and has helped to install 22 recently purchased Merlin PLUS IP codecs.
“Not so long ago, every time we needed to do a remote we would need to set up a Marti remote system. This required significant resources and thankfully these days there are much simpler remote broadcast options available,” said Mike.
Townsquare Media’s Mike Hutchens
with his Tieline codecs
“Our first Tieline purchase four years ago included four Commander G3 field units and two Commander G3 rack units, which have been used regularly by WKDQ, WGBF, WJLT and WDKS for remotes,” he said. “Typically each station does sales remotes over 3G, 4G LTE or POTS connections from different locations so flexibility and portability is critical. These units are also used to broadcast entire shows.”
“We recently organised a toy drive for 911 Gives Hope, which supplies toys to four hospitals in Evansville and Henderson. We set up a remote studio under a tent in the local Walmart car park and configured four Commander field units to broadcast over IP, one for each station. All codecs were connected to a single cable modem switch and each station broadcasted all day, without interruption. On the laptops we used a VPN to connect to the automation system at the studio so our jocks at the toy drive had control over their station programming.”
“Last May I was one of the first people to demo Tieline’s New Merlin PLUS codec capable of hosting 6 simultaneous remotes from a single 1RU unit,” said Mike. “I was so impressed that we bought the codec and I never sent it back!” “At that stage we had dipped a toe in the water and successfully used Tieline’s Report-IT Enterprise smartphone app over the previous year with our Commander G3s. Everyone responded very positively to the app and its simple one touch connection to go live.”
“I became convinced about deploying Report-IT widely when one non-technical on-air person came back to the studio one day and said it was a great improvement and that they didn’t want to go back to the old gear. The Report-IT Enterprise app has become a game changer and is now loaded onto all our announcers’ iPads for live cut-in remotes.” “For the most part we use iPads to run Report-IT (in my market of Evansville/Owensboro) and generally just use the built-in iPad mic. It really is quite remarkable how good it can sound. When we’re going to be somewhere that has a lot of background noise we do have some external iRig cables to allow us to use a set of headphones and a mic which works very well.”
“Our jocks love Report-IT and how it has helped to transform their iPads into a lightweight portable remote kit. The iPad also doubles as a capture device for updating our Facebook page and website with images and other information.”
“On the Merlin PLUS I have ‘hard-wired’ one input/output to each of our 4 stations and the other two in/outs operate as spares for when the stations wish to do multiple simultaneous remotes.”
“Townsquare Media has recently purchased 22 additional Merlin PLUS codecs and 200 additional Report-IT Enterprise user licenses which are being deployed throughout the US. I am currently configuring the Report-IT user accounts using the Tieline Tieserver Console web browser graphical user interface. Accounts can be configured remotely via a PC, or you can download the free Android™ or iOS Tieserver Console app and use a smartphone or tablet for configuration.”
“Some of the Merlin PLUS units are WheatNet-IP enabled to suit our Wheatstone studios,” he said. “This simplifies integration and makes it easier to set up mix-minus feeds for remotes.” “Combining Tieline’s Merlin PLUS codec with Report-IT has delivered our stations greater remote flexibility. The workflow for all of our simple remotes has been streamlined and we have freed up significant resources for other purposes. Our Commander G3 codecs are now utilized for more complex remotes which require multiple mics and we have sufficient excess capacity across the board to handle requests for additional resources as required.”
For more information about Tieline codecs, visit http://www.tielines.net/products.