ViA Delivers Wireless Freedom to Eastern Shore Radio
By Will Russell, Program Director with Eastern Shore Radio, VA
I have been with Eastern Shore Radio for 12 years and my main role is program director, logging both radio stations, selecting music, and producing commercials. I also help with news coverage and remote broadcasting of events.
We used to use a Marti and then a DR-10 for remotes, mainly for high school football. I remember my Dad, the General Manager, came to me and said he’d bought this piece of equipment called the tideline (what I thought he said). I remember thinking “why did we buy something when what we have works perfectly well?” The first game we used Report-IT and a friend of mine texted me to say he couldn’t get over how clear the sound was. We realized the superiority of the audio quality, but the phone app had its limitations. When we learned about the features of the ViA like redundant streaming, as well the many options for inputs and outputs, we knew it was the right codec for our needs.
Tieline’s SmartStream PLUS redundant streaming technology is crucial for us. Wireless technology is improving, but it still has its issues on the Eastern Shore. Knowing we have two signals and one can replace packets if required, really makes live remotes less stressful.
We mostly cover high school sports and broadcasted all the area graduations during COVID. Parents stayed in their cars and tuned in on the radio to hear the speeches. Recently, we covered a political debate on the radio and provided video with Facebook Live.
We normally employ SmartStream PLUS using an iPhone hotspot connection over Verizon, along with a Verizon Jetpack tethered hotspot. Rural cellular connectivity is always the challenge. Sometimes you’ll have enough signal for sound, but not for video. Video is nice, but at the end of the day we are a radio station.
For sports, I use 1-2 headsets for the play-by-play and color commentator, and then add a third mic for crowd effects. For video I’ll use a mini-USB cable to send line level audio from the ViA into a dongle for an iPhone video stream.
We connect to a Bridge-IT codec at the studio. Most sports broadcasts are 2-3 hours; graduations and debates are approximately 1 hour. After one of the graduations a member of the local school board came up to me and said the sound was just as good as being there in person. I think this is the best compliment a radio person can get on the technical side of things.
Like anything new with a ton of potential, it takes time to understand its full capabilities. Jacob Daniluck in Tieline’s US office has been wonderful to work with, fielding my questions both during and after business hours, including zoom calls. It’s really simple to use and my 72-year-old father has been able to learn and use the ViA with no issues.
Redundant streaming is simple to configure and Wi-Fi works well too. The ViA remembers hotspot connections which is nice. We have broadcasted in stereo, but with internet connectivity sometimes an issue, we went back to mono to reduce bandwidth without sacrificing audio quality. Studio-based audio is streamed back to the Tieline ViA from our studio console for remote site monitoring.
Recently, a friend and client wanted to make a big announcement about the entertainment for a fundraiser he was holding. He had a 2-day window to announce it, but unfortunately he came down with COVID and couldn’t come to the studio. He didn’t want to make such a big announcement on the air with a regular telephone call. So I went to the venue and set up the ViA, ran a 10-foot cable for his mic to ensure social distancing, and we made the announcement live on location. This remote was made on battery power and was cool all the way around.
The ViA makes the entire remote experience better and we’re very pleased with its performance. You can’t top the peace of mind wired connections deliver over wireless, but with cellular wireless connections there is less equipment to carry and the audio quality is amazing.
Want More Info?
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