Wheat:News Radio Current Issue

WHEAT:NEWS RADIO

July 2017
Vol 8, No7

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-- Scott Johnson, Editor

Indian Tribe Streams Out Rancheria Radio

This month’s launch of Rancheria Radio by the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians reminded us once again that it really is all about good, local radio programming.

And stunning studios, of course.

Taking a page right out of the radio handbook, Rancheria Radio is streaming four very familiar formats: a Top-40, an alternative rock, an adult contemporary, and a country hits channel. A morning show even debuted July 17 on its mainstream Top-40 channel, known as Spin.

The tribe, which owns the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort in Jackson, California, is keeping it close to home for now. Rancheria Radio was started as a public service to inform guests at the casino and resort and to update the locals on what’s going on in the community, although anyone can pick up the streams online or through a free mobile app.

It comes as no surprise that Rancheria Radio is run by radio pros, including program consultant JJ Kaden (whose past radio experience includes positions with CBS Radio and iHeartMedia, and stints at KALV/Phoenix, KZZP/Phoenix, KKHH/Houston, KMVK/Dallas, KDWB/Minneapolis, and Z100/New York) and PD Justin Valencia (KWIN/Stockton-Modesto, KIKI/KUCD/KBMB Honolulu, KHHM/Sacramento and KSRT/Santa Rosa).

The studios are professionally outfitted with our top-of-the-line console, the LX-24, and the IP-12 console, and controlled through WheatNet-IP audio networking with integrated RCS Zetta digital automation software. Rob Goldberg and company, RadioDNA out of Minneapolis, provided the engineering build-out and integration.

Rancheria Radio is about as radio as a streaming station can get without a tower.

To listen in, you can download the free Rancheria Radio app, now available on iTunes and Google Play store. You can also go to http://rancheriaradio.com.

Mitigating Jitter

JitterDiagram

By Frank Mangiacotti, Systems Architect, Artel Video Systems

Video and audio over IP is all the rage now and while companies can benefit greatly from deploying all-IP or hybrid-IP/fiber networks, IP infrastructures come with their own set of issues. Jitter and latency are two of the most common problems hindering broadcast quality of audio and video transmissions over IP networks. IT and video engineers who understand the causes can take steps to reduce jitter and improve audio and video quality.

What is jitter?

Jitter is the variation in packet arrival measured over time. In other words, it is the variation in the packet flow between two end points or two elements, when some packets take longer to travel from one point in the network to another. Jitter results from network congestion, network timing drift, and network route changes. Jitter is more problematic in real-time or time sensitive services like audio and video. Excessive jitter leads to artifacts that degrade the quality of the service. The amount of jitter tolerable on a network is affected by the depth of the “jitter buffer” existing in the network equipment involved in the transmission path. If left unattended buffer overflows, underflows, and missing or late packets can result, degrading the quality of the video or audio signals.

How to mitigate jitter and its effects

There are several steps network engineers can take to compensate for and control jitter, including applying proper quality of service (QoS) settings to protect time sensitive transmission, properly adjusting jitter buffers on endpoint devices as well as intermediary elements, and even addressing the source of the jitter if necessary.

  • QoS: Applying comprehensive QoS methods where time-sensitive services are given priority over secondary services prevents these lower priority services from congesting the network and denying service. This will help reduce the likelihood of missed or discarded packets.
  • Buffering: The more jitter buffer available, the more the network can reduce the effects of jitter. Most endpoint devices and packet-based network devices have jitter buffers to compensate for network jitter. An optimal balance needs to be reached between jitter and latency, as excessive buffering adds to latency.
  • Sources of jitter: The most common sources of jitter in IP transmissions are network congestion, poor network synchronization or timing, and lack of route determinism in the network.
    • Network congestion can be addressed by applying proper traffic and bandwidth management techniques like appropriately engineering your network resources or policing bandwidth utilization by lower priority services or traffic
    • Network timing and synchronization needs to be correctly implemented by assuring that the elements in the network in need of timing have their sources traceable to the same source and this source needs to be of high accuracy
    • Route determinism is accomplished by implementing methods such as virtual private networking and virtual transport mechanisms like multi-protocol label switching (MPLS)


Migrating to IP technology brings many benefits but there are considerations on how to harness this powerful technology in support of time sensitive content and services. Jitter reduction is one of those considerations. Fortunately, proper network engineering in the areas of traffic and capacity management, and network timing and synchronization mitigates and creates determinism in packet based networks.

Artel makes media transport products, which provide long-haul connectivity between remote locations and broadcast studios. Artel transport is used with WheatNet-IP audio networked studios for REMI or live remote production applications. Audio routing, control, mixing and processing are all done over long-haul connectivity through Wheatstone’s WheatNet-IP network of virtual audio services.

Click here to read how ABC Radio is working together with an operator in Scottsdale and click here to find out how one group set up a WAN using WheatNet-IP in the Australian Outback.

Frank can be reached at fmangiacotti@artel.com.

Never Underestimate the Power of ON/OFF

On Off

By Steve Carl, Technology Manager, KBAD 94.5

We have a Wheatstone system here at KBAD that's been through a lot. Just over two years ago, we opened in a rush... the plan kept changing, the layout was "fluid." Then, earlier this year, the studios were moved to the building next door. It was a single day move with very little prep time. But it was successful. The station sounded great, and the equipment held up like a champ.

But I never had time to hook up any tallies.

So recently, I decided to wire up the mic stand indicators and make all the talent happy with the cute little red lights. It all went smoother than expected... except for mic 1. No matter what I did, no matter how I did it, I couldn't get the WheatNet-IP BLADE to fire the LIO associated with that tally. I tried different logic commands. I logically assigned it however I could in the back end. I tried different BLADEs. Nothing.

Then, yesterday, I finally found the issue. Some "ghost of attempted logic past" remained. Someone went into the tally logic of the main LX-24 control surface and replaced the first output signal with a call to a software LIO that no longer existed (or never did). The system was sending the tally command down that specific logical output, and there was something already there. So I deleted it. No problem, I thought.

But it wouldn't automatically repopulate the default command. It's a built-in command, so it can't be manually recreated. When you manually create a connection, you absolutely have to assign a wire or software connection to it. But built-in commands have "N/A" under the wire assignment. So I figured I'd use all of my collective knowledge and abilities, summon my great technological strengths, and do what had to be done.

I rebooted the BLADE.

After a few moments of pensive patience as I took the station briefly off air (the system took a moment to renegotiate its clock and route masters, as it’s always done), the BLADE rebooted with all its default logic in place. Although I didn’t time it, I would say it took approximately 2 to 2.5 minutes, all within the time of a song. It all went absolutely smoothly. It's all good, and now I’ve got all the tallies as they should be! What I took out of this experience: Clean up and document the inner workings of my systems more thoroughly… and never underestimate the power of exercising the O-N/O-F-F regulator!

IP Radios Fill a Gap

Above: Scott Regan hosts WXXI's "Open Tunings." Below: Kent Hatfield, VP Technology & Operations at WXXI.

Kent1 Crop

“It’s much easier to configure and throw up a radio and be done with it,” says Kent Hatfield, the Vice President of Technology and Operations for noncom WXXI-TV/FM in Rochester, New York.

Hatfield is referring to those other radios -- the IP radios that are now finding their way into all kinds of broadcast applications. For example, he is using an IP microwave link to get telemetry and control signals across a college campus to the STL gear for the final hop to and from the transmitter site.

He could have used the campus fiber optics network to get station programming from the campus studio, which doesn’t have line-of-sight to the FM transmitter, to the gym, which does.

But, he says, “This is much easier.”

CLICK TO READ REST OF STORY

Little more than an IP radio and antenna are needed on each end of the link. The studio network router feeds directly into the IP wireless radio through RJ-45 connectors. (Kent suggests that, as always, a site survey should be performed for identifying available wi-fi channels as well as visual blocks and fringe line of sight issues prior to investing in the wi-fi system.)

If Hatfield had gone the fiber optics route, he says he would have had to work out the details with the campus IT department. “They’d want to know what the traffic is, how it’s blocked out, how secure it is, how they should be handshaking with it. This is far more manageable,” he says of the IP radio link now running data across the Hobart and William Smith campus a few hundred yards from the studio to the campus gym.

For another application, Hatfield is using an unlicensed-frequency Ubiquity radio to link as a backup to provide programming between WXXI’s Pinnacle Hill site and French Road facilities, about two to three miles as the crow flies. “It’s very cost effective. We own our own towers at both sites and this allows us to manage our own IP schemes and not rely on an outside vendor,” he says. WXXI also uses licensed, carrier grade IP radios for critical backbone data transport.

Wheatstone’s EDGE unit provides the data buffering needed to handle the latency swings typical of unlicensed wireless IP radios and acts as an interface between WXXI’s WheatNet-IP audio network and the IP radio.

IP radio and antenna systems have a typical range of 25 miles line-of-sight and are available for the unlicensed 5.8 GHz band as well as frequencies in the Part 101 band (usually 6 GHz or 11 GHz). Both licensed and unlicensed-frequency IP radio systems offer bi-directional, high speed throughput, although IP wireless systems operating on the unlicensed band are subject to interference and latency issues.

“We haven’t had any problems so far,” reports Hatfield. “We have enough gain on that system to overcome any interference, and we’re constantly watching for channels that are lit up there,” he adds.

WXXI is one of a growing number of stations extending their WheatNet-IP audio networks between facilities and across campuses using IP radios.

Your IP Question Answered

Q: I am looking at IP audio networking mainly for sharing resources in our studios. Besides sources, what are some other ways to share resources?

A: IP networking is practically synonymous with resource sharing, as we all know from our experiences with the PC network. IP audio networking takes that to a whole new level and opens up all kinds of new possibilities. For example, in the case of our own WheatNet-IP audio network, you can create a predetermined backhaul, IFB feed or mix-minus for each device on the network based on its location in the network or on a fader. You can set it up so the software will ‘automagically’ give the proper return feed to the device based on its destination. So, if you bring up a mic from a remote location in the newsroom, the mix-minus from the newsroom will be transparently routed to the return feed. Likewise, if you bring up that same mic from a mixer in the remote van or truck, then the remote truck or van mix-minus will be routed to that mic. This is just one example of the tremendous flexibility built into these systems, and it’s that kind of on-the-fly flexibility that can make things happen in a very short time frame.

Interesting Links

What You Should Know About Building Studios from the Ground Up, According to Rob at RadioDNA

At an NAB 2017, we had a chance to talk with Rob Goldberg of RadioDNA, who talked about sightline, automation, lighting, cameras, and a few other tips to think about when designing a studio from the ground up.

WhosBuyingWheat6682

Wheatstone

  • KRFC-FM (Fort Collins, CO) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console, ScreenBuilder app, and M4IP-USB four-channel mic processor BLADE.

  • Family Life Radio (Bath, NY) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console.

  • Cox Media (Houston, TX) purchased an I/O BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • KDAF-TV (Dallas, TX) purchased a MADI BLADE and NAVIGATOR software upgrade for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • Bowling Green University (Bowling Green, OH) purchased a TS-22 and TS-4 talent station and two WheatNet-IP I/O BLADEs.

  • OM Systems (Buenos Aires, Argentina) purchased two VMI Virtual Mixers with WheatNet-IP audio networking for DirecTV-Argentina.

  • Crawford (Rockford, IL) purchased an IP-16 digital audio console.

  • CBC Radio (Canada) purchased E-6, L-8 and L-12 control surfaces as well as TS-4 and TS-22 talent stations for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • Jeffersonville High School (Jeffersonville, IN) purchased an L-8 control surface.

  • CBC Radio (Regina, SK) purchased an I/O BLADE through Ron Paley Broadcast for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • Results Broadcasting (Antigo, WI) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console, TS-4 talent station, and MP4IP-USB four channel mic processor BLADE along with other WheatNet-IP I/O BLADEs. The system will be installed by RadioDNA.

  • Premiere Networks (New York, NY) purchased a WheatNet-IP audio network system with two LX-24 control surfaces and TS-4 talent station.

  • CBC Radio (Quebec City, QC) purchased a complete WheatNet-IP audio network system including LX-24, L-12 and L-8 control surfaces, plus eight TS-22 talent stations, a TS-4 talent station and two M4IP-USB four-channel mic processor BLADEs through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • CBC Radio (Charlottetown, PE) purchased a MADI BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • iHeartMedia/Premiere (Phoenix, AZ) purchased an I/O BLADE and M4IP-USB four channel mic processor for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) (Eagle Butte, SD) purchased an LX-24 control surface, EDGE network unit, and M4IP-USB four-channel mic processor BLADE through RF Specialties to add onto an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • CBC Radio (Quebec City, QC) purchased two LX-24 control surfaces, an L-8 control surface, TS-22 talent station, TS-4 talent station and M4IP-USB four channel mic processor BLADE through Ron Paley Broadcast to add onto an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • WAMC-FM (Albany, NY) purchased three WheatNet-IP I/O BLADEs.

Audioarts Engineering

  • Broadcast and Studio Co. (Bangkok, Thailand) purchased two R-55e consoles.

  • Audio and Visual Electronics (Kathmandu, Nepal) purchased an R-55e console.

  • Island Media (Vanuatu) purchased an Air-1 console.

  • ZHC Digital Equipment Co., LTD (Hangzhou, China) purchased three Air-4 consoles for a project in Nigeria.

  • African Bible University (Kampala, Uganda) purchased an Air-4 console and FM-25 audio processor.


Wheatstone Audio Processing

  • Radikal Elektronik (Istanbul, Turkey) purchased an M2 dual channel mic processor.

  • KHSU-FM (Arcata, CA) purchased an Aura8-IP multimode audio processing unit and FM-25 audio processor.

  • MMV (Montreal, QC) purchased an FM-55 audio processor and AirAura X1 audio processor.

  • MMV (Montreal, QC) purchased an IP-16 digital audio console, FM-55 audio processor and M4IP-USB four channel mic processor through Marketing Marc Vallee.

  • Family Stations (Oakland, CA) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console and M4IP-USB four-channel mic processor BLADE.

  • Oakwood (Mississauga, ON) purchased an M2 dual-channel mic processor.

  • Bell Media (Gatineau, QC) purchased two M4IP-USB four channel mic processor BLADEs through Marketing Marc Vallee.

  • CKUA Radio (Edmonton, AB) purchased an FM-25 audio processor and FM-55 audio processor through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • KAZU-FM (Seaside, CA) purchased three M1 mic processors.

  • Beasley Broadcast (Las Vegas, NV) purchased an FM-55 audio processor.

  • Beasley Broadcast’s WDHA-FM (Cedar Knolls, NJ) purchased two M4IP-USB four-channel mic processor BLADEs.

  • CBS (Houston, TX) purchased an Aura8-IP multimode audio processor.

  • Beasley Broadcast (Fayetteville, NC) purchased an FM-55 audio processor.

  • Entercom (Greenville, SC) purchased two AM-55 audio processors.

  • Entravision (Denver, CO) purchased three AirAura X3 audio processors.


VoxPro

  • Atlanta Braves Network (Georgia) purchased two VoxPro 6 digital audio recorders/editors.

  • Evanov (Toronto, ON) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editor through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • Oakwood (Mississauga, ON) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • High Ride Media (Denver, CO) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • IHeartMedia (San Francisco, CA) purchased four VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editors.

  • Texas Southern University (Houston, TX) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • WRBS-FM (Baltimore, MD) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • Entravision (Denver, CO) purchased three AirAura X3 audio processors.


PR&E

  • KXBN-FM (Saint George, UT) purchased an Oasis console.

  • Y&B Technology Co. (Beijing, China) purchased two Oasis consoles.

Wheatstone Furniture

  • Montana Radio Company (Helena, MT) purchased SmoothLine furniture for five studios.

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