Radio News August 2017

WHEAT:NEWS RADIO

August 2017
Vol 8, No8

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-- Scott Johnson, Editor

“How Long Would You Like that Cable to Be?”

RadioCarolin2That was Jay Tyler’s response minutes after freelance sound supervisor Rob Ashard posted to the world at large that the R-60 mixer Radio Caroline inherited was missing the power supply cable. “I wondered if anyone had one kicking around” he posted on Facebook.

Soon after this exchange, a new cable was on its way from the Wheatstone New Bern factory to MV Ross Revenge, the last remaining Radio Caroline ship that sailed the high seas of pirate radio. Radio Caroline broadcast from several older vessels moored in international waters on and off from the 1960s through the ‘90s before becoming an online station five years ago. Radio Caroline was notorious among a number of illegal U.K. stations that brought groups like The Rolling Stones and The Who to a generation of listeners.

We soon learned that Ofcom granted the pirate station its first full-time AM broadcast license (1kW ERP on a very clear channel, according to Ashard), for which the R-60 will be used as a backup mixer. The announcement comes 50 years to the day, on August 14, that the Marine Offences Act made it illegal to broadcast in international waters without a license. Radio Caroline fans gathered last week to commemorate the event in Essex, where the MV Ross Revenge sits just a few miles offshore. Our R-60, which was one of the first mixers to use surface-mount technology, was onboard and, like Radio Caroline, is still very much in operation today.

When IP Isn’t Enough

Phones2

If you’ve worked with IP networking to any extent, you’ve no doubt discovered one of life’s great ironies.

IP, it turns out, knows very little about the successful delivery of media.

IP can bring unbelievable adaptability and extendibility. But you’ll still need a way to bring audio into the network, prioritize it to reduce packet dropouts and other quality issues, plus process and do all those things you normally do with audio.

In short, you’ll need something that talks both IP and audio, and knows AES67. That’s where WheatNet-IP audio I/O BLADEs come in.

For example, the M4IP-USB BLADE is used at remote venues and in studios as an interface between the network and up to four microphones. It’s essentially a four-channel mic processor with four XLR inputs and an Ethernet output port, with parametric EQ, de-esser and compressors for each channel – all of which can be set and adjusted from a laptop. The M4IP-USB also has two 8-channel utility mixers that you can assign to be a very low latency IFB subsystem and/or premixer with remote control capability in a network of other BLADEs. It includes built-in silence detection on all outputs with auto switchover and auto fall back for enhanced operational reliability, and USB ports for ingesting audio directly from computers and other devices. And most importantly, as an I/O BLADE, it can route audio streams to anywhere in the network.

The M4IP-USB can be used as a standalone BLADE, or it can be part of a network of BLADEs to form a WheatNet-IP audio network. It can also be interfaced to just about any analog or digital mixer that takes AES or analog audio, and as an AES67 compatible unit, it can be interfaced into any IP audio network that has AES67 (such as Dante®).

But what if you needed to bring in audio from a camera or other HD-SDI source? We have a BLADE for that, too. Our HD-SDI BLADE can ingest audio from video production automation systems, routers, and other professional video equipment that use HD-SDI. It de-embeds multiple audio channels from HD-SDI streams so you can mix, process or simply route audio to your console for final broadcast. It is capable of de-embedding up to four HD-SDI streams, and up to eight audio channels per stream, and this BLADE also has all the standard built-in features like utility mixers and AES67 compatibility, so you can use it for IFB and interface it to all the same networks as our mic processor BLADE. 

We also have a MADI BLADE for exchanging up to 64 bidirectional channels (AES10) of audio between our WheatNet-IP audio network and any MADI-compatible intercom system, TDM router, ProTools system or DAW. You can roll your production truck into a venue and plug the MADI BLADE into the house MADI system for intercoms and mixing, and use its IP connectivity for backhauling to the main studio located elsewhere.

Wheatstone has 11 different flavors of BLADEs, any of which can be connected together into a WheatNet-IP audio network to provide resources and utilities for specific IP audio applications.

Your IP Question Answered

Q: How do automation systems get along with IP audio network systems?

A: The beauty of IP is that you can integrate audio routing, control and automation into one seamless operating environment. No soundcards or external logic connections needed. Most IP audio network systems provide connectivity into existing automation systems. Some let you do even more. For example, because our WheatNet-IP I/O BLADEs also include stereo mixers, you can mix down multiple automation channels to a single output that can then be programmed as the automatic failover in an emergency or to bypass the studio. With the push of a button or a command from the automation system, this output could feed the transmitter and free up the on-air studio for production or voice tracking.

SNMP. Because Networks Don’t Get Smaller.

SNMPNetworks never seem to get smaller. They expand and grow and get more complicated. If you plan to follow along, you will want to look into SNMP monitoring and management tools.

Just about anything that hangs off an IP network can be monitored using Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), which is used to monitor and manage data from servers, switches, hubs and IP audio networks like our WheatNet-IP.

SNMP monitoring can tell you if a particular port is dropping packets or if a device is heating up and in danger of thermal shutdown. It can show you data packets coming in or going out, by the port, from mic processors on out to the transmitter.

Not all network devices, or even IP audio networks, have SNMP monitoring capability. They need to generate MIB, or Management Information Base, files. For example, the BLADE I/O access units that make up our WheatNet-IP network each have a unique MIB file with hundreds of data points, and each BLADE has a unique object address in the network for SNMP monitoring and alert purposes.

This data can be useful for notifying you by email or text if silence is detected by a critical BLADE in the network, for example.

The MIB file tells about the operation of the BLADE or group of BLADEs, such as packet rates, changing bitrates or operating temperatures and overall health of the BLADE. (For security reasons, we’ve set some of these data points as read-only, while others are set as read-and-write and therefore can be manipulated and controlled.) Other MIB files for servers and switches contain relevant data pertinent to the operation of those units. MIB data can be organized by the device or grouped in tables for viewing, say, a particular stream of data running across the network.

SNMP

Above is a single example of the depth of data you can have access to with SNMP. This shows all the data associated with a single sensor monitoring traffic on a fiber link. Viewed in PRTG (Paessler Router Traffic Grapher).

To view MIB files, you will need a MIB browser, which can tell you things like if the fan speed in a particular server is inadequate and needs replacement. But if you want to do more with SNMP, you’ll need an SNMP management tool that lets you manipulate MIB data using basic SNMP commands such as GET, SET and TRAP. By sending a TRAP message, for example, the client device can alert the SNMP manager to conditions like a CPU that’s overheating, if a router port is no longer responding or if a hard drive is approaching full status. If you don’t already have an SNMP manager, there are several decent freeware suites like this one and several like this one by Paessler that you can download on a free trial.

Our field engineers work regularly with SNMP, and can answer most of your questions about setting up an SNMP monitoring and alerting system for your WheatNet-IP network that will work for your purposes.

Party Pontoon and Fireworks. What could go wrong?

MikeEricksonOnTourMike Erickson reported in from the “Party Pontoon” on Horsehead Lake near Grand Rapids over the July 4th weekend. He took to the microphone alongside WBZX (B-103.9) morning man Bob Aldrich and Dom Theodore (Domino) to co-host this year’s live broadcast at the annual fireworks spectacular there. The trio broadcast late into the night before turning the boat inland, and then it was back on the road for Mike as Wheatstone’s field engineer traveling state to state to help stations create their signature sound.

Mike will travel more than 4,000 miles over the next few months, bringing with him a full line of Wheatstone audio processors, his keen listening skills, and more than 25 years’ experience in major- and small-market radio.

This first leg of the journey took him through nine states with stops in D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland, and Detroit as he made his way up the Eastern coastline and then westward, from North Carolina to Michigan. Mike starts the second leg this week and will make his way from North Carolina to Southern California by way of Alabama, Texas and Arizona over the next few months.

Mike has logged a gazillion miles on the road and in the air since he began his tenure as system and support engineer for Wheatstone audio processing. To find out if Mike will be in your area soon, contact him at Mike.Erickson@wheatstone.com

Interesting Links

IBC and Radio Show. We’ll Be There.

You’ll find us at IBC stand 8.C91 and at the Radio Show stand 126 come September. We’ll be there with all the good stuff and a few surprises as well!

What's Going On Down Under in Oz?

Ian Thomson and Chris Penny of Australia's Agile Broadcast talk about the advantages of AoIP systems over the older TDM systems they're replacing across Australia, and about some of their current projects.

WhosBuyingWheat6682

Wheatstone 

  • Fanshawe College (London, ON) purchased five L-12 control surfaces, five L-8 control surfaces, a SideBoard surface and E-1 virtual mixer, plus six TS-4 talent stations and eight WheatNet-IP BLADEs through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • RNC Radio (Montreal, QC) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console and WheatNet-IP NAVIGATOR 3 software through Marketing Marc Vallee.

  • AMI Radio (Toronto, ON) purchased a WDM audio driver for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • KERA-FM (Dallas, TX) purchased a WDM audio driver through BSW.

  • WDNG-AM (Anniston, AL) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console, Aura8-IP multimode audio processor, NAVIGATOR 3 software and WheatNet-IP I/O BLADEs.

  • Hubbard Radio (Seattle, WA) added a WDM audio driver to an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • CBC (Quebec City, QC) purchased several I/O BLADEs and GP panel for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • WATV-AM (Birmingham, AL) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console, M4IP four-channel mic processor BLADE, and other WheatNet-IP audio network BLADEs.

  • KVAN-FM (Tucson, AZ) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console, Aura8-IP multimode audio processor and WheatNet-IP audio network NAVIGATOR 3 software.

  • Cogeco (Montreal, QC) purchased eleven TS-4 talent stations through Marketing Marc Vallee.

  • Cumulus (Birmingham, AL) purchased an I/O BLADE and drivers for an automation project.

  • Townsquare Media (Grand Rapids, MI) purchased an L-12 control surface and WheatNet-IP I/O BLADEs.

  • Townsquare Media (Cedar Rapids, IA) purchased an IP-16 digital audio console and M4IP-USB four channel mic processor BLADE.

  • Radio Globo (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) purchased twelve WheatNet-IP audio drivers for an existing system.

  • Y&B Technology Co. (Beijing, China) purchased two PR&E NetWave consoles.

  • Shantou Radio (Shantou, China) purchased an LX-24 through Audio Design Company.

  • Entertainment Network (Mumbai, India) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console and WheatNet-IP audio network BLADEs through Horizon Broadcast.

  • Ushodaya Enterprise Private Limited (Hyderabad, India) purchased four IP-12 digital audio consoles and two IP-16 digital audio consoles through Horizon Broadcast.

  • GED Broadcast Equipment (Beirut, Lebanon) purchased an I/O BLADE and two M4IP-USB four channel mic processor BLADEs to for a project in Muscat, Oman.

  • Family Life Radio (Bath, NY) purchased a WheatNet-IP I/O BLADE to expand an existing system.

  • WGBH-FM (Boston, MA) purchased four I/O BLADEs for an automation project.

  • Reach Media / Radio One (Dallas, TX) purchased a WheatNet-IP I/O BLADE to expand an existing system.

  • KPRS-FM (Kansas City, MO) purchased an IP-16 digital audio console, four TS-4 talent stations and an M4IP-USB four channel mic processor BLADE.

  • Sinclair’s WTVH-TV (Syracuse, NY) purchased an E-6 control surface.

  • Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT) purchased five LX-24 control surfaces.

  • KTRS-AM (St. Louis, MO) purchased a WheatNet-IP I/O BLADE to expand an existing system.

  • VOA (Washington, DC) purchased a WheatNet-IP 8-channel audio driver.

  • NY1 / Charter Communications (New York, NY) purchased a DR-9 Director’s Panel for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • KNUJ-AM (New Ulm, MN) purchased a TS-4 talent station and I/O BLADEs for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Radio DNA.

  • Penn State University (State College, PA) purchased an Aura8-IP and BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network. 


Audioarts Engineering

  • Subcity Radio (Glasgow, Scotland) purchased an Air-4 console.

  • Oakwood Broadcast (Mississauga, ON) purchased an Audioarts 08 console.

  • Audio Design Company (Hong Kong) purchased two Air-4 consoles and two M2 dual channel mic processors.


Wheatstone Audio Processing

  • Townsquare Media (Odessa, TX) purchased an FM-55 audio processor.

  • Townsquare Media (Rochester, MN) purchased an FM-55 audio processor.

  • Townsquare Media (Abilene, TX) purchased an FM-55 audio processor.

  • Mello FM (Montego Bay, Jamaica) purchased an FM-55 audio processor.


VoxPro

  • Revolution Radio (West Palm Beach, FL) purchased a VoxPro 7 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • Great Eastern Radio (West Lebanon, NH) purchased a VoxPro 7 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • KFSH-FM (La Mirada, CA) purchased a VoxPro 7 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • Lisa Dent Radio (Chicago, IL) purchased a VoxPro 7 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • Entercom (Seattle, WA) purchased a VoxPro7 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • Fanshawe College (London, ON) purchased two VoxPro 7 digital audio recorder/editors.

  • Crista Ministries (Seattle, WA) purchased two VoxPro 7 digital audio recorder/editors through BSW.

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