AUGUST 2016 - Vol 7, No.8
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A Tale of Two Cities. Map Included.
Before we take you on an IP journey across seven states and two time zones, you might want to grab your map.
We’ll wait here.
Next, place a dot on Scottsdale, Arizona. (You’ll find Scottsdale next to Phoenix on your map.) This is where Skyview Networks is located, and where ABC Radio newscasts are uplinked via satellite to ABC Radio affiliates everywhere. You can draw in another WheatNet-IP audio network BLADE here and add a few consoles while you’re at it.
Scottsdale is also where all the controls for commercial breaks, microphones, and on-air lights originate for those New York studios seven states away. So while ABC Radio news announcers are talking live in New York, all the signal flow, shifting between commercials, and turning on/off of microphones is taking place in Scottsdale.
“We open the mics from Scottsdale, the lips move in New York, and audio comes out of your car speakers in San Diego,” explains David Dickson, the VP of Engineering for Skyview Networks, a sports and news content distributor and long-time Wheatstone customer.
How is that possible from more than 2,400 miles away?
The two locations are linked by T1 circuits, and on both ends are BLADEs, the I/O units that make up a WheatNet-IP audio network. (Tieline Genies with integrated WheatNet-IP audio networking are used as backup links.) AdView, an inventory management and automation system developed by Skyview, integrates with the local I/O BLADEs through Wheatstone’s Automation Control Interface (ACI), which is used by third-party devices and systems to access the WheatNet-IP network and control Wheatstone IP consoles for channel on/off, bus assigns, fader levels and so forth.
Through this control interface, Skyview’s automation system is able to extend control across seven states, a T1 link and two audio networks along with their respective elements and control surfaces in order to manage the live mics in New York. ABC Radio broadcasts news top of every hour for two ABC networks and at the bottom of the hour for another, at a quarter to the top of the hour for a third, plus numerous features and special reports throughout the day.
Distributing IP audio across long distances isn’t all that unusual these days, but we did wonder how the two locations managed production in a live scenario. Whatever do they do without the visual cues – the nods, the finger pointing, the smug looks – that usually take place between announcer and his producer through the studio glass window?
“We actually give them visual cues with lights and timers, and they give us back digital cues to say ‘we’re done with a newscast’ or ‘a mic needs to be turned off,’” explains Dickson. The two follow a protocol of two-minute and one-minute warnings along with a 10-second-arm-to-leave light. Skyview uses IP-12 digital audio consoles into the WheatNet-IP audio network for the occasional manual overdrive, but most of the mic and light controls are automated with Skyview’s AdView automation with monitoring done through a customized ScreenBuilder app.
By the way, ScreenBuilder is one of our more recent additions to WheatNet-IP and is a library of faders, meters, labels, buttons, clocks, timers and other widgets that can be linked to various elements and functions in the network and arranged onscreen to create customized interfaces. Dickson says Skyview plans to use the app to monitor and control additional crosspoints between devices and systems in the network as time goes on.
But, back to your map. While you have it out, think about this: Wherever you are in the world listening to ABC Radio news live from New York, you can be fairly certain that the signal is coming through Skyview Networks in Scottsdale, Arizona. It takes less than a second from the time their lips move to the time the audio comes out of the speaker on your car radio, including up/downlink to the affiliates.
Pokémon GO could be the tip of the augmented reality iceberg. Imagine being able to actually step onto a virtual chessboard with your opponent. Or performing maintenance on your automobile through 3D graphics overlaid onto the engine which map the parts that need to be changed as well as indicating how and in what order.
It’s not as crazy as it sounds. This mashup of computer and the real world promises to be like real life, only better.
Here at the Wheat lab, we like to think we’ve been doing a bit of augmented reality of our own. We’ve been blurring the lines between what’s physical and what’s virtual for some time. You know those virtual mixers we designed into our I/O BLADEs, oh, about six or eight years ago? And the audio processors we put in our next generation I/O BLADE-3s a while back? We’ve augmented a few realities with that technology, namely doing away with the need for physical DAs, and reducing — sometimes eliminating — processing gear.
Augmenting the physical (consoles) with virtual, using concepts like networked IFB/talkback, fully scriptable routing, and instant command of sources and destinations – plus virtual control of any device or element in the network – is almost as fun as hunting Pokémon.
Quiet! LUFS/LKFS Now Onboard.
We quietly added an LUFS/LKFS indicator to a few of our radio control surfaces recently, and by now some of you may be wondering why and how this television loudness standard could possibly be useful to radio broadcasts.
Variations in the audio levels of program or commercial material are a fact of life. The loudness difference when cutting over from one program to another can be jarring and annoying to listeners.
Peak and VU meters are of little use in keeping loudness on an even keel, but the Loudness K-weighted Full Scale (LKFS) indicator and its EBU equivalent, the Loudness Unit Full Scale (LUFS) indicator, are very useful for this purpose. LUFS/LKFS is a loudness standard that came about because of governing regulations like the CALM Act enacted in the U.S. LUFS/LKFS is universally used by television broadcasters to regulate the loudness of commercials compared to regular programming and this indicator is on the television audio consoles we make.
Now, radio pubcasters tell us that adhering to this standard is critical when submitting programs to the Public Radio Satellite System, and that it is a very useful tool in the radio studio in general. Which is why we added an LUFS/LKFS indicator onto the metering display of our E-1, E-6 and LX-24 control surfaces used in radio.
For those not familiar with these indicators, the average loudness target is -23 LUFS/-24 LKFS. You’ll find this number on the console’s metering display, and it’s hard to miss since we’ve rendered in very large numerals! Conveniently, one LU (loudness unit) is equivalent to 1dB, which is a direct correlation between how far the meter says you're over/under and how far you will move a fader to compensate.
In addition to LUFS/LKFS indication, we added correlation metering to our E-1, E-6 and LX-24 control surfaces so radio talent will be able to instantly spot an incorrectly phased source.
Meet Radio John
Not everyone has an AIR-4 in his or her spare bedroom, but those who do are obviously serious about radio.
Meet John Jordan, who marks his 30th anniversary in radio this month and operates internet station AllClassicTop40.com out of his home in Nashville, North Carolina. He started his career at WEED AM 1390 and worked at various stations over the past three decades, going from cart machines and turntables to automation systems, PCs, and codecs in the process.
If anyone knows the difference between a music store mixer and a broadcast board, John does. “Those mixers just don’t have what it takes,” says John, who moved up from a Mackie to our Audioarts Air-4 console two years ago when the pots on the Mackie started sounding scratchy.
Whereas sound reinforcement mixers were made for live sound applications requiring continual, hands-on management of various feeds, professional broadcast consoles like the Air-4 are made for handling music from a PC and for cuing up mics and listener calls – the stuff of broadcast and streaming stations. We make the Air-4 12-fader console with USB connectivity so it can be useful for recording and playing audio from PCs as well as smartphones. The Air-4 is now in use in a variety of studios, including newsrooms, production rooms, and even the occasional spare bedroom.
John is running an iMediaTouch automation system into the Air-4 and using our FM-10 audio processor with the pre-emphasis disabled to maintain levels across four decades of top 40 hits. He boosts the highs and lows slightly before the program hits the AAC codec, which can be finicky about levels – and levels tended to be all over the road in the years between 1955 to 1995, when the majority of top 40 hits were recorded. John streams his station at both 128Kbps and 64Kbps, one for broadband pickup and the lesser for pickup by mobile devices.
The biggest expense he incurs is music licensing costs (ASCAP and BMI), which he manages to fund by operating as a small hobby station with a limited number of outgoing streams.
We asked John if he would ever consider applying for a LPFM license now that the FCC has opened up filings for these stations. “I’ve been thinking about it. The frequency I’d use was available at one time and is a 6,000 watt allocation, so we’ll see,” he says.
If and when that happens, John will definitely have the studio for it.
Your IP Question Answered
Q: I heard Wheatstone has a new product that is to consoles what audio IP networking was to studio routing?
A: You must be talking about our LXE console. It’s true. We’re going way beyond the usual “any source to any fader” concept with this new IP networked control surface. The entire console is fully scriptable, which means you can program any switch or button to perform whatever function you desire. It comes in several different form factors, including as a split frame so that sections of it can reside in different studios or different buildings, yet be tied together through the network. We’re really excited about this console. To find out more click here: WHEATSTONE LXE
Wheatstone Interviews the Broadcast Industry:
Brian Clark of Seacrest Foundation and Disney
At this year's NAB show, we invited many people from all corners of the industry to join us in conversations about all things broadcast. Obviously, we focused on audio for broadcast because, well, it's what we know.
We didn't really know what to expect, but the results definitely exceeded even our greatest expectations. We touched on many, many subjects and heard some fascinating things about what people are doing with audio in the broadcast world. Each of these videos is a wealth of information spanning every aspect of audio for broadcast.
In this video, VoxPro engineer Rick Bidlack talks with Brian Clark about his work with VoxPro at the studios of Ryan Seacrest.
- RADIO CONSOLES
- VOXPRO6 RECORDER/EDITOR
- AUDIO PROCESSORS
- TV AUDIO CONSOLES AND NETWORKING
- TV Audio Consoles
- Gibraltar/Gibraltar Network
- BLADES AND IP AUDIO NETWORKING
- WheatNet-IP Technology Overview
- BLADE-3 Technology Overview
- Mix Engine/Console BLADE-3s
- BLADEs (original)
- EDGE Network Interface
- PANELS AND CONTROLLERS
- Talent Stations
- GP Panels
- Interface Panels
- COMMERCIAL AUDIO
- WHEAT:NEWS RADIO
- WHEAT:NEWS TV
- PRESS RELEASES
- SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER
CBC (Edmonton, AB) purchased two TS-22 and six TS-4 talent stations and an additional I/O BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
Laura Ingraham (Washington, DC) added a WDM-4 to an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
Bustos Media (Portland, OR) purchased two IP-12 digital audio consoles with WheatNet-IP audio networking and an M4IP-USB four-channel mic processor.
Durham Radio (Oshawa, ON) purchased IP-12 digital audio consoles with WheatNet-IP audio networking and an M4IP-USB four-channel mic processor.
iHeartMedia (Tucson, AZ) purchased a WDM-1 for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
Leighton Broadcasting (Saint Cloud, MN) purchased two I/O BLADEs and LIO-48 high-density logic BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
Wayne State University’s WDET-FM (Detroit, MI) purchased two LX-24 control surfaces, ten TS-4 talent stations, several WheatNet-IP audio network I/O BLADEs with NAVIGATOR software and an M4IP-USB four-channel mic processor through ENCO Systems.
Family Stations (Oakland, CA) purchased additional I/O BLADEs, one with Clip Player, for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
Skyview Networks (Scottsdale, AZ) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console and I/O BLADE through BSW.
CBC (Edmonton, AB) purchased a TS-4 talent station and I/O BLADEs through Ron Paley Broadcast.
Corus Entertainment (Edmonton, AB) purchased the ScreenBuilder Builder app through Ron Paley Broadcast.
Leighton Broadcasting (Saint Cloud, MN) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console and I/O BLADEs, including several with ClipPlayer.
Hubbard Radio (Phoenix, AZ) added an I/O BLADE to an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
iHeartMedia (Tucson, AZ) purchased a PC driver for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
Larche Communications (Orillia, ON) purchased an L-12 control surface along with I/O BLADEs and NAVIGATOR software.
Leighton Broadcasting (Grand Forks, ND) purchased an I/O BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
Leighton Broadcasting (Winona, MN) purchased an I/O BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
MZ Media (Toronto, ON) purchased an I/O BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Ron Paley Broadcast.
Cogeco (Montreal, QC) purchased a GP-16P-IP and turret for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
Arizona Public Radio (Tucson, AZ) purchased a four-channel PC driver for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
Soundfusion (Pty) Ltd (Johannesburg, South Africa) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console.
Sarthak FM (Delhi, India) purchased two IP-12 digital audio consoles and a WheatNet-IP audio network through Horizon Electronics.
Shenyang Radio (Liaoning, China) purchased seven E-1 control surfaces and the WheatNet-IP audio network through Audio Design Company.
Seidu Agongo (Accra, Ghana) purchased two I/O BLADEs for an existing E-6 control surface and WheatNet-IP audio network.
WGGB-TV (Springfield, MA) purchased three SR-8 studio remote units for an existing Wheatstone audio network.
Good Karma Brands (Beaver Dam, WI) purchased two IP-12 and one IP-16 digital audio consoles and WheatNet-IP audio networking.
University of Illinois’ WILL-AM/FM (Urbana, IL) purchased an LX-24 control surface and WheatNet-IP audio network.
Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) (Birmingham, AL) purchased two Dimension Three with touchScreenBuilder interface television audio consoles.
WCHL-FM (Chapel Hill, NC) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console and network system.
Wells Fargo Video Network (Charlotte, NC) upgraded a D9 console.
Hearst’s WVTM-TV (Birmingham, AL) upgraded a D9 console.
Grupo Imagen (Mexico City, Mexico) purchased three Series Four television audio consoles and WheatNet-IP audio network through Sistemas Digitales.
Grupo Imagen (Mexico City, Mexico) purchased four IP-16, two IP-12 and thirteen L-8 control surfaces and WheatNet-IP audio network through Sistemas Digitales
Televisa (Mexico City, Mexico) purchased two I/O BLADEs through Sistemas Digitales.
KIJI/KNUT-FM (Barrigada, Guam) purchased two TS-4 talent stations and six GP-3 panels for a WheatNet-IP audio network.
KMPH-TV (Fresno, CA) purchased E-6 and E-1 control surfaces and a WheatNet-IP audio network.
iHeartMedia (Louisville, KY ) purchased three Sideboard control surfaces, three IP-16 digital audio consoles and several I/O BLADEs
Townsquare Media (Lake Charles, LA) added fifteen I/O BLADEs to a WheatNet-IP audio network.
Lazer Broadcasting (Bakersfield, CA) purchased two IP-12 digital audio consoles.
WJOL-AM (Joliet, IL) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console.
Yazoo City Hall (Yazoo City, MS) purchased an Air-4 audio console.
Saga (Champaign, IL) purchased a D-76 console.
Dixie State University (St. George, UT) purchased an Air-5 console.
KKOJ-AM/FM (Jackson, MN) purchased an Air-1 audio console.
WTCW-AM/WKXQ-FM (Hudson, NY) purchased an Air-4 audio console.
Alabama State University (Tuscaloosa, AL) purchased an R-55e console.
WEOL-AM (Elyria, OH) purchased a D-76 console.
WKDO-FM (Liberty, KY) purchased an Air-4 console.
Western Michigan University’s WIDR-FM (Kalamazoo, MI) purchased an R-55e console.
Recording Media & Equipment (Miami, FL) purchased two R-55e audio consoles.
Wheatstone Audio Processing
Steve Vanni Associates (Auburn, NH) purchased two FM-55 audio processors.
Rogers Broadcasting (Vancouver, BC) purchased two M1 mic processors through Ron Paley Broadcast.
Townsquare Media (Lake Charles, LA) purchased an AM-55 audio processor.
Cumulus (Lafayette, LA) purchased two FM-55 audio processors.
Markel Radio Group (St. Charles, MO) purchased an FM-55 audio processor.
iHeartMedia (Birmingham, AL) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital recorder/editor.
iHeartMedia (Providence, RI) purchased three VoxPro 6 digital recorder/editors.
iHeartMedia (Tampa, FL) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital recorder/editor
iHeartMedia (San Antonio, TX) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital recorder/editor.
KLLY-FM (Bakersfield, CA) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital recorder/editor.
KPVR-FM (Saint Louis, MO) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital recorder/editor.
Rawlco (Regina, SK) purchased seven VoxPro 6 digital recorder/editor upgrades.
WHHY-FM (Montgomery, AL) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital recorder/editor.
Rogers Broadcasting (Kitchener, ON) purchased three VoxPro 6 upgrades.
Leighton Broadcasting (Saint Cloud, MN) purchased a VoxPro 6 upgrade.
- Oakwood/GS Broadcast Technical Services (Mississauga, ON) purchased a VoxPro 6 digital audio recorder/editor bundle through Ron Paley Broadcast.