As I write this, New York, Washington, D.C., and much of the eastern seaboard is still digging out from January’s Winter Storm Jonas. I’m sure many of you spent much of your time over that weekend tending to your station(s).
Now that the blizzard has passed, think of the silver lining: It was a great opportunity to stress test your main and backup systems!
The big natural disasters give us a chance to see how well our systems were able to withstand the wrath of nature. As a fellow natural disaster veteran, I recommend you do a couple of things, before too much time goes by:
Hold a departmental debriefing meeting to gather facts about what worked — and what didn’t
Make up an action list of steps needed to take care of all the systems that didn’t live up to expectations
Draft another list of ways that the next (inevitable) disaster can be handled more effectively
As I said, don’t wait too long before the debriefs and brainstorming sessions regarding what could be done better next time; it’s best to do so while the details are fresh in your memory. After all, the next storm could be right around the corner.
In this issue, we have three “hands-on” articles designed to help you deal with typical needs of a radio station.
Chris Cottingham is back with his series on remote access; he demonstrates how to configure a firewall to allow for remote connections to an AoIP codec. There’s nothing difficult about that — though you may not realize it until you get it done the first time.
Aaron Read of Rhode Island Public Radio describes how to use dual IP links in order to drastically reduce cost, while increasing the reliability of AoIP connections.
And in Tech Tips we continue our series on rehabilitating old vacuum tube transmitters; we’re looking at the final amplifier input circuit in detail this time.
We all like to look at “shiny, new stuff” too, right? Mark Greenhouse gives us a detailed look at the new and excellent Cumulus Media facility in San Francisco. Its location holds a special place in my heart.
If you find yourself with capital to spend on a new on-air phone system, read our Trends in Technology article on that subject. We’ve included recording and playback systems as well. Recorders aren’t just digital; they’re networked now, and that can change your workflow considerably.
Lee Petro’s FCC Update column tackles what can happen to stations that don’t take all necessary steps to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the FCC rules. The lesson applies to all broadcast companies — big and small.
Installed on the last page of this month’s issue you will once again find the Wandering Engineer’s Sign Off. He (or she) poses the question: What attracts us to, and keeps us interested in, a vocation that, perhaps, values our highly-developed skills less than others would? Is it because the vocation of broadcast engineering is so closely related to the avocation of ham radio? You be the judge. I’ve said too much already.
Doug Irwin, CPBE AMD DRB | Technical Editor