Back in September, I contributed an article to
Radio magazine about electronic newsgathering
for radio. In this edition of Tech Tips, we’re going to look at a method that could
certainly be used for RENG—although the real purpose,
in this case, for KOHL(FM) is remote broadcasts.
Tom Briseno is broadcast instructor and program
director of KOHL(FM) at Ohlone College in Fremont,
Calif. Tom wrote to me and described some 21st century
techniques in use there.
“I wanted to share with you how we do remotes now
that our digital STL gives us a huge delay,” he began.
“Radio— the last analog broadcast medium — uses the digital infrastructure
to link studio to transmitter and to stream its content on the Web. Another
radio standard that needs to move to the Web is that of remote broadcasts. The
old, crappy sounding, pre-recorded phone call-in should have been put to rest
in the last century.”
I’m sure most of us agree
with those sentiments.
Tom went on: “With Wi-Fi-capable smartphones and
reliable 3G and 4G networks,
pre-recorded 320 kb MP3 content
or news breaks can sound
fairly close to studio quality.
The best part is that it hardly
costs anything. Every news
reporter and air personality has
a smartphone and almost every
radio station has a VoxPro, the main ingredients of great-sounding remotes.”
Tom mentioned a few apps that are available.
First, Twisted Wave, for iOS. (Costs $9.99, http://twistedwave.com/mobile).
Some of its important features:
• The waveform is updated in real time
• Drag the waveform to
move, pinch to zoom
• Undo/redo works
• Amplify or normalize
to adjust levels
• Add faces in or out
• Configure multiple FTP
• Send compressed files
(AAC) to save time and
Another app used by KOHL is the iRig recorder from
IK Multimedia (ikmultimedia.com/products/irigrecorder/).
Among its important features:
• One-touch recording with real-time
• Non-destructive editing tools to cut, crop and loop your recordings
• Organizes your recordings by creation date and tags with geolocation
• Transfer files via email, Wi-Fi or iTunes File Sharing with upload to
FTP or SoundCloud
• Export files as compressed .m4a or uncompressed .wav
• Recording time is only limited by the storage space on your iOS device
Actually, IK Media has an interesting set of products for use in recording
with both iPhones and Android devices. Tom also likes the iRig Pre, which is
basically an XLR interface for your iPhone, iPad or Android device.
|The iRig Pre
“Also needed is a cloud service to upload the MP3s. Dropbox works
flawlessly. The VoxPro can be set up to automatically download any files
from the cloud service, eliminating the need for recording
manually by a studio operator. Do this by configuring
VoxPro’s ‘auto import’ function (which is in the settings
pulldown menu) to scan the Dropbox folder.
“Once a break or actuality is recorded it can be renamed
and “shared/sent” to the cloud service, and will automatically
pop up in the studio VoxPro for airing. The File will appear as
a number, or it can be named before sending it from phone.
“It is best to use Wi-Fi to send the MP3s. It is not uncommon
for an 8-minute MP3 to take 8 minutes to upload via
3G cell network, about 4 minutes via 4G. The same size file would take
about 2 minutes via Wi-Fi.
“We have successfully used this method at many client remotes, to
everyone’s satisfaction. It is generally agreed by all participants that the
sound is preferable to phone call-ins or RPU remote pick-ups.”
We’re always looking for tech tips such as this, and I thank Tom for
sending this one to us. If you have a slick application or technique that
you’d like to tell us all about, please send it on to me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Irwin is RF engineer/project manager for Clear Channel Los Angeles.
Contact him at email@example.com.