Virtual Radio, College Radio and the End of the Main Studio Rule?

New products, new techniques and an idea about where we are headed June 12, 2017

One of the many benefits of attending the NAB Show is getting a feel for what is going on in the industry — new products, new techniques and an idea about where we are headed. Every year, we enlist Chris Wygal to walk the floor, with eyes wide open and ears attuned, so that we can tell you just what the buzz really is. He will get you up to speed this month.

Currently, virtualization is an important trend. It’s been going on for years in IT, the big cellular carriers are doing it with their radio networks, and finally it’s come to radio as well.

Can you virtualize your consoles? Of course — along with audio playback, audio processing and streaming encoding. Would you want to do that? Well, that’s a question you’ll need to answer yourself.

I remain a skeptic, not of the technology, but of the new paradigm. Nevertheless, I know that, one day, kids growing up using nothing but touchscreens for their entire lives will have no problem with the virtual radio studio.

I, on the other hand, have grown up with computer gear that never seemed completely reliable — and so placing all the eggs in one virtual basket isn’t something I would do by choice. It’s inevitable, although some time in the future.

Our Facility Showcase series has taken you to many larger-market stations, some smaller ones and lots in between. Noncommercial educational stations provide much of the training for younger people who want to get into radio (yes, there are still many who do), and in this issue we take a look at the University of Oregon’s KWVA. This is classic college radio, with studios located in the heart of the campus, sandwiched between a pizza parlor, student lounges, business offices, study spaces and a high-traffic corridor. Those of you who worked in college radio will appreciate this, and if you never did, well, you can get a glimpse of what you missed.

Chris Cottingham started a series on Linux in our April issue and is back to take you through the process of adding Linux to a laptop with a dual-boot scheme. If you’ve wanted to learn more about this operating system, this column is a great opportunity to do so. You can also use this technique to breathe some new life into old laptops, which can be handy for all sorts of things around the station.

Lee Petro covers recent proposed rule changes by the commission, including the possible disappearance of the Main Studio Rule. This is a big one, and is a great example of how the regulations have evolved over the years. You’ll be up to speed after reading this.

I also want to welcome a new author to our pages this month. Matt Anderson has taken the time to bring you some valuable ideas about the configuration of main/backup STL switching in this month’s Tech Tips column.

The Wandering Engineer reports in with his own take on the spring show. Like many of you, he’s “done” the conference innumerable times and has once again lived to tell the tale.

Receive regular news and technology updates. Sign up for our free newsletter here.

Comments