First Natchez Radio Group’s one AM and four FM stations broadcast a diverse range of programming from their Natchez, Miss., headquarters to listeners in southwest Mississippi, eastern and central Louisiana.
|First Natchez Radio Group Technical Operations Manager Josh Wells
Not long ago, the group decided that its old radio automation system had finally reached its end-of-life. They sought a dependable solution that would also deliver functional and workflow improvements, and after extensive research decided to make use of the ENCO DAD automation system.
The broadcaster has now deployed the ENCO DAD radio automation platform across its five radio stations.
“The reliability of the new system was our first and foremost consideration, but we also wanted something that offered easy remote access and better voice tracking capabilities,” said Josh Wells, First Natchez Radio Group technical operations manager.
“ENCO DAD met all of our criteria, giving us the robustness and feature-richness we need, while coming in less expensive than its closest competitors,” he explained.
That affordability is enhanced by the DAD platform’s ability to run multiple stations on a single machine. Wells elected to spread the group’s five stations across three on-air systems in order to balance cost-effectiveness, concurrent live program control and redundancy.
The DAD software’s interface has proven easy to learn for operators and its flexible configurability has delivered immediate productivity gains. First Natchez Radio Group also takes advantage of advanced DAD tools such as the DAD Dropbox utility, which eliminates manual conversion and import steps when bringing in audio files.
“When we want to bring songs, imagery or even full shows into the system, we can just drag and drop the files into a folder, and DAD automatically ingests them and inserts them into the library.”
ENCO’s remote voice tracking applications also has found uses. “We augment our local radio personalities with additional talent in Nebraska and Texas, and one of our local DJs is moving to another city, but we want to keep her on the air,” he explained. “ENCO’s fantastic voice tracking tools let us do that. The DAD system automatically sends playlist sections and clips of the songs’ outros and intros to the remote jock, who then uses the DAD Remote Tracking Client to record the voice track and send it back for automatic integration into our playlist. It couldn’t be easier.”
The iDAD application is one of ENCO’s enCloud family of mobile and browser-based tools. “Using the iDAD app, we can send remote commands to the system from our mobile devices through an easy interface, wherever we are,” Wells said.
“iDAD also enables us to have multiple live users on a single system at the same time. While our stations are deployed across three separate computers, we often air four high school football games simultaneously. One live board operator can be in front of the machine using DAD with a mouse, while another operator triggers hot buttons and watches countdowns in a separate DAD array panel through an iPad.”
Together, these capabilities have combined to give First Natchez Radio Group significant operational and workflow improvements.
“It has given us the reliability we need, it’s straightforward to operate, and it saves everybody hours each day,” Wells said.