Radio listeners like to interact on-air with their favorite stations, and the telephone is still the easiest way for them to do it. Since the first on-air phone systems were introduced, the technology has advanced to provide exceptional quality from analog phone services. More recently, ISDN, VoIP and other services have been added as available communication channels, and the same attention to quality is being applied.
The basic building block to improve the quality of a POTS phone call is the telephone hybrid. We looked at systems that provide all the call handling functions needed to manage listener calls and put them on the air. Some systems are available in various sizes, and some manufacturers offer more than one system to accommodate various needs.
"Go ahead caller, you're on the air..."
AEQ Systel IP 12
This third-generation Systel talk-show and multi-conference system is built around a digital router and accept lines from IP telephony systems. The processing and connectivity is handled in the 2RU engine. It includes connections for eight analog inputs and eight outputs, four digital inputs and four outputs, four handset ports, 12 GPI and 12 GPO. Configuration software, Web server and Web client will handle an unlimited number of terminals. The SYSTEL IP control terminals feature a handset and a Web browser that can be operated from any PC. The software can also be run on tablet computers. It can handle up to 12 calls at once.
Also available: Systel IP 4
Comrex STAC VIP
STAC VIP takes advantage of advances in VoIP and SIP-based technologies that allow for high-quality voice calls to be made from IP-based PBX systems, smartphones, PCs and VoIP providers. It can also manage VoIP, SIP and HD Voice calls from smartphone apps, soft codecs and Skype. Big Time provides an on-screen clock that will sync with an NTP time server. There is also a Cisco Unified Communications Manager compatibility mode. It includes the STAC IP Call Screening and Control Interface. The STAC VIP Caller Management system integrates with a VoIP PBX system.
Also available: STAC 6, STAC 12
Broadcast Bionics PhoneBox4
A software-based system that runs on a PC, PhoneBox4 accepts POTS, ISDN and SIP lines and calls. Hybrids are dynamically assigned to calls to the quantity desired. The system goes further to become a total communications center and accepts SMS, email and integrates with social media. Additional features can be added including Prize Manager for prizes, Data Manager for database information, Stats to analyze caller info, and Oasis to integrate with social media services and messaging services. The system can be stand-alone in a single studio or networked across a wide area. PhoneBox is also compatible with the Telos VX engine.
Also available: PhoneBox Solo
JK Audio Concierge
JK Audio has a modular family of talk show system components. The heart of the system is the Concierge switch core, allowing connection of two hybrids across six phone lines. The switch matrix routes six incoming analog phone lines to JK Audio Innkeeper 1rx or Innkeeper 2 digital hybrids. Concierge adds a music-on-hold input, auxiliary phone integration, and intuitive call control. Two Concierge switch cores can be bridged to provide six additional phones lines for a two-hybrid, 12-line system. Up to eight Guest Module control surfaces can provide remote control of the switch matrix over CAT5 cable.
Telos VX shares phone lines across a number of studios using standard IP technology. It is a scalable system that is compatible with a variety of VoIP gateways and PBXs. Gateways are available for POTS, T1/E1, and both BRI and PRI ISDN. Units can be installed as rack-mount units for large numbers of connections or desktop boxes that interface a few POTS lines. The SIP interface transfers calls between the office and studio systems. The VX Engine is a 2RU device providing call control and audio processing. There is one hybrid per line, allowing multiple calls to be conferenced and aired simultaneously with excellent quality. Several VSet phones are available.
Also available: Hx6