Making it work
It was obvious from the start that Arrakis was very interested in making it work for us. Customer support and phone training is included. What really impressed us was how easy and effective different features worked. Voice tracking can be time consuming and sometimes painful, but with the Xtreme it is as simple as a couple clicks. Being an on-air personality, it makes a difference to voice track an entire week in a matter of hours. You can also schedule recordings for the entire week. Once it is set up, it automatically records and re-records over news feeds (any satellite source) so that we can play it back at a later time. When I am live, I love to use the jingle (hot key) wall. Anyone who has used a hot-key feature knows how important it is for live shows.
The phoner recorder is also very easy to use and great for when you're live. With a couple clicks you can record, trim and save a recording. Instantly it goes to the library, which makes it easy to throw into the on-air playlist at the last second. The Digilink-Xtreme had evolved quite a bit from the DL-3 and -4 and has perfected a lot of what I like about automation.
Another thing that impressed me from the start was its stability. Automation systems can certainly struggle at times, but we found the Digilink-Xtreme to be a step ahead. When you have 10 stations, stability of an automation system can either be a nightmare or a relief, and we found the Digilink-Xtreme to make our lives easier.
After a year and a half of seeing the benefits of the Digilink-Xtreme for Winona, we decided to purchase the Xtreme for the five other stations at Lakes Radio. Again, this decision was a lot easier since it was only $100 per station. We also liked having uniformity between stations.
Both Winona and Lakes Radio have five stations and each are linked by a simple network. Networking with the Digilink-Xtreme is easy and 100 percent necessary with this many stations. Instead of creating multiple cuts for multiple stations, we are able to drop a spot into multiple stations quickly. The on-air personality can start a track on the on-air machine while traffic can be reconciled on a computer next door; all the while scheduling/programming is done in a room on the other side of the building. The software for the production and traffic computers all came included at no additional charge.
In a time when the economy can shift in a day, the Xtreme has been a real asset; one less expenditure to stress about. It has given us flexibility when we needed it and it makes a difference. It is refreshing when your automation works for you, instead of you working for the automation.
We also get updates for our stations every year included with the Xtreme at no charge. The 2010 update has a great new look and it seems like the look and feel of the system has really come together. We've looked at other systems over the years and never found anything that would work this well for the price. As I said before, quality equipment can really make a difference, and the Digilink-Xtreme has been a pleasure.
Lundquist is program director and morning host on KHME-FM, Winona, MN.
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