For our live, local call-in shows most choose to use the array or mini-array. Each mini-array has 24 buttons per page and 10 pages. Two mini-arrays are included as part of the basic software package. This allows for bumper music and other audio files to be played in any order.
We air Morning Edition and All Things Considered with local content inserted throughout the programs. The studio engineers use both the array and playback machines.
KPCC HD2 and KUOR audio
KPCC broadcasts an HD signal. This gives us two additional channels of content to program. We have one machine controlling two switchers. HD2 is programmed with world news in Spanish from the BBC Mundo. Our switcher machine has control of a Broadcast Tools ACS 8.2 Plus switcher and a Broadcast Tools 6×1B.
For the HD2 signal we have a playlist loaded into one of the playback decks. We use a combination of hard branch events, DCLs and IDs in playback deck one. A hard branch is fired in a playlist at a specific time. DCL is an acronym for DAD Command Language. In our case the playlist hard branch event fires at 59 minutes and 30 seconds each hour. The first event is a DCL that sends a signal to the ACS 8.2 that switches the input to playback deck one. A legal ID is then played, followed by another DCL that signals the switcher to select the BBC Mundo signal as the source.
We also need to get audio to KUOR, which carries the same content as KPCC. It was decided that each station needed its own unique legal ID. This was solved with DCLs. Each cut in DAD can be assigned a start and end DCL. This will fire whenever the associated cut plays. We assigned a start DCL to all of our IDs. The DCL sends a command over the DAD network to the Switcher machine, telling it to play the playlist in playback deck two. The playlist in this deck consists of a DCL to switch the 6×1B machine to deck two's output, followed by a rotated cut, finishing with a switch back to our main on-air signal. A rotated cut is a special cut that will play a different version each time it is called. We populated this cut with various legal IDs, but we could also create a rotated cut with different versions of a spot. For example, an automotive sponsor may wish to highlight a different car each time a spot is played. Instead of the traffic manager scheduling a different spot each time, the system automatically rotates the spot for us.
The software package includes a few other ways to play audio, but we do not take advantage of these machines.
We have a support contract with Enco that provides 24/7 emergency technical support, next business day non-emergency tech support, and upgrades whenever a new version of the software is released. Like all companies, the quality of the support depends on the person that pulls the support ticket. Overall, the support provided has been very good.
We do not upgrade our software with every version, but still upgrade two or three times a year. Program stability has not been an issue. The upgrades contain new features requested by various stations. For example, the start and end DCLs were not able to fire from an array and this was a problem for us. The next version of the software included this ability.
Overall, we are happy with the DAD system. In early 2009 we will move to an entirely new and larger facility, and we plan to use the DAD system there as well.
Krinock is master control specialist for Southern California Public Radio.
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