ENCO DAD Automation Delivers Time Savings and Operational Efficiency for Delmarva Public Radio

Flexibility, reliability and rich toolset help public broadcaster deliver seamless radio experiences across two full-time stations with limited personnel
Publish date:

Southfield, MI,�September�13,�2017���Like many public broadcasters, Delmarva Public Radio�(DPR)�in�Salisbury, Maryland�strives to�bring�quality programming to its�loyal�listeners despite limited staff and resources.�Forming�the heart of�its�operations, a recently-upgraded�ENCO�DAD�radio�automation system enables�DPR�s small team�to�efficiently�keep two full-time radio stations on the air with reduced personnel while adapting rapidly to changes in�their�evolving environment.

DPR operates two FM stations from the same studios on the�Salisbury University campus, carrying�programming from National Public Radio, American Public Media, Public Radio International, the WFMT Network and independent producers.�WSCL�(89.5�FM)�offers�fine arts and cultural content including classical music,�while WSDL (90.7 FM) provides�news and information during the day, and triple-A (adult album alternative) music programming at night.�

Most significantly for station management, the power and flexibility of the ENCO DAD platform have enabled�DPR�to continue to meet their high broadcasting standards even as staff sizes dwindled. �On WSCL, we originally had five on-air classical music hosts,�and we�had�dropped down to�just one,� said Christopher�Ranck, associate�director�of program and operation services at DPR. �That required us to incorporate more syndicated programming�while still ensuring a seamless product, and�to�depend even more heavily on ENCO�s robust automation.�It�s made me really appreciate what DAD can do.�

Ranck�cites a�further�recent personnel change as exemplifying the challenges that ENCO DAD has helped him overcome.��Our remaining classical music host departed fairly�abruptly, leaving me�roughly 24 hours�to get an automated service that uses contact closures on the air,� he explained.��DAD was crucial in enabling me to achieve that�in such a short timeframe. If I wasn�t using a system as versatile and easy to work with as DAD, I don�t know what I would have done.�

Outgrowing the�decade-old�host workstations of�its�previous�ENCO installation�and wanting to rebuild its overall architecture for enhanced network security, DPR upgraded�its�DAD�deployment�last year�with a complete�hardware and software overhaul. DPR�s�DAD system�now features two workstations linked to a central server and�ENCO�s Interchange engine. The�latter system is the�only�element of the installation exposed to the Internet�and�serves�as the gateway between the DAD platform and the outside world, including ENCO�s own�iDAD�remote control�solution�and the third-party content services from which DPR obtains programming.�Under the hood,�the DAD Dropbox utility automatically handles any required format conversions of�incoming content.�

Even prior to the upgrade, DAD�s�rich�toolset,�ease of use, and�extensive�integrated help system�had proven invaluable to�former teacher�Ranck, who had no�radio�experience when he joined�DPR�in 2006.��I went from zero to 60 on DAD,� he recounted.��I was hired to be the weekend classical music DJ, but I also became the station�s problem-solver when we had issues like dead air created by syndicated programming that was shorter than expected, or when�our opera�broadcasts�went�long and would run into other shows. I taught myself how to use DAD to solve these problems, and am continually impressed by what it enables me to do.�

Ranck�highlights the�iDAD�application, part of ENCO�s�enCloud�suite of web-based solutions, as one of his favorite DAD tools. �Having�iDAD�right on my phone gives me the freedom to go out on weekends while being confident that I can address any issues that arise,� he said. �For example, if a show comes in two minutes short, I can use a button in�iDAD�to play audio until the next automated hard branch, avoiding dead air. I have also used�iDAD�to record and submit audio remotely during a major weather event, and I plan to explore using it more for breaking news.�

ENCO�s voice tracking�features�have�similarly given�Ranck�more�flexibility�in his personal schedule while saving him time.�For his�weekly�hosted show, �The Show About...�,�Ranck�creates a theme-based playlist, then records and submits�his voice tracks to DAD.��The�voice tracking tools are a huge time saver, enabling me to do a two-hour show in about 15 minutes,� he praised. "But just as�important, they allow me�to create an evening show with a local presence without actually having to be at the station, giving me more valuable time with my family.�

DPR also makes heavy use of DAD�s Scheduling Wizard. For WSDL�s syndicated content,�Ranck�has configured clocks that direct the station�s Broadcast Tools audio switcher to go to the satellite feed at the correct time, incorporate underwriting messaging through integration with�Marketron�s�Visual Traffic software, and�then�change back to the satellite feed.�The�wizard also saves significant time for�classical�WSCL, allowing the�scheduling of�multiple�symphonies��varying�seasons with corresponding cut numbers as events���thereby�eliminating�the extensive effort of�the traffic person�manually�entering�such�data for each program�as it happens.�

�ENCO DAD has made our lives infinitely easier, saving days of time each week and freeing me up to work on more important tasks,�Ranck�summarized.��Running�two different radio stations, it�s hard to have an ear on both of those stations all the time, so anything I can do to make things�better and�more reliable, I�m all for.�DAD does exactly that.�

About ENCO

Founded in 1983,�ENCO pioneered the use of computer-based,�digital�audio and program�automation�for radio station�and�TV�studios.�The company has since evolved its product line�to�cross all aspects of today�s automated broadcast and production workflows, including closed-captioning, visual radio, audio compliance, instant media playout, remote contribution, and cloud-based web streaming. Its two flagship systems, DAD and MOM, bring the industry�s best reliability, cost-efficiency and intuitive operation to automated radio and TV operations worldwide.�ENCO is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan USA and retains a�global�distribution network, plus a growing network of partnerships with complementary industry vendors. For more information, please visit:�www.enco.com.�