Which Medium Do FM Radio Stations Use?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chuck C, Nov 26, 2002.

  1. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    Do they use CDs? cassettes? records? all three? another? If CDs...how come they never skip or have I just not been listening carefully?

    thanks!
     
  2. James L White

    James L White Supporting Actor

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    8 tracks[​IMG]probably Cds
     
  3. Jeremy Jones

    Jeremy Jones Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a friend who's been a DJ at several local stations, both country and rock, and he said that they've all gone to MP3. He says it's easier to handle and they don't skip.
     
  4. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    MP3 is fine as long as they use a decent bitrate. But the idea of playing music from a computer is older than MP3. They've been doing it for years using MPEG Layer II, Dolby AC-2, and aptX, which were the predecessors of MP3, Dolby Digital, and the DTS codec used in cinemas respectively. At first it was used just to play commercials, replacing the old analog "cart" tape machines at radio stations. Then as hard drives became more spacious and inexpensive enough to hold many hours of audio, they began using it to play music too.
     
  5. Christopher P

    Christopher P Supporting Actor

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    When I was at KZOK in Seattle a few years back, they used CDs, and I got to see a little of how they recorded promos at to their computers, since I actually cut one for them (a promo, that is).

    Chris
     
  6. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    most would use MP3's now. My roommate was a DJ for a bit, they had a wavestation machine, you could select the tracks you wanted to play out of the database, record the voicetracks in between songs, then tell the computer to play it at whatever time you wanted, and you were done, no need to sit there for 2 hours during your show, you could program it in half an hour.
    if it wasn't in the database it was on CD, if it was old it was on vinyl [​IMG]
     
  7. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    Hmm at the stations where I jocked (long-assed shifts Monday through Friday 6pm-11pm; sucked).

    KNOE FM102 100kw CHR
    All cart format with (8) IT cart machines running at 7.5ips with MaxTrax heads, Audiopak SGS-4 carts and no NR.
    That SGS-4 tape could tape major pounding without (noticeable) distortion and had a very low noise floor when using those MaxTrax heads. Lower than even most pop CD's from which they were dubbed and certainly lower than our analog STL. Carts can sound good if the heads, capstans and pinchrollers are cleaned often. This is especially important if using dbx type 2 or Dolby SR.

    KMYY Y-106 100kw "Kickin' Country"
    We had a 486 box running dos 6.23 Pristine audio delivery system with 2 Antex cards and coding with AC-2. The hard drive was a Micropolis 9.4 gb "AV Drive". I hated that system. It was connected to a 386 in production that was using some program that a shareware demo version (don't remember which one). The video was slow on the pc but you could pass this audio through the card to hear whether the levels were being clipped without actually writting to the drive. This was important due to the slow video. The music came from 32 Pioneer CD Changers. They worked okay and sounded pretty decent but if the clamping in them got out of adjustment they had a tendency to scuff the center of the cd making the toc un readable sometimes.

    The Pristine system was later replaced with Enco's DAD based on DOS and a pseudo gui interface on 486 boxes with 16 mb ram. It was a lumbering piece of shit but was at least mouse driven which made using it easier for some of the jocks. I think it was using Antex cards and it certainly was using AC-2.

    Enco also had a DAD Pro version that was 32 bit and ran on NT 4.0.

    In all honesty the carts weren't bad for their time but required more care than any of the computer bases delivery systems.

    Too much info?
     
  8. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    The station at which I'll be volunteering tomorrow has no MP3 capabilities, unless you run a line in from your personal laptop (which is what my old roommate did for his volunteer show). Granted, it's a community radio station, so upgrades tend to be made when others are generous enough to make them.

    As it stands, I'll be using a mix of CD and MiniDisc. They also have tape and vinyl capabilities, but I don't.
     
  9. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    most interesting, thanks everyone
     
  10. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    ether [​IMG]
     
  11. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    actually, ether is for AM stations.
    sub-ether for FM - it's faster!
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Jeff Loughridge

    Jeff Loughridge Stunt Coordinator

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    It's pretty much been said, but I can't let this one go by without saying something. At my stations, all of our music is MPEG-II at 256 Kb. If I were designing the system now, I would go linear, but the cost was prohibitive when we bought.

    As a matter of quality control, I only allow commercials delivered as mp3's on the air, but prefer MP2. No music is ever done in MP3. Even at a high bit rate, it is too lossy and falls apart when aggressively processed. All music is ripped directly from CD, there is no analog component.

    The AM station uses an analog STL, both FM's are digital. One is 48 kHz linear, the other is 32 kHz Apt-X. The lossy Apt-X is the other reason I don't allow mp3's. Run an mp3 through 4:1 Apt-X, then process it and it sounds awful.

    Our consoles are digital, 44.1 kHz AES/EBU in and out. Of course, analog modules for mic's and non-digital sources.
     
  13. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    Not too much information for me, Scott. I work at a company which makes a competitor to the various digital systems you named. But yeah, it's probably too much info for anyone not in the biz.

    Don't get me started about processing, Jeff. Sometimes I think the companies that make car CD changers should pay kickbacks to Orban for sending so much business their way.
     
  14. andrew markworthy

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    MP3 or another computer-stored method is usually used on a lot of Brit radio stations (I know that the BBC is now digital). T

    wo of the great bonuses of this method not so far mentioned are royalties and playlists:

    (a) the bane of a radio presenter's life used to be filling in a sheet after each broadcast indicating which records he or she had played. This then had to be sent off to whichever organisation was responsible for working out radio play royalties so they in turn could be paid to the artists responsible. With a computerised system, this can be done automatically.

    (b) likewise, it's now v. easy to work out how often a track has been played (for compiling radio play hitlists and similar)

    (c) it's also possible to keep a tighter control over what gets played when. E.g. during the daytime, automatically barring songs with more 'colourful' lyrics from being played. I don't know if the same applies in other countries, but in time of a crisis (e.g. the Gulf War, etc) the BBC has a list of banned records. This isn't political as much as being extra sensitive (to give you an idea - The Cure's 'Killing an Arab' was banned during the Gulf and Afghanistan conflicts). With a computer-driven medium, it's very easy to impose a ban rather than give each DJ a list and say 'check this before playing anything'.
     
  15. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    Giving the DJ a list of what songs he can't play implies that he has the freedom to choose the songs he'll play. At many stations that's not his job, it's the program director's job. And the program director uses music scheduling software to generate the exact sequence of songs to play each day, all of it carefully calculated to have maximum listenership. The DJs are given this exact sequence of songs to play and they're expected to play it with no exceptions or substitutions. So banning certain songs would be as easy as setting the music scheduling software to omit them from the list, the DJs can't play what's not on the list.
     
  16. Jeff Loughridge

    Jeff Loughridge Stunt Coordinator

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    Wayne, who do you work for? Enquiring minds want to know!
     
  17. Art Martinez

    Art Martinez Stunt Coordinator

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    What Wayne said was very true. A few years back I was wroking at 97.3 KKSS in Albuquerque and we were at the time switching from using cd to using a digital music system called "encoe" (sp?). As Wayne said this system allowed a "PD" program director to block songs. The station I worked at was a CHR/Crossover station that played a lot of rap and R&B. A lot of songs by Ja Rule, Cypress Hill, 2Pac, Wu Tang, etc. were programed as to not play till after 7:00 pm. Though, we still did have a couple of Denon CD players in the studio so we could always play things off CD if we were running short. (I mean if we were running at a pace to finnish the hours scheduled music before the end of the hour.)

    As to why CD's don't seem to skip, well let me tell you they do form time to time. Though it isn't your fault you usually get an ear full from the "PD" if he hears a CD skip. The only worse crime is haveing "dead air". (Nothing playing) The CD players we used required us to put the CD's in a plastic case about the size of a regular CD case. The difference is that the bottom of this case had a sliding window much like the sliding window of a floppy disc that exposes the raw disc. This allows you to handle discs quickly without fear of ruining the surface.
     
  18. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    hehe corporate radio really does suck [​IMG]
    the roommate was on a public station and programmed a daily 2 hour show however she liked it, usually in sets of 3 similar songs or so, since there were no commercials and only a few weather and station breaks she played a LOT of music
     
  19. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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