Thursday, December 21, 2006

Toys for Tots - Remote on the Move

'Tis the season (where have I heard that before?) Anyway, Frank Kelley from WBOQ sent me this fabulous story with pictures. What a great remote, Frank!!

"A 15 hour day started at 3am, getting ready for our annual Toys for Tots toy drive. 1 announcer, 1 engineer, 4 interns 1 promotions person, a state senator started a caravan to the Capital Diner in Lynn, MA for the first of many remotes to held on the same day. (They forgot to feed the engineer!) It turned out to be a a nice day and the Coast Guard even came by with a boat to haul away all the toys. We were using a Matrix with a GSM module. I was amazed that there is still a network here on the Northshore! It functioned with no problems at all. After the diner stop, our caravan of a jeep, an RV (holding the Senator) a Coast Guard safe boat and Santa Clause rolled to a plumbing supply house where we were serenaded by a high school choral group. We aired that live as well. We then went an Ice cream stand that even Santa Clause liked! I was afraid that we may lose the network for the Matrix, as we were travelling every back road that is there, but like a trooper, the Matrix held up! Our third stop was a great seafood shack where Engineer Grumpy was finally fed! We stopped in Ipswich to collect the toys from the local bank, where I made the stop at the wrong bank! I ate more cookies than anyone at the health club where our next stop was. Here we had a few minutes of interference with the the GSM Matrix, but it quickly recovered. We were travelling to Rockport, MA when it was getting dark and the police were waiting for us to give us an escort (lights and siren) into downtown to the greatest candystore you could ever hope for! Our last stop was Downtown Glouster, MA where we actully stopped traffic with Santa Clause riding the Coast Guard safe boat. All our vehicles that day 2 jeeps, 2 boats, an RV and a SUV were full to capicity with toys. Thanks to the portability of the Matrix, we were on the air from each location with a minimum of setup time and hassle. I will always use a Matrix whenever and wherever I can"

Frank Kelley - engineering WBOQ

Friday, December 08, 2006

Car Dealerships at Christmas. ACCESS Delivers.

What better time for a remote than December? What better place than a car dealership? ACCESS on IP makes it easy. When WAAF recently did a Toys for Tots drive at Boch Toyota, they chose ACCESS on IP to deliver the remote.

The remote went without a hitch. As the broadcast was delivered on an existing IP link, there were no charges for phone lines or connections.

Personally, I think the reindeer was a bit scary, but I think that's just me!

Just kidding. The reindeer adds a lot to the remote. Really. Mean it. :)

Friday, September 22, 2006

ACCESS on VSAT - A clever solution from our friends in the UK

Over in England, our friends at Vortex have been working with the BBC on some trials using the Access over VSAT. Jon Clark takes up the story…

"One of the impacts of so much on-demand radio is that the stations themselves need to play to their one great strength, live content. Being one of the world’s largest providers of on-demand services, the BBC is only too aware of this. They have therefore launched the “Edge” project which aims to look at new methods for linking live to OB vehicles, including alternatives to the traditional UHF radio car. They already make extensive use of the Matrix over GSM and are interested by the prospect of going a step further, providing very high quality OB audio, including the possibility of stereo.

To that effect, they have built three experimental vehicles, all kitted out with self-seeking VSAT dishes. Once the vehicles are commissioned, they will travel around the UK spending 2 weeks at one of their local radio stations before being moved onto the next. This way, everyone will get a chance to see the technology, use it in the real world and provide feedback to the project.

The vehicles themselves are Ford Galaxies, which are considered fairly large here in Europe, but by US folks’ standards are probably something small for popping down the mall. They’re big enough to hold all the kit and up to four people whilst still feeling like a normal car to drive so as not to scare off journalists of a nervous disposition. Once parked up, a simple couple of button presses gets the dish aligned in a few minutes and the internet is then available.

One of the vehicle’s first home was BBC Radio Kent in the southeast of England. It turns out that its arrival was timely because the day before had seen their radio car involved in a small altercation with another vehicle. It would be unprofessional of me to mention who did it but I do understand that it was her first such misdemeanour in an otherwise blemish-free 20 years of service. Nonetheless, the radio car was going to be out of service for a few days so when I arrived, what was supposed to be a nice relaxing day setting everything up because a mad rush against time to get everything ready for the impending OB.

We were all set to go when the whole of the town was plunged into darkness by power failure. We’ve been having something of a heat wave in England lately and it seems everyone has been panic buying air-con units, which took the power companies by surprise. No problem for Radio Kent though because the emergency generator kicked in on-cue to keep everything on-air. As we left for the OB, we noticed a fire engine arriving at the neighbouring store to rescue people stuck in the elevator. It turned out to be rather fortuitous because ten minutes later, the aforementioned generator started a “thermal event” in the surrounding woodwork.

After all this drama, we were hoping for something a little more relaxed from the OB and that’s exactly what we got. The setting was the beautiful Squerryes Court in nearby Westerham, complete with its 17th century manor house, lake and historic gardens. The place is surrounded by rolling hills, which play havoc with the UHF signal from the usual radiocar meaning that, until now, OBs from that area have been strictly Matrix only. No such problems for the VSAT though which was up and running within a couple of minutes of arrival.

Since we had a fair bit of uplink bandwidth available, I had taken the liberty of upgrading the Access units with a sneaky Beta release kindly sent to me by Tom at Comrex, providing the addition of AAC algorithms on top of the usual lower bitrate BRIC offerings. These turned out to be just the job and we were able to run low-delay stereo AAC on the uplink at 128kb/s. The sound quality using this algorithm is highly impressive and this was verified upon our return by plenty of smiling faces. All in all, a very successful start and one that I’m sure the BBC will be building on over the next couple of months."

Very cool, Jon! The BBC certainly is resourceful at getting fabulous audio from anywhere!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sunrise over IP

Spring break in Cancun sounds like a great idea if you live in Chicago during the brain-numbing cold of the winter months. Doing a remote from Cancun and trying to find reliable ISDN service however can be as equally mind-numbing. Clear Channel Chicago’s KISS-FM (WKSC) found this out the hard way.

This past April, the station took a bunch of its listeners down to the perennial Spring party spot for a live remote and to enjoy the beautiful beaches and incredible sunrises. There are worse things in life to be sure. Like…oh, let’s say…your remote gear getting fried! Mark Pietrzak from the engineering staff at Clear Channel Chicago had taken his trusty Matrix portable with him to Mexico but you know what they said about the best laid plans.

“Yep,” says Mark, “I hosed up my ISDN adapter. I couldn't get a straight answer about the ISDN service. For instance, what kind of switch I was dealing with, SPIDs or dialing. I did get lots of polite smiles and well-meaning shrugs. I'm chalking my failure up to inexperience in dealing with Mexican telecoms, the language barrier and the fact that it was the weekend and all the really experienced phone guys weren't in the office. The cool thing is that just about every installer and tech understood what a DSL was.”

And luckily, Mark had taken along his new Comrex Access Stereo BRIC IP codec! Given the fact that Access is both POTS and IP and its ease of use, it was a great choice to have on hand. Says Mark, “We stayed off the hotel's WAN. Instead, the hotel got us a DSL which they wired to the deck outside my Promotions Director's room. Our feed from the station experienced noticeable jitter only twice during the entire show, but we heard no complaints from the station. After the show was over I plugged in my wireless router and had private wireless internet access for both me and my Promotions Director. We even won some major points with the travel agent by letting her log on. We were able to send our photos for the website right from our rooms. Our Bermuda remotes are quickly approaching. We've tested ISDN there but a rack-mount Access is definitely going along.”

As for the melted down Matrix ISDN module? No worries! Comrex Tech Support was able to get it back into working order.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Minuteman Communications always gets their man... um... I mean, their remote

This week's impossible remote was aired on WBCN from Massasoit Community College in Brockton. John Mullaney made it happen with virtually no notice.

From John - "This was a situation where the Access was the best option. No time to order lines with the one day of notice on the remote. PBX system prevented use of POTS codec's and we where out of our RPU range. However being at a state college we snagged a wired network connection out of an office window and we were off and running. WBCN's Hardy was the Jock hosting this student lunchtime event in the Quad. I did our first cut in using Bric1 Mono and then changed to Bric2 12K mono for the second two. Everything worked out very well."

Thanks for the story, John. I'm trying to think what you would have done a year ago. Any ideas?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Are You Tired of STL-over-the-Public-Internet Stories Yet?

We hope not, because this story was just sent to Comrex's email, and we love it. Comrex still doesn't suggest that you use the Public Internet for an STL, because we will never completely trust the 24/7 reliability of the service. But this story does such a good, objective job of evaluating the ACCESS codec, we really felt it needed to be shared.

So here is the email, un-edited and in its entirety, from Marvin Walther, Chief Engineer for WIOS-AM, WKJC-FM, WQLB-FM and WKJZ-FM

"We originally had a fractional T1 running from our studio in Alpena, Michigan to our main broadcast center in Tawas City, Michigan, over 60 miles away. The T1 crossed LATAS for Verizon and AT&T, and was becoming cost-prohibitive (over $1,000 a month). One of our Telos Zephyrs finally gave up the ghost and was toast after 5 years of operation. The Adtran TSU 600 units and the Zephyrs have now been replaced by a router and a dedicated business com IP connection from studio to studio via Charter internet services at both locations and the Comrex Access products. We don't cross LATAS anymore, and our bill has been cut by 75% just for a broadband connection.

The Comrex Access Rack performs well on the internet connection with only 368 Kbps upload and 3 Mbps download speed. The IP is static and the Comrex units are configured to be static as well, through dedicated routers on a seperate WAN from our existing in-house internet access. Andy at Comrex was wonderful with helping me set up these units, in fact he went beyond normal working hours one evening to help me set up the recieve-studio end. Because of this dedication to their product and customer service, I'd recommend this product. It's reliable and delivers as advertised.

We are using this product as a continuing service (always on) from one studio to the other, with a bi-directional connection that provides air monitor back to the originating studio location. There are a couple of caviats you should watch for, though. In our situation the HQ2 audio codec caused too much 'swishing" of the highs of the audio to suit me. With Andy's help we changed the codec to HQ1 and the highs improved drastically, but then the midrange seemed to become more sensitive to flanging effects and midrange boosts in equalization in processing and from Rock music programming content. However, with some EQ tweeks in processing, the midrange tamed down and the MP3-like artifacts became very acceptable for a remote STL-type broadcast.

The unit has operated for nearly two weeks in the HQ1 mode without a single audio drop-out or interuption in service. The HQ2 mode, at set-up, initially had more frequent drop-outs when accessing the Access Rack via the internet browser, and when not accessed at all it had drop-outs as well. Since changing to HQ1, though, the drop-outs don't occur at all! Because of the way the Packets arrive at the reciever for reassembly, this may not be related to the Comrex product directly. Every network is dynamic, and some networks behave better with larger Packets at slower bitrates. That seems to defy logic, but given that time domains in the IP environment are always shifting, I suppose anything is possible given the type of servers and routers used, among other variables.

Another thing to watch for is to make sure your audio source material is the best you can pipe into the transmit end of the Access. Any bad-quality, or marginal MP3's will have their inherent audio flaws accented by the Access Rack in any of the HQ modes (HQ1 being the best transmission mode right out of the box with no AAC plug-in, in my humble opinion). The HQ codecs operate at different bit rates than what is found in standard MP3's, so avoid bit rates below 128 or 192 on your transmit end and don't let your jocks play audio scavenged off the internet at questionable bit-rates through the Access, you'll probably notice the effect on the air if you do.

We could have opted to roll off the highs with the 12Khz codec, but we run satellite audio after business hours, so I wanted the audio to match up as closely as possible (with either HQ1 or HQ2 having a roll-off of 15Khz) to the satellite source. We are in the process of making every single automation music track 320Kbps MP3 at full bandwidth (44.1Khz), just to be sure we are piping the best audio we can into our transmitter. Everything could be WAV file, but the music plays from a server in our Smartcaster system, so MP3 or AAC is the best option to play the audio across the network. 320Kbps does this well and performs very acceptably through the Comrex Access Rack. In the future we plan on using the Comrex Access in linear mode when we get our own IP pipeline from the studio to the transmitter, then any concerns about audio quality will be moot. However, if you have the extra money, buy the AAC codec plug-in for the Access to save you some bandwidth and improve the audio quality. I also like the fact that these units can upgrade software codecs just like a computer, and they have a bullet-proof Linux core OS so these babies can sit right on the network and not get hit by all the crazy stuff out there on the web.

Overall, the Cost versus Performance ratio is excellent. I'd recommend the Comrex Access as a great replacement option to cut costs for T1 or ISDN service and still perform acceptably for FM broadcast. If using Access for an AM STL, I would think the performance would be just as good as any standard STL. Although not designed explicitly to be an STL, right now the Comrex Access performs well as one, and I may add reliably to this point in this engineer's experience. We are now going to commit to full purchase from BSW and retire our antique fractional T1. By the time we take the additional phone circuits off our T1 as well as the T1 itself, our savings will be about $1,100 a month even after paying for the dedicated network connection through Charter internet! Thanks Comrex, for an alternative, affordable solution that finally gives the phone company a run for its money! Competition is a good thing!

Marvin Walther
Chief Engineer
Tawas City, MI
Alpena, MI

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Ticket - Dallas

Back in April, Cumulus Radio Dallas sports talk giant The Ticket jumped on the reality bandwagon and launched probably the first reality radio show in history. They were given a brand new home in a new development by a national home builder in a northern suburb of Dallas to use for one week. The entire airstaff and a few brave engineers all moved into the Ticket Compound to live and work together for the whole week. As you can imagine, “Big Brother”-style mayhem ensued. Jocks would randomly crash one another’s shows, fight over the remote control and steal each other’s food from the fridge. Well, that was the fun and relatively easy part.

When the engineering team started to investigate the technical aspects of the remote, they were dismayed to discover that this new development was totally devoid of copper. As such, there was no possibility of getting ISDN pulled to the home. This fiber only area was being serviced by Verizon’s new FiOS…their fiber optic internet service which offers blazing data speeds of 3MB up and down.

This remote easily became the most talked about in Dallas and listeners are still buzzing about the event today. But faced with seemingly insurmountable technical challenges, Dallas Engineering Manager Rob Chickering turned to the Comrex Access to provide 24/7 audio coverage of the event.

“Basically we were using the codec in BRIC-HQ2 15 kHz stereo mode but using one return channel from the station to feed the web video encoder with the other providing IFB,” says Chickering. “We fed 15 kHz mono back to the station for on-air. I can honestly say, ‘This box rocks!!!’ We had a Marti as a back up but never used it. It was great to be able to use the Access web interface to monitor the connection statistics during the entire remote and there was plenty of data overhead throughout the week long broadcast. We only had one minor interruption during the whole week and that was due to a router issue on the station side. The audio quality of the codec was superb. Programming was ecstatic even though they were initially concerned about staying connected over an IP connection for the entire week. We had the highest book the radio station has ever had. With a 13.8 share, Men 25-54 AQH and a 19:25 TSL during the week of this remote, I’d say that The Ticket Compound was truly a great test for this product.

After the first day we had absolutely no worries about the viability of Access for this very high profile, week-long remote. Management was pumped and incredibly happy that we pulled this whole thing off!”

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

Comrex did not design the ACCESS to replace existing STL technology. While it was thought that the ACCESS would be exceedingly popular for STL back-up, we really never intended it to be used on the public internet as a primary Studio to Transmitter Link. Especially wirelessly.

So imagine our concern... No... Our DISMAY when we learned that of the first run of ACCESS, several pair had been purchased for exactly that usage. When we spoke with the customers and said that we really didn't think the public internet was the appropriate transmission path for an STL!!! THE LIFE BLOOD OF A RADIO STATION!!!!! We were told by one customer, "OK. The choice my station has is to use the ACCESS on DSL or to go dark. Do you think my station should go dark?"

So what choice did we have. We went back into the "ivory tower of coding miracles" and developed version 1.1, an even more robust version of code. We STILL do not encourage use of the public internet for STL. But in the interest of understanding that you gotta do what you gotta do, we will tell the story of one station who was out of options.

Stevan White is a contract engineer based in Amarillo, TX and KDJW 1360 AM (also in Amarillo) is one of his clients. He was given the task of getting KDJW's STL reliably functioning on the ACCESS over wireless internet. Stevan was not displeased with the initial performance with code revision 1.0, but talking with him sparked some ideas in the ACCESS engineering team and so Stevan was the first beta tester of version 1.1.

This is what Stevan had to say about this.

"As good as the ACCESS worked right out of the box we were having some issues with our ISP that made our "STL" a little less than desirable with occasional dropouts, hiccups and Darth Vader, Jr. sounding coding delay.

(They later found and fixed a router problem which made a huge difference in the quality of our connection.) As soon as it was available, (Comrex) sent us the software upgrade via email. We waited a while to do it so we could be sure to have things set up and in place to make the process as smooth as possible. Since we use the Access to send our network audio feed to the studio (satellite dish and receiver are at the transmitter site due to lack of space at the downtown studio) I got set up and ready to go but waited until after the local ID and patched the satellite audio feed directly to the audio processor. The only interruptions we would have during the whole process would be the few seconds to move the XLR connector before and after the process.

My A+ certified computer whiz son John, who works with me on a lot of studio and transmitter projects, had the software ready to go on the computer at our home office. After we were "in the clear" he disconnected both Access codecs and began the update process. We reset everything to factory default as the instructions suggested.

After reconnecting and rechecking all of our settings, I put the Access back on the air. The whole process, including our double checking and rechecking of everything we could think of, took 55 minutes total. Except for a few seconds of silence while making the switch, we couldn't hear any difference in the quality of the audio! The audio still sounded just as good making the trip to the studio and back as it did direct.

This same client is talking about a low power FM project in a small community almost 200 miles away. They want to broadcast the same program material from that location. (I started thinking about using the Access for point to multipoint distribution.) They also wanted to know if they could do all this without a studio there. My reply?
No problem."

If you are an ACCESS user and your codec does not have version 1.1, it may be worth upgrading as it could enhance performance. Or you could wait and upgrade to version 2.0 in mid July. As with most Comrex upgrades, there is no cost to upgrade, so it is worth checking the upgrade page on the Comrex website regularly.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

"Happiest Balloon on Earth Tour" with Disney

Ok. This one isn't an ACCESS remote. They used a Matrix on GSM. But I was so charmed by the resourcefulness of Mike Ames, who engineered the remotes.

Consider the challenge. Mike was charged with delivering two weeks of remotes from 11 different cities. From a HOT AIR BALLOON!!!! Yup. You heard me right. He needed to use the Matrix on GSM while the talent was floating around in a balloon. One of the biggest difficulties was getting the talent to be completely self-sufficient. The talent needed to be able to bound into the balloon with all necessary equipment during the brief moment that the balloon was on the ground.

Creative engineering was necessary. Mike designed a way to modify a gear bag in order to be able to make a Matrix wearable including battery, GSM module, and antenna (as well as mics, etc). He did a heck of a job. Don't you think?

From Mike:

"You can tell my story. It was the "Happiest Balloon on Earth Tour" with Disney (celebrating the 50th anniversary of the park). The cities we went to were Tucson, AZ - Phoenix, AZ - San Diego, CA - Fresno, CA - San Francisco, CA - Sacramento, CA - Vancouver, BC - Seattle, WA - Portland, OR - Salt Lake City, UT - & Albuquerque, NM. We did mostly am remotes, starting at 05:00 am, except for Vancouver, BC which was a pm flight. Three or four of the cities we had 2 stations broadcasting at the same time, with only one station at a time actually flying in the balloon. When a station did fly in the balloon, they were generally in the air for around 45 minutes. Whether they flew in the balloon or were just tethered, the broadcasts were around 3 hours, from set up to strike of the balloon.

We were lucky enough to have the best pilots in the business, in Scott and Laurie Spencer who have flown for some 30 plus years, we also picked up crew members for the balloon set up and strike in each city. Besides engineering the remotes in the morning, I had to actually assist with the crewing in the pm, which made for a very long day. But it was truly a great experience, and I learned a lot about being in the middle of no where trying to do a Live Broadcast, what a great challenge."

Mike used T-Mobile and was successful in all locations with no exceptions. This is surprising and delightful to us at Comrex, as we have been hearing more and more horror stories about GSM carriers dropping support for CSD. We are theorizing that perhaps being Disney doesn't hurt?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Radio Free Asia - Live from the Himalayas

Ok. This isn't really a remote broadcast. It's a regular broadcast from a remote area.

"We recently took an ACCESS unit Comrex loaned us to Bangkok Thailand for testing. The link with our headquarters in Washington DC worked great. The Access provided ISDN quality without the dialup cost. The same demo unit was then carried to Dharamsala, India where it was not only tested but worked so well we used the ACCESS link for a series of live shows. The ACCESS sound quality was better then any other Telco or Internet solutions we have tried to date. The results were especially reliable considering that Dharamsala has one of most “problematic” Internet infrastructures that we have come across. Dharamsala is a mountainous fifteen hour drive from Delhi straight up the Himalayans’ and is hard to get equipment into. The Access worked so well there we bought the demo unit and kept it there."

David Baden, Chief Technology Officer Radio Free Asia

The “problematic” Internet infrastructure to which he was referring....

Wow. Just wow.

He later apologized for the lousy picture. I looked at him stunned. How could he say this was a lousy picture?

He explained that they never had a camera available when the monkeys were there. Apparently there are monkeys that hang out in these wires, which must constantly be chased away as they enjoy chewing on the wires.

Even Verizon territory doesn't have THOSE issues!

Live from 37,000 Feet - No kidding - Live Broadcast from a Lufthansa flight!

Ok. This one was cool.

April 22, 2006 - Peter Greenberg, host of the weekly, nationally syndicated radio program Travel Today , successfully aired his three hour talk show from a commercial airplane at 37,000 feet on a regularly scheduled flight between Frankfurt, Germany and New York, US.

This is the first broadcast of it's kind. Engineers Mike Worrall of Travel Today and Lars Hanson from Boeing Connexions demonstrated extreme determination and a bit of courage to make this broadcast a success using Connexions by Boeing, a Comrex ACCESS and the public Internet.

Peter Greenberg -NBC TV's Today Show travel editor and host of the weekly, nationally syndicated radio program Travel Today - regularly delivers live broadcasts from difficult locations, so it should be no surprise that he was determined to be the first to do the impossible. It had been seen as "the holy grail" of remote broadcasting to deliver a show from an airplane at altitude during an intercontinental flight. But Peter not only sought the holy grail, but the largest challenge of all, a LIVE TALK SHOW including taking callers from the air.

Travel Today engineer, Mike Worrall, first contacted Comrex with the concept in September, 2005 to discuss the possibilities of whether the new Comrex ACCESS could rise to the challenge. Comrex engineers embraced this project and after reviewing technical specs for the new 'Connexion by Boeing' internet service, determined that, while very difficult, this concept was theoretically possible. The team of engineers, including Travel Today's Mike Worrall, Boeing Connexions engineers led by Lars Hanson, and the ACCESS development team led by Tom Hartnett of Comrex, worked for months in the lab to tweak settings and simulate real world conditions. It was determined that this broadcast would be attempted.

Ever conservative, Comrex cautioned that the transmission delay was likely to be staggeringly long and suggested that perhaps taking callers would be unrealistic. This was based on the complexity of the transmission path. In a nutshell, from the ACCESS codec in the airplane, the audio was transferred via WiFi to the satellite dish on the top of the plane where it was shot to the Boeing satellite. It was then sent to the relay station in Littleton, Colorado, where it was sent via public Internet to Travel Today's studios in LA. Then it was sent by ISDN to ABC uplink in New York and then distributed to the listeners. Comrex team listened on the Las Vegas affiliate, KNUU, however absent a decent AM receiver, it was necessary to resort to listening to KNUU's web stream on a laptop using EVDO. The excitement grew when witnessing this ground-breaking event. Callers were aired, and it sounded fantastic!

Needless to say, this broadcast was an unmitigated success. The audio was remarkably clean for the duration of the 3 hour broadcast. Thanks to the hard work of the all the engineers involved and the persistent determination of Mike Worrall and Peter Greenberg, history has been made.

Radio Magazine Report
Radio World Report

JAMN 94.5 - Walk for Hunger

From John Mullaney at Minuteman Communications - "ACCESS was used on the air exclusively for JAMN945 at this one. It was all over EVDO with a tremendous amount of active cell phones in the area. The ACCESS was connected to the Verizon wireless Broadband using the Kyocera KRI ( ) router. Because of the Clear Channel network security issues the studio connected to me once I learned my IP. This was done remotely by their engineer Bruce Parsons tunneling into their network from his home and then using the GUI. Audio sounded good with no dropouts that I heard though the delay over EVDO was quite great. Since they where recording all these cut ins with no studio interaction the delay had no negative impact. They have plans to try and do all three Boston Clear Channel stations at the start next year so we may try and get a WiFi connection from an apartment's balcony that overlooks The Common. The Marti equipment you can see going in the background in some of these pictures was being used for their sister station Kiss108 who was also broadcasting simultaneously."

Walk for Hunger info:

Maverik - On-air personality for JAMN94.5

We're back....

Clearly I have been pitiful at updating this blog. So many ACCESS remotes have happened, I don't know where to start. I guess I will first tell you about some of Minuteman Communications remotes.

This picture, really demonstrates what ACCESS is about. This product truly has the ability to cut the wires. This was photo taken by John Mullany of Minuteman at WZLX's remote at Mount Wachusett Ski Area. The ACCESS was connected via WiFi for back-up.

I promised to tell you about the St. Patrick's Day remotes. Minuteman had a very busy time and delivered many successful remotes. Here is a picture of a remote they set up at for WROR's Loren and Wally show. It was a very successful remote.

From John - "Connected with Tom for almost the entire morning show broadcast. I was using Internet Connection Sharing from a laptop connected over Wachusett Mountain's free WIFI. I used BRIC2 Stereo 12K and held the connection for the duration. "

Minuteman also delivered remotes from Cleary's Bar (an Irish Pub) for Mix98.5. The remote was delivered via RPU, but John likes to play - "On a side note I did not have the unit with me Saturday night while doing a Mix985 RPU remote at the Rack. However I did notice that I was picking up a WiFi signal in my van outside The Rack from the Bostonian Hotel across the street which I could connect to. So it probably would have worked there if I had had it along." Sure would have been easier!

And for WAAF's remote at the Burren for the WAAF remote Friday Morning. - Here are some behind the scenes communication:

This is from Steve who was testing ACCESS at home.

"Hi Everyone:

OK, I've installed the ACCESS onto my home network (Linksys router, DHCP, Comcast cable modem).

I successfully logged onto Entercom's fixed IP of and had no problems at all. After about 30 minutes, there was still zero frame loss.

Next, I connected to Greater Media's unit: I found I had to disconnect Entercom first, but then it connected fine.

...I'll give you a call around 10 and we can get together for a line test at The Burren. "


And John's advice for Steve:

"Steve keep the beer off your laptop!!"


Sound advice, John! I would recommend that all ACCESS users endeavor to keep the beer OFF the laptop!

Monday, March 20, 2006

St. Pattys Day is for Remotes

And the ACCESS was on the road. Three remotes were backed up using ACCESS. I will post details in the coming days.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Minuteman Communications Hits the Road with Comrex ACCESS

Over the next 8 weeks, Minuteman Communications will be on the road. This is nothing new. For those of you who know Minutemann Communications, they are ALWAYS on the road. They produce remote broadcasts in New England for nearly every major station in nearly every major group in the Boston area. They're pretty cool people. If you don't know them, you can learn more at

But the next 8 weeks will be even more interesting than usual for Minuteman. They have become excited about the new Comrex ACCESS BRIC IP codec and the future of IP remote broadcasts. Minuteman will be adding the ACCESS to their large kit of remote broadcast tools and hitting the road. Many of their remotes over the next 8 weeks will be delivered using ACCESS. If you don't know about ACCESS, you probably should check it out. It is the way of the future. You can learn more at And if BRIC technology means nothing to you go to - We wrote the book and you can download it there or we'll send it to you.

Anyway, back to the blog. This blog will keep you informed about Minuteman's road trip as well as other ACCESS remotes. We will share the good, the bad and the ugly. The joys and the pains. The triumphs and the..... well, you get the idea! We will be pulling no punches. Broadcasters are learning together about what it means to depend on the public internet for live broadcasts. Stay tuned!