Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Next Big Thing at Next Big Thing 7!

Tampa, FL -- 20,000 screaming fans. 15 of today's hottest bands on two stages. One day full of music. For Cox Radio Tampa Bay's 97X, Next Big Thing 7 has become an annual event, that just keeps getting bigger and better.

Chevelle onstage at NBT7

More than just a concert or a radio station event, NBT has become a multimedia event.In addition to broadcasting the 12-hour event live, the station also provided a live video web stream, gave the bands with their own video camera's to give a "band's eye view" from backstage, posted blogs about the event and did live interviews with the bands throughout the day. But for those that weren't lucky enough to get a ticket, 97X went out of it's way to make sure that it's listener's were able to get the full experience over the airwaves.

Hayley Williams of Paramore sings to 20,000

97X Program Director and Afternoon host, Shark, was psyched when he found out that ACCESS would add a completely new dimension to NBT7. Says Shark, "When Comrex told me that their internal code name for ACCESS was "the Next Big Thing" I got it right away. This thing is BIG -- I was live, on the air, in places I could never have gone with regular old technology."

video
By using the ACCESS Portable with a wireless 3G Aircard, Shark and the airstaff of 97X were able to get live interviews with the bands backstage. If you've ever been at a live concert event, you know that the wired mics on stage often compete for frequencies with other devices. And trying to get a wired mic into a dressing room from an ISDN drop...not always easy or possible. "We sent our jocks out into the crowd and were able to give our listeners a feel for what was happening live at the show. This thing is very cool," says Shark.








"The Crowd" at Ford Amphitheatre
















Shark interviews Bert McCracken from The Used



For more sights and sounds from 97X's Next Big Thing 7 you can link to their web site www.97xonline.com/ads/nextbigthing7.html

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ACCESS Holds Court at the US Open



Flushing, Queens, NY--

12 September 2007

Andy Taylor – KTTS-FM

2330 West Grand

Springfield, MO 65802

Thank you COMREX!

Thanks to a stroke of luck, for the past six-years - on top of screwing around from 5a to 10a on KTTS-FM in Springfield, Missouri - I've also been known as "The Voice" of the U.S. Open, the final Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year. Each year, from my perch in Lower Broadcast from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, I curse the antiquated gear we've used for daily broadcast...[curses deleted by Comrex!] :-)

Can you tell I'm anything but technologically savvy?

Anyway...for awhile now, I've been reading about the assortment of clean-sounding, high-bandwidth technology soon-to-be available for broadcast over the internet, and when I heard about the Comrex ACCESS, I was dying for a test-run. Thanks to COMREX's generosity, my wish came true during the 2007 U.S. Open...

...and what a GREAT piece of gear - and easy to operate!

I am an idiot. Ask anyone who knows me. Thankfully, my engineer in Springfield set-up the ACCESS Receiver in the studio, and I checked the light-weight, compact ACCESS Portable onto my Laguardia-bound flight.

Upon arrival, I simply connected the ACCESS Portable to an I.T. approved United States Tennis Association T1-line, added a new remote, typed in the destination I.P. address for the ACCESS receiver - and BLAM, I was instantaneously connected to the KTTS-studio with high-bandwidth, crystal-clear sounding audio...Needless to say, it was a little alarming for those who had no idea I was test-driving the ACCESS Portable, because it sounded like I was IN THE STUDIO.

Not only does the ACCESS audio sound clear, broadcasting through an I.P. address - but it also freed-up the studio's phone line, so that I could record phone calls with the crew in the studio, without having to endure the steps of conferencing lines. I'm not kidding when I say - listeners who had no idea I was two-thousand miles away, also had no clue that I wasn't even in the studio each weekday morning...to them, it sounded like I was right there in Springfield. What a plus!

With the ACCESS Portable Mixer, I was able to use multiple microphones for guests, and I was able to pre-produce audio for the show, so I could play it cleanly, real-time while we were on the air - all while remaining "miced-up" with the show. Could you have made this any easier for me?

Thank you again, Comrex - for the ACCESS technology, the multiple profile audio options, flexibility of set-up (this thing even works well with Wi-Fi when it's receiving a strong-signal), ease of use (for idiots like myself), but most importantly, for granting my wish of clean-sounding audio during the 3-weeks that the U.S. Open dominates my existence.

I'm loving me the Comrex ACCESS!

- Andy Taylor / KTTS-FM in Springfield, MO / USTA P.A. Guy at the U.S. Open

Monday, August 06, 2007

ACCESS Ideal for Idol!



Dallas, TX -- The pop culture phenonmenon, American Idol, setup camp in Dallas, Texas as Idol wannabes crammed into the long and torturous lines forming outside of Texas Stadium. Eager to display their talent for the producers inside, the potential contestants were just as eager to perform for the throngs of media on the outside. Nationally syndicated morning host, Kidd Kraddick, sent his cast members, Taylor and JC, into the fray to capture the excitement.


Armed with an ACCESS Portable Stereo BRIC IP codec, Taylor and JC interviewed the patient masses, some of whom had been waiting in line for two days for a 15 second chance to impress Idol producers. Using an AT&T 3G BroadbandConnect card plugged directly in the ACCESS Portable, Kraddick's crew was able to interact with the rest of the morning show back in the studio as well as sample some of the vocal abilities of Idol hopefuls.



Says Kraddick, "Credit the Comrex Access with opening all kinds of doors for our show. Since we’re nationally syndicated, we can no longer accept cell-phone audio for on the street bits, etc. The portability and amazing audio quality of the Access has made so many more bits possible that we could have never done in the past."


There were no engineers, remote trucks or pneumatic masts required on-site for the broadcast. Junior Kraddick staffer, Ryan, was briefly trained on the ACCESS Portable and sent out with JC and Taylor to handle the unit for the broadcast.

An estimated 12,000 people showed up at Texas Stadium for a chance to be on the popular TV Show.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Remote Broadcast "Unleashed" in Richmond


At Comrex we love great remotes and we love our animals, too! So you can imagine how giddy we were to receive the great story below from our friends at WDYL in Richmond, VA! In the midst of the allegations of illegal dog fighting, Atlanta Falcon's quarterback Michael Vick was scheduled to make an appearance for arraignment at a Richmond courthouse on August 26th. Enter Sludge and a few other "strays" from the Morning Sludge on Richmond's "Y 101 New Rock"!


Jon Bennett, Director of Engineering for Cox Radio Richmond sent us the details:

"This morning, our morning show team from WDYL was outfitted in dog outfits and did a live morning show broadcast from the front of the courthouse in downtown Richmond.

This was all to do with the Vick controversy and he coming in to the courthouse.

The live broadcast lasted for four hours straight using our new Comrex Access Portable and an EVDO card.

The morning show team was ecstatic with the system performance.

Sludge, the morning show host said, 'We could have not done the show with any other system.

We had total mobility to move freely around with the crowd.'

See the coverage on CNN, ESPN, WSB-TV Our COX Sister station in Atlanta and Inrich.com.

They were inundated with interviews from the many media sources on the scene.

Jon Bennett and Jeff Tharp, COX Radio Richmond

This was all made possible with the technology and expertise

provided by the Comrex Access system.

Also see the stations web site www.y101rocks.com

Thank You!

Kindest Regards,

jb

Jon Bennett CPBE

Director of Engineering – Richmond

COX Radio Inc.

Richmond VA

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

ACCESS Portable - Very Popular with the Ladies!!!

I mean, it must be the ACCESS that is attracting all of those beautiful women, right? We're pretty sure it's not the guy (although he doesn't seem to mind.)



Anyway, pictured here is Comrex employee, Chris Crump working hard. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it. I am optimistic that when Christopher comes up for air, he will have a look at this blog and appropriately edit this story to tell you where he was, and what he was doing. (Aside from the obvious, that is. :o)

Chris Crump (in defense!) adds: "Wow! Tough crowd! But as a truly dedicated professional and seasoned "road warrior" I'm used to being misunderstood. My life on the road is NOT ALWAYS this glamorous! But at the recent Latin American Broadcast Show '07 in Miami, FL, ACCESS certainly attracted the attention of broadcasters (and supermodels) from Panama, Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Peru and several other South American nations. There were even a few broadcasters visiting from Spain! My colleagues, pictured above, served as "technical consultants" and translators for some of the more challenging dialects that were represented by conference attendees. Sandra and Lisset (to my left) were particularly helpful in explaining the features of the ACCESS Portable as well as our other products on display.

Now, if only I can convince my bosses that I needed Spanish-speaking technical consultants for the South Dakota Broadcasters Show..."

Friday, June 01, 2007

ACCESS Portable at Wembley in the UK - Thanks Vortex!

Here's a great story sent to us by the Comrex dealer in the UK, Vortex Communications. We love what they're doing with the ACCESS!


The childhood dream of many an Englishman is to one day play soccer on the hallowed turf of Wembley, the national stadium situated within the suburbs of London. To achieve this dream, however, is easier said than done. Unless you become one of England’s elite players and are lucky enough to be picked for the national side, your only hope of playing Wembley is to reach one of the league play-off finals. These are played at the end of each season between the teams who have topped their leagues and the winner is promoted to the next league up. Reaching the play-off final is a huge occasion, but particularly so this year because, having hosted nearly a century of soccer, the old stadium was recently demolished and a spanking new state-of-the-art replacement erected in its place. The new Wembley was ready just in time for this year’s play-offs which were all played over the May bank-holiday weekend.

One team who reached their play-off were Shrewsbury Town who booked a final with Bristol Rovers. Shrewsbury is a modest town with only 70,000 inhabitants but it seemed like pretty much all of these were trying to get to the game. For those not lucky enough to get a ticket, BBC Radio Shropshire were there to describe events before the game, interview fans and generally soak up the atmosphere. What they needed was a way for their reporter to be fully mobile but able to send good quality, low-delay live audio back to the studio and, of course, receive talkback at the same time. Cue the Access portable.

Jon Clark from our UK dealer, Vortex Communications explains the setup. “We’ve got very good 3G mobile coverage in the UK these days and most of the operators are now also upgrading their networks to the even higher speed HSDPA. This gives us 384kb/s up and 1.8Mb/s down so it’s possible to run just about every mode the Access supports, including the optional AAC codecs. In the case of the playoff, everything happened last-minute and there was no time to get an Access rackmount installed at the studio, so we used a unit already working at Birmingham instead and relayed the audio from there over ISDN G722. This meant that there was no point in using anything more than HQ1 because that already sounded better than the ISDN! Although everyone was thrilled at the quality, I was a little bit disappointed because I knew that the Access was capable of even more and that would have blown them away.

The pre-match show was a full two hours long and the Access performed magnificently. Darren Shearer, the Broadcast Engineer taking care of proceedings sums it up nicely. “The Comrex Access was a lifesaver. It allowed us to get to places that other technologies couldn't. The portable unit was so easy to use and setup; Presenters described it to me as being as easy as "Turn it on, select connect, set your levels, then broadcast!” The Quality was amazing, so crisp and clear that you could mistake the reporter for being in a studio. The delay was hardly noticeable which allowed for talkback and phone callers to be interviewed by the reporter on the Access. This is a great piece of kit and, until now, I've only dreamed of it being on the market. Great job guys!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Frankly my dear...


Orlando, FL -- Frank Lovre, Chief Engineer for Florida's Radio Network, knows Comrex. Better yet, Frank LOVES Comrex. When Frank isn't working for the Network, Frank is helping out his buddies at Clear Channel Radio Orlando and making DOE Mike Sprysenski look good.

Case in point, Frank has not stopped gloating over the success of the Comrex ACCESS Rackmount since having installed it at the Magic 107.7 transmitter site. Says Frank, "When I first saw the ACCESS I was very impressed and saw great potential for it. After we had a bunch hurricanes blow through Central Flordia in 2004 we knew we needed to consider some new ways to manage STLs for our seven Clear Channel stations and radio networks. ACCESS seemed like a great solution for our operations. It was easy to install and the user interface is very user-friendly."

Adds Mike Sprysenski, "I've got to hand it to Frank. It was his idea to implement ACCESS for our backup STLs. We're currently planning on putting them at all of our transmitter sites that have DSL service."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Impossible Remote.

Before ACCESS, a remote from the top of Mount Washington in February would have been nearly impossible (or at the least, too expensive!) But when WOKQ asked Steve Vanni of Technet about the possibility of delivering such a remote, Steve thought of ACCESS and the impossible became probable.

Not wanting WOKQ's morning team to suffer embarrassment by attempting the unknown, Steve ventured to the summit in January with ACCESS for testing. The Internet connection provided is the same link used for delivering weather information, but as this information doesn't require high bandwidth, it was unclear how reliable it would be. Since ACCESS is also not a bandwidth hog, optimism was high. The summit Internet is connected via microwave to the Mount Washington Museum in North Conway where it connects there to a Verizon DSL. It should work. And it did!

So for the actual remote, Mark Ericson (left) and the WOKQ morning team, along with Steve, who engineered the remote, made their way to the top via snowcat. Steve states, "I set up the ACCESS and it just worked. Which was really nice, since it allowed me the freedom to really enjoy the experience. We were on the summit for about 24 hours, but during that time period the entire range of available weather was experienced. It snowed. There were nearly 100 mph winds. The sun came out and it warmed up. It was clear and we could see forever. The clouds came in and we could look down into the clouds. It was amazing. As for the codec and the remote? No sweat. It went extremely well."

How cool is that!? Below zero, but who's counting!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Miraculous ACCESS!

Springfield, MO -- Corbin Campbell, Engineer for Midwest Family Broadcasting, recently sent us the following:
"Just wanted to drop you a note and thank you for letting us demo the Comrex Access for our radiothon for the Children’s Miracle Network. I already have a pair of Accesses for a weekly show that we do in Branson, MO once a week but we have never really taken the Access out on remote. I figured since this was going to be a high profile event and several of the top people from CMN were going to be here for the radiothon, I wanted to give them the a remote that they wouldn’t forget.

We basically set up a mini studio at the hospital since there was going to be lots of traffic and several interviews. We used two wireless mics and two wired mics for interviews and fed everything through a Mackie mixer. We used the Comrex IP for the primary and the dialup as a backup. The folks from CMN were extremely impressed by our remote setup and couldn’t believe the audio quality. What even got them was the fact that we were using DSL and the Internet, not ISDN or T1, to get the audio back to the studios with little or no delay.

Our General Manager was also impressed as well as several of the sales people. They are already worked up about being able to do remotes anywhere there is access to the Internet. The biggest problem was when I had to tell the talent that the Comrex was going away. I calmed them down by explaining to them that myself and the Operations Manager are working on buying several of these units for remotes.

As for CMN, they were expecting to only raise $30,000 to $40,000. The end total for the radiothon was $132,000!

A warning to any engineer that tries the Access, the hardest thing about demoing these units is having to send them back!!!

Thanks again and we are looking forward to purchasing more Comrex Accesses for Midwest Family Broadcasting."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bathrobe Broadcast

Greenville, SC -- When longtime WORD-AM Morning Host, Russ Cassell, learned that he had prostate cancer, he knew that he would overcome the debilitating disease and get back to the business of broadcasting. Through the power of prayer and strength of will, Russ did just that. The procedure was short, simple and uncomplicated...or so everyone thought.

What the medical team did not foresee was the development of necrotizing fasciitis, a soft tissue infection commonly referred to as "flesh-eating bacteria." What would have been a rather routine and speedy recovery turned into a lengthy home stay during the slow healing process.

As we all know, you can't keep a good man down! As Russ himself told local Greenville TV station WYFF Channel 4, "No offense...but you can only watch so much television." Eager to get back on the air but medically confined to his home for recuperation, Russ turned to Jerry Massey, Director of Engineering for Entercom's six radio stations in Greenville. As luck would have it, Jerry had been demoing the Comrex ACCESS Rackmount and, given the circumstances, we were happy to extend the demo to get Russ back on the air with his morning show partner, Lisa Rollins.

As you can see, Russ was very pleased with the capabilities of ACCESS. So much so, in fact, that DOE Jerry Massey subsequently purchased ACCESS units for all of the stations in his Greenville cluster!

Russ is still broadcasting from his home studio but we hope he gets well soon so he can get back in the studio where he belongs!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Somewhere...Beyond the Sea!

San Diego, CA -- As the immortal Bobby Darrin crooned away in the background, listener's of The Keith DeGreen Show on Clear Channel's KFYI/Phoenix were witness to a little bit of history with the commencement of DeGreen's departure for a voyage around the world. DeGreen, who broadcasts his show each Sunday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., shoved off while live on the air via his Comrex ACCESS codec.

His global voyage began on April 1st aboard his new 55' Nordhavn Motoryacht outfitted with all of the latest bells & whistles including an ACCESS Rackmount Stereo BRIC IP Codec. Getting IP connectivity on the open seas is no small feat. So, for this, DeGreen and his crew turned to KVH and their Inmarsat Fleet 77 domed transmitter/receiver with gyroscopic tracking which provides this IP-over-satellite connection.



The Global Adventure with domed satellite transceivers

Prior to the April 1st launch, DeGreen and his crew put ACCESS through it's paces to insure it would provide a solid transmission medium for his broadcasts aboard his boat, The Global Adventure. Shortly before departing, Keith wrote us with the following update:

"On Sunday February 15, 2007 we were the first -- using our Comrex Access rack-mount unit and a broadcast studio we built in the pilot house of our ship -- to broadcast a regularly-scheduled radio show from a private ship at sea. The program, Keith DeGreen's Global Adventure Finance Show, was heard on NewsTalk 550, KFYI, Arizona's largest talk radio station during its regular time from 8--11 AM AZ time. At the time, our ship, The Global Adventure, was about 12 miles southwest of San Diego, in Mexican waters.
After each broadcast, the radio show is promptly posted to our website at www.theglobaladventure.com. We also post new photos, videos of our journey, plus commentary, on the website daily. Our stated mission is to explore the politics, culture, economy and investment opportunities at ports of call around the world -- and to provide no-nonsense investment advice on our show and website.

On Sunday, March 18, 2007, we again broadcast the entire show while at sea -- this time from about 20 miles due west of San Diego. The Comrex access unit performed flawlessly both times. However, an automatic shut-down program within our KVH 77 SAT-COM antenna took us off the air briefly on a couple of occassions. When that occured a pre-recorded evergreen show at the station kicked in. We are working with KVH to override that shutdown function in order to facilitate uninterrupted use of the KVH unit for up to three hours at a time, and we're confident that this will not occur again.

On April 1, 2007, we will shove off from San Diego on the first leg of our open-ended journey. We will broadcast from approximately 1200 miles out to sea on Sunday April 8 -- a little more than half way to Hawaii. We will make landfall at Honolulu on the 11th or 12th of April, and on Sunday, April 15 we will broadcast live from the Hawaii Yacht Club in Honolulu.

We plan many other exciting broadcasts from at sea, and from interesting ports of call. Our itinerary just between now and the end of the year includes stops at The Marshall Islands, Micronesia, The Philippines, Taiwan, several ports in China including Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Brunei, and Singapore. After the first of the year we plan to visit India, Sri Lanka, The Maldives, Dubai, Yemen, and to enter the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal by April 1, 2008. We will interview business leaders and officials at each port of call, and will be constantly taking photos and videos, writing commentary, and having fun -- and it will all be online at www.theglobaladventure.com."

Well, Keith....Bon Voyage! It sounds like an exciting adventure! We're thrilled to be a part of it!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Zakk Wylde Concert - Ozzie Osbornes guitarist plays for WAAF at a Listener's workplace!

Contests are getting cooler than ever! WAAF in Boston has lately been promoting concerts in a lucky listener's "lunch room". It was through such a promotion that Zakk Wylde, guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, ended up playing in a most unusual venue, Brideau's Machine Shop in Leominster. WAAF jock, Mistress Carrie who was originally from Leominster, is seen here interviewing Zakk.

These concerts must be delivered on very short notice, since the event is likely to happen very shortly after the end of the contest. And obviously prior to the end of the contest, the venue is unknown! So at Brideau's Machine Shop, DSL was available, but little else to deliver the remote. This could prevent a challenge to the engineering staff. But not for WAAF engineer Eric Fitch and the team from Minuteman Communications. For this remote, the Comrex ACCESS on IP was the obvious choice.

The remote went off without a hitch and sounded great! Stereo high fidelity sound was easily delivered, thanks to the ACCESS.