Tuesday, June 24, 2008

WGN's HomeTown Voices are heard thanks to ACCESS

For a couple of years now, Chicago's WGN Radio (720 AM) has been traversing Greater Chicagoland on a trek they call the HomeTown Voices Tour. Oak Park, Aurora, Naperville, St. Charles, Geneva, Skokie, Downers Grove are just a few of the stops they've made. WGN's Director of Engineering, Jim Carollo, put the ACCESS Portable to the test by sending it out on the road to cover some events where ISDN was not available. Jim was kind enough to send us a report AND some audio with video!

"Recently, we were at the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso as stop #35 on our Home Town Voices monthly tour. As I told you when we spoke the last time, I was not able to get an ISDN line. That part of Indiana is Verizon territory and they need at least three weeks notice to provide ISDN so it was not feasible for this broadcast. Instead I ordered three POTS lines and a DSL line, which they can provide in a few days. The DSL was a stand alone line for our use and there was nothing on it but our Access portable. The Opera House also gave me access to their DSL as a backup but there are other things happening on their system such as ticket sales and office internet connectivity. I did not want to take the chance that some sudden peak on their system could cause a problem for us so I set up the Access unit on our line and used theirs for our laptops to check email and communicate with our studio.

I had a Matrix unit running as backup on one of the POTS lines but as far as I know, it was not needed. The dedicated DSL had plenty of issues though. The delay time kept varying from 30ms to 350ms on the peer stats monitor page of the portable. I guess I need to understand better what that means. Our total delay for this remote stayed pretty constant. It was almost totally in sync with the Matrix delay so I am guessing it to be around 0.25 second. In any case, it was not a problem and they tell me there were no glitches. I attached a sample of the first couple of minutes of the show. As usual, feel free to use it as you wish. Later this week, I'm going to try Wrigley Field using the fixed delay setting we set up."


James J. Carollo
Director of Engineering
WGN Radio
Chicago, IL

For audio from the June 6th Valparaiso remote CLICK HERE.

For audio from the July 11th Skokie remote CLICK HERE.