Wednesday, October 20, 2010

BBC World Service uses ACCESS for Commonwealth Games

According to the Jeff Brown from the BBC's World Service, having a Comrex ACCESS at the recent Commonweath Games, in Delhi, India was a great asset.  Jeff sent us these photos and comments:

 "First transmission for BBC World Service's Sports World at The Commonwealth Games, Delhi. Poolside at the Lalit. BGAN [had some technical difficulties with the ISDN service] before we went on air so we did 40 minutes on the Comrex with a Tata Photon 3G stick Worked a treat and saved the transmission!"

"The Comrex ACCESS (attached to 3G) is set up as the backup here. When it works, the BGAN is OK, but we've had a few instances here of it dropping off, so 3G is the next option. We're using Comrex's to report from venues where there are no ISDN's available and they are getting the thumbs up from our reporters..."

"This is BBC World Service's Sports News reporter, Alex Capstick, reporting live from outside the JN stadium, prior to to the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games." 

You can connect to the World Service's Sports World page at:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Radio New Zealand uses ARC for "Grab and Go" Reporting

Radio New Zealand, the country's public broadcaster, has been putting the Comrex ACCESS Reporter Codec, or ARC, through its paces as it has been giving it a trial run using some recently acquired Motorola Milestone Android-based smartphones.  ARC had been used successfully in a couple of big stories recently... the aftermath of an earthquake and snow storm.

Here is a sample of one of the broadcasts using ARC:

Radio New Zealand's web site can be found at:

Monday, September 13, 2010

98.1 WOGL/Philly puts ACCESS to work for Children's Hospital

Longtime Comrex user and our good friend Tom MacDonald sent us this email this morning.  What a GREAT way to start off a work week!
 "I was doing a telethon for Children's Hospital in Philadelphia for WOGL-FM using ISDN when we heard the story of a 14 year-old boy who was finally going to get a heart transplant. The producer on the scene wanted to go outside the operating room to talk to the parents. The first thing suggested was to pull out a cell phone. I wanted audio quality, so I suggested the ACCESS, since the hospital had an open WI-FI system available everywhere. A quick check of the battery, grab a microphone and run to the operating room with the talent. The unit connected seamlessly and worked without a dropout as we found out the young boy's new heart was beating. We were there to tell the story, and it was crystal clear thanks to Comrex and the AAC-ELD setting. The producer was amazed, I was happy, but I knew all the time with the portability and battery power of the Comrex ACCESS we were going to get the job done. It was amazing, using the hospital Wi-Fi...the producer called it a game-changer for this type of year they want to go to the different wards of the hospital and interview children who can't come to our remote in the lobby."

Tom MacDonald
TRM Corp.

The 98.1 WOGL Loves Our Kids Radiothon raised $475,030 this past weekend for The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.  You can read, see and hear more at:     

Monday, August 30, 2010

Up, Up and Away...with ACCESS!

Here at Comrex, one of our favorite "off the clock" pastimes is "Facebook stalking." We've checked with our attorney's and have learned that its perfectly legal.  Anyway, an unnamed Comrex FB stumbled across this lovely photo:

We weren't exactly sure what was going on in this photo.  Perhaps a nice Remote Gift Basket?  But wait!  It appears that there are trees in the background...several hundred feet below.
Well, naturally we needed to find out more.  After a bit of digging around, we sent a note to the owner of the Facebook page and received the following:
Please hang on tightly via the handy neoprene strap!

Dear Comrex,

I'm the news person at 610 WTVN who loves it when engineering lets me play with our toys, so I was quite blown away by your request and am VERY happy to help you. The Access is a fantastic piece of equipment.
The Giant Eagle is full of hot air.

We were invited to ride-along in a hot air balloon to help promote the Grove City Balloons and Tunes Festival near Columbus. When I got the assignment Thursday afternoon I ran straight to our engineering department and asked about doing a live shot from 2,000 feet up. It didn't take long for them to develop a plan and the first place they looked was the shelf with our Comrex Access on it. We'd tested it in the field a couple of times in the news department. The most recent use was a visit to a Columbus family's backyard by President Obama a couple of weeks ago. Our biggest concern was how the cell coverage would be in the air. We got up to about 2,500 feet and even over a rural area of Franklin County, Ohio we had decent cell service from AT&T. We had some droppouts, which we expected, but the unit did a great job, also as we expected. Thanks so much for making a GREAT product like the Comrex Access - so easy even a news person can use it!
Just a little corny.

I called our Chief Engineer, Greg Savoldi, to tell him about your request. He expects a new portable unit in exchange for the photos ;)

matt bruning
newstalk 610 wtvn
news reporter/anchor

Matt, thank you very much for the letter and the great photos!!  Greg, you're an old buddy of ours and we really like you.  But, come on!  We might be able to scrounge up a very nice ARC t-shirt for you and Matt.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Comrex Lends Support for 2010 National Scout Jamboree

With nearly 50,000 Scouts, Scouters and volunteers gathering together at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Scouting in the U.S., the 2010 National Scout Jamboree became the State of Virginia's 13th largest city...virtually overnight. Scouts from all over the world arrived on the Jamboree site on Monday, July 26th for the 10-day event. As they arrived, they were greeted by music, news and information provided by QBSA, 102.9 FM, The Eagle! The low-power FM was operated under a Special Temporary Authority granted by the FCC to the Boy Scouts of America for the limited duration of the event under the call sign WB4XSA.
Scouts gather for the opening arena show
Tens of thousands of Scouts pour into the Arena

Earlier in 2010, Comrex was contacted by the Boy Scouts to find out about improving the quality and flexibility of QBSA remote broadcasts from around the sprawling encampment. With a couple of Eagle Scouts on the Comrex staff, how could we refuse? So, armed with some ACCESS Portable codecs, we took advantage of the AT&T 3G and Wi-Fi service that was specially implemented for this event. Not only were Comrex ACCESS codecs used for daily remotes but they were also used to broadcast the live arena shows which were carried live on QBSA and streamed on the web for worldwide broadcast.
Ed Evans interviews Scouts preparing breakfast

In addition to providing our own gear, other vendors were recruited to assist and were more than happy to help support this effort. Wheatstone, ENCO, Symetrix and BSW all provided equipment and supplies to help get the three studio facility on the air.
QBSA Morning Host Lars Lifrak

One of the primary missions of QBSA was to give Scouts the opportunity to "DJ" their own 15-minute air shift. Scouts were given a 20-minute training course to cover the basic of radio broadcasting and then allowed to select three songs to play on the air.  All Scout shows were produced in the giant QBSA Boom Box from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.  Its estimated that between Scout air shifts and live interviews, nearly 2000 Scouts got on the air.
The QBSA Staff in front of the Boom Box

Expanding the overall reach of the station was a live web stream that was accessed from the Jamboree's home page. Listeners were tuning in from all over the globe and making requests on the QBSA Facebook page. Family and friends of Scouts posted their requests and shout outs from as far away as Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Sweden, Australia and all parts of the U.S. The station proved itself a vital link to Jamboree for parents of Scouts back at home. In just ten days, QBSA's Facebook page grew to nearly 2600 fans!

QBSA was truly at the heart of the Jamboree. The station featured live interviews with television host Mike Rowe (from Discovery's Dirty Jobs), rock band Switchfoot, and even an evening of Latin music called Latin Connection that was attended by Scouts from several Latin American nations.

QBSA Staffer Margaret Fletcher inteviews TV Personality Mike Rowe
QBSA Latin Connection night
Chris Crump interviews Scouts from Northeast Georgia Council
The next National Scout Jamboree is scheduled for 2013 at its new permanent home, The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia and QBSA will be there broadcasting live.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Comrex ARC Provides Practical Solution for NPR Program Contributor

Devens, Massachusetts – July 19, 2010 – Since the release of its new ACCESS Reporter Codec for Android® (or ARC) in late May of this year, hundreds of Comrex customers have downloaded ARC to allow them to connect to either a Comrex ACCESS or BRIC-Link audio codec via their Android 2.1 smartphone’s Wi-Fi or 3G/4G data connection.  This free application provides wideband, fully bi-directional audio with very low latency making it perfect for audio contribution by radio news reporters, expert hosts and program contributors.
Recently, ARC was used to by James Fallows, National Correspondent for The Atlantic and NPR Contributor, to connect to NPR News’ All Things Considered for an interview with ATC host, Guy Raz.  Mr. Fallows installed ARC on his Google Nexus One Android phone and connected to NPR’s ACCESS Rackmount IP Codec for the Saturday evening interview.  The audio can be heard by following a web link found at:
Click on "Listen To Story" to hear ARC in action on ATC.
 ARC provides Comrex users the ability to add wideband audio contribution from various sources without having to allocate a hardware codec, such as the Comrex ACCESS Portable, for a short interview or news hit.  Instead of having to depend on bandwidth limited telephone/cellphone quality audio, ARC significantly broadens the range and quality of audio contribution sources that are available to radio broadcasters without having to overstretch resources.  Comrex also recently announced support for Media5 Fone, a soft codec for the Apple iPhone, which provides functionality similar to ARC.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Media5 Fone: Connect to ACCESS and BRIC-Link from your iPhone

For all of you iPhone users who have been suffering from "ARC Envy", you'll be happy to know that we've tested and approved a very cool app that will let you connect to your ACCESS or BRIC-Link codec with your Apple iPhone or iPod iTouch. It also works with the iPad but, personally, we think you'd look silly holding that thing up to your ear.

Media5 Fone is available from the iPhone App Store as a free demo download that will allow for calls of one minute in duration.  If you'd like the unlimited call feature, you'll need to pay $4.99 USD for that luxury.

All of the details, including simple setup instructions for your ACCESS or BRIC-Link, are available at:

Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup: Eyes of the world are on South Africa

As the attention of the world focuses on the Republic of South Africa, so does that of radio and television stations from around the globe.  Several Comrex customers have contacted us to let us know about the all of the World Cup excitement.  We just received these photos from Comrex customer Radio Bio Bio in Chile.  Pictured above is ESPN Radio Bio Bio Desportes commentator and former Chilean football star Patricio "Pato" Yáñez reporting from Nelspruit where Chile and Honduras will meet this week for their first round Group H match.

Below, Pato talks with ESPN Radio Bio Bio Deportes commentator Miguel Cajas Pino about the upcoming matches and what fans can expect from the Chilean national team.
If you're broadcasting from South Africa on Comrex gear and have photos you'd like to share, please send them to

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Comrex ACCESS Provides Vital Coverage in Chile

Not unlike many new Comrex ACCESS customers, Bio Bio La Radio in Chile was very excited to put their new IP Audio codecs into use to cover late breaking news and sporting events. Not long after receiving their codecs, they were pressed into service to report on the Chilean Presidential elections and for coverage of the national soccer championships on ESPN Radio Bio Bio Sports.  ACCESS even provided play-by-play of the Liberators Cup from Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Peru.
But when catastrophe struck the South American nation on February 27, 2010, Bio Bio used their ACCESS units to provide critical information to devastated listeners in a country torn apart by a massive 8.8 Magnitude earthquake that left hundreds dead and destroying much of Southern Chile.   Journalists Maria Carrasco, Richard Jimenez, Rodrigo Pino, Jorge Muñoz used ACCESS Portable codecs to report on the devastation from Concepcion, Santiago, Talcahuano and Dichato.  The journalists were deployed throughout the country in Bio Bio radio station vehicles and also in police vans to help establish vital communications.  According to Alejandro Marnich, Bio Bio Manager of Operations, immediately after the earthquake “all of the cell lines were down for two or three days before we were able to start the news coverage of the devastated areas of the central region.”  But once service was restored, he continues, “with the help of the Access we were permitted to go and cover where there was no other form of transmission. The most important for Bio Bio was the quality of the audio transmission.”
While everyone at Comrex were aware that their products had been used in situations like this around the globe, they were particularly impacted by photos that they recently received from Bio Bio. Says Comrex Managing Director, Kris Bobo, “We were setting up for the NAB show in Las Vegas when we received the photos from Bio Bio. We were awestricken by the utter devastation.  We’ve all dedicated ourselves to making quality products for just these kinds of situations but there was something much more profound in seeing these photos.”  She adds, “We are proud that our products were used to provide vital coverage in light of these tragic circumstances.”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More "gridlock" in DC!

Washington, DC -- On April 12th (while many of us were toiling in the desert of Las Vegas), with nearly 50 heads of state in Washington, D.C. for the Nuclear Summit, the city faced massive traffic disruptions. WTOP reporters fanned out in force to give guidance to harried commuters including reporter Tanya Snyder seen here patrolling downtown on her bike. That's her Comrex ACCESS unit strapped to the back, allowing her to file near studio quality audio [using 3G wireless]. Tanya regularly commutes from home to WTOP via bike.

Thanks to Brian Oliger from WTOP for sending this to us!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tuesday Night Lights LIVE via Satellite!

It's always a wonderful thing to take a phone call from a happy customer especially when they have wisdom and cost-savings advice to pass along to the rest of the Comrex users of the world.  Michael Love with Jasper, Texas' KJAS-FM called us to share the great results he had using a Hughes Directway satellite IP connection with his ACCESS portable to broadcast a high school baseball game. Read the article from the KJAS website (below) for the details.

KJAS engineer Michael Love made last minute adjustments to the satellite uplink on
Tuesday in front of the radio station, just a few hours before the first satellite
broadcast was made from Diboll.

"Those that listened to the Tuesday evening baseball game between Jasper and Diboll on KJAS radio did not know it, but they were part of history making event. On that evening, KJAS and Rayburn Broadcasting Company, became the first radio station in Southeast Texas or Southwest Louisiana to broadcast a local event by satellite. Even though the practice has been commonplace for television for some time, it was radio’s turn to move to the extraterrestrial mode.

The voice of the Bulldogs, Art Lay and all background sounds of the game were first converted from analog to digital by a Comrex ACCESS codec. The digital data stream was then transmitted from the ball field in Diboll, roughly 22,000 miles up to a satellite in geo-synchronous orbit. The broadcast came back down to an earth station in Germantown, Maryland and was routed by way of the internet back to a Comrex ACCESS rack unit int the KJAS studios here in Jasper.

Over the years, KJAS radio has used various means to bring audio from remote locations back to Jasper, including both vhf and uhf radio, along with analogue and digital transmissions over conventional telephone lines. KJAS has also used both cellular phones and high-speed network cards as well as the internet to deliver the audio. Unfortunately, sometimes, none of the above services are available at remote ball parks, preventing a broadcast from that location.

The satellite system now in place at KJAS gives the station the ability to go anywhere in the world and bring a crystal clear broadcast back to Jasper and the surrounding area."

Now, what Mike's article above doesn't mention is that he was able to put together the hardware for the Directway connection for less than $200 USD.  The service that KJAS uses only costs about $60 per month with a data plan that more the covers the amount of data required for broadcasts using the ACCESS.  Data plan limitations are based on download usage and NOT upload usage which is, for ACCESS customers, the important part of the equation. Michael also fashioned the satellite dish's tripod himself to provide a sturdy, stable and portable mounting solution.  If you'd like to contact Michael Love about his innovative and cost-effective use of available technology, send him an email at:

Thanks for sharing, Michael!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Note from a happy customer!

We always like notes like this to start off our work week!  It makes the Monday "blahs" mysteriously vanish!  We recently got this note from one of our customers in Southern California:
"We are a religious broadcaster, and every weekday we have a call in program that the senior pastor and an associate pastor host. The senior pastor had a mini stroke and was in the hospital for a couple of weeks. The day he got out of the hospital he wanted to be on the air. We had an old POTS codec that we hurridly got set up, but we weren't happy with the delay and the quality, so we ordered the ACCESS rack and portable units and had them overnighted. By the next day we were on the air from his house using the ACCESS units and many of the listeners (and staff here at the station) thought he had come in to the studio. In fact, we had some staff walk by the studio to see if he really was in the studio.

Anyway, thanks for making a great product that works."
Marcos O'Rourke, CBRE, CBNT
K-Wave Radio

Orange County Emergency Communications Committee

Thursday, March 11, 2010

From Harlem to Hilversum...ACCESS goes on the path!

Harlem - Recently, Radio DJ Giel Beelen mounted his bicycle and made a special trip to work. From his bicycle, which was built into a riding radio station, he set out to do his live radio show during his morning commute. He rode his bike from Harlem to the studio in Hilversum, a distance of 48 kilometers (that's about 30 miles) while broadcasting his morning show live to listeners all over the Netherlands. Giel hoped to arrive in the studio before 9, where the Norwegian singer Marit Larsen was that morning's guest.

The idea started in a conversation with Dutch singer Marco Borsato about the National Sportsweek. Giel promised the singer to practice sports a bit more. A bit later, when traffic reader Kees Quaks pointed out to Giel that it was possible to take the bike to your work, Giel decided to make his word reality. Giel used the Comrex ACCESS for the high quality audiolink to the studio. He could be followed on his journey live on Radio 3FM (national radio).
Thanks to our friends at Triple Audio for sharing this story and for providing great service and support for Comrex customers in the region!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Moby in the Morning...Live from Nashville

Comrex is live at the Country Radio Seminar with nationally syndicated morning show, Moby In The Morning. You can listen live at:

We'll be here February 25th and 26th from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. EST. We LOVE getting up at 3 a.m. No, really! :-)~