Smart Automation System

Meet our new DJ. His name is Otto Mayshun.
Post Reply
davekuch
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:11 pm

Smart Automation System

Post by davekuch » Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:08 am

Hello All,

I have been asked to help support a friend of mine who has a station that is running the Smartcaster system. I don't know anything about this system, but their website and the UI seems very antiquated. I'm curious if anybody has any experience with the system. Was it good or bad? Are they still in business? Is there support or updates available? The last newsletter on the website is from 2005 - and when I called the number on the website it goes to voicemail and never identifies the company.

Thanks in advance.

User avatar
RGORJANCE
Posts: 1340
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:48 am
Location: RACINE, WI

Re: Smart Automation System

Post by RGORJANCE » Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:14 am

I think this was the name of the system I was tasked to install a long time ago. During the install, I discovered that there was something very unusual with the instructions. Things did not fit. We contacted the company, and they could not seem to answer the questions. Their tech was sent up to check it out and instruct the staff on how to run it.

Before he even got started, I showed him the factory documentation and asked him if he could install it based on the paper work. He replied with a very embarrassed NO! We then threw the install instructions away and got the stuff wired and working while taking notes for the engineering file.

In defense of the system, once it was installed, it seemed to work pretty well. Technical documentation was worthless. Good luck---their support back then was poor, I would hope it improved.

Fossil

musiconradio.com
Posts: 130
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:24 pm
Location: Livingston Alabama
Contact:

Re: Smart Automation System

Post by musiconradio.com » Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:18 pm

The older Smartcaster system is a dinosaur but you can't kill it. Very simple to operate, however the audio on the older models was not the greatest. Back in 92 when I worked with a station that had one, we had paid support (if you didn't have paid support you were on your own), and they always got back to us.

User avatar
Shane
Posts: 704
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:08 am
Location: Omaha
Contact:

Re: Smart Automation System

Post by Shane » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:15 pm

They still advertise in the trades I get. Radio Magazine for one, I think (radiomagonline.com). Hopefully there is current contact info in their ads because as stated earlier the website hasn't been updated in a loooong time.
Mike Shane, CBRE
---Omaha---

User avatar
Shane
Posts: 704
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:08 am
Location: Omaha
Contact:

Re: Smart Automation System

Post by Shane » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:19 pm

ok, some better info....


smartsbroadcast.com will bring up the correct page. The google link that came up top for me goes to an old page. Phone number as listed in Radio Magazine on-line: 800-747-6278. Skylla is their current product.
Mike Shane, CBRE
---Omaha---

themarcshow
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 1:10 am
Location: Hastings, Ne

Re: Smart Automation System

Post by themarcshow » Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:22 pm

I still run the old smartcaster on 5 stations. I've dealt with it for 8 years, cussed it many times and made it do things it was probably never designed to do. Ours runs a DOS emulator on top of Linux with the windows production software.

That's my qualification for what I'm about to say.... I hate it every day with a passion.

It will run nearly flawlessly as long as you just want to run a satellite format. However if you want to do live shows, special programs, you're own music, satellite sports or anything out of the ordinary you are going to find it very lacking.

Support is still available and it's pretty good if you need an issue solved. I relied pretty heavily on their support for the first few years while I learned the ins and outs. Now that I've mastered what I can and can't do we no longer have a support contract. Haven't needed any support in over a year.

One thing that has always irked me is the computer itself uses consumer grade unbalanced sound cards. That audio goes into their proprietary rack mount audio switchers. They then will output balanced audio for the studio/transmitter. It however is still prone to audio bleed from the AM transmitter just feet away. Lots of shielding and transformers have fixed my issues though.

Also my version doesn't like audio files sampled at other than 44.1k. I had an agency produced spot that the smartcaster said it was something like 7 hours long. Turns out it was just a :30 produced at a 48,000 sample rate.

One issue that has plagued me is the remote access. The VNC server in that version of Linux is unstable. If the remote session doesn't disconnect cleanly the VNC server will crash and require a computer reboot. This problem usually manifests itself at 2AM, on weekends or in the middle of remotes.

I could go on for a while about the things I don't like about our smartcasters. I also realize that the system has its main roots in a 19 year old DOS program that has been added to as needed over the years.

I have seen demonstrations of their current Skylla product. It seems like a much better designed system but I don't think I could ever seriously consider moving to it. There are much better systems.

There's my soapbox rant. That being said I'd be more than happy to try and help with any problems. Like I said, I pretty much know how to do everything the system an be made to do. Just ask.
Brad Beahm
Operations Manager Platte River Radio
Hastings, Ne
kd0jct

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest