Remote broadcast via automation

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ScottColombe
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Remote broadcast via automation

Post by ScottColombe » Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:40 pm

Question for the braintrust, the owner/GM of our station is looking to do a setup where the play-by-play announcers call the game and run spots through the automation computer(s) at the station; eliminating the need for board ops. For background we are using the AirForce automation software. Is this possible and/or are there any downfalls to such a setup? Any help is appreciated; all comments, good and bad, are welcome.

**Note: I was informed that other stations are using this particular setup but have not seen it myself.

Thanks,

Scott Colombe

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Deep Thought
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Re: Remote broadcast via automation

Post by Deep Thought » Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:56 pm

I used to do this with DTMF tones triggering the step advance on old-school takes-up-the-entire-room automation. Can't see why it wouldn't work today if you can figure out how to get contact closures from the game to the station. The automation just pretends you're a satellite receiver.
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Shane
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Re: Remote broadcast via automation

Post by Shane » Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:29 pm

The DTMF method still works. You can have units that filter or otherwise block the tones from getting on the air and provide closures for your system. You could also remote into the automation using VNC, pcAnywhere, or some other remote control program. That's only two ways; there are many more.
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ScottColombe
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Re: Remote broadcast via automation

Post by ScottColombe » Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:51 am

Thanks for the suggestions. Others have mentioned the tones idea and the remote client. I'm just wondering how I make the remote look like a receiver to the automation. Also just curious if this can be accomplished with a single computer or if I'll need two devices (one handling remote viewing and one carrying the audio) Also I apologize for any questions that have obvious answers. The GM informed me to figure this out since the initial employee handling it is not moving on the idea.

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billcroghan
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Re: Remote broadcast via automation

Post by billcroghan » Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:25 pm

Should be pretty straight forward as others have said, treat the remote as another input, Time select that source when the play by play is to start (you'll have to sync the announcers watch with the computers.) be connected before hand. Use any method to get tones back. I'd suggest using the 25 and 35 Hz tones for simplicity if the remote kit permits. If not, DTMF works. Take the output of the tone decoder to the AF system as a trigger. you will probably need triggers for local break, Station ID and end of game (to return to regular programming. )Hope that the talent has a good watch and keeps track of things or you'll will have problems. I never tried this with Air Force when we used it, but have done it with other automation systems from remotes.

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Re: Remote broadcast via automation

Post by KPJL FM » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:45 am

The employee initially charged with figger'g out this project, is probably dragging his heels, because he knows, to do it correctly, it will cost money. :shock:
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Re: Remote broadcast via automation

Post by billcroghan » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:03 am

IF we knew what the play by play guy is using, ti would make it easier to help you. IF he is just talking into a cell phone or if his remote mixer can generate Touch tones, a simple Circuit works DTMF decoder, list price $229, is all you need at the studio. IF his system does not allow simple touch tones, then it becomes a bit more complex. If he can connect to the AIrForce system via a laptop at the remote, using something like Team viewer, it can be much easier, but that assumes a good internet connection at the remote, and a play by play guy who is tech savvy.

ScottColombe
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Re: Remote broadcast via automation

Post by ScottColombe » Thu Apr 30, 2015 10:52 am

Thanks for the reply Bill. I apologize for not giving enough background earlier. I had a chance to look at our remote setp this morning. We're running a Zercom Max-Z II into a Verizon cellphone back to a POTS at the studio. Not sure if that unit does the tones or not. Again, my apologies for not being clear earlier.

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Slab Bulkhead
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Re: Remote broadcast via automation

Post by Slab Bulkhead » Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:15 pm

Pardon my reanimation of an old thread but I was able to do this for a high school sports setup on an LPFM station that did not have a studio when it first signed on. They were using StationPlaylist which was somewhat limited at the time, but now has more support for external devices.

My low rent method was to use a Sine Systems DAI-1 and tie the closure outputs to inputs on a Measurement Computing USB sensor box, the one BSI sold as their "USB trigger kit" for Simian. I wrote a small piece of software to watch for closures on the sensor and send the proper Windows command ID's to StationPlaylist (the ID's were found using a window spy problem). The Sine was set up so it could switch either the phone line or the output of a 2x1 switcher (Marti receiver or Comrex Access) to air. Then to do a break it would drop out the air interrupt relay and trigger an underwriting spot rotation.

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Re: Remote broadcast via automation

Post by Bill DeFelice » Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:11 pm

Slab Bulkhead wrote:My low rent method was to use a Sine Systems DAI-1 and tie the closure outputs to inputs on a Measurement Computing USB sensor box, the one BSI sold as their "USB trigger kit" for Simian. I wrote a small piece of software to watch for closures on the sensor and send the proper Windows command ID's to StationPlaylist (the ID's were found using a window spy problem). The Sine was set up so it could switch either the phone line or the output of a 2x1 switcher (Marti receiver or Comrex Access) to air. Then to do a break it would drop out the air interrupt relay and trigger an underwriting spot rotation.
I'd really like to encourage you to share your solution with Ross and his YahooGroup support forum for StationPlaylist if you're a member there. I've been using StationPlaylist for more than 8 years now and wrote the original review for Radio World back when SPL was just moving from version 3 to version 4. For what some might consider a budget-friendly automation system it's pretty flexible and I've had excellent luck with it.

I don't have any of the kludged hardware left but when I did a remote with SPL I simply connected via Remote Desktop into a secondary computer on the studio network and then RDP into the automation, providing a little bit of isolation in case the middle machine somehow got breached. The computer was a golden oldie with a parallel port so I had an interface to control the input channels and source start buttons on the console. It worked quite well for the time.

corrected a typo
Last edited by Bill DeFelice on Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RodeoJack
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Re: Remote broadcast via automation

Post by RodeoJack » Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:47 pm

Probably as many ways to do this as one could imagine cooking up.

Only one downside. What to do if you call the station, punch in the IP address, system doesn't answer or someone forgets to turn up a mixer pot.

Work around that stuff and the rest should be a piece of cake.

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Slab Bulkhead
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Re: Remote broadcast via automation

Post by Slab Bulkhead » Wed Jul 29, 2015 1:04 pm

Bill DeFelice wrote:
Slab Bulkhead wrote:My low rent method was to use a Sine Systems DAI-1 and tie the closure outputs to inputs on a Measurement Computing USB sensor box, the one BSI sold as their "USB trigger kit" for Simian. I wrote a small piece of software to watch for closures on the sensor and send the proper Windows command ID's to StationPlaylist (the ID's were found using a window spy problem). The Sine was set up so it could switch either the phone line or the output of a 2x1 switcher (Marti receiver or Comrex Access) to air. Then to do a break it would drop out the air interrupt relay and trigger an underwriting spot rotation.
I'd really like to encourage you to share your solution with Ross and his YahooGroup support forum for StationPlaylist if you're a member there. I've been using StationPlaylist for more than 8 years now and wrote the original review for Radio World back when SPL was just moving from version 3 to version 4. For what some might consider a budget-friendly automation system it's pretty flexible and I've had excellent luck with it.

I don't have any of the kludged hardware left but when I did a remote with SPL I simply connected via Remote Desktop into a secondary computer on the studio network and then RDP into the automation, providing a little bit of isolation in case the middle machine somehow got breached. The computer was a golden oldie with a parallel port so I had an interface to control the input channels and source start buttons on the console. It worked quite well for the time.

corrected a typo
I don't have an account on that forum but I do read it once in a while.

I have this automation system set up on an isolated LAN behind a Linux machine. There's VNC running on it, but to connect one has to make an SSH connection to the Linux computer and then tunnel the VNC session through it.

I didn't have it connected to any source starts on the console...in our case the remote feed is downstream of the console and in front of the EAS interrupt to try and make it "idiot proof" of whatever happens in the studio.

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Re: Remote broadcast via automation

Post by RodeoJack » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:22 pm

I'm familiar with Simian, but it seems you could do this with any pc-based automation.

Set up your audio link-of-choice and program it as part of your automation log. Include the spot breaks, so they can be validated by your traffic system.

From the remote location, log into the automation with "Logmein", "VNC", "Team Viewer" or the like. Team viewer will play back whatever audio's coming out of the computer, if you're running anything from Windows 7 forward. That's one way to hear the station's playback at your location.

This gives you access to the automation as if you were in the studio. Seems an easy solution to me.

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