Category: Technical

New Tech Gives Hosts Control and Breeds Engagement

| August 16, 2017

By Robin Lundberg
Stick-to-Sports
Host

 

NEW YORK — There are a lot of reasons we speak into the microphone or stand in front of the camera, but  there is one thing that all of us in talk have in common (besides a large ego and a need to be heard).  It’s the thing we build into our contracts. We lobby for it in editorial and production meetings. It is what we expect when our name is part of the title of the show.

We want…control.

It turns out that the nature of on-air control for television and new media is quickly evolving and the result is a dream come true for hosts.

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Norway’s Switch to DAB

| May 10, 2017

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

 

NEW YORK — Imagine one afternoon you’re watching the daily press briefing from the White House and Press Secretary Sean Spicer responds to a question from a reporter by saying, “Our government has now mandated that all radio broadcasts will only be in digital, so all Americans who own cars will have to bring their car into the shop and get a new digital radio installed at their own expense if they still want to listen to radio.

Before you panic, this didn’t happen here.  However, Norwegian radio listeners are living through this scenario this year.

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2017 CES: It’s Getting Hard to Find a Computer Here

| January 5, 2017

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterLAS VEGAS — There are 1,000 more media people here than covered the last Olympics, according to Consumer Technology Association Chief Analyst Shawn Dubravac. And most nod nonchalantly when he says things like “increasingly intelligent systems connecting diverse objects.”

Translation: Little things that we would rather not do and happily let a device handle. “Connections and computations,” he calls it, asking “When’s the last time you changed the temp in you fridge?”  Techy new LG refrigerators on display here monitor temperature-and-humidity – inside-and-outside – constantly adjusting, as needed “so your ice cream is always the consistency you want it.”

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A Radio App Built by Radio for Radio

| March 3, 2015

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS/RadioInfo
Special Features Correspondent

mckayjeffNEW YORK — In a digital world, an app that does what you need it to do and more isn’t merely a consideration, it’s a must-have to increase your overall presence, reach younger demos, and if done right, expand sales, marketing, and create a valuable revenue stream.  Multi-billion dollar broadcast companies (although in debt) can usually afford what they need along these lines.  However, smaller radio groups, small- and regional-market owners, and those working on the digital frontier may not have the resources of the larger competitors.

JOTA App Square LogoIn the case of Jack of Trade Apps, the company has devised custom-created apps that provide technological solutions enabling businesses to communicate and interact with their clients.  The firm has been successfully marketing apps to non-radio businesses, but has also proven it can create the digital connection with radio listeners, and help establish a much-needed revenue stream.

You can call it “a radio insider’s radio app.”

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Review: The Incredibly Good (and Affordable) Audio-Technica AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic Mic

| January 7, 2014

By Michael W. Dean
The Freedom Feens
Genesis Communications Network
Co-Host

deanmichael2CASPER, WY — Remember that toy advertised on TV in the 1970s called “Mr. Microphone?”  It was a cheap plastic mic with a built-in low-power FM transmitter.  You could project a tinny rendition of your voice over any portable radio within oh…about 30 feet.

The Audio-Technica AT2005USB mic kind of reminds me of the Mr. Microphone except that the AT2005USB sounds incredibly good.  And instead of reaching every radio within 30 feet, it reaches every radio in America, or at least every radio in America that’s in a city where your show has an affiliate.

This would be a great mic for hosts who travel a lot, and don’t want to bring a mixer and a whole bag of gear or an engineer.  It’s a regular-sized dynamic mic that sounds fairly amazing.  It has a built-in USB interface, and comes with a nifty collapsible tripod table stand and a USB cable.  You could fit that all in a netbook case with a small laptop. Add a set of earphones or even ear buds and you could do your show from anywhere.  You could fit all that in a briefcase or purse.

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The Sad State of Broadcast Engineering – Part 2

| December 4, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

raytomNEW YORK — Around Labor Day, I wrote an article that asked, “Where have all the broadcast engineers gone?”  I was inundated with responses, which is why it has taken me so long to write a follow up article.  Obviously, I hit a nerve with everyone.  I have heard from Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Ireland.  Obviously, this is a universal topic and I have been overwhelmed.  That, and I’ve been working on a large project with not much time to put electrons to the screen.

Additionally, I was both surprised and not surprised at the bitterness in many of the responses.  Broadcast engineers are a unique group.  It’s difficult, though not impossible, to find a more dedicated group of people in any business.  We take it personally.  The station becomes part of us and is what we do.  And once that is disrupted, even if the person is in a much better place, it is taken personally.  I can relate.

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Vintage Telefunken 12AX7 Tube Review

| November 19, 2013

Tubes? What Century Do You Think This Is?

By Michael W. Dean
The Freedom Feens
Genesis Communications Network
Co-Host

 

Figure 1 - TubesLeft: Tung-Sol 12AX7 tube.      Right: Telefunken 12AX7 tube

deanmichael2CASPER, WY — The transition in audio production from analog to digital over the past couple decades has been a boon for radio. No more splicing tape, and no more finding the right tape or piece of tape. And don’t get me started on those dreaded carts. I’m thankful they’ve been replaced by a click on the screen. Tape hiss is something I don’t miss either.

However, in some ways, digital audio production is too clean. So after ditching tubes and tapes for transistors, integrated circuits and hard drives, some people have gone back to analog for one phase of the audio chain: the pre-amp.

Tube pre-amps and compressors have sonic attributes that cannot yet be replicated with digital modeling. Tubes provide a warmth that comes from semi-random, subtle distortion on certain harmonics. That sounds like it would be a bad thing, but it’s actually a good thing.

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Electro-Voice Mics Rock Talk Radio

| October 22, 2013

By Michael W. Dean
The Freedom Feens
Genesis Communications Network
Co-Host

1 - Peanut in repose with Electro-Voice RE-20 microphone

Peanut in repose with Electro-Voice RE-20 microphone

A Mic for the Ages

The venerated Electro-Voice RE-20 microphone is the premiere workhorse of the last four decades of broadcast radio. It’s the mic most frequently found in live radio studios for talk show hosts, and DJs on rock radio, going back to the late 1960s.

The RE-20 is such a staple of radio that, even though other mics are sometimes used in radio studios, the RE-20 is almost always used in Hollywood to indicate “radio.” Showing it on screen is automatic shorthand for “we’re in a radio station now.” Any time you see a scene in a movie or on TV where someone is talking on the radio, the prop mics are overwhelmingly going to be RE-20s. Showing an RE-20 on screen visually implies “this person is a pro, listen to them,” even to people who don’t know anything about radio or microphones.

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Just What the Heck Is a Codec?

| September 11, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — Got a call recently from someone inquiring about IP codecs and looking for an explanation as to exactly what they are.  I was puzzled at first because to me, it’s an easy-to-understand topic.  But not everyone is as tech savvy as I am.

So first, let’s look at our old friend ISDN – you know, the thing that’s eventually going away (in New York at present, you cannot order an ISDN line from Verizon – they are no longer installing them).

We use the term ISDN to describe…an ISDN codec.  These are devices that have two main parts – the audio coding section and the transport section.

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DISTURBING TREND: Where are all the radio engineers?

| September 5, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — Being that Labor Day has just passed, I was thinking about a disturbing conversation I had with a colleague last week.  He is an Engineer and had been looking for an assistant.  I noted recently that he was no longer running his ad and assumed he filled the position.

He and I had occasion to chat the other evening.  I asked how his new assistant was working out – and who he found.  His response?  “I pulled the ad because I could not find anyone!  There is no one out there!!”  He ended up hiring someone with IT skills who had an electronics background and is training him.

This tends to be a trend in the industry – a disturbing one.  If there are no engineers, who will be taking care of our broadcast facilities?

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