The latest instalment of the Broadcast Technology Newsletter landed in inboxes yesterday. If you’re not on this list, please consider signing up. If not, here’s what you missed:

  • Nova Entertainment has selected Lawo to design and build their ‘Future Studios’ project. This is a really cool, forward-thinking system. Talent can walk into any studio in the country, tap their RFID card, and recall the console preset and audio routing for their show (which could go to air in another state). This is essentially an audio-only implementation of the NEP Andrews Hubs (which I mentioned in my last newsletter). Lawo’s router software allows cross-points to be created across facilities, automatically selecting from the available IP audio links (operators will no longer need to know which Tieline to dial – WAN audio linking is handled automatically whenever you set an audio routing crosspoint). Until now, I hadn’t personally viewed Lawo as a big player in the Radio Console market in Australia, but ambitious projects like this are a real game changer – how will other vendors respond?
  • Conversations around ‘Smart Speakers’ continue. Stations want to get their radio stream on each platform as a ‘skill’, but I wonder if that’s severely underestimating the power of these devices? Radio is linear by design, but Smart Speakers give us a real opportunity to break the mould and deliver contextual content based on listener preferences. The BBC has been prototyping Object-Based Media for many years now, which looks like a natural fit for these new delivery methods. Do you think broadcasters will actually be able to break out of their traditional production methods, and re-design around non-linear production? In my mind, if we create for objects, then the AM/FM/Digital ‘feed’ becomes just one linear assembly of these ‘objects’ – with many more possible ways to assemble the ‘feed’ based on listener preferences. I’m keen to know what you think about all this.
  • IBC has just wrapped up. Telos Alliance announced ‘HyperStudio‘ – a way to run some of their Linux-based appliances on your existing hypervisor. Notably, their Studio Engines (realtime audio mix engine) were omitted from the list of example products – is CPU scheduling too big a problem to make this work well in a hypervisor? Has anyone else solved this problem yet?
  • Have you heard of the On-Hertz LUMO virtualised radio studio’? It won a ‘Best of Show’ award at IBC. Looks like a web-based all-in-one radio solution (automation, mixer, DSP, phone system, and codec).
  • Russia has selected DRM as their Digital Radio standard, instead of DAB+ (used in much of Europe). This comes after an announcement of DAB+ frequency assignment for Russia in April. Could this mean more dual-format receivers become available? There seems to be some renewed discussion lately of on-band Digital Radio solutions (at least in the online circles I’m a part of – probably rising out of frustration with Australia’s DAB+ implementation, and how so far it’s leaving out narrowcasters, most regional areas, and sub-metro community stations).
  • Back in the year 2000, Joel Spolsky wrote 12 questions to determine the effectiveness and health of your software engineering team. I’ve had a crack at adapting this to radio engineering teams – The ‘Joel Test’ for Radio Technology Teams.