Since 1978, SLB Radio Productions, Inc. (SLB) has created award-winning public radio programming combining music, interviews, telephone talk and live performances from youth and adults. We distribute our programming to seven FM radio stations, two cable television stations, five Internet radio stations and aggregation services (e.g., Tune In, Simple Radio) and our very own website at slbradio.org. We provide workshops dedicated to self-expression and journalism to approximately 2,000 teens annually.
After being housed inside a traditional FM station for twenty five years, we decided to build our very own suite of studios to support our radio programming and workshops. After many years of planning, these studios came to life in 2004 when we co-located our operations to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh included in its $20 million expansion.
With considerable industry, foundation and listener support, our company is fortunate to get come up with studios of our own dreams to ensure that we can create high-quality radio and workshops. Our equipment includes audio consoles from Logitek Audio and Studer, microphones from AKG, Heil and Sennheiser, telephony equipment from Telos Systems, and other gear through the world’s leading broadcast equipment makers. This includes SAM Broadcaster Pro and SAM Broadcaster Cloud from Spacial Audio. After careful evaluation ultimately causing their selection in 2004, these Spacial Audio systems created the backbone of our library, playout and automation systems. Most importantly, they have got stood the test of energy, growing in features and functionality that have kept these systems in the head of the class despite numerous alterations in digital audio, streaming technology and recordkeeping requirements.
SLB has a library well over 60,000 mp3 and wav tracks, all stored on the network server. A Sam Broadcaster Pro is that SAM Broadcaster accesses these files by way of a database (installed as an element of setting SAM up) as opposed to directly. The database contains title, artist, album, play history, playlist categories and other track-specific information and also the path to the actual audio file. Consequently, SAM Broadcaster permits us to search our library with instant results because the search is based on this data (vs. the audio tracks themselves, which occupy over 60 GB). This feature alone – at the core of SAM Broadcaster and SAM Broadcaster Cloud since their very beginnings – is just amazing and it is a concept I explain repeatedly to fellow broadcasters which can be wowed from this fundamental principle. It permits us to create playlists, find requests, update metadata, add track-specific notes, review spin counts, print logs and perform hundreds of other tasks on the fly. And, obviously, we are able to also play music…beautifully and perfectly by just loading a SAM Broadcaster track in to a SAM Broadcaster Player in much exactly the same way as you would load a real mp3 file into Windows Media Player or iTunes – except with regards to SAM Broadcaster, it all happens instantly with complete user control.
We maintain six SAM Broadcaster licenses, each set up on a PC and every configured to work with the same music database to simplify our work flow. Because of this, I can use SAM Broadcaster to produce and save playlists at my desk with full confidence that they may be accessible and playable when my studio shift begins. In regards time for reports to ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and SoundExchange, I can export data from any in our PCs to obtain the data we must have.
The beauty of SAM Broadcaster and SAM Broadcaster Cloud extends far beyond this underlying principle. One of the many features we appreciate and utilize daily.
While SAM Broadcaster may be configured to perform with no external mixer, SLB operates using standard broadcast consoles to combine multiple audio sources. Therefore, a vital element of Sam Broadcaster is the actual way it interfaces with standard broadcast equipment. Fortunately, this is easy! When we’re operating live, SAM Broadcaster is configured as being a high-end playout system featuring its Playback Decks outputting to faders on our mixer (two stereo channels are supported) where it is actually combined with microphones, phone hybrids, and other sources originating from beyond SAM. The output of our mixer will be fed back to SAM’s encoders for delivery to radio stations, aggregation services and direct listeners. These modes may be customized to satisfy practically any requirement. In case xavxpb wish to feature automated programming, we could change SAM settings to carry on to play through our mixer or right to the stream. Using the introduction of SAM Broadcaster Cloud – we are able to enable the cloud-based system to take over in the touch of the mouse – seamlessly and perfectly. SAM Broadcaster Cloud is deserving of its own article and is also a powerhouse, whether used alone or along with SAM Broadcaster to generate great-sounding automation which can be managed with precision.
Limited space allows me to simply touch on the features and integrity of those products. Just like anything new, you might need to learn principles and methods which can be initially unfamiliar. Fortunately, it comes with an outstanding community forum, detailed documentation as well as a ticketed help system that has never allow us to down when we’ve needed it. After 12 years and tremendous changes in our operations and technology – including an intermittent take a look at competing products – we carry on and rely on Spacial Audio as not only the best product for all of us, but the product we consistently recommend to the colleagues.