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 Radio stations, two cable tv 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 25 years, we made a decision to build our own suite of studios to aid our radio programming and workshops. After years of planning, these studios got to life in 2004 once we co-located our operations towards the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh included in its $20 million expansion.
With considerable industry, foundation and listener support, we have been fortunate to get created the studios of our own dreams so that we are able to 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, along with other gear from the world’s leading broadcast equipment makers. This consists of 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 own library, playout and automation systems. More importantly, they have got stood the test of your time, growing in features and functionality which have kept these systems on the head of the class despite numerous changes in digital audio, streaming technology and recordkeeping requirements.
SLB features a library of more than 60,000 mp3 and wav tracks, all stored on the network server. A Sam Broadcaster is that SAM Broadcaster accesses these files by means of a database (installed as part of setting SAM up) as opposed to directly. The database contains title, artist, album, play history, playlist categories as well as other track-specific information and also the way to the actual audio file. Consequently, SAM Broadcaster allows us to search our library with instant results because the search is based on this data (vs. the audio tracks themselves, which take up over 60 GB). This feature alone – at the core of SAM Broadcaster and SAM Broadcaster Cloud since their very beginnings – is just amazing and is also an idea I explain repeatedly to fellow broadcasters which can be wowed by this fundamental principle. It allows 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 could also play music…beautifully and perfectly by just loading a SAM Broadcaster track in to a SAM Broadcaster Player in much the same way as one would load an actual mp3 file into Windows Media Player or iTunes – except when it comes to SAM Broadcaster, everything happens instantly with complete user control.
We maintain six SAM Broadcaster licenses, each placed on a PC and each and every configured to work alongside the identical music database to simplify our work flow. Consequently, I will use SAM Broadcaster to produce and save playlists at my desk with full confidence that they will be accessible and playable when my studio shift begins. In regards time for reports to ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and SoundExchange, I will export data from the of our own PCs to obtain the data we must have.
The good thing about SAM Broadcaster and SAM Broadcaster Cloud extends far beyond this underlying principle. One of the many features we appreciate and make use of daily.
While SAM Broadcaster could be configured to perform without an external mixer, SLB operates using standard broadcast consoles to combine multiple audio sources. Therefore, a crucial element of Sam Broadcaster is the way it interfaces with standard broadcast equipment. Fortunately, this is easy! When we’re operating live, SAM Broadcaster is configured being a high-end playout system featuring its Playback Decks outputting to faders on our mixer (two stereo channels are supported) where it is combined with microphones, phone hybrids, as well as other sources caused by beyond SAM. The output of our mixer will be fed returning to SAM’s encoders for delivery to radio stations, aggregation services and direct listeners. These modes could be customized to satisfy practically any requirement. In the event that xavxpb wish to feature automated programming, we can change SAM settings to carry on to try out through our mixer or right to the stream. With all the advent of SAM Broadcaster Cloud – we are able to allow the cloud-based system to adopt 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 in conjunction with SAM Broadcaster to create great-sounding automation which can be managed with precision.
Only a little space allows me to merely touch on the features and integrity of such products. Similar to anything new, you may have to learn principles and methods that are at first unfamiliar. Fortunately, it comes with an outstanding community forum, detailed documentation along with a ticketed help system which includes never allow us to down when we’ve needed it. After 12 years and tremendous modifications in our operations and technology – including an occasional take a look at competing products – we carry on and rely on Spacial Audio as not only the very best product for us, but the product we consistently recommend to our own colleagues.