Since 1978, SLB Radio Productions, Inc. (SLB) has produced 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 decided to build our very own suite of studios to aid our radio programming and workshops. After years of planning, these studios came to life in 2004 once we co-located our operations for the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh as an element of its $20 million expansion.
With considerable industry, foundation and listener support, we are fortunate to possess come up with studios in our dreams to ensure that we could 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 includes SAM Broadcaster Pro and SAM Broadcaster Cloud from Spacial Audio. After careful evaluation leading to their selection in 2004, these Spacial Audio systems created the backbone of our own library, playout and automation systems. More importantly, they may have stood the test of time, growing in features and functionality that have kept these systems on the head in the class despite numerous modifications in digital audio, streaming technology and recordkeeping requirements.
SLB includes a library of over 60,000 mp3 and wav tracks, all stored on the network server. A Sam Broadcaster is the fact SAM Broadcaster accesses these files by means 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 as well as other track-specific information as well as the path to the actual audio file. Consequently, SAM Broadcaster permits us to search our library with instant results because the search is founded on this data (vs. the audio files themselves, which occupy over 60 GB). This feature alone – in the core of SAM Broadcaster and SAM Broadcaster Cloud since their very beginnings – is just amazing and it is an idea I explain repeatedly to fellow broadcasters that are wowed from this fundamental principle. It allows us to create playlists, find requests, update metadata, add track-specific notes, review spin counts, print logs and perform countless other tasks on the fly. And, of course, we can also play music…beautifully and perfectly by simply loading a SAM Broadcaster track in to a SAM Broadcaster Player in much much the same way as you would load a genuine mp3 file into Windows Media Player or iTunes – except when it comes to SAM Broadcaster, everything happens instantly along with complete user control.
We maintain six SAM Broadcaster licenses, each placed on a PC and each and every configured to work with the same music database to simplify our work flow. Because of this, I could use SAM Broadcaster to generate and save playlists at my desk with full confidence that they can be accessible and playable when my studio shift begins. When it comes time for reports to ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and SoundExchange, I will export data from the of our own PCs to get the data we require.
The beauty of SAM Broadcaster and SAM Broadcaster Cloud extends far beyond this underlying principle. One of the many features we appreciate and use daily.
While SAM Broadcaster could be configured to run without an external mixer, SLB operates using standard broadcast consoles to blend multiple audio sources. As such, a crucial part of Sam Broadcaster is the way it interfaces with standard broadcast equipment. Fortunately, this can be easy! When we’re operating live, SAM Broadcaster is configured as a high-end playout system featuring its Playback Decks outputting to faders on our mixer (two stereo channels are supported) where it really is along with microphones, phone hybrids, as well as other sources caused by beyond SAM. The output of our mixer is then fed back to SAM’s encoders for delivery to radio stations, aggregation services and direct listeners. These modes may be customized to fulfill virtually any requirement. In the event that xavxpb wish to feature automated programming, we could change SAM settings to carry on to try out through our mixer or directly to the stream. With all the development of SAM Broadcaster Cloud – we could permit the cloud-based system to consider over on the touch of a button – seamlessly and perfectly. SAM Broadcaster Cloud is worthy of its own article and is a powerhouse, whether used alone or together with SAM Broadcaster to produce great-sounding automation that can be managed with precision.
Only a little space allows me to only touch on the features and integrity of those products. Similar to anything new, you may have to learn principles and methods which can be initially unfamiliar. Fortunately, there is an outstanding community forum, detailed documentation along with a ticketed help system which has never allow us to down when we’ve needed it. After 12 years and tremendous modifications in our operations and technology – including an occasional look at competing products – we carry on and count on Spacial Audio as not only the most effective product for people, but also the product we consistently recommend to our own colleagues.