Zurich, Switzerland (April 20, 2010)–NRC Broadcasting has deployed a Barix Audio over IP network to distribute programming to five FM booster stations and one AM facility.
NRC Broadcasting, a Colorado company dedicated to live and local radio, has set up two Barix distribution systems from its Breckenridge, CO facility: A point-to-point connection that streams live program audio to KRKY-AM in Granby, and a point-to-multipoint network that streams live program audio to five KCMV-FM booster facilities. The Barix Audio over IP distribution network uses Barix Instreamer 100 IP encoders and Exstreamer 100 IP decoders to deliver AM and FM audio.
According to Matt Schilz, chief engineer for NRC Broadcasting, “Point-to-point microwave is completely out of the question for us considering that the number of relay sites we need would outnumber our radio stations, so Qwest program audio circuits were the least expensive solution we had for a while. We started looking at IP solutions when high-speed internet became available at our more remote sites, but many of the systems we looked at were tens of thousands of dollars in equipment costs. We tested the Barix hardware over a single path and determined they were very reliable for FM broadcast.”
Schilz has engineered what appears to be a unique distribution network for his FM stations. The program audio is encoded into mp3 at Breckenridge and streamed 70 miles to Denver where the company has a much larger chunk of bandwidth at its data center to support the network.
An Exstreamer in Denver decodes the audio and pushes it to a second Instreamer. From there, remote Exstreamers at five other stations pull the program audio from a static wide-areanetwork IP address for immediate on-air broadcast.
“The Exstreamers pull the audio from the Denver Instreamer instead of Denver pushing the audio to five stations, which makes network setup easier,” said Schilz. “Setup of the Barix devices themselves is simple. The most important part is keeping up with firmware upgrades and new software.”
Schilz is planning to use Barix for live remote broadcasts in the near future, using Netbooks with data modems to communicate with cell towers. “Barix gives us a point-to-point solution to get remote audio from the field back to the studio over difficult terrain,” he said. “Windows Media encoders will push the streams back to the studio, where the Exstreamer will decode the audio for on-air broadcast.”