LAS VEGAS, April 14, 2008 — Premier Productions Radio Network, a division of Premier Productions, is using a joint Barix audio over IP hardware and StreamGuys internet distribution solution to deliver live and recorded sports programming to 35 radio stations in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The end-to-end IP architecture provides a reliable, scalable, high-quality audio solution that vastly reduces operational costs compared to the company’s previous reliance on satellite technology for program distribution. The end-to-end workflow begins at the origination point, where a live or recorded feed is sent from a Barix Instreamer-100 audio encoder to Premier Productions Radio Network’s studio in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the studio, a Barix Exstreamer 100 receives and decodes the program material, where it is mixed and sent out over the Internet through another Barix Instreamer 100 unit. An aggregated server infrastructure from StreamGuys receives the feeds and transports them over a robust, cost-effective, streaming network to point or multipoint destinations within the 35-station collective.
Each of the 35 stations has an Exstreamer 100 at their studios to receive and decode the signals, along with tone decoders to trigger advertisements, station identification, and to signal start and end times for each feed. The Barix and StreamGuys solution maintains outstanding quality throughout the transport architecture, with built-in redundancy at every level to ensure the stream is playing out live at all times. The solution also takes advantage of Barix and StreamGuys RTP (real-time protocol) solution to ensure consistent ultra-low latency of live signals at the receive sites. “More radio stations are migrating to IP from satellite distribution these days because of the noticeable reduction in monthly costs,” said Matt Wallace, owner of Premier Productions Radio Network. “On top of the monthly costs, satellite receivers at many radio stations are aging and breaking down, and it can cost upwards of $2000 to replace them. IP technology and distribution platforms from companies like Barix and StreamGuys are becoming more popular because of these costs and reliability issues, and the trends point to this type of replacement cycle happening around the world.”
According to Wallace, the radio stations in his network have been extremely pleased with the audio quality of the solution, which is attained by distributing compressed audio at 80 kbps to the destination Exstreamers, with higher bit rates earlier in the chain. Set up is simple: The Exstreamers are assigned static IP addresses in St. Paul and shipped to the studios for “plug and play” installation. The simple operation ensures that no in-studio monitoring is required for automated programming scenarios. The StreamGuys distribution architecture eliminates the costs of leasing T1 lines for longdistance distribution, and provides plenty of bandwidth to maintain high audio quality throughout the chain.
“Rural radio stations are especially guarded about spending money due to limited budgets, so it’s crucial to provide them with equipment that is reliable and that can be automated without the need for a studio operator or on-site engineer, and Barix meets those requirements,” said Wallace. “And with StreamGuys, I don’t have to worry about the stations receiving their feeds. Once the feeds leave my studio they goes directly to the destination studios in a redundant configuration. If one server goes down, another server in the streaming architecture will pick up the feeds. And the comprehensive solution is scalable to meet my needs as Premier Productions Radio Networks expands to new sites in Minnesota, the Dakotas, and other Midwest states.”