Tieline Technologies

Clear Channel Chooses Tieline for Wireless 3G Remote

- The Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia is famous for those triumphant scenes of boxing champ Rocky Balboa raising his arms atop the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Marcus Xenakis

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It is also the location for the annual Unity Day celebrations in Philly, when hundreds of thousands of people turn out to celebrate diversity and peace.

Everything about Unity Day is huge - from the crowds, to the challenges of broadcasting live from the middle of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Local radio station and major sponsor 105.3 WDAS-FM devoted a full day of airtime to this event back in August. Marcus Xenakis is Director of Engineering and IT for Clear Channel Radio in Philadelphia and was responsible for organizing the technical side of broadcasting the event.

"It presented quite a challenge," Marcus said. "Installing an ISDN line at this particular location involved a lot of red tape so we looked for a simple wireless solution for the Unity Day broadcast." Marcus heard about Tieline's 3G wireless capabilities and decided to test a pair of Commander G3 codecs for the event.

Tieline supplied a pair of demo units and Marcus conducted thorough connection tests while driving in a vehicle along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. "The tests were very reliable and convinced us to give it a go," he said.

This was quite an endorsement because the codecs had to go the distance and broadcast live continuously for nine hours from a temporary stage set up on the street.

On the day of the broadcast Marcus programmed a codec software profile that provided bidirectional mono audio and a separate communications channel, which was used for talkback. The announcers' audio was sent in mono to the studio and they received a low-delay mono mix-minus return feed from the studio.

"The broadcast was wonderful - Tieline 3G provided all the benefits of a remote pickup unit with the added benefit of providing bidirectional audio paths, as well as a communications circuit," he said. "The codecs met and exceeded our expectations."

Marcus connected using a Tieline EV-DO 3G module and operated for most of the day with a connection bit rate of 96 kbps using Tieline's high quality Music algorithm.

It was a real test for the codecs over 3G because of the volume of people at the event and the demand for network cell bandwidth during the day. "We noticed as the crowd built up over the day that the 3G link quality reading on the codec jumped around a little," he remarked. "We just adjusted the connection bit rate to ensure the connection remained stable."

One of the challenges that HD radio presents is the significant delay created by a combination of profanity delay and HD radio system delay. This combined delay can be up to 20 seconds, making it impossible to broadcast live at an event and use the ‘off-air' radio signal for real-time PA monitoring.

To avoid any problems during Unity Day, Marcus took a split of the studio mix-minus feed from the remote codec and sent it to the on-site PA. This was mixed with the announcers' live audio and solved any delay issues. "To our announcers the broadcast went seamlessly," he said.

Tieline codecs can be fully preprogrammed before a remote broadcast, making it extremely simple to connect to the studio. "Most of our remotes are performed by non-technical staff and I feel confident that the codecs can be pre-configured for easy user setup," Marcus said.

"I particularly liked the auto reconnect feature that Tieline codecs offer," he said. At one stage during the broadcast we lost power and the codec reconnected to the studio automatically within seconds," he said.

"Tieline's 3G technology will be a great addition to our remote broadcast kit," said Marcus. "It's the solution to a problem, but let's face it - it's also great to roll it out, plug it in and run it," he said. "Tieline 3G codecs are ideal for rapid deployment to any location where you have a 3G signal."

Based on the success of the Unity Day broadcast, Marcus has budgeted for four Tieline codecs. "This new technology is raising our expectations of what we can do when remote broadcasting," he said.

We also asked Marcus about his thoughts on future of radio broadcasting and audio over IP generally. "Our business over time has to migrate over to modern broadband technologies," he stated. "We are finding more and more locations now have high-speed broadband and this will provide more opportunities for us to use IP instead of ISDN and save money."

As Tieline codecs support POTS, ISDN, IP and 3G connections, they can be used as a tool to transition into new technologies, while retaining compatibility with POTS and ISDN.

Flexibility, reliability and connectivity are the cornerstones of Tieline 3G performance. As the Unity Day experience proved, Tieline 3G continues to pack a knockout punch in the wireless arena.

Tieline codecs that feature POTS, IP, 3GIP, SIP, ISDN, GSM and X.21 interoperability are on display at NAB2008 in the Radio Hall at Booth N8817, or they can be ordered for demonstration at any Tieline international office in the US, Switzerland, and Australia or from any listed Tieline dealer at www.tieline.com.

About Tieline Technology
Tieline Technology (www.tieline.com) is the world's leading supplier of high-quality remote broadcast digital audio codecs. In fact, Tieline derives its name from the popularity of its award-winning codec line as the company changed its corporate moniker in 2001 from Audio Video Communications (AVC) to Tieline Technology. Tieline Technology today is supported by a global distribution network spanning the Americas, Europe, UK, Africa, Asia, Middle East and Australasia.

Tieline Technology, Tieline Technology logo, Commander G3, i-Mix G3 are trademarks of Tieline Technology. Other trademarks may be property of their respective owners.