WXLO(FM) has a ratings presence in the downtown Boston county of Suffolk for the first time, and an improved signal inMiddlesex County; specialized IP technology drives best-sounding MaxxCasting system to date
CHICAGO, February 21, 2019 — WXLO(FM), a Hot Adult Contemporary radio station serving the Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts markets, has become the latest MaxxCasting™ licensee to increase coverage-to-contour ratio immediately after going on air with the system. WXLO’s newly robust FM signal is now reaching Nielsen Portable People Meters (PPM) and audiences throughout both markets, with approximately one-million new listeners at home, in businesses and in automobiles receiving clear signals.
Importantly, the MaxxCasting system makes WXLO a competitive ratings force in Boston, the nation’s tenth largest market, by delivering a listenable signal through the city of Boston in Suffolk County. The system also establishes a ratings presence for WXLO across a broader strategic travel corridor section of adjacent Middlesex County, the largest county in New England by population, covering a large section of eastern Massachusetts north of Boston all the way to the New Hampshire border.
The WXLO MaxxCasting system, which went live in early January, has solved the station’s greatest coverage problemsassociated with signal density, building penetration and challenging commuter routes. The single-frequency network (SFN) includes three low-power transmission sites, or “nodes,” to maximize coverage for two markets, including a transmission node located on top of the John Hancock building in downtown Boston. All nodes are located in areas prone to weak signal coverage, leveraging GBS’ unique predictive modeling software to eliminate interference in areas where signals overlap. This provides a clean transition between transmitters as listeners commute throughout the region.
The WXLO system represents an important first in MaxxCasting that noticeably improves audio quality. The architecture integrates specialized IP networking technology from GatesAir to support composite digital FM multiplex (MPX) signal transport. GatesAir’s Intraplex IP Link MPX codecs keep FM signals in the digital domain while maximizing network bandwidth, making this the best-sounding MaxxCasting system to date. As usual, the codecs integrate Intraplex SynchroCast technology to tightly synchronize program audio across all transmission nodes.
MaxxCasting systems continue to pay dividends for broadcasters that have long struggled to deliver clear and listenable signals across 100 percent of their legal broadcast contours. As with MaxxCasting’s other Boston licensee, WXRV, as well as licensees live today in Chicago, Milwaukee, Seattle and other medium-to-major markets, WXLO’s broader signal will increase revenue potential by reaching more PPMs and attracting new advertisers.
“We’re excited about how good the station sounds and to reach more potential audience in downtown Boston and beyond with this new technology,” Bob Goodell, Regional Vice President, Cumulus Media.
Bill Hieatt, CTO for MaxxCasting architects GeoBroadcast Solutions, notes that the MaxxCasting system is now delivering a very robust, high-quality audio signal across the Boston area’s most challenging commuter routes. In addition to the sound-quality benefits of digital composite FM MPX transport, the GBS team customized directional antenna patterns at each node to optimize signal propagation across all transmission nodes.
“Downtown Boston is an enormous challenge due to the density of buildings, tunnels and other environmental considerations that make signal penetration difficult,” said Hieatt. “While our transmitter site within city limits solves these problems, our nodes outside of the city deliver listenable signals to drivers commuting to and from Boston Metro West and Worcester for the first time. Around the region, WXLO is now reaching audiences traveling along all major corridors,including I-95 and I-93 heading north and south. WXLO is the latest MaxxCasting system to prove the technical validity and business benefits that our solution offers to radio broadcasters across any terrain.”
About GeoBroadcast Solutions
GeoBroadcast Solutions, LLC (GBS) offers proprietary products and solutions to enhance radio station coverage areas to maximize both coverage and revenue as well as the ability to zone audio (pending FCC approval) and RBDS/RDS. The company hold two patents for new Single Frequency Network techniques (MaxxCasting and ZoneCasting) that have been developed to improve coverage. GeoBroadcast Solutions’ charter is to innovate and bring to market technologies that help radio broadcasters maximize their signal and grow revenues. MaxxCasting expands the coverage area of FM signals. ZoneCasting, pending FCC approval, will provide technology to geographically target radio advertisements, news, weather and other important local information. These competitive innovations give broadcasters tools to compete in the face of innovations internet and cellular message distribution. GBS partners with GatesAir for transmission and IP distribution equipment.
ATLANTA, GA – February 28, 2019 – Visix, Inc. has been awarded the Bronze Stevie® Award in the category of Customer Service Department of the Year – Computer Software – Up to 100 Employees in the 13th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. The company has maintained a 96% or higher customer satisfaction rating for more than five years.
“We’re very honored to be recognized for our superior customer service,” says Sean Matthews, president and CEO of Visix. “Our motto is ‘we’re here to help’, and every one of our employees take that seriously. We pride ourselves on going beyond technology sales to make sure our clients get the best consulting, training and support possible; and to ensure they get the most from our products and have a positive experience throughout the process. I’m extremely proud of everyone at Visix for contributing to this success.”
The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service are the world’s top honors for customer service, contact center, business development, and sales professionals. More than 2,700 nominations from organizations in 45 nations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were evaluated in this year’s competition. Winners were determined by the average scores of more than 150 professionals worldwide in seven specialized judging committees.
“All of the Stevie Award winners should be very proud of their achievements. Independent professionals around the world have agreed that their accomplishments are worthy of public recognition,” said Stevie Awards President and founder, Michael Gallagher.
Details about the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service and the list of Stevie winners in all categories are available at www.StevieAwards.com/sales.
About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 12,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 70 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.
Visix, Inc. offers a robust suite of digital signage software, content designs and meeting room signs for any organization wanting to engage, excite, and inform their audiences. Our products work separately or together, are competitively priced and scalable, and have powerful interactivity and data integration features for a unified, enterprise signage solution. Our award-winning service and support teams consistently rank the highest in customer satisfaction for fast, professional responses and solutions. Learn more about Visix digital signage products and services at www.visix.com.
Efficient, all-in-one solution enables station employees to reallocate their time to higher-value and more creative activities
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, February 28, 2019 – Miami Valley Communications Council (MVCC) in Centerville, Ohio is a municipal communications and technology organization that represents eight member cities in the area, and holds affiliate agreements with 23 other Miami Valley cities. Upgrading its master control and playout infrastructure to high definition while replacing decade-old legacy equipment, the council selected the Cablecast Community Media Platform from Tightrope Media Systems as the foundation of its enhanced operations.
MVCC was formed in 1975 to oversee cable television franchise agreements, manage the operation of the council’s cable access television channels, and lead intergovernmental projects designed to strengthen communications between member cities and their citizens. The council operates four PEG channels – two government channels, one educational access channel and one public access channel – while offering state-of-the-art production facilities, equipment and training to residents of its member cities.
While limited to broadcasting in SD for cable distribution, MVCC had higher ambitions for its online presence. “We wanted to upgrade to HD for our online VOD and eventually our live streams,” explained Nick Evert, MVCC’s chief engineer. “We also wanted a system that would simplify our file-based workflows and integrate better with our website offering.”
MVCC purchased the Cablecast Broadcast Automation software and two quad-channel Cablecast Flex 4 playout servers, configured to provide one recording input and one playout pathway for each of the council’s four cable channels. A Cablecast Pro VOD server automatically creates on-demand clips of the station’s programs, which are then delivered to viewers through the cloud-based Cablecast Reflect service. Four Tightrope Carousel systems drive independent bulletin boards on each channel. Supplied by systems integrator iVideo Technologies (known at the time as Industrial Video), the new installation went live at MVCC in September 2018.
In choosing the Cablecast platform, Tightrope’s expertise was as important to MVCC as the solution itself. “The number one thing for myself and our recently-retired programmer was the background of the company,” said Evert. “Tightrope staff all seem to have a good knowledge of the PEG channel world, with many of them coming from a PEG background. Their receptiveness to the particular challenges of a government-run media center was really appealing.”
Cablecast’s browser-based architecture was similarly attractive. “Unlike our previous system, people can now be working simultaneously on various machines over the network at the same or different times, without being tied to a specific workstation,” Evert explained. “Plus, I don’t need to keep updating software versions on multiple machines to stay current.”
Beyond its browser-based flexibility, the operational ease of Cablecast’s user interface itself has earned Evert’s praise. “With our previous system, a lot of functions were counter-intuitive and confusing,” he said. “The Cablecast interface is much more intuitive and modern, and you get a lot better feedback from the software when you’re working.”
Cablecast’s elegant media handling capabilities save MVCC staff valuable time that they can put to better use. “With our old system, we had to FTP files around a lot, moving them to and from a NAS,” recalled Evert. “With Cablecast, we have all of our media live on the server. Instead of spending time queuing things up and on routine operational tasks, employees are freed up to do things like developing better bulletin board graphics and polishing things up a little bit more.”
Cablecast’s tight bulletin board integration has brought similar gains. “The schedule integration benefits are huge,” said Evert. “With our old system, staff would get an email or printout of the schedule, and need to retype it into our bulletin board software. Now as soon as we’ve scheduled the show, it’s handled automatically, completely eliminating that work.”
In addition to the Cablecast platform itself, Evert has also been impressed with Tightrope personnel. “I can’t say enough about the receptiveness that they have to new ideas and features,” he praised. “You work with any system day in and day out, inevitably you’ll have ideas of something new you wish it could do. Not every manufacturer will truly listen to your requests and discuss them with their development team. I think that’s huge.”
MVCC’s future plans include adding Cablecast Live systems for HD live streaming, and updating the video content area of their website using Cablecast’s dynamic, turnkey “public site” web publishing tools. But in the meantime, the platform continues to deliver the benefits the council sought. “Cablecast has simplified our master control workflow, and allows our staff to allocate more of their time to refinement of our channels,” summarized Evert. “It is a solid, all-in-one kind of solution, which is exactly what is needed for a PEG facility like ours.”
For over 20 years, the Cablecast Community Media platform from Tightrope Media Systems has enabled exceptional workflow efficiency, usability and versatility to help local cable channels, campus television and other community media providers engage their viewers in the evolving media landscape. The comprehensive Cablecast product line provides complete, tightly-integrated broadcast solutions including station automation, playout servers, Internet video on demand and live streaming. For more information, visit www.cablecast.tv or call (866) 866-4118.
Hitachi Kokusai Announces Firmware Upgrades for High-Performance 1080p and 1080i Compact Box Cameras
DK-H200 adds High Dynamic Range support, while DK-Z50 gains quality advances
Woodbury, NY, February 27, 2019 — Hitachi Kokusai Electric America Ltd. (Hitachi Kokusai) is heading to the upcoming 2019 NAB Show with powerful updates for two of the most popular models in its line of high-definition, compact box cameras for point-of-view (POV) and remote observation applications. New firmware for the DK-H200 1080p camera adds High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, while an update to the 1080i DK-Z50 further enhances its exceptional quality.
The DK-H200 delivers native, full frame-rate 1080p video acquisition in a space-efficient form factor, makinghigh-performance, progressive capture affordable and accessible for more applications than ever before. The DK-H200’s 2.6 million pixel, 2/3-inch MOS sensors deliver sharp, clear images and combine with advanced digital signal processing to provide superior picture quality with low noise, faithful color reproduction and remarkable sensitivity. Meanwhile, the multi-purpose DK-Z50 combines 2/3-inch CCDs with 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion to provide outstanding performance and quality for 1080i and standard-definition workflows at an economical price point. The small and lightweight nature of the two cameras also makes them ideal for robotic operation and discreet installations.
Hitachi Kokusai has been a vanguard in evangelizing the visual advantages of High Dynamic Range video and implementing HDR support in its broadcast camera line. The new DK-H200 update brings the benefits of HDR to the box camera format, enabling visibly superior HDTV productions with increased contrast, expanded mid-tones and greater detail in dark and bright picture regions – improving viewing experiences without the higher costs and workflow overhead of Ultra HD. The new firmware supports HDR specifications including HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) and HPQ, which is compatible with the HDR10 open standard for consumer TVs.
The DK-Z50 also gets a significant upgrade of its own. While the DK-Z50 is already known for its outstanding visual reproduction, the update improves its image quality even further, enabling closer picture matching with Hitachi Kokusai’s popular Z-HD5000 broadcast studio and field production camera. The new firmware increases the DK-Z50’s signal-to-noise ratio to greater than 60dB while also enhancing its detail functions and characteristics.
“While our broadcast camera line often gets most of the attention for its use in glamorous entertainment and newsgathering environments, our compact box cameras continue to be extremely popular for POV and remote acquisition applications ranging from broadcast and sports production to government and house of worship uses,” said John J. Humphrey, Vice President of Business Development, Hitachi Kokusai Electric America Ltd. “We also have many customers using our broadcast and box cameras together to capture a combination of angles in multi-camera productions. The new updates to the DK-H200 and DK-Z50 deliver significant enhancements on their own, but are particularly noteworthy when used alongside their SK-HD1300 and Z-HD5000 broadcast counterparts by enabling producers to switch between signals from the two camera types while maintaining a similar look.”
The new DK-H200 and DK-Z50 firmware updates are slated to be released in Q2.
About Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc.
Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a company that manufactures broadcasting systems, security and surveillance systems, wireless communications and information systems. Fiscal 2017(ended March 31, 2018) sales totaled 171,791 million Yen. For more information on Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc., please visit the company’s website at http://www.hitachi-kokusai.co.jp/global/en/index.html.
Debuting at the 2019 NAB Show, tailored enCaption4 configurations enable radio broadcasters to serve hearing-impaired audiences via web browser or mobile app
Southfield, MI, February 26, 2019 – ENCO is already regarded as a pioneer and market leader in automated closed and open captioning, with its award-winning enCaption solutions successfully serving television audiences and video users in corporate, educational and government applications for many years. Now, the company is again breaking new ground by bringing enCaption’s renowned accuracy, speed and efficiency to radio, enabling hearing-impaired audiences to consume radio programming online or via over-the-top (OTT) services.
ENCO will showcase enCaption’s benefits for radio broadcasters and audiences in booth N2524 at the upcoming 2019 NAB Show, taking place April 8 to 11 in Las Vegas.
While captioning is most commonly associated with television rather than radio, Internet and OTT delivery have created the opportunity for radio broadcasters to display corresponding text in the “listener’s” browser or app. This opens the door for hearing-impaired individuals to enjoy content such as talk radio that was previously inaccessible to them. Automated captioning also enables immediate creation of searchable transcripts that broadcasters can post alongside recorded audio clips, enhancing SEO for their websites while improving content discovery for site visitors.
Non-hearing-impaired OTT and mobile users often consume content with their devices on “mute” while on trains or at work, so the availability of captions will make radio a viable new option for them. Last but not least, automated captioning can bolster Visual Radio programming, which is already popular in many international regions and expanding in the U.S. market.
ENCO’s cost-effective, software-defined enCaption solution helps broadcasters and content producers effortlessly provide closed or open captioning for both live and pre-recorded content in near-real-time. Leveraging machine learning technology and a deep neural network voice recognition approach, enCaption’s speech-to-text engine delivers exceptional accuracy with extremely low latency. Integration with newsroom systems and other external vocabulary sources further enhances enCaption’s word recognition and spelling precision, which combine with the solution’s robust punctuation, capitalization and speaker change detection to ensure high-quality captions.
“There is a lot of fantastic content that is only available on radio, and which should be accessible to everyone regardless of any hearing disabilities,” said Ken Frommert, President of ENCO. “We’re excited to combine our deep expertise in the radio market with the proven yet continually advancing capabilities of enCaption to break through these accessibility barriers. Just as captioning enables hearing-impaired audiences to understand and enjoy television content, the same technology now allows them to do the same for radio programming.”
Washington, DC area NPR member station WAMU is in the development process of integrating live captions created by enCaption into their website, with a goal of providing 24/7 captioning of all audio content on WAMU. “This will enable us to make all of our content, regardless of its producer, accessible to our entire community,” said Rob Bertrand, senior director of technology at WAMU. “Our integration is still in the proof-of-concept stage, but we are happy with what we’ve been able to demonstrate so far. We look forward to being able to deliver our content to all members of our community, including those who have historically not been able to be reached by audio content.”
enCaption configurations for radio can be flexibly deployed on-premises or in the cloud. On-premises enCaption systems support discrete analog or AES audio sources, while both on-premises and cloud-based deployments can input IP-based audio streams. Captions created by enCaption can be output as files or streams in standard WebVTT format or as a raw text data stream for integration with the station’s website media player, mobile or OTT app. enCaption can also turn an audio-only source into a video stream with open captions overlaid on a plain background or graphic, or combine the audio with a separate video stream while embedding closed captions for display in a web-based video player.
enCaption solutions tailored for radio broadcasters are available immediately, and are backed by ENCO’s world-class customer service.
Founded in 1983, ENCO pioneered the use of computer-based, digital audio and program automation for radio station and TV studios. The company has since evolved its product line to cross all aspects of today’s automated broadcast and production workflows, including closed-captioning, visual radio, audio compliance, instant media playout, remote contribution, and cloud-based web streaming. Its two flagship systems, DAD and MOM, bring the industry’s best reliability, cost-efficiency and intuitive operation to automated radio and TV operations worldwide. ENCO is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan USA and retains a global distribution network, plus a growing network of partnerships with complementary industry vendors. For more information, please visit: www.enco.com.
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