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Mon 1 Jan 2007 12:00 PM

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Jordanian radio stations get ahead with Radio Assist

Jordan’s Sawt Al Madina Radio has recently installed NETIA Radio-Assist

Jordanian radio stations get ahead with Radio Assist
Inside the server room with Jean-Philippe Lasserre, NETIA’s project manager for the Al-Madena installation.
Jordanian radio stations get ahead with Radio Assist
A close-up of the new On-air studio featuring Air-Cartstack by NETIA at one of the stations in Jordan.

Jordan’s Sawt Al Madina Radio has recently installed NETIA Radio-Assist. The station has deployed Radio-Assist Air-DDO software at one of its studios with four workstations dedicated to scheduling and ingest and two others for news capture from live satellite feeds. This NETIA system is customised with an Arabic language interface and provides a broad range of playout functions.

The system at Sawt Al Madina Radio is based on one centralised SAN storage system and two database servers. In terms of storage capacity, Sawt Al Madina Radio stipulated a system capable of storing 2,000 hours of materials in a linear format as 1.2 TB. An HP StorageWorks 1000 modular smart array serves as the facility’s SAN, offering Sawt Al Madina Radio a highly scalable storage solution for broadcast content. Offline storage, which doubles as an archive, is supplied by a CD jukebox with a capacity of up to 10 TB. Initial administration of the Radio-Assist system and training were performed by engineers from NETIA, and maintenance is supported by HEAT for Engineering and Technology, NETIA’s local representative in Amman.

Other critical functions of the Air-DDO broadcast module include the ability to modify and monitor playlists in real time. Visual alarms help operators ensure the integrity of playout, and on-air monitoring of programming can be streamed to an intranet site for remote review if desired. The AIR-DDO system operates in automatic, semi-automatic or manual mode, which can be implemented as easily as flipping a switch. Operators can use the semi-automatic mode to integrate slots – such as news or commercial breaks – at a set time. The fully automatic mode allows for easy playout when human intervention is not required or desired.

NETIA undertook similar projects at Jordan’s Hayat FM and Amen FM. Hayat FM, a private radio station, located in Amman, offers educational programming with a full segment focusing on the Koran.

“Radio broadcasting is flourishing in Jordan, with new FM stations providing the Amman area with a variety of religious, cultural and educational programming,” says Pascal Cima, sales manager for Europe and the Middle East, NETIA. “Working closely with HEAT, which has extensive experience in this market, we have provided these new broadcast facilities with simple yet flexible solutions for program production and playout.”

Haya FM had already installed NETIA Air-DDO On-Air and Production workstations in June 2005. This time, it upgraded the solution to expand its storage capacity. Operators at Hayat FM use the Radio-Assist Quickplayer, a combination of hardware and software, to record, produce and broadcast material. The NETIA Quickplayer system relies on the Air-DDO system, which is connected on the mixer through fader starts. Air-DDO offers Hayat FM staff a graphical interface for display of up to four channels along with access to numerous help and preparation tools.

The operator working at the Air-DDO station has ergonomic access to tools including sound cueing; looping of intro and sequence clips; countdown timer and scroll-bar displays for intro and outro clips; automatic sound linking and fading from one voice to another; dynamic playlist refresh; and easy management of on-time, off-time, floating, manual and automatic playlist items. On- Air can be operated through a variety of physical interfaces – in this case, a mixing console – and simplifies operations with straightforward drag-and-drop functionality.

Also installed at Hayat FM is the NETIA Production system, which offers functionality for preparation of each sound to be broadcast. Users can set lead-in points, and the system enhances the quality of the actual broadcast by using sequenced fade curves. The Production tool also enables the user to set markers and command trigger points.

NETIA’s Radio-Assist range of digital audio software programmes covers the entire operation of a radio station. For these three radio operations in Jordan, the new production and playout systems put a robust toolset at the fingertips of users while automated options simplify the process of taking audio to air. “Clients working with our end-to-end digital audio management solutions receive on-site training and ongoing support so that they can make the most of their Radio-Assist software. We strive to offer both solutions and training customised to meet the user’s needs, and our installations in Amman demonstrate the success of this approach,” concludes Cima.

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