Larry’s View

Larry’s view on any and everything.

Broadcast automation

When it comes to broadcast engineering, the term broadcast automation refers to the technology that is used when certain operations need to be broadcast. It is used either at a network or station to manage a facility and replaces a human operator. If there are on air workers in the studio at the time of the broadcasting, they can also use what is called a “live assist”.

In the beginning, most of the radio authorities needed a specially licensed operator to run the stations all the time. This means that every disc jockey had to write and pass an exam if they wanted to get their FCC license which would legally allow them to be on-air. Not only for this reason, but also if the DJ’s job description required them to operate the transmitter they had to pass the exam that was presented to them. Over time the dependability and quality of some electronic equipment improved and soon rules and regulations regarding broadcast automation were relaxed, leading to the point that the operator did not have to be at the studio while it was operating. After some time, this led to a steady demonstration that went in the direction of automation, which was done to assist in supplementing the talent of the on-air disc jockeys.

Early automation systems at the time were computerized only for the use of being able to maintain a schedule. Broadcast automation in the past was non-existent – then, music was stored on audio tapes that worked reel to reel and subaudible tones that were on the tapes were marked at the end of every song on the reel. The computer rotated in the middle of the reel to reel players up until the internal clock of the computer matched a scheduled event that was marked. When it came across a scheduled event, the computers would finsh playing the song and then carry out the scheduled event. The scheduled events were normally marked as adverts but they could also have included the station’s news or top of the hour legal ID. When the events had finished, the rotation of the music will resume playing from where it stopped before the events were played.

However, the system did need attention from personnel when the reels needed to be changed. If they were not changed, nothing would play so the DJ would have to make sure they knew when it would end and they would have to be there to insert a new one that featured new contents.

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January 18, 2008 - Posted by | Automation, Blogroll

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