Radio from home during the lockdown
Penned: Sunday 5 April 2020
So, like many broadcasters around the country and the world, I’ve been broadcasting my Cambridge 105 Radio Saturday Breakfast show from home during the coronavirus lockdown!
A couple of people have asked me about my setup and how I’m sending the audio to the studio. Well, here’s a quick summary.
First of all, my kit...
The Dell Dimension 8300 PC (playout machine) has 2 graphics cards. An on board one and also a PCI one. This allows for a dual monitor/screen extension setup for the play out system across 2 monitors. The machine also has 2 soundcards. An on board one and a USB soundcard interface which allows the main play out and cart wall to be routed to 2 separate channels on the mixer.
The PC also has a numerical keypad connected via USB allowing me to play idents and news cuts from the Playit Live software via designated ‘hot keys’, rather than using a traditional mouse. It also allows me to start/stop/fade the play out system as well, whilst in manual or automation mode.
Music wise, I’m running a 4,000 song database which I compiled and built around 8 years ago and regularly keep up to date. This database is what the station’s overnight music output runs from too.
All of my computers are set up on the same network so I can pass audio files and material between them without the need for USB transfer.
My Acer Desktop machine can also handle Skype/phone calls. I utilise the analog FX/PFL bus on the DX2000 mixer to allow me to record phone calls on the PC whilst the main output from the playout PC is being sent through the master output on the mixer. This setup also allows me to prep a caller before putting them to air. I can also put calls live to air by simply bypassing the PFL mode on the desk. I can, if needs be, cable my iPhone directly through a spare line-in input on the mixer as well.
Streaming to the studio is via an open source piece of software called 'Butt'. The main desk output is routed via USB to my HP Notebook machine running the software which streams the audio over the internet to the studio. The Cambridge 105 Radio studio picks up the stream in a clever box of tricks and routes it through our remote fader on the studio desk (which also feeds our play out system running our overnight non-stop music output and all pre-recorded shows).