Compass Media recently extended its studio WheatNet-IP to a transmitter site in the Cayman Islands using a fiber optic drop. The media group operates four stations on the islands: Gold Cayman 94.9, Island FM 98.9, Rooster 101.9 and Z99.9.
“We’re running straight WheatNet at 44.1 kHz into two strands of fiber from the switch at the studio, and literally out the other end at the transmitter is 44.1 kHz WheatNet straight into the FM-55 audio processor and into the transmitter,” explained Mark Lee, Compass Media operations manager on the Caymans.
Technical servicing of the stations on the remote islands has its challenges. “It’s not like you can pick up the phone and press extension two, and an engineer will show up,” commented Lee.
A simple SFP fiber interface into the Cisco switch runs native AoIP across broadband fiber optic cable between the studio and transmitter site. The bidirectional hop carries programming across six miles, where it makes the drop at Compass Media’s transmitter site for Gold Cayman 94.9 and Island FM 98.9 and where Rooster 101.9 taps off the line for a short program run to its transmitter nearby. Latency across the link is virtually non-existent, according to Lee.
The fiber link resulted from a partnership formed between Compass Media and internet service provider C3 Pure Fibre, which is expanding internet across the island and found Compass’ remote transmitter site to be ideal for its fiber distribution headend reaching a remote part of the island.