With IP at the heart of broadcasting’s future, codecs are increasingly the gateways of content assimilation and distribution
Fréquence K is a local community radio in the village of Carros, near Nice in the Côte d’Azur. Founded by Father Jean Blondin in the 1980s, the station targets the region’s youth with a variety of music genres, including groove, soul and electro.
In 2018 Fréquence K began using the Winmedia automated broadcast suite from Win-Group. According to volunteer José Garcia, the station’s head of music programming, entertainment and airtime, the system has proved to be one of Fréquence K’s greatest assets.
“It’s completely changed the way we work,” says Garcia. “Our small team keeps the radio running seven days a week. I cover the morning show from Monday to Friday and Father Blondin covers it during the weekend.”
Garcia explains that France’s Coronavirus confinement didn’t limit their operations at all. “With WinMedia, we can easily manage programming and voice tracking from home, without listeners being aware of it.” In addition to carrying out live tests remotely, Garcia says he’s able to insert live remarks and contributions into the playlist at the studio. “All with imperceptible latency,” he adds. “I didn’t go into the studio for a month, while remaining linked to the equipment.”
For him, the possibility to do remote voice tracking while keeping the feel of live radio was a necessity. He wanted to be able to respond to remarks broadcast during a show or a news bulletin or speak over an intro. He’s says he’s able to do that with just a small mixing console, a PC and a mic at my home, linked to their usual studio setup.
“I listen to the end of the scheduled audio segment and the beginning of the next one, and I record my voice — from home — in high-quality audio and zero latency,” he said. For a small station with few resources, WinMedia oﬀers great potential for working remotely.”
Staff records voice tracks from their homes every day directly onto the studio’s WinMedia programming system, without going through an FTP server. “It’s really just like being in the studio. To achieve this, we paired WinMedia with tools accessible for a community radio, such as VoiceMeeter virtual sound cards, a Cleanfeed IP codec, and a remote oﬃce solution like Teamviewer or Anydesk.”
Fréquence K prides itself on offering its listeners a variety of content. The station believes WinMedia helps them in this endeavor. “We’re committed to professionalism, diversity and to broadcasting diﬀerent genres of music — groove, soul, electro — and quirky, humorous branding. We have a loyal audience and many listeners identify with what we’re doing and send us messages via social media,” adds Garcia.
An additional advantage the WinMedia system brings to Fréquence K, according to the station, is that staff does not have to “constantly adjust the system.” For example, Garcia explains, at the top of the hour news bulletins often vary in length by a few seconds. “The WinMedia system adjusts the broadcast speed in real time so our programs run exactly 60 minutes, with split-second accuracy. I record my daily program at home using a planning tool, and you know down to the last second what time the segment you have just planned will be broadcast.”
He says he also appreciates the solution’s live-assist tool features, particularly during his live shows. These include detailed information displayed on the screen like the time remaining for the present track that’s playing as well as instant access to stored sound segments and to the cart stack.
“This all helps liberate us from technical constraints so that we can focus on the creativity of our programs. As a result we are able to oﬀer our listeners a seamless schedule that is as precise as possible, with a constant commitment to professionalism.