Deploys Comrex tool for sports and remotes in the community

KEOM 88.5 FM is a noncommercial, educational, community station owned and operated by the Mesquite Independent School District (MISD) in Mesquite, Texas. A fully functional Class C1 FM station, KEOM features student DJs on the air live from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days.

KEOM offers a professional-grade facility, which serves as a way for MISD high school students interested in radio as a potential career to get hands-on experience.

“We want to give [students] the experience of working at a real radio station,” Shondra Tharp, station manager for KEOM radio and supervisor of the student program, told Comrex. “We use every bit of the equipment that the big radio stations use.”

Steve Glenn, sports announcer for KEOM

As part of the program, students gain real-world experience by coordinating and participating in field-based broadcasts.

“We go out into the community and do remote events where we are representing the station and getting to know our listeners,” said Tharp. “We bring our Comrex [ACCESS NX Portable] out to those events, and the students get to use it.”

In addition to community-oriented events, KEOM uses their ACCESS NX to cover sports.

“Sports broadcasting was one of the reasons for starting the station,” said Tharp. “Using Comrex for all of the sports broadcasts that we do was something we did from the beginning, and that’s been a big part of the program.”

Ryan Castle, KEOM sports director and announcer, uses ACCESS NX regularly to cover MISD football.

“We will have 18 broadcasts over the course of the football season. We also have an online-only component that generates probably another 15 or 16 broadcasts a year,” said Castle. “The Comrex has been our primary piece of equipment since I’ve been with the organization. As far as ease of use goes, it doesn’t get a lot better.”

Ryan Castle adjusts audio levels on the Access NX with Mixer attachment at the North Mesquite vs. Forney football game in Oct. 2023 at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.

KEOM uses WheatNet-IP, an AoIP network system, for its studios. To receive the audio from ACCESS NX units in the field, engineering consultant Brian Chase of Broadcast Works installed ACCESS NX Rack, a rackmount IP audio codec that is AES67-compatible and designed to integrate into most AoIP systems available.

“I interfaced it into the WheatNet system, and they just dial in remotely — whether it’s on the telephone wireless or whether it’s on the internet — and boom, we’re on the air,” Chase said.

When building the MISD studios, he said it chose Comrex products because of their consistency.

“I’ve used Comrex gear since back in the days of the little wireless packs. As time went on, I just kept buying them because they work,” said Chase. “I consider them to be sturdy and reliable, and the audio quality is great.”

Steve Glenn, KEOM sports announcer and former director, said, “We first bought a Comrex unit 15 years ago or so. We have a 61,000 watt [station] here and so a lot of people listen. We want the sound to be good, and [with Comrex] the sound is excellent.”

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Originally published in Radio World. View here.