Company provides media clients with premium service using Comrex codecs like ACCESS MultiRack

Midwest Sports Broadcasting is a live broadcasting service that provides engineering, technical support, and remote coverage for a wide range of sports clients. The company handles sports coverage for clients like Indiana University, SiriusXM, LEARFIELD College Sports, ESPN Radio, and many more.

“I envision us as a premium service for national radio broadcasters who value the highest quality broadcasts with a lot of functionality,” said Jake Robinson, founder and technical director of Midwest Sports Broadcasting. “We pride ourselves on providing services that go beyond a lot of the standard play-by-play broadcasts that you see through the industry.”

Midwest Sports Broadcasting’s master control setup for the Westwood One Sports broadcast of Ohio State vs. Notre Dame. Play-by-play announcer Ryan Radke and his statistician survey the scene.

Because Midwest Sports Broadcasting specializes in live events, they have a large stable of IP audio codecs at their disposal. “We’ve got around 50 codecs in our inventory,” said Robinson. “We have a mixture of ACCESS NX [Portable] units, ACCESS NX Racks, BRIC-Link codecs – even some older ACCESS 2USB units.” 

Increasingly, however, Midwest Sports Broadcasting has included ACCESS MultiRack in their rigs for remote sports broadcasts. ACCESS MultiRack is an AES67-compatible multi-channel IP audio codec, capable of five full-duplex stereo connections simultaneously. 

“Most of our systems are Dante-based, and the interoperability between Dante and AES67 has cut down on our need for external converters and bridges for devices,” said Robinson. “When you’re flying with a handful of Pelican cases, the more you can cut down on space, the better. ACCESS MultiRack has enabled us to reduce our logistics costs, and we can provide more connectivity to the networks we work with.”

When it comes to making MultiRack broadcasts work for remotes, Robinson is diligent in preconfiguring the codecs ahead of time. “We know exactly how many connections we’re making, the needs of onsite broadcast, all of the intercom paths, and whether or not video is involved,” said Robinson. “We have somebody site-check every location, and once it’s time for the remote, all the advance work is done.”

But the similarities between ACCESS MultiRack’s user interface and other Comrex IP codecs has also made using it in the field easier. “When a new engineer gets in front of a MultiRack, it looks familiar,” said Robinson. “It’s easy for them to just connect and go.”

Midwest Sports Broadcasting uses Comrex codecs because they are compatible with the broadcast ecosystems its clients use. “For years and years we were able to do ISDN pretty reliably throughout the country and throughout the world, and with the sunset of that service, IP has become the standard,” said Robinson. “In my experience, Comrex codecs have been the most reliable.” 

“There’s a lot of things that we do – we don’t want to worry about our transmission reliability. And Comrex takes that worry away.”

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Originally published in Radio World. View here.