The following is an excerpt from a story that was originally published in Radio World.
The author is chief engineer of WBUR Boston and the former tech editor of Radio World Engineering Extra.
Work from home
AoIP codecs of course aren’t just used as links between the studio and transmitter. For instance they have been used for years to build out remote or home studios.
This capability turned out to be transformative for SiriusXM when it decided to move most of their hosts to home during the lockdowns put in place last spring when the pandemic began to spread throughout the United States.
Senior Director, SiriusXM Enterprise Operations Daniel Berdiel explained the scope of the problem.
“We needed to provide program hosts, guests and studio teams a way to work from home safely,” he said.
“On the hardware side, we needed a way to scale up our remote sessions capacity in a small hardware format. Because we already had substantial experience with Comrex portable codecs we chose the ACCESS Multirack. The AES67 interface and its ability to make five simultaneous connections made it easy to integrate in our facility. In most cases, each show uses two or three instances for hosts, and one instance for the remote producer/board op.”
For the remote side, SiriusXM used a standard setup. “The primary remote kit uses an ACCESS or NX Portable, Beyer DT297 headset and sometimes a cough switch. An IFB was already in place that the studio can interrupt to speak to a host,” said Berdiel.
The challenges facing SiriusXM were more than what one would find in the average large radio cluster. “We have about 400 hosts who are on remote operation,” said Berdiel.