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There's a Problem - Go Back to Sleep: New Radio Engineering Tech

Posted by Kirk Harnack [TWiRT] on Feb 3, 2014 6:10:00 AM

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TWiRT 199As engineers incorporate new technology into their broadcast facilities, we’re figuring out better approaches to old – and new – problems.

Chris Tarr offers up a boatload of tips, tricks, and tools that make his life easier at both studio and transmitter sites. Chris Tobin chimes in, and Kirk Harnack describes how one TV station in Oklahoma is handling tornado “play-by-play” coverage.

 

 

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Announcer: This Week In Radio Tech Episode 199 is brought to you by the Axia Element audio console. Configure an Element with the options you want, and get exactly the console you need. With user profiles, auto mix minus, and rugged extruded construction, your Axia Element will last you years of format changes. On the web at axiaaudio.com/element.

Hey, as engineers bring new technologies into their broadcast facilities, we're figuring out better approaches to old and new problems. Chris Tarr offers up a boatload of tips, tricks, and tools that will make your life easier at both studio and transmitter sides. Plus, Chris Tobin chimes in, and I'll tell you about a tornado play by play coverage facility, at an Oklahoma TV station. This Week In Radio Tech starts now.

Kirk: Hey, welcome in to This Week In Radio Tech. I'm Kirk Harnack, your host, and I am delighted that you're here. I'm delighted that Chris Tarr is here, otherwise I'd be here all by myself. Chris Tarr is our cohost on the show. Welcome in, Chris. Come on in. How are you doing?

Chris Tarr: I'm doing fine thank you.

Kirk: Okay. I know, real short setup from me. This is the show where we talk about broadcast engineering, radio, audio engineering. The kind of stuff that some of us have been doing for years. I guess I've been doing this since I was about 17 or 18 years old. That's longer than I care to count. Chris, not quite as old. He's got a little bit to catch up. But he's been in this for a while. We talk about everything from microphones, to the mike preamps, to audio mixers, to distribution systems in the broadcast plant, transmitters, towers, tower technology, all this kind of stuff. And streaming, and all the digital technologies.

If you want to know about broadcast engineering for radio, this is where we talk about it. We'd like to hear your comments. You're welcome to join the chat room. If you ever watch the show live, and I hope you do, you can always watch it at gfqlive.tv. When you bring that website up, there will be a chat box right below the video. You can give yourself a nickname if you want to. We enjoy a number of regular people in the chat room. They give us ideas on what to talk about. I see that Bob Hollowanko is again keeping track of our time today. I appreciate that. Marking down anything important that I might accidentally say.

Our show is brought to you by Axia and the Axia Element audio console. I had a chance this past week to get a lot more experience with an Axia Element console. I've got to tell you, it was a delight. I could really make it do the stuff I wanted to. I'll tell you that story as we move along in the show today.

Tom Ray is not here, but he's trying to get on. He has some Internet problems. Chris Tobin is in a meeting, but if he can make it in, he sure will. Chris Tarr is here, which is good. Because Chris Tarr has been posting on Facebook about some really interesting things going on in his life at his broadcast facilities. I guess mainly at 88Nine. Chris, first of all, is it as cold in Wisconsin as it is here in Nashville?

Chris Tarr: Not any more. Actually, it has warmed up. It's about 18 degrees, although I'm looking out the window right now. Pretty good amount of snow coming down on the ground. We were down to -20 something the other day. That was without wind chill. That was the air temperature. It was almost -20 the other night. Fortunately, it's warming up a little bit. Still, it's supposed to be continuing below zero for the next week or two. Hopefully, we'll get out of the cold snap. I'd really like that.

Kirk: I read it online so it must be true. Wisconsin, come for the beer and cheese, stay because your car won't start.

Chris Tarr: Exactly. Amen.

Kirk: Is Madison colder than where you are in Milwaukee?

Chris Tarr: It's west, so yeah. Obviously, Lake Michigan influences the weather in Milwaukee proper a lot. In the winter, it's always a little bit warmer. In the summer, it's always a little bit cooler. As you start going west, I live about 30 miles west of Milwaukee. It was substantially colder by about 10 degrees. So yeah, it often is.

Kirk: It's amazing how that huge body of water, Lake Michigan, helps keep Milwaukee warmer, and yet you sure wouldn't want to get in that water.

Chris Tarr: You don't want to get in that water in July, usually.

Kirk: Warm is a relative thing. Oh really? Is it still cold in July?

Chris Tarr: It doesn't get much above lower 60s in the summer. But I'll tell you what's great is when it is in the summer, it's 95 degrees out. You go to the lake and it's 70. It's a great regulator of temperature. We have that going for us.

Kirk: Bodies of water do that.

Chris Tarr: They do.

Kirk: They're what we call in engineering, heat sinks.

Chris Tarr: It's a big old heat sink, exactly.

Kirk: That's why power plants can use a body of water, to wick away heat. Enough about bodies of water.
Chris, this week I had an interesting opportunity I'll tell you about. We'll get into it after you tell us your stories. I had an opportunity to go to Oklahoma City, to a TV station there. It's probably the premiere TV station for carrying tornado play by play, tornado coverage, tornado warnings, anything severe weather. The National Tornado Center for the National Weather Service is in Norman, Oklahoma, just a suburb of Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City has been hit many times with really severe tornados, as have so many towns across Oklahoma. A lot of people call it ground zero for tornados, although certainly there are tornados in Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

If you follow Reed Timmer on Facebook or Twitter, Reed is one of these tornado chasers. He's always running around in his tornado cars and chasing after such things. Channel Nine gave me a T- shirt here. I also got the mug. See honey, I really was at Channel Nine. They gave me the mug, the marketing department. Thank you very much. Channel Nine is the one with the Doppler radar on the grounds. They're tied in with the National Weather Service of course. They're tied in with all kinds of sources of data.

One thing they have, they have a helicopter. Plenty of TV stations do. This is a Bell JetRanger 407. We hear the 406 model a lot in helicopter world. This is a 407. Oh my goodness is it fast. They were telling me that a lot of times they'll send the helicopter out to get a story. They'll shoot footage, and on the way back, they'll pass the other TV station's helicopters going 40 miles an hour slower, that are still on their way out to the story. Or, they'll be going out to a story, and they'll pass the other TV station's helicopters.

All I'm getting at, is these guys are really serious about covering news all around central Oklahoma. The systems that they have in place are just amazing. The nice engineering staff there. John Shulburg [SP] and Jack Mills, a couple of Jims there. I spent a lot of time with them. The systems they have in place are just so amazing. Of course, if you're in television, maybe you deal with this stuff all the time. I touch television some times. The helicopters have antennas on them to send the ENG signal back, the video signal back.

Actually it's two way. These antennas are self-pointing. They know which receive site that they want to point at, because they tell it on a control panel. No matter where the helicopter goes, the antenna stays pointing at that receive site. That seems like magic. We know it's all triangulation, GPS coordinates, and it's tied in with the positioning of the helicopter in space. You know you can work all this stuff out, but to see it in operation is so cool.

The other thing that was interesting, while I was at the TV station, I was doing some work on an audio system, which I'll mention in a little bit. There was a fire reported, an oil tank, in Perry, Oklahoma. They sent the helicopter up. It's on its way out there. I was watching the return video from the helicopter as it's just flying over the flatlands of Oklahoma to get to Perry, Oklahoma, where this fire had been reported. The whole time, the front mounted camera that's slung under the nose of the helicopter, the camera was pointing almost backwards. It was looking past the left skid of the helicopter.

I'm thinking, why don't they turn the camera around. I want to see where the helicopter is going, not where it's been or what it has passed by a moment ago. I was really scratching my head over that. Maybe it's just me. I just want to see where they are going. The next day, they told me something interesting about that. The helicopter goes so fast . . . For a helicopter, it goes about 140 knots, or maybe it's miles per hour, I'm not sure which it was they were telling me. It's faster than the other helicopters. The servo motors and the gears that spin that pot around, where the camera sits, aren't strong enough to hold it in the wind, or especially if it gets a little bit off the wind. They have to spin it around to one of its stops, left or right, so it can't go any farther, because the gearing won't hold it in a 140 mile an hour wind.

So, question answered. Mechanics still do come into play. You build it too big and too strong, then it becomes too heavy to be worthwhile carrying around. That was pretty interesting. The helicopter had such great shots. We watched the tanks explode. All the grass caught on fire, all around the tank farm. Of course, the whole time, we have two way communications.

What I'm going to talk about in a little bit, probably the second half of the show, is this TV station sends out a swarm of reporters in cars and with cell phones. They don't have video. Or if they do, it's not live video. They do have cell phones and headsets, or microphones. They go out to report on tornado conditions as the tornados are forming. They're chasing tornados, trying to get ahead of the tornado, and reporting on where it's going, down the intersection. Down to the street block. Down to the little town or hamlet where it's heading toward.

They need to be able to put anywhere from one to eight reporters or storm spotters on the air at the same time, audio only. These storm spotters all need to be able to talk to each other when they're not on the air, and talk to the meteorologist live, when they are on the air. We had to come up with a pretty sophisticated system to let a non-technical operator run the audio console, bringing these people in and out of air, and talking to them either individually or corporately. And letting the meteorologist talk to them individually or corporately. It's really a fun setup.

There are some pictures on Facebook. I'll talk to Andrew, and maybe Andrew can go find those, since we appear to have a computer open. It's from my posting late yesterday on Facebook. Maybe he can bring some of those up from KWTV. So anyway, that's what I was doing. We'll tell the complete story in a few minutes.

Chris, let's get to your stories. You posted something about a device that I had seen mentioned on Facebook before that I really didn't know about. It's a company called Pira. They're in the Czech Republic. They make some accessories for RDS and for FM audio transmission and reception. You were installing something pretty cool, a silence sensor. Tell us all about that.

Chris Tarr: The website is pira.cz. They make a lot of low cost interesting broadcast things. One of the things that they've had around for years, that I love, is they have a freeware silence sensor. Essentially what it is, is it's a piece of software. Very lightweight. You assign a sound card to it. It monitors the audio coming in. Based on what happens next, it can do actions. You can say based on the time of day, based on audio levels.
For example, let me know when this stream is silent, but only during this time, or something like that. Essentially, you just set up rules. If the audio goes silent, do this. You can have it do a closure. You can do an SNMP trap. You can do an email. You can send to a pager. Whatever you want to do. It's great, because it's really light and free, and pretty easy to set up. You can run several instances of it. You can monitor several different sources of audio, as many as your sound card will support, and have them all running at the same time and monitoring.

What I did is, here I'm using Axia. I know that Wheatstone WheatNet has something similar. I'm using the Axia audio driver. What that does is it essentially takes all the audio coming out from your Axia network, and it looks like a sound card to the software. You can have all these different inputs of different Axia audio streams, and set it up and assign them to each silence sensor.

In fact, they've gone as far on the software, where you can label the title bar. As you have the different programs open, the different instances, they can be labeled all differently. For example, here at Radio Milwaukee, I want to know what's going on coming out the console. I want to know if the stream audio is good.

Also, we have a situation here where we lease the license from the Milwaukee Public School District. They run their own programming for school board meetings, which is not emanating from our studio. That actually interrupts our feed, and goes out over the air. I want to monitor that too, in case they have a technical problem and there is silence. I actually have three different things I want to monitor. I want to monitor our in- house system. I want to monitor the stream. I want to monitor the over the air feed. All that, I already have floating around on the Axia network. All I had to do was put them as things I want to capture on the audio driver, and assign those to each instance of the silence sensor software. Then I could have it do actions based on that.

Now, you can do that with Axia. You can do that with multiple sound cards. I know some people do left channel is one thing, right channel is another. Maybe a second sound card to give you two more channels. However you want to do it, it's great. You can actually monitor the channels independently, and that's for everything as well. It's really very flexible.

But what's great about that, is one, it's free. Two, it's easy to set up. Then, you can monitor whatever you need to monitor. I know some places really should monitor your stream, to make sure your streaming audio is still on the air, or anything else. I was just really happy. It was one of those moments where I had some downtime, and was plotting on how to solve a problem.

I thought it would be great. I knew this software exists. I've used it before to monitor streams. Wouldn't it be great to do all these things? I dug a little bit, and found that yes, you can run as many instances of it as your computer can handle. And as many audio inputs as you have. I took it a step further. I have this machine here that I'm using IProfiler on. I already have an Axia driver on it. I have a bunch of free channels on it, that I'm not using. How can I put this all together and make this work. I baked that up. It's just running on a server in my operations center. It's great, because now I have all this heads up information.

Obviously, it has pretty little bar graphs and things. More importantly, it sends out an email. Obviously, I get an email when things just go completely haywire, and we're off the air completely. Sometimes it doesn't really tell me what exactly the problem is. I can now narrow it down to not only do I know I'm off the air, but I can get an email telling me what exactly went wrong. Is it something at our building? Is it something at the Milwaukee School District building? Is it something completely different? It just gives you a little more awareness of what's going on. What's great about this for the guys who are watching it, is it's free. There's no reason not to throw it on a computer somewhere, and monitor audio that you need to monitor. There are so many different things. You can have it close ports on your serial port or your parallel port, to trigger external alarms, all kinds of things. It's very flexible. The author of the software is very responsive to making changes too. They have a forum on their website at pira.cz. People can make requests for features to the program and things. That was the first thing I did today.

Kirk: What I would ask them to do, if the guy is responsive, is if you have a situation where you were in alarm, and now you're not in alarm, have it make you a cup of hot chocolate.

Chris Tarr: You could probably do that, if you have a Keurig and you have the hot chocolate ready to go, and there's a relay enclosure that starts the Keurig machine. You could do that. It'll even do things like, if you're running it on a computer with the audio plant software, it'll take a screenshot and email you a screenshot of the software, so you can see what it's doing.

Kirk: It's got to be running on the same computer to do that.

Chris Tarr: Right. If you're running on the same computer, you can do that. You can have it take actions. You can have it launch programs. There's just so many features to this thing. It's fantastic. Like I said, it's pretty easy to set up, even just for the basic monitoring for it. It's just very valuable. For free, it does a whole lot of things. I've used it for years, just for minor things like streams and little things.

Like every year with Intercon, we run a secondary channel on the stream, of Christmas music, which is run on an automation system. I want to make sure that that doesn't stop, or if it does, if there's a problem with the automation or something, I know about it. I've always run it on that to let me know if there's something going on. You can't beat that. It was just a little extra treat with the Axia IP driver. All of a sudden, I wasn't worrying about how many sound cards I had plugged into the machine. I could just sit there and go, "I want these sources on here." Each one shows up as a sound card on each instance of the software. I know WheatNet does the same thing if you have a Wheatstone system. It's a great tool.

Kirk: I was going to ask you about that. You mentioned in your Facebook post, that you were running this on a machine that had a multichannel Axia IP audio driver. You could subscribe to any audio on the network whatsoever. But of course, as you alluded to, this works fine on a PC or in an environment without Axia or Wheatstone, or whatever you have. It works fine in a non- networked environment. But you would have to have a sound source, typically implying a sound card, for every single thing that you wanted to monitor on that PC. Having a networked audio system just makes it a lot easier to consolidate that operation into one location. Is that about right?

Chris Tarr: Right, exactly. Because otherwise you'd have to the actual hardware to bring in the streams. As I said before, there are ways to do that. For example, if you don't care if it's a stereo or mono source, you could monitor left and right channel independently. You could get two sound cards and end up with four inputs to monitor. There are ways to work around that if you don't have networked audio. Networked audio just makes it a whole lot easier, because all of a sudden now, pretty much anything you want to monitor, you can monitor.

I could see, for example, if we're using our ISDN for a backup, for example. I could actually really easily change the source to that. Or, if you have something that's going on on the morning show only, that's a source. You can have it set to silence sense only during those hours. You can schedule it.

Kirk: Oh, okay. Yeah.

Chris Tarr: For example, I've got a show at night over at Intercon, that runs over a Comrex ACCESS. I could say "Okay, monitor this Comrex ACCESS for silence, but only do it weeknights from seven to midnight." There's a whole lot of possibilities there. It's really powerful if you take some time to dig into it. I was mentioning that it's great with the networked audio, because you have basically an unlimited amount of sources you could play with. You can have as many instances of this program as you could, as your computer can support. That aside, two sounds cards, you've got four inputs. That's generally plenty for most people.

For example, if you have three or four stations in your cluster that you want to monitor, two sound cards and you're done. With more powerful computers today, you could easily do two or three sound cards with multiple inputs. There are some other sound cards out there, that have multiple four channel sound cards. You get two of those, and you have eight. There's a whole lot of ways you could make this work.

What's great in my situation is that it's real natural, because I have it on the same computer as our logger. IProfiler logs a lot of those sources anyway. I have the computer sitting there running audio anyway, to record all this stuff. I'm essentially monitoring the streams that I'm capturing. It works out really well that way. So just a great free tool. Obviously, there are limitations. It runs on a computer, so if the computer is not working, you're not going to know that your silence sensor is not working.

Kirk: That's my usual problem.

Chris Tarr: However, if you're technically inclined, there's free software such as . . . It's not free, but the free version is up to ten computers I believe, is Servers Alive. I can't remember the name of the company that does it. But, Servers Alive will ping computers, report back if something is not responding, if your computer is off or crashed, stuff like that. If you set it up right, and your IT department is strong, it shouldn't be much of an issue.
Which actually leads me into one of the other things I've been working on, since we're already down this road.

Kirk: On multiple computers?

Chris Tarr: Well, pinging and computers not working, and ways to get around that. I had a situation a while back. I've talked about it on the show before. Our primary link from our studio to our transmitter site is over a T1, using Z/IP ONE box codec. If that goes down, I've got on the other end of the path, a Broadcast Tools web-enabled switcher, sound sense switch, that will switch to a Barix stream over a different path. If for some reason the T1 goes down, the switcher should automatically switch, and pick up the stream and we're good to go.

However, the Broadcast Tools switch, apparently once in a while decides to not function correctly. Or in my case, it functioned too well. I had the threshold too high, and there was enough noise in the line that held the switch open. The problem was, the web interface went down. I couldn't get into the switcher to manually switch it, which is why I bought a web enabled switcher.

Because I wanted to, on the far end, switch the audio path on my own, I can do that by logging in and switching it. What happened was, when the T1 went down, there was a ticking on the line or something coming out of the box that held the switch open. It thought there was valid audio there. I couldn't log into the web to switch it.

What I had to do was, I ended up having to drive over. Fortunately, I have a CD backup that kicks in after a minute or so. It detected everything and kicked in and it was fine. The lesson was, I needed some way to be able to restart this interface remotely, if this happened again. I went online, and bought a IP controlled power switch. It is really cool.

A lot of people have heard of these. They've gotten really fancy. The one I bought, not only can you log into it and make the switches, but it also pings the device that it's connected to. If it stops responding to pings, it'll automatically recycle the power and send you an email letting you know that it happened.

Essentially, what I've done now, is on the far side I've got a VPN network connection between here and there. I now have the Broadcast Tools switch plugged into this. If for some reason the web interface stops responding, and it doesn't reply to pings, or I want to get into it and I can't, I can direct the box to restart the Broadcast Tools switch. It's actually kind of neat and it works really well. It's already once detected that it wasn't replying to pings, and restarted it and sent me an email, "Hey, by the way, I just did something. Thought you should know."

Sure enough, every time I've logged into that web interface, it's been up. It's just another tool. A lot of people are using devices like the Tieline Bridge-IT and the Z/IP ONE, and some of these other boxes, where at the remote end, there might not be anybody there. A situation just happened the other day with that. A station that I do some work for, and I had a talk with them about buying one of these boxes. They use Tieline Bridge- ITs. The transmitter side went down. It just stopped responding. They were off the air until they reset it.

I mentioned it before and they didn't want to spend the money. Now that it happened again, I mentioned it one more time. There would've been a situation where I was able to login. They have a Nortel transmitter. I was able to login to the Nortel transmitter and see that there was stuff going on. Obviously, it's not the network connection. The box just needed to be rebooted. In this situation, the box stopped responding to pings. The power brick would've automatically rebooted the box.

At any rate, I could've done it manually. But exactly what I thought happened, one of their employees went over to the transmitter, unplugged the tie line, plugged it back in, and it was fine. Had we had one of these boxes, the downtime, instead of being a half an hour, would've been two minutes. It would've detected and made the switch. It's something I recommend, especially in the situations where you may have remote equipment, and you have Internet access.

Even if you don't have Internet access, since these boxes can ping internally, at least you've got a better chance of things coming back to life. Even if you can't get in and manually switch it, just get it on its own network in the transmitter building, talking to each other. This way, if the box senses that it's dead, that it's connected to something that's not responding, it can take the step for you and get you back into business.

Kirk: Do you recall what brand or model this box was?

Chris Tarr: I think I went to remotepowerswitch.com was the website. They're all kind of made by the same company, just different people put their own logos on them. This one, it was remotepowerswitch.com, I believe was the site I went to.

Kirk: Can it cycle the power on individual outlets, or is it all at once?

Chris Tarr: The expensive ones can, sure. They have boxes where it's one switch for the entire strip. The box I bought was $100. It just had one outlet and an Ethernet jack on it.

Kirk: You could buy multiple boxes. But I would hope that if a box had a strip on it, with individually controllable outlets, hopefully you could associate its ping response with a given outlet.

Chris Tarr: Oh sure, yeah.

Kirk: If you had one device that wasn't responding to a ping, you could just reboot that one device.

Chris Tarr: That's the thing is, the software is written that way. You can say, do this action if this device doesn't reply. Looking at the web interface, I can easily see where they just scale it. If there's a box with multiple ports, you can see in the software how they would set that up. Absolutely it can do that.

It's one of those nice, handy things to have. In the past I've built those in sites that have a Burk ARC-16 or something, I've built the boxes where I've thrown a relay in there with a slave relay. I can just hit a channel on the Burk and the relay closes temporarily, and latches, and lets go and reboots the power core. I've made those boxes. But these are really nice because they're clean and IP based.

Again, they can remotely ping. Sometimes you don't even have to do anything. If it pings, and all of a sudden stops getting a response, it'll ping like every minute or two. It'll automatically do the job for you. I love those, because then you just get an email saying "Hey, there's a problem, but I fixed it. Don't worry about it." I can roll back over and go back to sleep. It's great.

Kirk: If power cycling it will fix the problem . . . and you know what, whether it's broadcast equipment or other stuff, if it's got a CPU in it and an operating system that runs, we all know that it's possible. It's hard to trap out every possible error, and it's possible for the thing to get stuck, and quit responding to pings. There you go.

Chris Tarr: Also, it's good engineering practice too, in a lot of these cases. In my case, it was just a bad design. In the transmitter site, always keep those kind of boxes on UPS's and things like that. A lot of times when these things need to be rebooted, it's because there was a power bomb, and it locked the device up. Because there was a brown out, and the power went away and came back. Good engineering practice, pretty much anything now runs on a computer. It runs on an operating system. Keep all of that stuff on a UPS, so that it continues to run and you minimize those problems. These are great in those situations where it just stops.

The Broadcast Tools box, it's a great box, but its built in web server just occasionally kind of goes crazy. It'll still work. The guts of it still work. It silent senses and it does everything. Just the web interface becomes not responsive. They may come up with a firmware update at some point to fix that. Until they do, this is a great way to handle that.

Kirk: Can you have it monitor itself, and have it reboot?

Chris Tarr: Somebody mentioned that. It was funny. A friend of mine, Marv Mueller is a fantastic AM engineer. He's a good friend of mine. He said "How do you control the box if the box locks up." I said "I bought another one that feeds that box, so I can remotely reboot the reboot box." And vice versa.

Kirk: Are they both going to go out?

Chris Tarr: Right down the line. It's situations where you can go down the rabbit hole and have these boxes on everything. It's all about finding the obvious points of failure, and doing what you can to minimize those problems. In my situation, this was something that came up. I thought about it and went "Okay, I'm not going to get burned by this again. I'm going to make sure I minimize this risk." That was the solution to that.
So far, it's worked really well. If the broadcast tool switcher smokes or something, there's nothing that a power box is going to do. It seems like that happened once. Fool me once, it's not going to happen again. This takes care of that.

Kirk: You know, the way we used to solve these problems back in the day, was we kept a full-time engineer at the transmitter site.

Chris Tarr: Right. You're adorable. That's true. Taking that out even further. It was funny because I had to send my bio to Andrew. I mentioned something like I'm responsible for 20 something transmitters. I've got to do these things in order to be able to just remain sane, and make sure that these people can stay on the air. You come up with these ways to remote control and remote manage everything you can. In fact, since I have the microphone and there's nobody else around, I'm going to keep going here, and talk about something else that's been hot in the news. It's LogMeIn disappearing.

Kirk: Oh, yeah. LogMeIn disappearing. Go ahead.

Chris Tarr: There's a tool that a lot of us use to manage remote stuff. I've moved on and found it worthwhile to do . . . The software I've been using lately, it's expensive. But for the level that I operate at, I need to pay for it. It's GoToAssist. You can have up to a thousand remotely assisted computers with one operator. You pay per operator. So I just have to buy one license, and have it on all these computers. I can remotely manage all these computers.

There are some other things out there, if people are looking to get some things done. I've been playing with one called Meraki, which is from Cisco. It's not necessarily a remote client, but it is remote management of PC's, and it has a built in VNC client on it. I've been playing with that. It's meraki.cisco.com I believe. It's free. You can have it monitor as many computers as you want. They do it because it's advertising for their line of stuff.

Kirk: Is there a central rendezvous server for that? Or must you open ports so you can go in?

Chris Tarr: There is. You would have to open ports obviously. I believe you have to have a plug and play enabled router for the ports to work for VNC. But it does have an agent that runs on the remote PC. You say I want a remote session. It seems to work. It's only been a few cases where I haven't gotten it to work.
On most cases, on most routers, it works just fine. I would recommend trying it, because it's free. It actually has really powerful management tools for the computers that the agents are running on.

For example, you can run command line commands. You can look at the task manager remotely and kill tasks. It tells you how much free space you have on the hard drive, the last time it was offline. It's really nice remote management for computers. That's one to try.

Kirk: What do you think about TeamViewer?

Chris Tarr: TeamViewer is good. However, it's an honor system thing. Because of that, and because of the changes they've made with LogMeIn, it's become a little more restrictive for the free stuff. They started limiting the amount of time a session can last. They've started detecting if you're running it on multiple computers on a network. They've started to crack down on that.

Really, the truth is, is that there's mostly never a free lunch. With LogMeIn, I saw that coming. That's why I moved away from LogMeIn about a year ago. I really saw that it was coming. About six months ago, they stopped allowing unlimited number of computers on an account too. When they started doing that, I knew that the end was near.

But if you're looking to spend money and you have a budget for it, I do recommend GoToAssist. It's fantastic and does a lot of the things that log me in does. For example, I have it running on all my computers here, and on my clients. It's really easy for me to see at a glance, what computers are online. You're logged in and have one screen that shows everything that's going on. Plus, they have their live IT part of that, where you can have somebody launch something on a computer in real time, and you can connect and do some work as well. When I mentioned 20 some transmitters, there's a lot of IT related things with computers and servers.

A great example is, a site where I'm using a Comrex ACCESS for an STL. I want to be able to, on the transmitter side, login to the box and make changes to it. Unfortunately with the Comrex ACCESS, the built in web server on the device doesn't have all the options that the web interface does. For example, if you login to the Comrex box from the outside world on their webpage, from outside, it doesn't have the same features as their software tool. So I have a computer running there, that I can login to, to manage the device on the network. That runs it. All kinds of little things that really help to make that happen. And, while we're on the subject of IT, one more tip. As we're talking about free, cool things.

Another thing I ran into the other day, is I had a site that needed an NTP server. The reason they did, is because their automation system doesn't see the public Internet. It needed somewhere to get time for time synching. You could buy an ESE time device, and sync it with GPS or something. I found, now the name has escaped me, it's Mein something. [Meinhall] maybe? It's an NTP server software. It syncs up with a bunch of time servers nearby, and calculates which ones are the most accurate. That box itself becomes a time server for your house.

I set that up on a computer that was dual homed, so it saw the Internet and saw the network for the automation system. I ran that as a time server. Again, another free little tool if you're looking for it. It's just about as accurate as you're going to get.

Kirk: What was the name of that tool? What was the name of that software?

Chris Tarr: I want to say, and if somebody in the chat room can find it, it's Mein something. I'd have to look at my computer again to look it up.

Kirk: There's a NTP client and server that I really like called About Time. It's been around for a long time. I love the software. However, I'm told by our guys at Telos, our developers, that the NTP time server that it offers is non-standard. Linux machines will not pick up their time from it, or at least it's not compatible with Linux. Linux doesn't understand it. It's unfortunate. It will update Windows computers. At least, that's been my experience. About Time is both. It's a client from the Internet, and it can present NTP time service to a second network if you want to. Or if you don't want all 28 of your computers on the network all pinging some time server and using up your bandwidth, you can just have one computer do it, and the others get their time locally from that.

My solution has been on Axia systems. I run two programs on some given computer that's dual homed. One Internet, one Axia. About Time is the client. I forget the name of the server, but I found some free server that works just great. Although I had to use an older version of it. The newer version of it was full of crap ware. But with the older version, they hadn't monetized it. The older version works fantastically. We used that, and all the Linux machines pick it up.

Chris Tarr: Speaking of GoToAssist, as we're talking, I'm logging into my GoToAssist. I'm going to open up the session on that computer and take a look, and see what it's running. One of the great things about remote access, is I can login and take a look at any of the machines. I can tell you exactly what I'm running. I believe that the server software that I'm using will run on Linux, Mac, and PC as well. I do believe it plays with Linux okay.

Kirk: We're going to break for commercial pretty soon, but one question first. Earlier in the conversation you had mentioned VNC and UPNP in the same sentence. I thought, from my experience, every VNC I've always had to forward ports, make sure those ports forwarded, matched to disambiguate which computer I was trying to access remotely.

But maybe, if there's a solution for VNC that doesn't require that, it might be a good solution. I hate disobeying the honor system of TeamViewer. I wish TeamViewer cost less money, but I'm not in charge of their pricing policy. I don't think I want to pay their price. GoToAssist is pretty expensive. Maybe you could embellish on that a bit. Tell me about VNC. Is there any non- port forward method to using it remotely?

Chris Tarr: There are some. I'm trying to recall. I have to do a little bit more research. I believe the Cisco service I was talking about, Meraki, that uses UPNP to phone back to Cisco in order to make that connection. It works like a SIP server or STUN server would. It makes that connection. I believe that does. If I'm not mistaken, I believe Ultra VNC, uvnc.com, can roll your own, where it will launch and phone out. That's the thing with firewalls. If the originating computer opens the port by going outbound, then generally, the inbound is fine.

There are a couple of roll your own clients like that, where it will open an outbound port for you. That's where UPNP comes in, because that's how that all works. If a router is UPNP compliant, then when the software says "I need you to have these ports open", it says "Okay, go ahead. We'll take care of it." You do want to look for that. Right now, I can't say that there's a real easy way to do any of it. You're going to have to be a little savvy. Keep that in mind.

Kirk: For these things to work right, I guess you have to do what GoToAssist, TeamViewer, and LogMeIn do. You've got to run a rendezvous server. If you really want to make sure it's bullet proof, the rendezvous server must relay all data. You can have the rendezvous server try to establish a peer to peer connection, but just like with Telos' Zip Server, if it can't help each end establish peer to peer, then it's going to have to be the relay server. Both units can see the relay server obviously. It can relay that data. That means big pipes. That means somebody has got to pay for big pipes. The Telos Zip One industry is far smaller than the IT industry. But GoToAssist, TeamViewer, these other guys, they're paying big bucks for lots of bandwidth every month, to service all their customers, free and paid.

Chris Tarr: By the way, it's Meinberg. I just logged into my server here to see what I was running for the time server. M-E-I-N-B-E-R-G. It's NTP time server by Meinberg. They sell hardware. This software, they offer for free. They also sell time syncing software, time synching hardware, and those sort of things. Essentially, I use their time server software, and I just have a PC that runs as the master clock and it does all my house stuff. So far it's worked really well, for the low price of free, which I really like.

Kirk: Winco has a great idea. Maybe Google could add remote desktop to hangouts.

Chris Tarr: Google has the Chrome Remote Desktop which works pretty well.

Kirk: That's right. Does Chrome have to be up and running, the Chrome browser?

Chris Tarr: No. You have to install it, but on Windows machines, Chrome will run in the background, as a background process, so you could do that. That actually does a pretty good job of traversing firewalls and things. That is certainly an option, if you want to go down that route.

Kirk: I really like TeamViewer. It works so reliably. It formats well. It's usually easy to use. I just don't want to pay their price.

Chris Tarr: Their licensing is really expensive. I looked at them before I looked at GoToAssist. It was going to be more expensive to go through TeamViewer than GoToAssist.

Kirk: My needs, probably like a lot of people, I have two or three people who need to use the service. TeamViewer seems really expensive, once you get past one person. For one person, it's not horrible. Two, three, or four people, it seems like the sky is the limit on price. Oh well.

Chris Tarr: By the way, I do see some comments about UPNP and Black and not for me. It's actually gotten a lot safer over the years. It's not nearly as bad as people make it out to be.

Kirk: Except for the routers that have the UPNP port flipped around, looking at the WAN side. There are a certain number of them. If you find one of those, you've got complete access to the whole network.

Chris Tarr: Generally, that's becoming more and more rare. In fact, a lot of networks nowadays almost have to be UPNP compliant, because there's a lot of things that require it to work right. There's a lot of FUD flying around from years ago when Gibson made the big deal about UPNP. He was right then. That was actually baked into certain Windows configurations with certain routers. It would open up a huge hole. But, that's gotten a lot better. It's become pretty reliable and will save you a lot of headaches.

Kirk: I thought that Gibson's revelation, there was a guy who did a doctoral thesis on that subject. He pinged every IP address in the world several times, and figured out what percentage of them had this bug, as you said, baked into the router.

Chris Tarr: Right.

Kirk: We need to pause right here. You're watching or listening This Week In Radio Tech. It's episode 199. That means that next week, the next episode, it's another war stories. We'll try to make it a super War Stories episode. We'll go on a marathon for four hours. How about that Andrew? A four-hour War Stories episode.

Andrew: Sounds good to me.

Kirk: Stories from the field. Fixing things from the towers. Under the transmitter. In the trenches. Under the audio console. We're going to talk about it on next week's show, a war stories episode. Our show this week is brought to you by the folks who happen to be my wonderful employer. That's Telos alliance.

Our show is specifically brought to you by the Axia Element audio console. You know, when you look at an Axia Element, you may have seen pictures of different sizes of Axia Elements. There are literally tens of thousands of permutations of how you can design your Axia Element console. Did you know that an Axia Element console can have as few as two faders? Yup. I've seen one in France. The main DJ wanted to be able to control his mike. They built him up a console. It's the monitor and two fader module.

That's all that's in it. Then you can have an enormous console. In the same studio in France, they have a 40 fader Axia Element console. From two faders to 40 faders. My goodness, you can build it up how you want. You can put buttons in there to do whatever you want, just give you GPIO closures or start things with an external automation, or with the Pathfinder software from Telos.

You can have it start a pot of coffee, email somebody, lock the doors, and turn on the disco lights all at the same time if you want to. You can also have telephone controller panels. You can have intercom panels. These are really cool Right there from the console top, you can intercom wherever you need to, other intercom stations, and other locations that aren't equipped with an intercom panel, like a speaker and microphone. You can intercom to those, like a front door.

All these accessories are available. Plus talent accessories that you can imbed in the furniture. If you've got a morning show with several talents sitting around, they can each have their own mike on-off, a cough switch, a talkback switch so they can secretly talk to the board operator without being on the air. There's also a producer panel, that lets a show producer who is not on the air, talk to several different people as he or she needs to. The possibilities are just unbelievably endless. There are more features coming, like the intercom panels being able to connect to SIP servers. Now an intercom can make a phone call. Lots of cool stuff. Design the Axia Element console anyway you like. Most folks get 8, 12, 16, 18, or 24 faders. Size it how you like. Get the button accessories that you want. Leave some blank panels for future growth. Put a phone controller in there.

There's even a production module that gives you instant access to EQ and panning. If you're running the console in 5.1 mode, this is possible. You can also set some 5.1 configuration. Just amazing, the things that you can do with an Axia Element audio console. Plus they're built like a brick. The extrusions have ribs in all the right places. They're really strong. You can stand on one and you won't hurt it.

The buttons . . . This is so intelligent the way it's designed. All the buttons on the console top are protected by a little bit of a guard, whether it's the on-off buttons, or the program assignment buttons, or the buttons for preview or talkback, or seize a phone call. These are all protected by a little bit of a bezel around them. You have to definitely push a button in order to push it. But, they're easy to push. If you drop something on the console, chances are you're not going to accidentally actuate a button.

Really intelligent design has gone into the Axia Element audio console. I got to work with one on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, making sure it was configured just right for this incredible tornado coverage play by play tornado reporting at Channel Nine in Oklahoma City. I'll tell you more about that in just a few minutes.

Go to the web and check it out, would you. You can go straight to the website axiaaudio.com/element. It'll take you to the page, and you can read all about the Element audio console. There are thousands in use. I think it's over 3,000 Elements, and then we've got a bunch of the other consoles in the line in use around the world. It's very popular. We've got one at my radio station. A little one. It's cool. All right, you're watching This Week In Radio Tech Episode 199. Chris Tarr is with us. Looks like Chris Tobin has come online. Andrew, has Chris Tobin checked in yet?

Andrew: Not yet.

Kirk: Okay. Why don't you see if he's available. I see he's online, so maybe he'll be there. Chris Tarr, I want to follow up on a couple of things. You had mentioned that maybe Ultra VNC is UPNP compatible. I know there's a lot of . . . In fact, I know that it is. If you're the remote site, you can initiate like a support session, with Ultra VNC. That's the VNC flavor that I used for years, Ultra VNC. I need to check back into that and see what's available.

Chris Tarr: I seem to remember you can create an install package, where you type in the server that you want to connect to. I believe you can actually create a relay server or a mirror server. You can send out that package and install that. It'll actually do all the hard work for you, as long as you have the INI file or whatever built correctly.

I used to use that before TeamViewer became popular and GoToAssist. I created those UVNC packages to do remote support, where I could say "Run this and it'll connect to me, and I'll see you come online and take care of it." I believe there's a way to do that through UVNC. It depends on how good you are at working with those things to get those running. Which leads me to the other story that I was going to talk about this morning with my KVM switching. It was absolutely a case of sitting down and getting to it. In our old facility, the previous engineer had installed a really nice, high end keyboard, video, mouse extender and matrix switcher, so that you can sit at a console and see all these different computers.

Not only could you see computers that didn't have monitors and things attached to them, but it also mirrored, for example, our studio automation systems. Those sorts of things. We could actually mirror that on a console, and see what's going on. When we moved all that, That all got disconnected and moved around. I couldn't obviously put it back together the way it was. I had no clue how this thing worked. It kind of sat around and I thought one of these days I would put it together.

Yesterday, I set aside a block of time and figured it out. It is really cool It's essentially like a big router for keyboard, video, and mouse. I think the one I have is 32 or 48 ports. On the computer side, there's a little dongle that goes in, for the monitor, keyboard, and everything. You either have one or two CAT5 jacks in the back. If there's two, then there's a mirror. If it's one, it's just direct to the switch.

It works just like a KVM extender, except you plug it into this router, and there's a console connected to that. You can cycle through and see all the devices connected to it, and bring any one of them up to this console. It's way bigger and more intricate than your basic little four button. Connect two computers or four computers and push back and forth. This can have a matrix of up to 47 computers. It also has server software, so you can save different configurations and routes.

It was really neat, but it was one of those deals where I kept looking at this thing thinking it was really complex. I've never dealt with anything like this before. I've been putting it off. Finally, I sat down, grabbed the manual for the server software, and I did what I did with all this stuff. Instead of relying on the previous guy's programming and formatting, I just completely wiped it out and started over. I had to build this thing back from scratch.

Having done that, I was able to learn how this thing worked and really made it do what I wanted to do. It's really nice because I don't have to be in the studio looking over somebody's shoulder to do things. Or, if I'm working on the computers themselves for the studio, are in the rack room. If nobody is in the studio and I want to do some work, I can actually work on the physical computer and be right next to it with the keyboard and mouse taking control of everything. It's really nice the way that it mirrors. That was my own little project this morning.

Kirk: Let's say that I can't afford a big Avocent, or some other big KVM. I don't want to run all these cables. How effective is it for me to just run a remote desktop program, and be able to get into the various computers, and give people live tech support, or do some work that way. The difference between a remote desktop and KVM, compare that.

Chris Tarr: In this case, with the KVM, you're in the physical building. You're not actually doing remotely desktop. Generally, that's why I didn't really mess with it until now. I've been here over six months now, and I just now hooked it all up, because I do 99% of my stuff by remote desktop. The TOC is in the first floor. I'm on the second floor. If I had to do something where I needed to put a CD in and hit a prompt, I'd have to go downstairs, put a CD in, go back upstairs, etc. Or, I would have a keyboard and monitor and just keep plugging it into the various devices as I'm working on them.

The difference is there are times when you have to have a physical keyboard and monitor attached to a device. For example, let's say that the network card goes bad. Well, it's no longer on the network. You can't run remote access software. You can't remote desktop. There are times where you just have to touch it. What's great about this, is now I have all my computers and servers connected to it. I may not use it very often, but it's there if there's some reason I can't remote desktop in. I can just bring it up in the TOC and sit there and do what I need to do with it. It's really kind of neat. It all runs over CAT5. It's almost like networking for video. It's really kind of cool.

Kirk: Hey, Chris Tobin has made it into the show. Chris Tobin, how are you? Welcome in.

Chris Tobin: I'm good. I hope you guys can hear me. I had to rush back in. I'm back home. It's a quick setup, so I hope everything is working out well. You guys sound good.

Kirk: I hear you great. Louder than ever. Five by five.

Chris Tobin: Excellent. How is everybody doing today?

Kirk: I always get that phrase wrong. Five by five. Two by two.

Speaker: Five by nine.

Kirk: Five by nine. There you go. You're blowing my ears out. Chris Tarr has regaled us with some really cool, great advice. Stuff that makes your life easier around the studio. Chris Tobin, have you run across anything? What's come across your horizon in the past few days that makes life easier for engineers? I guess it's the big tip show. What's your tip?

Chris Tobin: The big tip show. What's made my life easier or I have helped people do. I've been showing folks how to use remote desktop and get that done remotely. I heard you guys talk about Ultra VNC, which is quite popular. I do agree with you Kirk, Team View can be a little bit on the pricy side for what you want to do with it. I was working with folks on some VPN clients, with their Cisco routers, and some of the software that comes with that. Working with folks and making it easy doing things and that sort. It's hard. You guys are talking about network access and the infamous routers that have UPNP facing the WAN side, stuff like that.

A lot of folks I've been working with lately, some corporate ITs, remote access is just something they won't allow, unless you go through certain hoops and loops. TeamViewer, I found out on a couple places I worked with recently, is not permitted. Because the technical section of Sarbanes-Oxley, section 401 or something like that. It's for security.

Kirk: Sarbanes-Oxley sure has affected the people who pay attention to it, in our industry. There were broadcasters who would not allow their studio transmitter link to be an IP link. Because that's how they were interpreting Sarbanes-Oxley. It's okay if it's an analog, in the clear, 950 MHz STL, that anybody with any brains at all technically could blow up and interfere with. But it can't be on an IP link.

Chris Tobin: You have to be able to ensure that IP link cannot be compromised. That's what it comes down to.

Kirk: But you didn't have to be able to ensure that the 950 link could not be compromised.

Chris Tobin: I recently did a project with IP radios that operate at 5.8 GHz. In the radio units, the terminal units, there's two pieces, a bi-directional IP. I discovered working with a couple of folks, that if you turn on the encryption in them, you can pass muster for the Sarbanes-Oxley stuff. I worked with a radio group that was looking to do some outside broadcast events, but they weren't allowed to do IP, unless they could guarantee. That was true for the DSL connections. They had to run VPN clients to STunnel. STunnel, I think they were using for something.

Chris Tarr: You bring up a good point. In fact, I'm working with another company that I do some work with, a small group of stations. I finally talked them into making the jump of just going to VPN clients, with LogMeIn going away. Then, the added benefit I explained to them, they had a couple locations. I bought some Cisco small business routers. I'm able to setup a point to point VPN with all their locations to. Now all their locations can talk to each other. They can share audio.

The people who do need to remote in can use a VPN client to get in and use remote desktop. Some good things are coming out of this. I was never a big fan of using LogMeIn as a business tool like that for radio stations. This kind of fixes that issue. The prices have come down substantially on lower end small business gear like that. I could get Cisco for $300 or $400. I was able to equip their three sites with Cisco routers with VPN and end to end tunnels and things. And really do it the right way. It was, relatively speaking, inexpensive.

Chris Tobin: That's exactly what I did. That's exactly how we got things working and everybody was happy and compliant. It worked out really well. Recently, I just worked with a station. They're using a remote control product, I won't say the name, that doesn't support the 2048 encryption for SMTP email, like GMail and everybody is switching over to that. STunnel is a great app. You can get around that issue. I don't know if you guys are familiar with that.

Kirk: I understand that we're up against a time limit here. I've got a couple pictures to share. I want to see if we can get those in. Chris Tarr, I understand you've got to run. Buddy, thank you so much for your participation today. It's been a great show and the advice is terrific. I'm going to try to get everything you said in the show notes. How about that?

Chris Tarr: Hopefully you can get it all in there. I've been a wealth of information today.

Kirk: All right. Chris Tobin, if you can hang on for a few more minutes. We're going to run through some pictures. Maybe you could comment and give your take on a few things. Let's go with the show and tell here, as we close out our show.

Andrew, how about that first picture. Okay. This was from my trip to Channel Nine KWTV in Oklahoma City, where they really take weather seriously, and other news too. I installed a little Axia console. But that's their main news production audio console. It is a CalRec. It's a few years old, but man, do they know how to make that thing walk and talk and sing and dance. That's where the main operator sits during all their local news and weather productions.

Next slide please. That's the weather radar that they own. That's on site at KWTV on the northeast side of Oklahoma City. Next slide. That's the tower. That tower is going to come down soon. It was built in 1954 approximately. Built by a bridge company, Idico something. Big tower coming down. That's the building right there, the Channel Nine building. They have sales, news, administration, engineering, everything, transmitters, all there.

Next one. Okay, here we go. This is where one of the news producers sits. There's a Telos VSET 6. They actually have two different phone systems running off the same Telos VX now. They have a four line call in system for reporters. They have an eight line call in system for the storm chasers. You're looking now at the VSET 6, which they use for the four line system. Next slide there. I probably have a couple pictures of this. That's a little bit closer up picture of the system that they use for the reporters to call in. These are the guys that go in after the damage has been done. They go report on that.

Next slide there. Another picture of the CalRec console. They have all their bumpers, liners, all the swoosh music and sound effects they play during newscasts and weather on that 360 system. Next one. That console, by the way, can do 15 mix minuses. It does a good job.

What's next, Andrew? There we go. This is the weather center. Interestingly, they run a lot of the same software that I'm accustomed to using at the station in Nashville where I occasionally do some fill in weather. David Payne, the chief meteorologist there, along with Lacy and Matt, put together all of their weather forecasts there.

Next slide. Their weather center is actually off camera. It's not seen on set. It's behind the set. There's just a close-up of some of the inputs that we had to put on the Axia console. That's an Axia Element. Weather intercom comes in there. So when somebody calls the weather intercom, it's there. The CalRec consoles mix minus comes back to there, so we can feed people with that. Here's some of the people who call in: Marty, Bobby, Tom, Rob, and Sky news. Sky news is the name of their helicopter.

Next slide there. What else do we have here. The operator who handles all of the storm chasers, that's where he stands. He has access to the station's intercom system. Of course, the Axia console.

To the far end there, there's the 12-line VSET. Let's look at the next slide, and see if I have a different view of that. Yeah, there's looking from the other end. There's the 12 line that they put the eight different storm chasers on the air with. The way that we've got the Element console configured, if the storm chaser is not on air, in other words if he's on the phone, but he fader is in the off position, all of those storm reporters can talk to each other.

And, they're tied in with the intercom system. And, they're listening at a lower level to the program audio. They can all have a conversation about who should go on next, and be on the intercom system too. But when we put them on the air, they don't hear all that mumbo jumbo of the other reports. Then they get a mix minus of program audio. It's still interruptible. There's a talk-back button for each caller on the console. The board op there can interrupt anybody and talk to them in their return feed. What the outside reporters hear when they're on the air is slightly different than what they hear when they're not on the air.

Any more pictures or was that the last one? There you go. There's the column of monitors in the weather center. I think we have at least one more picture there. After that one. Is that it? Oh yeah. Okay. That's what the weather person sees, when they're standing behind all their monitors on the set. Maybe we have a picture of the green screen as well, the [Chroma] key wall. Nope, that's it. Back to me. All right. That's a quick tour of the weather center and what's behind there at KWTV in Oklahoma City. Thanks again to them for their great hospitality.

Chris Tobin, do you want to wrap us up with anything else you have to say? We've got to go.

Chris Tobin: No, no. I came in too late. I really don't have anything to contribute other than I'm here.

Kirk: I'm glad you're here buddy. Will you be here next week for our war stories episode, number 200?

Chris Tobin: Yes. I am juggling a few things to make sure that Thursday stays open. I keep missing out on good opportunities.

Kirk: Hey, if you can't, that's okay. But if you can, we sure would appreciate having you in here. I've got to plan the guest situation as well. Somebody will have to sit out I suppose. Maybe it should be me. I've been on too many times.

Chris Tobin: I sat out on the last two.

Kirk: Yeah. We'd like to have you back for that reason if none other. All right. This is the end of the show. Thanks all for being with us. Chris Tarr was here for most of the show from 88Nine, his station in Milwaukee that he takes care of. Also, Chris Tobin has been here for a short time with some good advice too. Wrapping things up. Thanks to everybody in the chat room for helping us out. We always appreciate that.

Bob Holowenko, you're just golden. Thank you to anybody else who chimed in as well. Andrew is there as always, for producing the show and switching back in New York city. We appreciate you at the GFQ network. Our show has been brought to you by Axia Audio and the Axia Element audio console. We'll see you next week for war stories, episode 200. See you next week on This Week In Radio Tech. Bye-bye, everybody.

Topics: Radio Engineering

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