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Open Source Automation with Fred Gleason

Posted by Kirk Harnack [TWiRT] on Oct 24, 2014 11:50:00 AM

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TWiRT 232Is free, open-source software a viable option for running your radio station? Fred Gleason, co-founder of Paravel Systems says it’s worth consideration. His Rivendell radio automation software is open-source, widely deployed, fully professional - and free to use. Paravel’s financial model is to charge for pre-configured hardware and for support, but both are optional. Fred talks to us about Rivendell open-source radio automation and call screening software.

 

 

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Kirk Harnack: This Week in Radio Tech Episode 232 is brought to you by Lawo, maker of the new crystalCLEAR virtual radio console. crystalCLEAR is the radio console with a multi-touch touchscreen interface. By Axia iProFiler, the award-winning audio archiving software that works with Axia IP audio networks, capturing up to 24 stereo audio channels without sound cards. And by the full range of Axia xNodes - mic, stereo line, ADS, GPIO, and the combo xNode. One-touch simple setup balanced with powerful AOIP connection.

Hey, is free open-source software a viable option for running your radio station? Fred Gleason, co-founder of Paravel Systems, says it's worth consideration. Fred talks to us about Rivendell open-source radio automation.

Hey, welcome to This Week in Radio Tech. I'm Kirk Harnack, your host. This is the show where we talk about everything from the microphone to the bulb at the top of the tower. If your tower still has a light bulb. Maybe it's the LEDs nowadays. And streaming. Because someday, maybe it'll all be streaming. Who knows? I'm just glad you're along for the ride.

And we talk to movers and shakers in the industry whenever we can. And today our guest... we'll introduce him in a few minutes, but our guest is Fred Gleason, and he's going to be talking about some cool open-source stuff.

But for now, let me just tell you that, hey, I work for the folks at Telos, Omnia, and Axia. They are also sponsors. We'll get that disclaimer out of the way. And I'm part owner of some radio stations. I own the part that doesn't make any money, which is why I work full-time for one of our sponsors, the Telos Alliance.

And we've been doing this show for, gee, about five years now. So we're just delighted to bring it to you again today, and the subject that we have, open-source software for broadcasters.

Our co-host on the show, he's with us almost every single time, and even times when I'm not. Let's check in with the best-dressed engineer in radio, and that would be Chris Tobin. Chris, good afternoon. How are you?

Chris Tobin: I'm doing well, Kirk. And yourself?

Kirk Harnack: Fantastic. I just got off of jury duty. You ever been on jury duty?

Chris Tobin: Yes, I have.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah?

Chris Tobin: Yeah. It's been interesting.

Kirk Harnack: Guilty or not guilty? You can say now.

Chris Tobin: No, we wound up getting dismissed because the attorneys made some mistake during the interview process. And the other attorneys, I guess the defendant's attorneys, plaintiffs, went back to the judge, and the judge agreed. And they came back and said, "You're all done, and you've got credit. Thank you very much. Goodbye."

Kirk Harnack: Wow.

Chris Tobin: Yeah. I don't know what the attorneys said during the interview process, but the other attorney just darted out of the seat and was like, whoa. And we were all looking at each other going, "Okay, this is not good." And 20 minutes later, the judge came in and said, "You can all leave."

Kirk Harnack: Wow. Wow. Well, we'll chat about that in a minute. Tell us, Chris, you are the proprietor of a company that really helps radio stations out. And other broadcasters, too. TV broadcasters and people who do streaming. You do consulting about IP, Internet protocol, and how broadcasters use that. Tell us a little bit about that.

Chris Tobin: Yeah. Yeah. When I've been working with folks, it's for audio and video. My latest project's been a video, IPTV video project. And that's shuffling video from one building to another across a university campus, and trying to minimize the cost to... I'll say the phone company, and their video circuits they've been using.

And so far the first test has gone out very well. They're very happy with the chipset in the box and the data rate we're running with, HiDef at 1080i. And it's 6 megabits per second over the IP link. The video is comparable, if not better, than their off the air HD. And they're liking it. So the savings are going to be immense. But the project itself has been interesting, because we're dealing with IT departments in a university that have no idea about broadcast, contribution or transmissions about it.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah.

Chris Tobin: It was interesting trying to educate them.

Kirk Harnack: Hey, you mentioned 6 megabits per second. And I guess 1080i video will compress kind of reasonably to 1080i. Broadcasters sometimes use that. They prefer to use a higher bit rate. What's going to happen with 4k? What's a minimum, good-looking bit rate going to be on 4k? Any idea?

Chris Tobin: Well, that's interesting, because at the IBC and NAB, the bit rates were varying from anywhere from 20 to 50 to, some said they could do 15. I think it's going to depend on the method by which you encode everything. So I don't know. The jury's still out on that. Because the 4k, there's very little equipment you can actually view it on properly.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Tobin: I think what we're going to see is the 4k-and 8k stuff, but 4k especially-I think you're going to see a lot in sports and for specialty playback and replays, where the user can zoom in on a play and really see the granular... you know, hands on a football or baseball, the fingers on the threads. That's what you can do with 4k, which is pretty cool. So in the production side of content, you can do a lot more than just simply sending it out there and show people HiDef.

Kirk Harnack: Hey, Andrew, if I'm not mistaken, Chris's video's frozen. Is that right? Okay. But it's a great shot. You know, you could use it for a good-looking mug shot if you want to at your next driver's license. But we may want to see if we can get that re-connected.

Tell you what. I'll take over and chat for a while, and see if we can get Chris re-connected with video that actually moves. You know, Skype, oh my goodness. It'd be nice if you had granular control, but we... on the... we have a love-hate relationship with Skype. We love it because it's generally easy to use. It generally works well. But when it doesn't work well, there's not much you can do about it except hang up and try again.

All right. And by the way, we mentioned jury duty. I was on a jury, empaneled... I was the twelfth juror selected on this jury. Others had been selected and rejected, and I kind of felt like the Judas Iscariot, you know? The 12th one.

And so we had a multi-day trial and multi-day deliberations. And if you're curious about that, my Facebook page-after the show, not now-but my Facebook page has got an article about the trial that was published within hours of the verdict being delivered earlier today. Interesting. I'd never been on a jury. I do not envy the job of judges or lawyers. My goodness, the hours and hours of boredom and a few minutes of sheer terror. Kind of like being an airline pilot.

Hey, let's move on. Our show today is graced by the presence of our guest, and that is Fred Gleason. Fred Gleason of Paravel Systems. Fred, welcome in. Glad you're here on This Week in Radio Tech.

Fred Gleason: Hey, how are you doing today, Kirk? I'm fine. So, jury duty, huh? That's something I've never had any experience with, actually.

Kirk Harnack: Well, I was expecting a pretty awful experience, and I just felt really, really blessed to end up getting on a jury that... you know, I was expecting-and I don't know how to say this nicely-I was expecting a Real People of Walmart kind of crowd in the jury. And I was so impressed. We got 12 people who are upstanding citizens, who had very reasonable deliberations. Some people had questions and doubts, and we talked it all through. And I was just so impressed with the outcome. Just really quite blessed by it.

So, hey... and hey, you can't get out of it. What are you going to do? So... the judge thanks us for our service, and I wanted to say, "Well, judge, it was either this or bench warrant, and by comparison, the duty looked pretty good." And it paid $10 a day with a free lunch.

Fred Gleason: Woohoo!

Kirk Harnack: So hey, we're going to talk to Fred Gleason about... Fred, give us a quick synopsis, what we're going to talk about, and then I've got to do our first sponsor.

Fred Gleason: Okay. I work for a little company called Paravel Systems. What our reason in life is, is to integrate the world of open-source software with radio broadcasting. Our flagship product to that end is a radio automation system by the name of Rivendell.

Kirk Harnack: Uh-huh.

Fred Gleason: We also make a little appliance, piece of hardware appliance, for an Axia Livewire network known as iRoute.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah, [inaudible 00:08:27] iRoute, yeah.

Fred Gleason: Those are two...

Kirk Harnack: Well, we'll talk about...

Fred Gleason:... main items. I'd be glad to talk about either one, Kirk.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah, well, we'll talk about both things, and even some more things. I want to talk about the interesting philosophy of open-source software, and why broadcast engineers should be-might be-interested in using open-source software that is well supported. But we're going to get to all that. We've got a lot of stuff to talk about in the next hour.

I want to bring to your attention, though, our first sponsor, and that is the folks at Lawo, L-A-W-O. Lawo, L-A-W-O, dot com. And they make an audio console called the crystalCLEAR. The crystalCLEAR audio console. It is a virtual radio mixing console.

Well, what does "virtual" mean? Well, it means that when you're touching the multi-touch touchscreen of the crystalCLEAR, you're not touching real faders. You're not even touching faders that control a VCA somewhere. You're touching virtual faders on a screen.

The crystalCLEAR console consists of two parts, as many consoles do nowadays. But the part that you touch is an HP multi-touch touchscreen computer. And it has represented on it, in beautiful graphic detail, eight faders and the buttons and controls that would go along with those in order to run a radio studio.

Now, the DS... the part that does the work, the DSP mixing engine and the IO, that's in the rack. That's in a rack. It doesn't even have to be nearby, although you're probably going to have local sources that go into and local destinations that come out of it. So it is a little 1 RU box that has mic inputs, line inputs, an AES input, and it has Ravenna AOIP going in and out of it, which also encompasses AES 67. So it has all the modern technology of AOIP built into it using the Ravenna standard, which, again, also encompasses the AES 67.

Now, what about the touchscreen itself? This is a 10-touch touchscreen. If you can use all 10 fingers at the same time logically, you're welcome to do it. I could probably only do two or three fingers, and that would be a challenge for me.

But you can run the faders up and down, turn faders on and off from the touchscreen. When you touch any of the buttons that have to do with a given fader or a given function, they're context-sensitive. No longer are you limited by a hardware definition of what a button or a control does. Every control works just as it should for the function that you're touching.

So if you touch an options button that has to do with the fader, and what's on the fader is a microphone, you're given microphone-style options. You don't have to sort through other menus to get to what you want to. Everything is just a button press or two away, at the most.

It's just a great technology. And the HP touchscreen talks to the DSP engine over a network, over Ethernet. So that's cool, too. And that implies it doesn't have to be in the same room. It doesn't even have to be in the same building. You'd want fairly low latency between the two to get to see your meters and such, and to get quick action. But hey, you can use this thing over a network even over a distance. And that means it's ideal to take one out on remote where you have control. You have to get your microphone back separately, and your audio feedback to your headphones separately.

But this is so cool. You ought to check it out. There's a brochure on the website. You can download the brochure. You can read about the product on the website. Go to Lawo.com, L-A-W-O-it's the German pronunciation-Lawo.com and look for radio consoles. Lawo makes a ton of different consoles, a lot of them a lot bigger, too. And look for the crystalCLEAR console. And thank you to Lawo for sponsoring This Week in Radio Tech.

All right. Let's see, I bet Chris Tobin is back with us. Chris, you back with us? Is, is... maybe not? Oh, there he is. Audio, video.

Kirk Harnack: Now he's scrambling.

Chris Tobin: There we go.

Kirk Harnack: There we go. Yay!

Chris Tobin: All right. Hopefully this will work out much better than before.

Kirk Harnack: Well...

Chris Tobin: I'm back on my Mac.

Kirk Harnack: Good for you. I have...

Chris Tobin: Yes.

Kirk Harnack: I found that to be usually reliable. In fact, just...

Chris Tobin: Well, you know, it's interesting. I think it's the way software developers implement the software for different OSes.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah.

Chris Tobin: I've discovered that Linux and Mac stuff seems to have the most robust ratings these days.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah.

Chris Tobin: Windows-based stuff seems to be getting... I'm not going to say worse, but just more unpredictable.

Kirk Harnack: And we'll ask Fred about this, but it seems to me that development under Windows can be really quick. Sometimes quickness may lead to mistakes, or thoughtlessness, or not scrubbing your inputs, or all kinds of nastiness that ordinarily may or may not show up, but certainly can from time to time.

And just before the show, I was trying to... I did an update to a remote-for me-Windows machine. Told it to reboot like Windows said it needed, and it got stuck. And now it's sitting there, not rebooted, not running. And as soon as the show's over, I've got to give somebody a call and say, "Go kick that thing and reboot it nastily instead of gracefully." So...

Fred... you know, open-source. We started talking about that. And open-source leads people to think about Linux, although open-source software could run on any... it could be written for any platform. But when we think of open-source, we think of the open-source OS of Linux. Give us a little overview here of open-source, Linux, and your thoughts about how that's appropriate for us as engineers.

Fred Gleason: Sure, Kirk. The whole point with open-source is all about visibility. A good analogy that you'll see used online is... say you want to go buy a new car. You go down to the Chevy dealer and you pick out a nice convertible and fork over some good money for that, because that's a long-term purchase. You take that home. And what would be your feelings if, upon getting it home, you discover that the hood of the car was welded shut? Because we're not going to allow you to see what's inside this wonderful machine you just bought.

Well, that analogy illustrates a lot of commercial software as it is produced today. The source code, the secret sauce, the instructions that define the way a particular program works is not released as part of that product. That is held in secret by the maker of that program. They instead release a binary code representation of that. That's what you actually download, or load off a CD onto your computer, and that's what runs.

And as long as everything works well, that's fine. But where that goes off the rails is suppose you have a problem with it. Or more frequently, what happens is, suppose you have a feature you'd like to customize that software to work a particular way that you would like it to work. You are... in the traditional proprietary closed-source model, you are absolutely at the mercy of the original manufacturer of that software to do that. You have no other options than to convince them that, yes, this would be a good thing.

Kirk Harnack: All right.

Fred Gleason: The way open-source works is that that source code, that secret sauce, is distributed along with everything else, which means that you now have the ability to go pop the hood and look inside, see how it all works, fix it if you do have a problem, or even change it, extend it, expand it, combine it with other pieces of open-source. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities that simply do not exist in closed-source development methods.

Kirk Harnack: And some people see a great deal of utility in what you just described. I'm not one of those, because I'm not a programmer. I wouldn't pretend to be able to go look in that source code and say, "Ah, you know what? I could add another button here," or, "I could make this thing read out in hundredths of a second instead of tenths of a second."

But reading through the forums that exist for Rivendell, I certainly... my eyes have been opened. There certainly are programmers out there, people with knowledge of programming languages. And yeah, they're interested in doing exactly what you said. I would think that most... most. Some majority of engineers are probably not capable, don't have the time, don't have the interest. They just want to buy something that works. Which, interestingly, also works with open-source software. You can get something that works probably as well as-maybe better than-a piece of commercial software. Is what I'm saying on the balance?

Fred Gleason: Yes. Well, it turns out there's another good effect that occurs with open-source. Was kind of one that was not anticipated. But by opening that source code to the world, you enable what amounts to a peer review process. Which means not only do you have people extending the software with new features, you have people finding problems in it and bugs that you didn't... as the author, you might not have even realize are there, and are sending cures to it and fixes for it.

And as a result of all of that, the overall quality of your typical open-source product, well, not only matches commercial software. In many cases, it far exceeds that. Because in the proprietary model, the only people you have working on that code are the people with the access to the secret sauce.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah.

Fred Gleason: Well, in a project like Rivendell, you have hundreds of people looking at that code. And a lot of them are radio station operators who just want to be on the air and keep their station profitable, but you have many others who are adept at reading this code and fixing it. And I get bug fixes and new features contributed back from the community all the time. Those all go right back into the Rivendell code base, and as a result, the project grows. The whole community benefits from that, then.

Kirk Harnack: Interesting. Wow.

Chris Tobin, what are your thoughts at this point regarding open-source software for broadcasters? This application.

Chris Tobin: I'm all for it. I mean, I've used it for the Axia system. I've used it for other projects over the years. I think what's important-and our guest has made it clear-is that you have to be responsible for what you're doing and understand what's going on, and take a much broader look at how you implement stuff.

As I mentioned earlier, I've been working with some Windows products, and I've been noticing over the last year or two, things seem to be a little less reliable than I have been finding with my... I'll use the word Mac and Linux-based stuff. And I'm noticing a difference in the way people approach things and the solutions they come up with.

So I totally agree. Open-source is a great way to go with a lot of stuff. And broadcasters should feel that... should be embracing it and go with it. But you need to be well-versed or understand where you're going, and make sure whoever you're working with... in the case, say, if you're working with Rivendell, you know these guys are looking at it, they take your feedback, they work it into the code. You know, it's a two-way street. As long as you have a two-way street with whomever you're working with, you're in great shape.

I can say in the early days of Axia, when I was implementing it and learning some of the stuff about the real-time Linux kernel that's in use and the real-time operating systems, what they're all about, I realized, "Whoa, this is more robust than I was led to believe." So research it, get into it, and once you do understand what's going on, your imagination's left to wander. It's great.

Kirk Harnack: You know, as a layperson in this, in terms of software and operating systems... and, yeah, Fred knows about my level of expertise. It's enough to help him out a little bit, but not enough to really be useful when there's a problem.

But one thing that... one little story I like to pass along, and then we'll talk about developing for... how you picked Linux and so forth. In the early days of... Chris mentioned Axia. In the early days of Livewire, and our... I was talking with some of our developers at the Telos Alliance, and they were telling me that in the early days of writing code to make audio over IP work, they would run across a bug, a problem, and they would immediately start pointing the finger at the operating system. At the real-time Linux operating system. Then it turned out that that wasn't the problem. The problem was actually in their code. And so they would go fix their code.

And the next time they had a problem, they would once again point to, "It must be the operating system." And then it didn't turn out to be that way. It turned out to be the code. And after a while, they became convinced that if there's a problem, it's probably our code.

So when they had the... when they went with that mindset... they were always open to the idea that it could be an unexpected behavior with the operating system. But it made them really focus on their code and not easily point a finger somewhere else to say, "Well, the problem must be that." Because it usually wasn't.

And it...

Fred Gleason: Linux...

Kirk Harnack: Yeah?

Fred Gleason: Linux is in production use at, well, hundreds of millions of sites. It's not just in PCs. It's in cell phones. For example, every Android cell phone that is out there, that has Linux inside. So that means the code in Linux has been exercised many, many, many, many times over more than, really, any particular application that runs on it.

So, while yes, occasionally you do run across a Linux kernel bug, it's very, very rare compared to the problems you're going to be... that turn out to be self-inflicted from your own application code that you're writing.

Kirk Harnack: So I understand that Linux is open-source. I don't understand all the implications of that. I'm not sure that we have to for this show. But when you write open-source software and you want a reliable operating system, why did you go to Linux? And just tell me about that decision process and what the people benefit from those decisions now.

Fred Gleason: Well, it's interesting, Kirk. You mentioned at the beginning of the program how coding goes much faster on Windows than on Linux. I frankly smiled a little bit at that. Because the way I came to Linux was in 1997, I was working at a national news network, and I was tasked to produce a system that would play the sounder that you hear at the beginning of your typical radio newscast.

Kirk Harnack: Ah.

Fred Gleason: And we investigated some commercial solutions from some pretty prominent vendors in radio automation. The cheapest one we found that would do that was... they wanted $20,000 for the system.

Kirk Harnack: Wow.

Fred Gleason: So they came to me and said, "Hey, Fred, could you create something that would do this?" It was a very simple application. Five times an hour, on a schedule, it had to play a 30-second WAV file into a... down a channel.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah.

Fred Gleason: So just being where I was as an engineer at that time, my first thought was to write a Windows program and make it a system service on Windows NT, because that was the servers that that particular site was running.

Well, I looked into doing that, and it turned out that the complexities of that just snowballed very quickly. It would have to be a DLL. It would have to be this. I would have to buy this tool and that tool. It was going to be a man month of effort just to produce this very simple seeming application.

So almost in desperation, I turned to this... well, what about this Linux thing I just bought this book about a few months ago? Let me go look at that. Well, I looked at that, and the long of the short of it was, 48 hours later, I had it done and it was on the air. And to the best of my knowledge, that system is still on the air at that network.

So one of the reasons Linux has attracted the number of developers, the number of programs that it has, is in addition to being very stable and very capable, it's also plain just a lot of fun to work with. That cannot be said of many of the other "proprietary environments."

Kirk Harnack: Got you, got you. And what I said... I was repeating what some other people had said that may have a vested interest in what they said, so I don't really know. But thank you for your opinion on that.

So you... tell me about the beginnings of Rivendell. And for those that don't know or joined us late, Rivendell is an open-source... and that means if you want... I guess if you want to use it for free and you're willing to figure it out yourself, it's free for you to use. Not only is it open-source, the license allows you to use it. Is that not right?

Chris Tobin: It's free as in liberty and free as in beer, as the saying goes in the community. But the genesis of Rivendell came back about 12 years ago when I was working for Salem Communications. Their senior vice president of engineering, Mr. John [Edy], had had a long-time dream of finding a radio automation system that he could standardize upon and push out to all of the Salem stations.

His original plan was to partner with a vendor on that. And I was actually part of that process for a number of years. We went with a number of different products, and they were all fine, but none of them were quite perfect for what the company was looking for.

So at the 2002 NAB show, the company flew out PDs and engineers from a number of different stations, and we all met at a big room at the Hilton and brainstormed what would the perfect radio automation for Salem Communications be. And then at the end of that meeting, I was handed that list and told, "Go create this."

That was how Rivendell was born, originally as a system to do Salem programming. I decided very early on in that process that we were going to base that on Linux and we were going to make it open-source. And that, not out of any particular social agenda, but just because I was convinced then-and I remain convinced today-that that was going to be the best, fastest way to get the highest quality product available. And that was largely because of that peer review effect that we discussed earlier.

Kirk Harnack: Got you. Let's... we've been talking about Rivendell, this automation system. And I always wanted to use it. The first time that I've played with it a bit, I felt it was a little over my head. Sometimes, I'll mess up a Linux system and not know how to get back, and I don't really have a... HAM radio guys would call it an Elmer in the Linux world to help me out.

But we bit the bullet. We-me and my radio stations in Mississippi-bit the bullet a couple months ago, and went and put in four stations' worth of Rivendell. And with your advice and help, I built up some machines, or we modified some machines, some PCs, to hold the software. I loaded it all up. We hired you, one of your guys, to come out and configure it for us, because it did seem a little daunting to me. But any new automation system would seem daunting.

So we have some pictures we could at least show right now to at least give our viewers a sense of what we're talking about visually. You can grab onto that and carry on. Andrew, do you have a picture of the RD airplay? RD airplay. This is the on-air screen from Rivendell that we use at four of our radio stations in Mississippi.

Fred Gleason: Sure. RD airplay is the interface that your announcer is going to be spending the lion's share of his time in front of.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah.

Fred Gleason: You get up to three logs, as we call them-playlists-in this. That's a sequence of events that play out. That could be audio. That could also be macro carts that you could program to really do about anything imaginable, including, yes, start the station coffee pot.

In addition to that, we also have a cart wall section of that that we call the sound panel, which was that section you saw over to the right-hand part of that screenshot.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah. Yeah. And something I found out is this cart wall... and maybe other automated systems do this, too. And I'm going to be curious to know how many of your ideas are purely brand-new ideas, how many are because, "Well, this is the way it's done. This is what other people do. We want to give our customers the same thing as other people."

But that cart wall, that doesn't have to be a sound file when you push the button. It could be... I guess what you guys call a macro.

Fred Gleason: Right.

Kirk Harnack: It could be, "Do this. Do that." Tell me about how macros can be used.

Fred Gleason: Macros are little snippets of code that invoke programs. That program could be "turn on a microphone." It could be "buzz open the door out front." It could be "start the coffee pot." It could be "answer the phone." It could be "reach across the room to another Rivendell system at the other station and go start it up." It's really limited only by your imagination.

There is actually a mini command language built into Rivendell that can be called from those macro carts. And there are about, oh, at last look, about 40 or 50 different commands that can be put in there. And that command language is expanding all the time as new versions of Rivendell come out.

Kirk Harnack: Got you. Well, he's not with us right now, but Tom Ray, who's sometimes with us... hasn't been for a while, but he was trying to get there. Tom uses Rivendell software to run the Car Doctor show, for which he's, engineering-wise, technically responsible on the weekends. How... is a network show using this software in maybe a different way than a 24/7 radio station would?

Fred Gleason: We actually have a number of network head ends that run the software. And there are some features built into it that actually address that problem space specifically. One very common requirement if you're originating programming in a network environment is to generate relay closures for queuing your stations. Most every complete radio automation system has the ability to receive those relays. Not all of them have the ability to originate them in an easy or intuitive manner. Rivendell does, because that's something it does regularly.

Kirk Harnack: Got you. Got you. So for a person who's used to Windows and OSX-you know, Mac operating systems-what are some of the common questions you get from people installing this, and using Linux, and doing shares and network shares, and things like... what's some of the most common things that people are confused by?

Fred Gleason: It all depends on your role with the system, actually. If you're an announcer or DJ using it, it's not uncommon to go into a site and discover that they were not even aware that they were not on Windows all along, because it's... you press the button and the music plays, and your on-air people are happy with that. So really, there's no special learning curve to Rivendell beyond the learning curve that would be for any new system that would be brought into a facility.

Now, of course, if you're the engineer, and you're the person who has to put it in and do the upkeep on it, things are a little bit different. And that really is the primary reason we founded Paravel Systems, because we found that radio people were very interested in Rivendell, but they were also very intimidated by the Linux factor.

So we are there to take care of the Linux parts of this, if that's not something an engineer feels comfortable dealing with himself. We've taken that to the point where we have produced an automatic installer. We call it the Broadcast Appliance. That can be downloaded for free online and installed on any reasonably current PC. And within about half an hour, you will turn that computer into a fully functioning Rivendell workstation.

And that, by the way, is not just a demo version. It is not crippled in any way. It's a fully functioning system. We give that away to the community.

Kirk Harnack: Got you. Hey, Chris Tobin, have you got some experience with Rivendell itself?

Chris Tobin: Not directly, but I have met some folks who do use it and spoke highly of it. And you beat me to the punch. I was going to ask about the broadcast appliance. I assume, then, if I was to download that and use it for a facility, that if I needed technical support, then there's a cost involved, right?

Fred Gleason: Yes. That actually is the number one question I get asked wherever I go, is, "How do you guys stay in business when you give your primary product away for free if anybody wants it?" It's a good question. And the answer is we don't sell the ones and zeroes that constitute the program. What we have to sell is something a little harder to come by. It's the knowledge-dare I say the wisdom-to take those zeroes and ones and make them operate in your environment to get your tasks done the way you need to have them done and be successful.

So yes indeed, the support is not for free. That is our primary line of business.

Chris Tobin: Okay, that makes total sense, and I totally would agree with that. And I can say from working with other automation systems over the years, having to deal with... they wrote it, they developed it, this is what they believe is the way you should be doing it, did cause me some angst. So your approach makes total sense. I applaud you on that. That's good. That's a smart way to go about it.

Kirk Harnack: And there is the possibility... and I've met some people on the forums who haven't ever paid a dime for support. They were already Linux familiar, or they got that way. They read the manual. They tinkered with the software enough to understand how it works. Because they were kind of interested in not only not spending a dime, but also... or not spending a dime on support of the software. You still have hardware to deal with, although it can be pretty inexpensive hardware.

But they took it upon themselves to learn about this stuff. And it's not unlike the company I work for, Telos. We've had some kind of... can be good-sized systems, like the 20101 phone system that we used to make. And most customers would hire Telos to come in and configure it for them. But a few customers said, "Well, we read the manual front to back. We understood it. We understand how to order PRI lines, and we made it work."

And so the neat thing about open-source, and Fred and Paravel's business model, is you get a choice. If you want somebody else to do the configuration for you or with you, you can pay them to do that. And if you want to do it yourself, you have that option, too. And I guess with most commercial software, you don't have that option. You must pay for it.

Fred Gleason: The analogy I like to use, Kirk, is a real estate one.

Kirk Harnack: Oh.

Fred Gleason: You can go buy a fixer-upper house and spend weeks, months, and years fixing it all up, and have a beautiful property when you're done. In the business, I'm told that's called sweat equity. Or you can pay a contractor to come in and have it all nicely done, and it's not going to cost any of your time at all.

It's very similar options with Rivendell. You can download the code and use it, and you won't owe me or anyone else a dime for doing it. Many people I know in radio, though, have better uses for their time than doing something like that, so they see it as a good deal to come and pay us to come in and do it for them. So... but the choice, as you say, is yours.

Kirk Harnack: Hey, folks. You are watching This Week in Radio Tech episode number two hundred and... what is it? Thirty-two. It's our show with Fred Gleason talking about open-source software, and specifically the Rivendell automation system. We've had a few other people from other automation systems on the show, so we thought we'd get Fred here.

And, hey, I've got some recent experience with Rivendell. And after we got past our hardware frustrations-which, you know, were my fault-and some bad power, we've had excellent operation out of Rivendell. We haven't found problems with Rivendell. And they've been right on things, like that shell shock problem that could have been a problem for some people. I don't know if it ever was for anybody. Got that patched right away.

Anyway, our show is brought to you in part by the folks at Axia. And I want to tell you about an Axia product called iProfiler. And the reason I picked iProfiler to talk to you about in this time slot was that just this past week, I had an opportunity to really put iProfiler to use.

Now, as part of our radio station in Mississippi, where we have Rivendell systems, we have a complete Livewire network, where we pass all our audio around using just AOIP, using a Cisco switch and CAT5 cables. And it's very easy to put iProfiler on the network. You just install it on a Windows PC. It doesn't have to be a fancy PC. It could be an XP machine if you still want to use that. Ours is on a Windows 7 machine. It doesn't have to be on a server.

You also install a multi-channel IP audio driver. So this just connects to a... it looks at a network card. We put two network cards in this computer. That network card connects to the Axia network and just goes to a port on the Cisco switch. And the IP driver is able to subscribe to any... up to 24. Any one of the 24, any of the audio streams that are on the network.

So we can bring into this PC, we can bring in the control room console program 1 or program 2. We can bring the console's microphone feed directly into this PC if we want to for recording. We can bring in off-air tuners. We can bring in audio that's been through the final audio processors, and bring that back into Axia, and it becomes available. We can record any of the satellite receivers directly. In other words, anything that's on the network, you can subscribe to it with the IP audio driver.

And then, using the iProfiler software, you can create an archive to record any channel that you want. Up to 24, as long as your computer's CPU will handle it. We're recording four streams at our station. Right now we're just recording the automation outputs from the R4 radio station. So we're actually subscribed directly to the AOIP Livewire stream that's being created by each of our four Rivendell systems. Each of those is creating a stream, which ends up going to the transmitter via the audio processor and the STL. And we just subscribe to that stream.

It's also subscribed to at an Axia xNode that goes to the processor. You know, the air chain. But we're subscribing to it on this PC. It's just a Windows PC. It does other things, too, at the same time. So it doesn't have to be exclusive.

And iProfiler lets you define each of these archives. We have defined these as recording at, I think, 64 kilobits per second. Doesn't have to be a high-quality recording. And in our case, it's just there for so we can go back and check and see what was said or what was aired.

You can record up to 320 kilobits per second MP3, or you can record down to a very low bit rate and really save on hard drive space. Hard drives are cheap nowadays. You can let this audio run for a year or more before you fill up the whole hard drive, if you get a decent hard drive.

And so we're recording all of this. You can also record based on contact closure. You can record at a higher or lower bit rate based on contact closure.

You can access a live version of the stream. Let's say that your station's not streaming on the Internet, but you want to be able to listen privately, remotely, to what your stations are doing. Well, iProfiler does that. And if you want to go back and listen to, "Hey, what happened yesterday during the 2:00 hour on our AM station?" Well, you have a free piece of software, runs on Windows, and you just... you use it, you connect either locally or even remotely, if you give remote access, to listen to that stream.

You can easily cut a part of the audio out. You can easily email it to somebody. "Hey, Scooter, here's what you did on the air yesterday at 4:00. Don't ever do that again." That's one of the purposes of iProfiler.

You can use it to monitor an RPU channel and find out who's on it at 2:00 in the morning. So lots of uses. It's easy to use, and it's great. I highly recommend you check it out. Go to AxiaAudio.com/Logging. AxiaAudio.com/Logging. Or just click on the iProfiler logging program on our software products page at AxiaAudio.com.

Indispensable, and you'll find uses for it you never thought of. Like [inaudible 00:43:04] Thanks, Axia, for sponsoring this part of This Week in Radio Tech.

Okay. We're here with Chris Tobin on Episode 232, along with Fred Gleason of Paravel Systems. We're talking about Rivendell open-source software automation. And we've got a subject to get to-we're going to get to it in a little bit, Fred-and that is call screening. Because I know you want to tell us about open-source call screening software. But let's stick with the Rivendell.

What are some of the... you know, I mentioned Serendipity with our iProfiler product that we just advertised. What are some of the feedback you've gotten from Rivendell users for a user that you haven't thought of? Like, "Wow, that's pretty cool that your customer's doing that."

Fred Gleason: Probably the most unique site I have heard of so far is an amusement park in the Midwest that... they wanted to play music at their entrance gates. They had about half a dozen different points of entry where you could come into the park. They used a Rivendell system to load up music, announcements, whatever it was. And they piped that over their sound system. And so because of the multi-log capability and airplay, they could put a different feed at each gate of the amusement park. So that was a completely non-radio application, but very much an entertainment one, still.

Kirk Harnack: So, wait, one Rivendell play out machine can simultaneously play several logs?

Fred Gleason: Correct.

Kirk Harnack: Okay.

Fred Gleason: Currently can play up to three. We actually have some work afoot right now to increase that number. That could well be as high as 16 in the near future.

Kirk Harnack: Hmm. Okay. That's one use. At our stations, we use a little supplemental program you have called RD Catch, and we record all kinds... I mean, literally hundreds of little... of news feeds. You know, various... Charles Osgood has a little minute thing, and little Fox News and CBS News feeds here and there. We record literally hundreds of things every week for playback, and a little bit of a time shift of time. Tell us about catching programs that are supplied to you.

Fred Gleason: Exactly right. RD Catch is all about gathering audio. That audio could be coming off a satellite channel. That audio could be online on the Internet. The basic idea of it is you get a time schedule that you can program an event into.

So for example, say we have a satellite feed that's coming down that is defined by... we have a contact closure coming in at the beginning, and we know it's going to last for 10 minutes past that contact closure. You can program all of those parameters into the RD Catch schedule and at that same time according to the day of the week, which you can also program in the schedule, it will go out, record that audio live off of your feed. That can be a Livewire system or a more traditional analog or AES style of connection. Normalize that level and cart that up into an audio cart, and that's ready for air automatically at that time, untouched by any human operator.

Likewise, as has become very common now, you may well have MP3s or other audio files that are available on the Internet. Well, that capability is built into RD Catch, as well. You set a time schedule and a rule to generate a URL, and it will go out using FTP or web protocol, download that audio, convert it to the correct format for the automation system, normalize the levels so it's going to match up correctly with everything else in your audio library, cart it up, and that's all ready for air. And again, there's no need to have people sitting at a web browser to do that anymore. The system will do it for you.

Kirk Harnack: You mentioned formats. Convert it to the right format. I assume you're talking about the header format for the file, but you may be talking about the actual audio compression format. Which leads me to the question: what audio compression formats will Rivendell play out?

Fred Gleason: It will... two parts to answering that question.

Kirk Harnack: Okay.

Fred Gleason: As a source format, it will deal with WAV files, PCM linear. It will deal with MP2, MP3. It will deal with some more exotic open-source formats like OGG, Vorbis or FLAC. Regardless of what format you have, Rivendell, when it imports that audio, it will convert it into one of two internal representations that you're using in the system. And it's your choice as the system operator which one you're going to use.

It will use PCM-16. And we use the standard broadcast WAV file format for that, as standardized by the EBU. Or you can take it into MPEG layer 2. It's your choice. Although, as you alluded to earlier, in this era of gigantic hard drives for almost no money, we generally recommend to all of our customers to go with PCM-16, just because of the... you're avoiding the generation loss of the conversion.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah. Yeah. So if I have a whole library... I have a whole library of 160,000 songs... no, it's never been that... is that right? I don't know. Anyway, I've got a big, honking library of songs that are in MPEG layer 2. They're probably... you know, they're not pristine and perfect. I don't know. It's 160 kilobit per second. Is that it? Anyway, MP3s and MP2s. Could I import those, probably, into Rivendell?

Fred Gleason: I would say just about certainly yes.

Kirk Harnack: Okay. All right. You know, because hard drive space is no longer a problem.

Fred Gleason: Right.

Kirk Harnack: They don't need to be MPEG... they don't need to be compressed. I realize the quality won't improve, but it will never get any worse now that I have it in WAV format.

Well, I'm antsy now to build my own system. I built, I don't know, seven systems to go in Mississippi. Now I'm antsy to build my own here at the house and import all the music that I've got and make some playlists.

Is there... how can a home user or a low-power FM, or somebody with no money to spend on a music scheduling system... is there a way in Rivendell to, randomly or otherwise, schedule music?

Fred Gleason: There is a music scheduler built into Rivendell as part of its RD Log Manager Utility. I believe we have a screenshot for that somewhere in there. And you can class music according to categories with what we call scheduler codes.

Kirk Harnack: Ah.

Fred Gleason: And build rules. And we have many customers that do music-intensive formats just with that built-in scheduler in it.

The one thing it does not have, however, is random shuffle. And that actually is a feature request we get quite a lot, and I've always kind of balked a bit at doing it, because no radio programmer in their right mind would do that.

Kirk Harnack: Ah.

Fred Gleason: Randomly shuffle music. But if you need the tools to control what music is going to go where, those tools ship as part of the system.

Kirk Harnack: But I guess for scheduling, does it tend to play the least recently played song in the category that's up next?

Fred Gleason: I'm sorry, Kirk. You dropped out for a minute there. Could you...

Kirk Harnack: Ah. If it's a scheduling rule, does it tend to do something simple like play the least recently played song for the category that's being scheduled next?

Fred Gleason: By default. You can also define things like, "Don't play this song in this category next to a song in this particular other category."

Kirk Harnack: Yeah.

Fred Gleason: So you can set up associations up to two levels deep on that right now. So you can get some pretty fine control over what it's going to put where.

Kirk Harnack: So I would have to set up, "Don't play a song that I don't like right next to a song that my wife doesn't like."

Fred Gleason: It's all in the scheduler code.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah, it's all in the... you have to put the categories in. Wow.

Chris Tobin, what are your thoughts at this moment here, before we move on to another subject?

Chris Tobin: Well, I'll tell you, going through the website, reading up and listening to Fred's description of the software, I like it. It reminds me of a package I worked with early on. And we had worked with developers to sort of customize it to our needs at an old news station. And they had... there were some interesting things that I learned from that experience.

But Fred's definitely on spot. This is definitely something worth using and making time for. I would definitely agree.

Kirk Harnack: Fred, people like to boast about their uptime. Can you boast about a fabulous uptime that some of your clients experienced?

Fred Gleason: The best uptime I'm aware of right now is about 1300 days. That is a station on the eastern shore of Maryland. Thirteen hundred days works out to, what? About four years, I guess. But uptimes in excess of a year are quite common, as a matter of fact.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah.

Fred Gleason: For that, we thank the Linux kernel. That whole team takes stability very, very seriously.

Kirk Harnack: [inaudible 00:52:57]

Chris Tobin: Is that with hardware you provided, or the customer provided themselves?

Fred Gleason: That particular one was a homebrew.

Chris Tobin: Okay.

Fred Gleason: They did that themselves. And most often, what you see is... well, with Rivendell, but with Linux systems in general, what limits the hard time is not the software. Very often it's the batteries in the UPS that the thing is attached to.

Chris Tobin: Yes.

Fred Gleason: We have to turn it off. And I very, very commonly will, when I'm in that situation, see... be dealing with a system that's got two or three years of uptime on it. You almost hate to turn it off. It's like destroying a relic, almost. But you have to do it to...

Kirk Harnack: In fact, UPS is pretty important. We actually had some uptime problems at our stations in Mississippi. Come to find out that our UPSes, even though they had... the batteries were about two years old, but the UPSes themselves were of, I believe, really questionable design, and they would let little glitches come through. Or perhaps when they... they were not online UPSes. They were offline UPSes. And so just the switching transient didn't jive very well with the power supplies and motherboards that we had chosen ourselves for our servers.

And we had a server and client model for our Rivendell system. You don't have to do that. Some people put all of their eggs into the playout machine's basket, which is fine. We chose, because we have so much commonality among our four radio stations in one building, we chose to put all of our stuff on two hot servers, each with rated hard drives. So we've got four copies of everything, two copies in each server.

But the problem was our UPS would kick in, and the server didn't like that. So Fred said, "You guys really need to invest in an online UPS." And we did. And we haven't had problem one since we got the online UPS.

And by the way, our playout machines... we spent some money on our server machines, but our playout machines, we bought refurbished Dell Optiplexes from some online refurbishers, and we've been really happy with them. And we tested one out first.

Fred, you mentioned... one thing we found out on the broadcast appliance, you do need to use some... a machine, a PC, some hardware, that has a 64-bit hardware architecture to run the latest CentOS operating system. It needs to be 64-bit. Isn't that right?

Fred Gleason: That's correct. And generally, here in 2014, that is not going to be a problem. Most computers made since about 2006 or '07 or thereabouts are actually 64-bit capable.

Kirk Harnack: Uh-huh.

Fred Gleason: Now, the software that's installed on them may not be 64-bit, but that doesn't mean the processor running beneath that is.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah.

Fred Gleason: It's an easy thing to test for. Download an appliance and start... you know, boot it up and start the installer, and it'll tell you, "I'm sorry. I can't go on this hardware," if it's not compatible with it.

Kirk Harnack: And it does tell you early on in that process. I was installing on some old machines from a different automation company, and they were from... the hardware dated from about 2007, but they were 32-bit hardware architecture, and it wouldn't install. Well, that... okay, little hurdle here. So we went out and bought some used, refurbished PCs, and run great. Absolutely just sit there and run great. And we spent only about $200 per PC for the hardware, for these refurbished machines. Which, by the way, appear to have new hard drives, so...

Fred Gleason: Now, Kirk, you... while we're talking about architecture here, too, especially in a Livewire setting. You have some interesting options in Rivendell that you may not have in some other systems. You can actually take your playout interfaces, which in a Livewire environment may well be pure software, and centralize those on the server, as well.

So now that has some benefits that you can use really cheap machines for your workstations now, because they're not actually handling audio. And you also are cutting down the load on your network, too, because all of the audio... the audio path between your hard drives and the audio devices are all exclusively within that one server machine.

So that strategy will work well with a Livewire software driver. It'll also work very well with the Audio Science Livewire cards, too. And because of the nature of Livewire, where all the audio is on the network anyway, the fact that that's all concentrated on the server is... it's no problem.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah.

Fred Gleason: Whereas in a traditional wiring plant, that could be some extra wiring.

Kirk Harnack: For whatever reason, we elected to go with the model where our playout machines don't have audio on them, but they are playing out from each machine and then into the Livewire network. In other words, we elected not to play out from our servers. We could have. We elected to play out from each individual machine. I'm not sure why we did that. Do you know why we would have chosen that?

Fred Gleason: We did it because that was the way you wanted to do it, I think.

Kirk Harnack: Okay. Okay. I'm not sure why. Anyway, we're happy with the results. And our Rivendell network, if you will, is small, and it's all contained within, you know, two feet of rack space. So it's not like we're throwing that audio all over the place. It's working great.

Hey, we're just about out of time. One more thing to talk about, and that is open-source call screening software. And plenty of you radio stations and engineers need call screening software. Let's talk about it, in just a minute, about how to do that open-source, as well.

Our show is brought to you in part by the folks at Axia. And I want to tell you about the Axia xNode. I've got to tell you, this xNode... you know, Axia started out with devices that were called Nodes, and these are the devices that convert Livewire into audio, either analog or AES, and convert AES or analog audio back into Livewire. So this is for connecting a Livewire network to the outside world, to things that don't have a Livewire jack on them, like CD players, microphones, speakers, power amplifiers, satellite receivers that don't have a Livewire jack. There are a few that do.

Anything you've got to... any traditional piece of gear you've got to get into or out of. Let's say you've got a legacy time delay for... profanity delay, and you want to get into and out of that. Well, you'd hook it up using a node.

So almost every Axia installation will have some nodes. We do in ours. We have an xNode that has four outputs, and it feeds the four different air chain paths we have. It feeds four different audio processors, and it feeds... which in turn feed the STL transmitters.

So you're going to need some nodes to get audio in and out. We also have nodes to bring satellite... we have analog audio coming out of... boy, eight different satellite receivers into this system that we've been talking about here.

So you're going to need some nodes for your Axia system, but there are also other uses for nodes. Did you know you can make a snake with nodes? Yeah. You can put a node down on the stage and bring mics into it, or line levels, or even AES EBU. Run a CAT5 or CAT6 cable to the back of house, or run fiber, if you use a little fiber converter, to back of house, and use a node there to break it out and go into Mackie mixer, or whatever house mixer that you might have.

You can... here's an interesting use for xNodes. In Cleveland, Ohio, the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra had a concert to do at one location, and the radio station, WCPN, was of course in another location. And they had available some metro Ethernet, some Ethernet of high quality, available between the two locations, and they put a node, an xNode, at each end of it, and got perfect, 48 kilohertz sampled, 24-bit bit depth, stereo audio from the symphony hall, the WCPM. No compression. No AAC, no MP3, nothing like that. Just xNodes.

And, you know, an xNode costs less than compression technology does. So if you've got the bandwidth, you can make this work direct. In fact, the folks at Swedish Radio did this during the Sochi Olympics. They had available a broadcast high-speed network between Sochi and Radio Sweden in Sweden, and they didn't use any kind of a... unfortunately they didn't use a Telos product, but they just put a node at each end of this thing and pointed it at the right IP address at the other end, and voila. Using the unicast mode in the xNode, they sent unicast perfect quality linear audio from Sochi, Russia to Sweden.

So the xNodes are good for so many things. You don't have to go buy consoles and everything else to put an xNode to work for you in any one of a number of different applications.

I would encourage you to go to the website and just look at the different kinds of nodes that are available, and all the options that are available for hooking them up conveniently. Go to AxiaAudio.com/xNodes. AxiaAudio.com/xNodes. Thanks very much, Axia, for sponsoring This Week in Radio Tech. I've got an xNode right here. Yeah. Very useful device.

All right. We're talking to Fred Gleason on This Week in Radio Tech, Episode 232. Chris Tobin is with us. Fred, real quickly here. We've just got a couple minutes left. Tell us about call screening with open-source software.

Fred Gleason: Call screening. Like a lot of things in the open-source community, my involvement with call screening came out of a very real-world requirement. This was back in the early 2000s. I was involved with a talk show that received a new Telos product. In fact, this was way back when the 2-by-12 came out. And unfortunately, the software for the old system that was retired was not compatible with that new unit. So I was tasked with, "Gosh, Fred, you've got to produce something that's going to talk to this unit."

So I consulted a little bit, and came up with a program called Call Commander, which is a GUI program that talks to just about the entire Telos product line, the exception to that being their brand-new VX system, which we actually have one of and are working on that right now. But the idea of Call Commander was if you had a talent or a user who understood how to use the telephone system, they should be able to use the screener without any further instruction.

Kirk Harnack: Ah.

Fred Gleason: So icons that are used on the desktop directors on the Telos gear show up right in the Call Commander screen, as well. So if you know how to use it here, it's going to work just the same way over there. And of course, just me being Fred, I GPL open-sourced it. So it's freely available out there.

Kirk Harnack: Cool. Cool. Screenshot of that has been on the show. And so you can download that. That runs on a Linux machine, right?

Fred Gleason: That runs on Linux.

Kirk Harnack: Yeah.

Fred Gleason: It runs on Windows, and it runs on OSX.

Kirk Harnack: Okay. So whatever the talent has, it'll run on it, probably.

Fred Gleason: It'll run on it. That's correct.

Kirk Harnack: Cool. All right. That is so cool.

Hey, we are out of time. Chris Tobin, you got any final comments, buddy?

Chris Tobin: No, no. I think we've covered everything. I just... I mean, you can do a lot. That's all I can say. It's just... it's actually better than most people think. But you do have to, as Fred pointed out, make sure you understand what you're getting into. And once you do that, you're off to the races. I think it's great.

Kirk Harnack: There... you can of course get support from Paravel Systems. It's what they do. But there also is a forum where people talk about issues, problems, questions and feature requests. "How do I get this done with Rivendell?" There's a forum you can subscribe to. I get it now. I'm getting a few emails every day and just kind of glancing over those, seeing what other people are doing with Rivendell. And if Tom Ray was here, I'm sure he'd say, "Love it. Great. Let's keep using it."

So Fred, thank you so much for providing this option for engineers, if they want a free and open-source piece of software suite-whole suite-to run their radio stations on the air, it's available. They have it. And you can do it almost scot-free. For hardware cost. Or you can pay for support, or pay... I guess you can buy the actual hardware, if you want to buy a whole complete working system from you guys, you'll do that, too.

Fred Gleason: Correct. It's a joy to do it, Kirk. I'm glad you mentioned the mailing list, because Rivendell is not just about a piece of software. It's not just about Paravel Systems. It's about a whole community. A community of users, a community of coders, a community of people who help other people. So to get on that mailing list that Kirk mentioned, you can go to RivendellAudio.org, and you will find links there for subscribing to that. And it's... they're a great community of very active and knowledgeable folks to be found there.

Kirk Harnack: Good deal. Hey, give us that address one more time?

Fred Gleason: It's RivendellAudio, all one word, dot O-R-G.

Kirk Harnack: RivendellAudio.org. And Paravel Systems, that would be at where?

Fred Gleason: ParavelSystems.com.

Kirk Harnack: Okay. Good.

Fred Gleason: And you will find download links for the broadcast appliance, as well as contact information to get hold of us.

Kirk Harnack: Cool. Fred, thanks so much for being on This Week in Radio Tech. I appreciate all the updates. And good luck to you, and continued success to my radio stations running Rivendell, Tom's program running it too, and the hundreds of other stations that are also running Rivendell software.

Fred Gleason: Thank you very much, Kirk. It's been great to speak with everybody.

Kirk Harnack: Chris Tobin, the expert in IP technology, codecs and hardware and techniques for audio and video. Where do people find you, Chris Tobin?

Chris Tobin: Well, they find me, as they have in the past, at Support@IPCodecs.com. I'm more than happy to talk with folks, help move them along in their new ventures outside of the TDM and frame relay approach of distribution.

Kirk Harnack: I just talked to a guy today who runs... he's responsible for dozens of sites running Cisco Call Manager, which of course is voice over IP. And it's just more evidence this IP stuff works, it's here to stay, and you need to learn how to deal with it, because it can be really good. If you don't know what you're doing, you might stub your toe.

So if you want to know where the furniture is, email Support@IPCodecs.com, and you'll get Chris Tobin.

Hey, thanks very much to Andrew Zarian for producing this episode of This Week in Radio Tech, and thanks for our sponsors, Lawo and the crystalCLEAR audio console. Also Axia and the iProfiler software. We use it. It's great. And also Axia and the xNodes. Terrific hardware in this world of IP audio. Audio over IP. Just great stuff.

Hey, we've got another great show for you coming up next week. Tell your friends about This Week in Radio Tech. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and we'll keep you apprised of what's coming up next. And other than that, we won't bother you.

Thanks for being with us in This Week in Radio Tech.

Topics: Automation

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