“What seems normal to one man is often simply a dream to another.” These were the words of Reverend Gene White in 1983 when he moved to southwestern Kansas from Chicago. Upon his arrival, Rev. White was astonished at how much he missed the positive influence of Christian radio as he scanned the dial in the Heartland and found no Christian radio.
A short-term solution to this problem came in 1983 when he and two other local residents signed a contract with a local cable operator to rebroadcast the Moody Broadcasting Network (also an Axia customer).
A few years later, the first Board of Directors for Great Plains Christian Radio was formed. A 100,000W FM followed in 1992. As people began listening to the fringe coverage of KJIL, interest in having the signal more widely available occurred. The first translator was constructed in 1994. Today, over 40 translators in four states repeat the Good News of Great Plains Christian Radio. An appropriate Bible verse (Proverbs 25:25) sums up their mission: “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”
And now, in 2017, Great Plains Christian Radio steps into the world of Livewire+ AoIP. “With over 100 Livewire+ partners, Axia’s leadership in developing the AoIP platform was a major motivator for our selecting Livewire+ AES67 and Axia,” says Chief Engineer Alex McKenzie. Alex chose the Axia iQ 8 surface with a 6-fader telephone expansion console to augment his WideOrbit playout system. “The simplification of our studios and flexibility of using Axia was an added benefit. Now each of our studios is an exact replica of the rest and can be used for emergency redundancy,” Alex adds.
The finished studio—a crisp, clean, and functional design.
That simplification Alex speaks of is a benefit we hear about regularly from broadcasters making the move to AoIP, and was a huge perk for the Great Plains staff. “The years of haphazard changes to the audio chain and people who've been let loose with clip leads and wire nuts add up exponentially to big problems. A rebuild was necessary," Alex points out. "I can't imagine trying to tackle such a project in an analog world as quickly and easily as we did with Axia."
"I can't imagine trying to tackle such a project in an analog world as quickly and easily as we did with Axia."
—Alex McKenzie, Chief Engineer, Great Plains Christian Radio
Alex McKenzie's "Radio Station in a Rack"
For Alex, the long-term benefits have far outweighed the cost or any up-front concerns. "The cost was far less than supporting outdated analog systems," he adds. "We made the best choice."
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For more from John Bisset, take a look at these previous editions of the Bisset Brief: