With the arrival of the Google Home and Amazon Echo voice-activated streaming devices, it is more important than even that your station’s streaming be just as well balanced and processed as your broadcast product. The Google Home and Amazon Echo is just like having another radio in the house. All the listener has to do is say, “Okay Google, play 98.7 WADG” and the device plays the station’s stream. Same with the Amazon Echo where all you have to say is “Alexa, play 98.7 WADG.” Each device is hands-free and has self-contained speakers.
The problem that I hear all over the country, while monitoring stations on both units, is that many of the streams I hear are very bad with audio levels all over the place, distortion, very low bandwidth and unstable streams. As more and more of these easy-to-use streaming devises are put into play, there is great opportunity for your station to shine with a great sounding stream or for your product to see its brand be heavily tarnished with bad audio.
The reason for most of the bad streams is the fact that many of them use an audio source directly from the output of the board where there is only microphone processing producing music-to-voice levels that are all over the place making it very fatiguing to listen to. There is streaming software for processes audio streams but often this is just an after thought and sounds just as bad.
One solution that is very simple, inexpensive and reliable is to simply use an FM receiver as your audio source. This way all of your on-air broadcast processing will be incorporated into your stream. *The one downside is that if your transmitter is down, so is your on-line stream. The day is here where your online stream quality is just as important as your broadcast signal.
Brian Wright is a 30 year radio veteran who has successfully served many companies over the years as Program Director, Operations Manger and VP of programming.
After many years of success working for individual radio stations and clusters, Brian Joined one of the most trusted consulting firms in the country, Audience Development Group.
For the last 15 years Wright has enjoyed building alliances with scores of stations in the US & Canada helping them grow in ratings and revenue.