I'm just wondering what the rest of the world is using to do local sports broadcasting. I come from a long line of long ago broadcasters, where we always had a landline, and if there wasn't one, we had the phone company put one in for that one game. Those days are long gone. We've done the cell phone thing for years now, but it always sounds pretty awful. Not nearly as good as a landline, anyway. Now, they're insisting on doing it with Skype, which for us means a JK Audio sports mixer into a laptop, and Skype back to the station. When we have a solid connection (which is about 50% of the time) this sounds pretty good, way better than anything we've done with a cell. When there's no wifi, we have an ATT Hotspot.
It seems to me that the way to do this nowadays is via internet, and I see all sorts of wonderful products advertised (Tieline, Comex, many others) that connect to wifi, 4G, 3G, landline, etc. But when you get right down to it, don't you still have to rely on what's available at the venue? If the sports guy walks into an arena, he's got cell or public wifi available, both of which are bogged down with hundreds of users during an event. I don't see how any of these fancy new products give you a better connection from the get-go. Am I wrong?
Now, I also happen to operate my own private, small sports broadcasting operation and we use an iPad fed with a Conex (that's Conex, not Comex) and we broadcast on the internet only, via Spreaker. We get fabulous sound, and for our listenership it's fine, and we're on the internet only. But again, we are at the mercy of the connections available. the nice thing about Spreaker is, it seems the audio stream is buffered and even if the listener gets some dead air, the archived broadcasts are perfect. Anyway, at the last event we did, he managed to get clearance and PW to use the secure wifi in the building and it completely blew away the public wifi and cell connections for the purpose. But Spreaker is not the right answer for live radio unless the announcer is running all the ads, etc himself from the site, due to the time lag in the feed. Although we DO do the theme music, break music, spots, etc ALL from the ipad in the Spreaker app from our broadcasts, and it *could* be done on radio too.... but I digress.
It seems a goon and not congested connection is the only answer to using the internet for broadcasting. How does one obtain this? We're in Northern Minnesota, rather rural up here, and cell and internet service can be flaky at times. Management has been on a quest to have good sounding sports broadcast for several years, and it seems to me the connection issue is the hurdle to overcome. The iPad gives us 3G, 4G, wifi, in an easy to carry and operate device and the mixer we use into it sounds great. But how to get around the congested network issues? Or plain ol' weak service -- 1 bar is never good!
We do a LOT of high school sports. On both an AM and FM. We can get away with marginal sound on the AM, but it really shows when it's bad on the FM.
So, we can get relatively nice sound with Skype when we have a good connection, otherwise it's typical cell phone audio, which is a JK plugged into the external mic on a flip phone (I haven't convinced them to go the smart phone route at all yet, even though it would eliminate the laptop). On my network, the iPad and mixer sounds fabulous on Spreaker, but I don't think good for "real radio"
So, what's everyone else using?
Tim in Bovey