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Re: WBRS Brandeis Radio?

At 08:28 AM 9/28/2003, SteveOrdinetz wrote:
>Aaron Read wrote:
>>  After that, we've got a computer with Raduga Automation mostly ready 
>> but the ~400GB RAID array isn't quite set up and we've still got to get 
>> music into MP3 form...a long and laborous process even with the four 
>> "ripping stations" I set up for them.
>Why on Earth are you using mp3 audio on the air?  MP3 files generally 
>sound rather harsh & brittle unless you use a very high bitrate.  Hard 
>drives are cheap, why sacrifice quality to save space?   Are college kids 
>so accustomed to downloaded mp3s that they can't hear the difference?

When you're trying to rip over 10,000 CD's, you can't afford NOT to have 
some compression.   I do, however, require that the MP3's be at least 
256kbps stereo...it makes a HUGE difference over 128kbps in terms of audio 
clarity and goes a long way to helping with audio quality in later 

Fortunately for WBRS, they have a direct copper pair running up to the 
transmitter so - other than the Omnia 3FM that's about to go in there - 
there is no other audio compression.   There is the webcast, which takes a 
direct feed off the DA and then runs through an Alesis 3630 and a 32-band 
EQ.  So there's not much opportunity for multiple layers of compression.

>>It cannot be heard anywhere west of Rt.128 thanks to co-channel WWFX 
>>moving their transmitter and jacking up the wattage about four years 
>>ago.  Thanks so much Citadel!!!  (bastards)
>Kind of strong language considering that (by your own admission) this 
>station (WBRS) doesn't seem to be on the air much.  Especially considering 
>the thread a few weeks ago about the lack of available LPFM frequencies in 
>the state.  If so few people at Brandeis care about the station, turn in 
>the license and maybe let someone who will do something with the frequency 
>have it.  Use it or lose it (or as you put it).

There's actually somewhat of a long story here, none of which I have direct 
involvement with but I have little doubt that the story is from WBRS's 
perspective, anyway.  The gist is that WWFX was moving 22km from being near 
their COL of Southbridge (their site was right on the CT border) to being 
on the east side of Worcester.   The new location put a much weaker signal 
over Southbridge (roughly a 20 to 30 dB drop) for the blatantly obvious 
grab to reach Worcester.   From what I'm told, WWFX was asked to do 
something to null somewhat in WBRS's direction since it was obvious they 
wanted to reach Worcester better and could safely null to save WBRS without 
hurting any Worcester coverage.   WWFX completely ignored them, and then 
proceeded to wipe out half of WBRS's broadcast area.

This happened right when WBRS was already hurting from fewer students 
coming in who actually "cared" about radio the way they used to (the 
dreaded "MP3 Effect") and had had a real programming crisis with a string 
of bad years of student management.  So I wouldn't be surprised if there 
was no management to organize a negative publicity campaign against WWFX 
for "stomping" on WBRS.

Now I do agree with your attitude that WBRS should use it or lose it.  I 
have repeatedly pushed that agenda with limited success there, so I'm very 
happy that they're finally going through with this automation project - not 
just because it's going to net me a few bucks as their engineering 
consultant.  More because this system ought to do a great job of forcing 
them to put out a better on-air product as they start realizing the 
computer is doing a better show than some of the live DJ's.

However, I've heard more than a few less-than-complimentary comments about 
Citadel so I'm inclined to take a very dim view of their actions with WWFX.

Aaron "Bishop" Read             aread@speakeasy.net
FriedBagels Consulting          AOL-IM: readaaron
http://www.friedbagels.com      Boston, MA