Low cost remote stereo feed to FM station

Cohasset / Hippisley cohasset@frontiernet.net
Sun May 6 10:07:29 EDT 2007

I've been away from the broadcast game for many years now, but have a 
question that perhaps some of you can answer.

I am responsible for all high-tech stuff for my small local church here 
in the West-Central Adirondacks.  A big part of what we do involves 
feeding our Sunday morning church service to a commercial AM/FM 
operation for broadcast over both modes.  The station is a locally owned 
independent, some 30 miles away from us as the crow flies, perhaps 100 
miles by road, and (thanks to the terrain in between) definitely not 
line-of-sight for any existing towers.

We are in the process of internally upgrading the quality of our church 
audio -- both for the weekly service and for various musical and 
dramatic productions that are staged in our sanctuary -- from better mic 
pickup for the choir, to archiving on CDs and DVDs instead of audio 
cassettes (ugh!), to doing multichannel recording with post-production, 
etc.  However, one big problem that we face is how to get "decent" audio 
shipped to the broadcast station in real time.  Right now we're using a 
standard POTS line to delivert our audio. The inherent dynamic range of 
our weekly church service, coupled with the frequency rolloff of the 
phone line and all the compression equipment at the far end of the line, 
makes our audio pretty terrible by the time it reaches the home -- which 
for most listeners is via the station's FM outlet.

I have been trying to figure out what a low-cost solution to sending 
high fidelity stereo "sans" POTS hum and noise to the broadcast station 
might be.   So far, all I can come up with is approaching the station 
management with the idea of the church sending left and right data 
streams to them via the internet.  But I'm not sure whether our current 
DSL bandwidth is sufficient to do that reliably.  Nor do I know how much 
of a selling job I might have to do at the station end of things.

  *  Do any of you with current experience with or knowledge of remote 
feeds of this nature have any suggested solutions?
  *  Can any of you comment on what a typical low-budget C&W format 
station might have in its equipment inventory that would be relevant to 
an inexpensive (for them and us) solution of this problem?
  *  Is today's typical small-market station set up to patch streaming 
audio from the internet into the control board?
  *  *If* the internet is used for this kind of remote feed, what is 
commonly accepted as the minimum acceptable bandwidth for the connection?

This is a small-town church and a small-town broadcast station.  
"Low-cost" (for both) is the operative adjective.

Any suggestions, off the wall or otherwise, would be greatly appreciated.

Bud Hippisley

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