Technorama Weekend 16-18th June 2017

Technorama is always a full on weekend, heaps of like minded radio technologists sharing their passion for professionalism and enhancing their knowledge of best practice. I flew in to Sydney early Friday afternoon and took the opportunity to take up Stephen Wilkinson’s offer of a tour of Hope Media (Old 2WS Site). It was a really good opportunity to see how one of the biggest community broadcasters is assembled and the smart practices they have adopted that can filter down to smaller stations. Stephen and Anthony Eden who I’ve known from early days of stumbling over his blog at were more than gracious with their time. Here are a few snaps that I managed to take.

Technorama was yet again an improvement on the year before, on the Friday evening I managed to get introduced to Jose Auditore who I’ve chat with across through the Radio Green Room Facebook page on many occasions. It was really great to be representing the radio station, nice to hear from others that have heard Sunshine FM and liked what they hear.

While the schedule of the conference is pretty packed, there was a big attendance this year and I find the most value is in networking between people during the breaks. Interesting to hear Chris Ryan from Dubbo explain gray import cd players needing a firmware update by CD that was very difficult to obtain. It was great to chat to the equipment vendors who assist with some financial backing. Good to see Paul Dengate and the On-Air solutions team on board this year. I used to listen to Paul when he attempted to bring a taste of the big capital commercial stations to a few hours on 2MCE while he was studying at university with a programme called “The Rockwatch”, we shared a few memorable moments in his career while he was with 2BS, One FM 96.1 and behind the scenes of Nova, Merrick and Rosso doing a Breakfast OB from the Greenwood Hotel in North Sydney.

A few key points I made of interest during the lineup:

  • CBF Grants – Be thorough and prepared, evidence based and understand there are around six experienced assessors looking at your application.
  • Community Radio Engineering – Studio to Transmitter link frequencies, partial band reallocation (above 849Mhz). Those impacted will be contacted by the CBF/ACMA to find alternative solutions which may involve being restacked. Emphasise to make sure your links are frequency agile.
  • NBN – From all reports not a stable technology in terms of uptime. Interesting side note, Hope Media has two NBN connections with two different providers and Fibre because NBN was so unreliable. Analogue PABXs should probably be retained where possible to ease the transition. Reminder of the use of ATAs and a short conversation explaining the complexity of Fax/EFTPOS/Codecs equipment over VOIP codecs.
  • Technorama ToolsetZenbership for membership signup for stations, tested in a real environment with the Technorama organisation signup. Also the HESK issue tracking system that Damien Spanjer and I used for FM107.5 in Orange was interest to quite a few people.
  • Broadcast IT Planning – “Use RAID 1”, consider VLANs in medium to large operations. Safest backup is offsite and offline. Cloud services are still prone to ransomware.
  • Documenting your Station & Physical Station Relocation – Chris Deacon gave a great presentation and will be making his slides available on the Technorama website soon.
  • Playout Systems – A brief mention of the names of playout systems, more detailed presentation required in my view. Perhaps what to consider when choosing a playout system?
  • CD Players – Once again Chris Deacon came to the rescue of those with Denon 635 CD Players and the 3-4 issues that can be rectified with them. It seems still the most sought after professional player no longer in production.

The awards ceremony included awards to Anthony Eden and Tim Borgas, congratulations gents. My heartfelt thanks and applause to the organisers of this great event, look forward to the next one. Thank you to Damien Spanjer, my childhood friend who helped me get from A to B across the weekend.