South African community radio stations are taking advantage of Calrec’s Type R for Radio console with the help of funding from the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) and pro audio systems integrator Experience Audio Solutions. The MDDA works with the South African government to assist in developing community and small commercial media across the country and provides funding and media education for local community operators.
More than community radio 20 stations have put in requests for quotes to upgrade their technology, with the audio-over-IP Type R from Calrec taking centre stage as the future of radio systems. Tumelo Maimela, Managing Director at Experience Audio Solutions, said, “There’s been no analogue output for five years, so all the output is digital, but IP introduces many other benefits. It makes it easy to access the console from anywhere in the world, and this is a huge benefit when it comes to not only creating new, dynamic workflows even for really small stations, but also when it comes to helping with installations or troubleshooting as stations develop their understanding of this new technology.”
Eldos FM in Johannesburg is the most recent station to take delivery of a Type R through MDDA funding. The station, which launched in 2008 and has 60,000 listeners, now has one Type R for Radio with six fader panels and a large soft panel in each of its two new studios. Southside FM in Durban is currently being outfitted with a Type R, and Giyana FM is next.
Experience Audio Solutions works closely with Calrec’s South African distributor, Wild & Marr on these projects. There are 285 licensed community radio stations in South Africa, 212 on air, and 156 funded by the MDAA. Community radio listenership in South Africa garners roughly 8 million people.
Maimela cites many benefits of the Type R console. “The small form factor is very valuable; many bigger consoles have a lot of unnecessary functionality on the control surface, which is often too much for new operators who are unskilled. Features like the large soft panel, which is customisable, means we can make a lower budget work really hard. It also means that even a minimal console of just six faders can still do the job of a much larger one. But the biggest benefit is that Type R is modular and scalable. If stations do move from an internet radio environment station using a relatively small number of channels, they can increase their requirement without having to purchase a new console. There are additional DSP packs that can be purchased, and if the client requires additional hardware control, that can be added individually. There’s no need to invest in a new console.”
Graham Murray, International Sales Manager, Calrec, said, “Working with community radio stations in South Africa, where budgets can be tight, is hugely rewarding for us because it shows just how far our Type R can go. A lot of these smaller stations are short staffed, especially given that community radio often broadcasts 24 hours a day. Type R makes it easy to log in from home for remote support.”