Radio Free Hillsdale Adds Redundancy Layer to Long-Serving ENCO DAD Automation Workflow
ENCO’s Gateway solution provides reliable backup of audio content and databases for generator-free low-power FM station, where more than 40 students use ENCO DAD software for broadcast operations
Novi, MI, May 30, 2023 – ENCO, the premier global provider of radio and TV software solutions, enables students at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, to intuitively operate low-power radio station WRFH-FM, with minimal training required. The station recently updated its DAD radio automation software, in operation since 2015, and at the same time migrated to a fully redundant architecture through ENCO’s Gateway solution.
Scot Bertram, General Manager for WRFH-FM (101.7 FM) since 2016, came from the programming side of the business. DAD”s quick learning curve accelerated his onboarding experience despite his lack of technical expertise. This intuitiveness is also evident to the more than 40 students who run the radio station. Due to their hectic schedules, the need for stress-free and user-friendly automation software is crucial. That has made standard DAD features including ENCO enConveyor Automated File Download and ENCO Dropbox modules essential for day-to-day broadcast operations.
“Live programming at WRFH is minimal, so we invest a lot of time in planning our broadcast schedule,” says Bertram. “The students that help run the station broadcast a wide spectrum of shows from politics, news, sports, history, science, and some music for up to eight hours a day. A single day's programming can often total up to 20 different shows, and we end up recording many in advance and playing them back through DAD.”
Hillsdale students use ENCO DAD to manage and automate broadcast content, uploading and running MP3 files while using third-party software from ENCO partner MusicMaster for program scheduling. Using ENCO’s enConveyor and Dropbox modules, radio operators can pull down, move around, or slot files into the DAD automation workflow with ease. “Once everything is set up through Dropbox, our newscasts and other content is immediately programmed,” said Bertram. “The rules are already set within our Dropbox configuration, so all broadcast content is labeled the right way and played out appropriately.”
Given these extensive preparation efforts, Bertram reached out to ENCO about a solution that would protect their on-air content. That included an upgrade to new ENCO-provided hardware, and adding the Gateway solution to back up audio content and databases to physical and cloud-based storage devices. “We are a low-power station with limited resources, and one important system we lack is a generator,” said Bertram. “Gateway replicates and synchronizes all of our content so that when we lose power as we occasionally do, everything appears in the correct order once we resume broadcasting.”
Bertram relied on ENCO’s support team for the Gateway installation, and often calls on them when he needs to install an update or needs training on a new feature. “I have always been thankful to have an ENCO support subscription,” he said. “They are always available when needed, and their engineering team always has a solution when something comes up. We definitely get our money's worth from our subscription.”
Bertram believes that the education the students gain at the radio station and the training they receive on ENCO DAD will serve them well should they aspire to a career in broadcasting. “When they intern over the summer or eventually go to work in the industry, these students are going to see automation systems and will run into a considerable number of places that use ENCO,” he said. “Having familiarity with the way it looks and functions is an enormous benefit, so ENCO DAD has been a valuable tool for the student learning experience,” says Bertram.