A community radio station in Western Australia has become the first station in Australia to start receiving its news bulletins from National Radio News (NRN) at Charles Sturt University (CSU) using a new system designed to minimise technical transfer problems and allow world-wide broadcasting.
Mr Peter Hetherington, manager of NRN, said that radio station Country 101.7 in Perth started receiving NRN’s news bulletins directly two weeks ago using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and there have been no problems so far.
“NRN has been broadcasting its news bulletins ‘live’ for 13 years to about 90 subscriber stations around Australia, and for some time we’ve been examining options for a more reliable delivery system,” Mr Hetherington said.
“Until now, NRN’s sole method of delivering its bulletin to stations across Australia has been via satellite technology which has been around for about 50 years. However, from time to time, technical issues beyond the control of the staff, such as storm activity or problems with satellite connection, caused bulletins to be ‘lost’.”
NRN examined various ‘online’ models and chose the FTP system as most suitable. With FTP the news bulletin is recorded to a digital file which is then linked to the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) head office in Sydney to be up-linked to broadcast via satellite.
“We’ve trialled FTP with the CBAA link since November 2008 to ensure any technical issues were resolved before offering it to subscriber stations,” Mr Hetherington said.
“FTP offers many benefits to NRN and stations alike. A lot of technical drop-outs are now avoided. Stations can take the bulletin by satellite, by FTP or by both if they wish. This will allow stations greater flexibility, particularly if the news bulletin coincides with a local special event broadcast. Not only will NRN be able to broadcast Australia-wide by satellite, FTP will allow world-wide broadcasting.
“In essence the news is still ‘live’ as it is recorded at 10 minutes to the hour and linked to CBAA at four minutes to the hour; with the CBAA then playing the news on the hour. The four minutes transfer time has become a vital fail-safe period. If technical problems do occur, NRN and the CBAA now have four minutes to overcome the problem and ensure the bulletin goes to air.”
Although FTP is a brand new system, stations which take it from the CBAA still receive it in the traditional method of a satellite dish. Stations which do not have satellite access can now receive NRN directly. Stations can apply to NRN for a logon ID which allows them to capture the bulletin at four minutes to the hour and play it at any time to suit individual station programming.
NRN broadcasts several news bulletins every day of the year to remote, regional and metropolitan community radio stations around Australia. NRN has a staff of four plus several CSU School of Communication broadcast journalism student cadets, and many former NRN cadets now work in newsrooms around the world. Find out more about National Radio News here.