Radio World - August 1, 2002
by Bob Heckler, General Manager WXBH (AM)
WXBH is a small station in the Albany, NY market (#61), and as such, we do not attempt to compete with the larger, corporate-owned stations which have unlimited budgets and investors to please.
Why is this important to start with? Because it establishes the basis under which we have been searching for additional, and inexpensive, remote broadcast equipment to get our local hosts out of the studio and broadcasting directly from an advertiser's place of business, or some new locations that will give us promotional visibility.
Sales people are a time-energy-consuming activity that we want to avoid. But a host on remote is the best sales tool we could possibly have, and we have been looking for an easy way to get them out of the studio. As creative talent, however, they must be free from the technical difficulties of any equipment.
Along these same lines we wanted our hosts to be able to set up a remote by them selves, quickly, easily and without the aid of an engineer. We had previously made the investment in other remote equipment units but found that it/they intimidated our hosts and they refused to do any remotes by themselves.
Then we read the first announcements about JK Audio's ComPack, an affordable, briefcase-size little black box that anyone can hook-up to any phone system, dial the studio and be directly put on the air. Too good to be true! Just what we were looking for: cheap and easy.
So we bought one right away and set it up in our studio for all our local hosts to see. We also emailed JK Audio's Web site link to all our out-of-state hosts to make them aware of this great, new product that they could afford to buy.
We set up the COMPACK with a mic, a mic stand, and all the cabling in place and attached to both a regular and a cell phone. The power was not plugged in. We put this set-up right where the hosts prep for their shows, right in their way and explained it's purpose.
You never saw such excitement and possessiveness. They all wanted it, or they all wanted to be the first to take this new ComPack for a trial run. Exactly the reaction we had hoped for.
We have been putting this ComPack unit through its paces for the past several months with wonderful results. Dave Laraway, host of "The Northeast Gardener", has been using it on remote broadcasts from various business advertisers throughout the region, each one with a different phone setup.
The good news for us is that he does these remotes by himself, dialing in on any available POTS line. This guy is intimidated by technology, but the ComPack frees him from this concern and allows him to set up quickly and stay focused on his show and whatever the advertiser's needs are, not the technology of broadcasting.
More good news is that the advertisers just love seeing us out there. This Thingy is really a creative little money maker as well.
We're going to put a 'Y' connection on the mic side so we can do sit-down interviews with two mics. We also find that most of our hosts are anxious to do more paid remotes, and get into the public eye, which is great for them and great for WXBH. They have said that it gives them a sense of accomplishment along with freedom of action they would not otherwise have.
An additional benefit is that we didn't have to buy another unit to shake hands with the first one. Obviously, one hand can clap! We do find, however, that voice quality can vary with some calls and this requires a quick dial-back from the host to get them on another circuit or a quick change of mic to one with a different sound output. Easily resolved problems. You couldn't pry it away from us.
The bottom line is this: we believe JK Audio has created a wonderful product in the ComPack, packaged in a little black box, that delivers a lot more than it costs.