News & Reviews

Live from the Cornfields of Iowa

Radio World Magazine - August 1, 2007
by Edwin Brand
Operations Manager

Country Station Broadcasts From ‘Old-Fashioned’ Fair With RemoteMix 4 Featuring Bluetooth Technology

CENTERVILLE, Iowa As a kick-off to every summer, KMGO(FM) Radio sponsors the biggest country concert of the year in southern Iowa at the Wapello County Fairgrounds in Eldon. We also provide live coverage of the entire fair’s events and activities (our owner is president of the fair board).

As with any big promotion for our 100 kW country powerhouse, we demand complete live and local coverage, which for most remote situations is not usually a problem, except this particular concert is at a county fair in an extremely rural area.

From a picturesque old-fashioned fair, we broadcast all varieties of live content over five days, from cattle shows to our own produced country talent showdown — all live.

This much coverage can become quite a headache. That’s why the arrival of our JK Audio RemoteMix 4 telephone interface was as refreshing as a glass of lemonade from the carnival.

Stealing the show

The new demo unit arrived a week before the county fair was scheduled to start. This gave us plenty of time to set it up in our test environments and let the air staff try out the unit they’d be dealing with extensively the following week.

We’ve used several of the JK Audio RemoteMix Sport units in past years, for the high school and college athletic content we originate, and this unit had many new and exciting features. Four XLR mic inputs with a switchable pad on 3 and 4 for line levels, four separate headphone level controls, bass boost and limiter on the phone send, and the biggest wow factor: Bluetooth connectivity, the coolest and most innovative feature.

Most of our station’s arsenal of remote and sports cell phones have been updated in the last six months to newer Motorola models, which means they no longer have easily connectable headphone jacks to get the audio in and out of them. The Bluetooth feature on the RemoteMix 4 solves this problem handily, allowing a full bandwidth stereo connection between not only a wireless phone but also a laptop or any other Bluetooth enabled device.

Set up was easy and accomplished by flicking a switch on the front of the unit and setting the wireless phones to use the RemoteMix 4 as you would with any Bluetooth accessory. After a couple of seconds, we were ready to broadcast via cell phone (with the phone still in the remote bag).

Audio over this connection is limited to 3.4 kHz to actually send back through the phone, but if you’re taking a Bluetooth feed out of the mixer into a recording unit or laptop, you can achieve 20 kHz response in the wireless headphone mode, making for pristine recordings/air checks of the content.

The fair runs Wednesday evening through Sunday, which means we usually set up our remote equipment Wednesday morning and check out essentials such as cables and power. Our local cable company provides a high-speed Internet drop for our IP codec from Tieline to get the bulk of our live produced content back to our main studios located an hour away from the fairgrounds.

This year, setup was much easier. The RemoteMix 4, with its four XLR mic inputs, can double as a front-end mixer for our IP codec. We plugged four Sennheiser wireless mics into the unit and fed the Bluetooth wireless headphone audio into the laptop we use for remote control of our Google SS32 automation system back in Centerville. This gave us an air check of our remotes, which made the sales folks happy.

Once we had the RemoteMix 4 wired for sound, we plugged the XLR output into our Tieline codec, plugged the codec into the Internet feed and within 10 minutes had a crystal-clear audio feed from the fairgrounds.

As a backup to the Internet feed (cable never goes out, right?), we kept two of our sports phones on standby to switch over to in case of a failure. Though we didn’t need them, we did at times purposely drop the Internet and dial the auto-coupler back at the station though the RemoteMix 4 Bluetooth connection.

Despite being cell-quality, the audio was clear and it was easy to switch the mixer’s Bluetooth feed to the Motorola phones to dial the studios. Even our morning show host figured out how to do this within a couple of tries.

We were impressed with the RemoteMix 4. Our engineers thought it was durable and well built — it survived five 90-degree days at a dusty fair environment, where it may have been dropped once or twice. Our air staff loved the individual headphone level controls and bright LED meter on the front panel. And the Bluetooth technology ensures we’ll be able to interface it with our wireless phones in the future.

For more information, including pricing, contact JK Audio in Illinois at (800) 552-8346 or visit