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ENCO Enables Students To Operate Radio Station WRFH-FM

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ENCO has enabled 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," said 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."

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