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Streaming Audio Ad Insertion
Add revenue to the online stream
Yet another way to accomplish streaming ad insertion is to use Liquid Compass Radius Live in conjunction with Ando Media. See Figure 3.
The actual configuration is very much like the first system. Although two audio cards are shown, it can be done with a single card, again the Orban PC1101. In this case, the station sells spots for the stream ad insertion, but uploads them via the Internet to Ando, which in turn does all the trafficking, and then turns around and pushes the spots back out (again via the Internet) to the CPU that runs the software and physically resides at your radio station. The command to switch between the common program and the stream-only spot block can be delivered via your LAN or a serial connection.
As you might imagine, when you rely on outside services (such as Ando) there are network connectivity and security issues that need to be addressed. In the example I just gave, both Ando and Liquid Compass need remote access to each CPU running the software. It would be prudent to establish a separate Internet connection that would host the server(s), along with a hardware-based firewall that provides the appropriate security. Certain ports need to be open for each IP address on the secure side of the firewall. Remember that this same Internet connection will be used to get the stream out to the ISP or CDN that will in turn service each end-user, so it has to have enough bandwidth to handle all the connections at the same time, plus a safe amount of overhead. That is just one more expense involved in servicing the listeners of your audio stream.
If you are part of a large organization with its own WAN, then a VPN that allows companies like Liquid Compass access to the WAN might be a viable solution as opposed to an additional Internet connection per station location.
Some radio groups are large enough they can maintain staff that focuses on the streaming audio aspects of the operation; obviously some others are not. If your group is smaller, likely it makes financial sense to farm the entire process to companies providing hardware, software and CDN services to many of the smaller groups already.
There are three different ways to accomplish the same end. While selling Internet-only spots may have its own challenge for the sales team, I can tell you that, from the technical standpoint, all the trails are already blazed and there are vendors out there hoping to hear from you. Setting up streaming ad insertion isn't difficult, and hopefully you can make it a viable part of your business.
Irwin is transmission systems supervisor for Clear Channel NYC and chief engineer of WKTU, New York. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to Barry Thomas for his help in writing this article.
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