Field Report: Arrakis Systems Digilink-Xtreme


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Arrakis Systems Digilink-Xtreme

Radio has been a passion of mine since I got hooked in high school. One thing I have learned since then is that quality equipment can make a big difference.

I started looking for colleges where I could get a degree in video editing after taking a class on the subject. I realized that all of the schools had at least a quarter of radio and I wasn't sure if I would enjoy that, so I decided to take an internship at a local radio station, KOLY in Mobridge, SD. That turned into a part-time job and ever since, for the most part, I've been on the radio. I went to Brown College, and then did stints at KGRN-AM in Grinnell, IA, and at KBIZ-AM and KTWA-FM in Ottumwa, IA, before coming to Winona Radio in 2004. Throughout my career I worked with different equipment and different systems, each with their own personalities.

When I came to Winona the station had old DL-3s and DL-4s from Arrakis. They worked well for what they did, but as with all technology there comes a point when we needed something new. The stations were pleased with the Arrakis automation systems, so in 2005 we began looking at the Digilink-Xtreme. From what we could tell, the Xtreme was very affordable and still provided the features we needed.

Performance at a glance

300-cut cart wall
Includes music scheduler and production editor
Imports logs from other schedulers
Free telephone training
No file server required

With 10 stations, a big part of the decision process was based on the fact that we needed something easy to network and with all the features required for our several different formats. It had to do satellite, hard disk music and ball games reliably without a headache. Winona has five stations, two music on hard drive, one of them AC and the other HAC. Another station is a satellite FM country station, the fourth a live daytime AM country station and the last a news talk AM that is a mix of satellite and live programming. KWNO-AM our news talk is a Twins, T-Wolves, Wild, ESPN and Gophers affiliate. We also have local games from the two high schools in town. Our satellite FM is a Vikings affiliate and we have live local games on that as well. As you can see, we needed an automation system that does it all, short of making coffee and doing our laundry.

Having spoken to the staff at Arrakis, and from our experience with the DL-3s and -4s, we felt we had a pretty good idea of what we were getting into with the Digilink-Xtreme. The nice part is that we only spend $100 a month per station, and there is no contract. That meant we didn't have to drop thousands of dollars up front and wonder if it would work out. We went ahead and purchased five systems in January 2006 for the stations at Winona.

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