Wheat News January 2024



Welcome to the New Year. From the sounds of it, 2024 is going to be an epic year for streaming, artificial (and real) intelligence, and anything that levels up broadcasting for what’s next. Cue the epic music as we take a closer look at the trends and tools shaping 2024, from engineering shortage workarounds and more studio screen time to untapped revenue and apps in the cloud.

Welcome to 2024
Game On. Your 2024 Gaming Console.

Additional workflows and fewer staff could mean more backend AoIP scripting, more hands-on cloud control, and perhaps an editing jog wheel on the surface of your next console - all important developments we introduced you to last year (read Your Wish Is Our Software Command, Handy Cloud Control and VoxPro Onboard LXE Console Surface). The new year could also bring more screen time to your studio and browser access to broadcast apps running on a server or in the cloud - yet more developments we told you about last year (read Wheatstone Layers Running on AWS, Bonneville 100 Studios Later and Wheatstone On-Prem Server Approach).

Or, it could mean all the above. 

If we’ve learned anything in 2023 (and we certainly have as the recipient of several industry awards with thousands of studios in operation around the globe), it’s that the future is not carved in stone, and your broadcast operation shouldn’t be either.




The year 2023 saw a major shift in how we think about everything, including the AoIP network. It turns out that our I/O Blade approach with utility mixers, audio codecs, and OS inside is a much more intelligent way to run a modern broadcast facility. You’re going to need all those tools and smarts for emergencies while you’re not there, for keeping things flowing during the heat of a live event, and for all those new workflows expected of broadcasting in the age of social media and smartphones. If there is ever a time for real AoIP intelligence, it’s now.


If youre not doing at least three of these six things with your Blade 4, youre working way too hard. Heres how one Blade 4 I/O unit can make your life a lot easier.

    • Assign source signals with various useful attributes for the moment at hand, such as defining a corresponding backfeed or mix-minus signal to be connected or audio processing to be activated, and on whatever destination from which that source gets connected.
  • Assign variable audio buffer sizes on destinations receiving remote connections to compensate for signal jitter.
  • Call it like you see it. We enhanced system names—Signal, Blade, and Location names are no longer restricted to eight characters.
  • Ease into standards with enhanced AoIP compliance for AES67 and SMPTE 2110, including auto-generating 1ms packet streams on all Blade 4 signals with 1ms mono and 5.1 surround stream support; 0.125ms packet stream receive capability; NMOS stream visibility and exposure for third-party routing control.
  • Run scripts directly on Blade 4. Separate hardware devices or PCs are not required.
  • Navigate controls and functions like a pro with menu tabs for configuring system metering and monitoring, simplifying salvo controls, and enhancing logic functions for SLIOs.



Disaster Plan Blade 4

Nothing says disaster planning quite like a Blade 4, especially a Blade 4 that is a studio essential on the regular but can give you some quick workarounds when you need it.

Need to run a quick remote feed from an emergency location? No problem. Simply select one of the two Opus codecs built into the Blade 4. Need to add metering or another app quickly and don’t have a PC close by? No problem. Simply run scripts, metering and software applications directly on the Blade 4 unit itself. Need to route audio through a separate AES67 device? No problem. Simply use the AES67 interface in the Blade 4 for interoperable routing. Need to add a second network switch? No problem. Blade 4 has two network ports for redundancy or A/B switches – along with dual power supplies. Need an offsite backup for emergencies? No problem. Simply add a Blade 4 to your transmitter site(s) for automatic failover during an emergency, each their own native AoIP environment with audio codecs, processing, routing and control as well as audio clip players with USB ports for emergency announcements.

Wheat CPU Inside

It's disaster planning in one self-contained rack unit complete with audio codecs, stereo processing, utility mixers, and built in computer with graphics. The best part: Blade 4 is a studio essential on the regular so it’s not like this unit is sitting idle, waiting for disaster to strike.


Streaming Lives Here

Streaming is now fully integrated into the broadcast studio, as one busy sports network reminds us. Streaming Lives Here at SENZ’s studios in New Zealand alongside the on-air chain. As part of the WheatNet IP audio network, streaming appliances use AoIP logic controls for triggering stream provisioning with live coverage or sports color streamed directly from the studio automation or talk studio out to a CDN.

Streaming also lives in the cloud, as we demonstrated at NAB and later in the field in 2023 (Layers Stream Running on AWS).


With sporting events changing by the venue and the hour, streaming is a dynamic and growing part of the Sports Entertainment Network New Zealand (SENZ) that can require different content and sponsorships for more than 17 unique markets throughout New Zealand. SENZ is using the Wheatstream appliance for provisioning streams and managing metadata out to its CDN provider and eventual delivery to the SEN/SENZ streaming app. Streaming instances are spun up by Wheatstream and processed individually, all managed by SENZ’s WheatNet-IP audio network as part of the native AoIP environment. Streaming is integrated into the busy 24/7 sports network like any other audio chain, with AoIP logic controls for triggering stream provisioning and live coverage and color streamed directly from the studio automation or talk studio, shown above. 

No matter how you stream it, Wheatstone has you covered.

In the cloud: Layers Stream software running on AWS gives you stream provisioning, audio processing, and metadata support from the cloud.

On the server: Layers Stream software can be added to any server in your rack room or regional data center for managing each stream locally along with related metadata and audio processing designed specifically for streaming.

From an AoIP appliance: Streamblade/Wheatstream appliances manage multiple streams in one rack unit, including audio processing and metadata individualized by channel. Add onto your studio network or ours.

Layers Stream Running on AWS

The above is Layers Stream running on AWS.  This is the first practical use of cloud for broadcast applications and demonstrates stream provisioning, audio processing, and metadata support. Shown are streaming instances running in a cloud data center that can be brought up rapidly and torn down rapidly, all controlled through a browser-like user interface.

Layers Stream is part of the Wheatstone Layers Software Suite, which also has software modules for running instances of FM/HD processing and mixing in cloud data centers such as AWS or on-premise servers. 

This particular module, Layers Stream, includes audio processing designed specifically for streaming applications and Lua transformation filters to convert metadata input from any automation system into any required output format, including Triton Digital, for transmission to a CDN server.

Layers modules can be used for remote or REMI applications between studios and cloud data centers or for extending studio failover redundancy across multiple cloud data centers. In addition to mixing, streaming and FM audio processing modules, Layers includes Glass virtual mixers for the laptop, tablet or touchscreen with routing, logic, automixing and full native IP audio integration with major automation systems.



You’ll be going places in 2024, for sure. You’ll go beyond the studio network and you might even live-stream audio and control data in real-time across the public network, where links are less reliable and distance adds more delay. And that’s when you’ll need RIST. We’ve added this latest transport protocol to our AoIP Blade 4s and appliances for live streaming and moving media across the public internet.


It seems that network protocols are a lot like potato chips. You cant have just one. Heres what you need to know about the latest transport protocol and why everyone is talking about RIST for live streaming and moving media across the public internet. 

If you’ve been following protocols for a while, you know that UDP multicasting is a simple message-oriented protocol used to transport audio and control data at very low latency. We can reduce WheatNet IP audio packet timing to ¼ ms for minimum latency in part because of UDP multicasting, which means that local studio controls and audio transport are almost instantaneous.

But what happens when we go beyond the studio network and want to live-stream audio and control data in real-time across the public network, where links are less reliable and distance adds more delay?

Enter RIST, or Reliable Internet Stream Transport, which adds error correction and packet recovery to UDP multicasting. RIST uses things like RTP sequencing to identify potential packet losses and multi-link bonding to guarantee media delivery over these public links with very little delay and often without having to compress or reduce the bits, and hence the quality of audio being transported. Based on established protocols widely adopted by the broadcast industry, including RTP and SMPTE-2022, RIST is interoperable with broadcast-grade equipment, including Wheatstone products and those of its partners. It is a relatively new arrival in the media transport world and it’s especially timely given the growing number of high-speed links that are now making it possible to stream at full audio bandwidth.

Or, as our senior streaming software engineer Rick Bidlack explained, “We have all this available bandwidth on public networks for getting the full audio bandwidth up to the cloud or wherever we want it. RIST just makes sure that it arrives there.”

Now part of our I/O Blade 4s, streaming appliances Wheatstream/Streamblade, and streaming software (Layers Stream), RIST provides WheatNet IP audio studios both the speed and reliability needed to take advantage of high-speed broadband public networks for live streaming, news feeds or sports contributions across distances. You can now stream audio from your WheatNet IP audio studio over a public high-speed link to a regional server or cloud data center at full audio bandwidth and 24-bit resolution without noticeable latency, depending on distance.

Opening up a RIST stream session from your Wheatstone AoIP streaming appliance or software creates a dedicated channel between a local IP address and an IP address on the far end and establishes a low-latency, high-quality connection between the two points. And because RIST interoperates with RTP/UDP at the transport layer, it integrates easily into WheatNet IP audio networked studios. For example, our Layers Stream software running in a data center can receive a stream via RIST as well as send a stream via RIST back to a Blade 4 in your studio to be routed, processed, and controlled locally through the WheatNet IP audio network.

RIST is fast becoming an important protocol for the next evolution in AoIP.


50 Shades of Presets

The persistent engineering shortage has seeped into audio processing practices. Busy broadcasters who no longer have the time to experiment with sound settings tell us they appreciate the “golden ears” we include in our processors in the form of presets. Our Golden One Jeff Keith has logged hundreds of hours in the audio processing lab getting those presets just so, more recently for our new LiON FM/HD audio processor. By starting with one of his presets and adding your own tweaks, you can save countless hours and still Dial In The Right Sound.


By Jeff Keith
Wheatstone Senior Product Development Engineer

You know that sound you hear in your head that you’d like to get on the air?  There’s probably an audio processing preset for that, or a preset that comes pretty darn close. I know this to be true because my ears have logged hundreds of hours in the audio processing lab getting those presets just so, more recently for our new LiON FM/HD audio processor.

To develop a new preset, I often start with a basic preset and then run it through the mill with as many musical and vocal tracks as I can to determine (actually, train my ears) how it behaves with a variety of programming. I always begin with dynamics and once I’ve dialed that in, I tackle loudness last. You can do the same in a lot less time.

Start with a basic preset like Max Dynamics, Modern Jazz, Classical and Smoothie (although you’ll find a few oddball names in some Wheatstone processors, depending on how late I stayed at the lab). These have the basic spectral balance and general dynamics behavior that make them a great starting point. 

I recommend you don’t do any initial tuning while the unit is on the air. Later, when you’re ready to tackle loudness, you can put the audio processor on the air for the rest of the tuning process. But until then, bench the unit and feed it a good source of linear audio (analog or digital), and then connect the MPX output to a good, quality stereo decoder such as a Belar FMSA-1. Alternatively, you can connect the MPX output to a spare FM exciter with the resulting FM signal demodulated by a good quality modulation monitor or FM tuner. 

It is critically important that the audio going into the audio processor be as pristine as possible, so any subtle changes you make aren’t masked by codec artifacts or other artifacts.

Here are a few examples of how I dial in a sound. The tips that follow focus on our own processors though these tips generally can be used on other manufacturers' processors.

Example: The sound lacks energy and needs to be punched up overall. 
1. Increase the input driving the AGC. Don't be afraid to drive it hard—it can take it.

2. Or, increase the AGC density a dB or two. The higher this setting is, the more short-term density is added to the audio to give you a “fuller” and more consistent sound. 

Example: Needs a bit more density so it sounds even fuller.

The limiter section can help. Increase the amount of input driving the multiband limiter until you can see an increase in the limiter gain reduction (our processors have a GUI that can show you this). We give you up to 12dB of drive available in some of our processors—don't be afraid to use it, though be mindful that a higher limiter drive setting can start to make the audio sound squashed.

Example: Density is there, but needs more bottom-end punch.

Raise the bass clipper threshold a little. If the threshold is sitting at -5dB, you should start to notice a difference by raising it to -4dB. Wheatstone processors have a Bass Clip Drive control that is also useful. The higher the setting, the more you can create ‘bass sustain’, something you'll already hear on many Urban cuts. It might take a while to find that sweet spot because some back-and-forth iteration is always necessary when tuning any bass clipper.

Example: The dynamic balance sounds pretty good overall, but a deeper low end would be great.

Increase the lower band (Band 1) AGC and limiter thresholds a dB or so. Better low end now?

Example: Things are sounding pretty good, except the program content is lacking a stereo effect.

Nudge up the Stereo Enhance settings to change the perceived stereo sound field width overall. We provide the L-R settings on a per-band basis (all Wheatstone processors do, including LiON). But, careful. Here’s what you need to know about those settings. 

A. There is very little stereo separation at very low frequencies in most musical material and boosting those frequencies (AGC Band 1) can exacerbate the perception of multipath.
B. Adding too much L-R at the high end can make your audio sound “splashy” on stereo receivers when they’re in weak signal areas (AGC Band 5).

C. You’ll get the best overall perceived stereo effect when adjusting the midrange (Bands 2 through 4, in the case of our LiON processor). A little goes a long way. 

Stereo enhancement of the midrange frequencies can not only significantly improve the perceived overall stereo sound field, but this can improve how some receivers behave when tuned to your station. 

Example: It’s sounding great but not very loud.

If loudness isn’t quite there yet, you can slightly increase the multiband limiter drive control by perhaps a half dB (0.5dB) and then back down a bit when you hear any objectionable clipper induced distortion. You can also build in a little more pre-clipper density by lowering the multiband limiter thresholds, perhaps by a half dB (-0.5db).

Once those parameters have been changed, and you’re still hoping for more loudness, you can go to the main and composite clipper drive controls to see if a slight increase in one of them (always start with Main Clipper Drive first) will bring up the loudness sufficiently. You can also try lowering the bass clipping threshold slightly and upping the bass clipping drive control to offset it.  But a word of warning: Bass waveforms should never reach the main clipper threshold or IM distortion will result! The bass clipper threshold control in most processors sets how close the clipped and filtered bass waveforms can get to the threshold of the main clipper. In our LiON processor, for example, this control is calibrated in negative dBs, which represent how far below the main clipper threshold bass is allowed to go.

Some of this experimentation can be done off air but at some point, you’ll want to compare your results to what’s on the air, and for that you’ll need to experiment while the processor is on the air. That’s what early mornings are for.  

As you adjust, be sure to give your ears time to adjust to each setting and to listen to a variety of program cuts as well. Make a few adjustments, jot down some notes, save those settings as a preset, and then WALK AWAY. Not taking an ear break is like driving into a roundabout and always making left turns. You will never arrive anywhere, and more importantly, you will never escape! Come back again only after you’ve taken an ear break, listened for a while, and make written or mental notes of what to touch next. 

Happy tweaking, and please let me know if there are any useful tips you’ve discovered along the way. I can be reached at jakeith@wheatstone.com.


Build your Own

For us at Wheatstone, this means machining our own chassis along with a million other parts and details under one manufacturing roof in New Bern, N.C. For the engineering team at Bonneville, it means becoming their own systems integrator for Bonneville’s most ambitious studio project yet


Bonneville and Wheatstone share something in common besides consoles and a love of the broadcast industry.

We both practice vertical integration, the short meaning of which is to own every critical piece of your organization rather than contracting it out to other companies.

In other words, if we can do it ourselves, we will.

For Wheatstone, this means machining our own chassis along with a million other parts and details under one manufacturing roof in New Bern, N.C.

For Bonneville, it means becoming their own systems integrator for its most ambitious studio project yet.

Instead of contracting out to a systems integrator, the group put ownership and control of the project in the hands of regional and market CEs and then combined their collective skills for standardizing studios across the entire group.

Its Salt Lake City location was the first market to go all in with WheatNet-IP in 2018, with Bonneville Regional Director of Technology Aaron Farnham leading the project under the guidance of Senior VP of Engineering Scott Jones. Then came Denver, San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle, and finally Phoenix, affecting all 22 stations in six markets.

They dealt with all the usual bumps along the way, plus a few new ones − like, a pandemic. Bonneville’s recent CBS/Entercom merger acquisition also added more logistics, and more stations, to the project. Two of the six locations required drastic downsizing, one required a move to an entirely new facility, and all six locations went through a major overhaul as they converted from a hodge-podge of studio consoles, automation and routing systems to RCS Zetta automation and WheatNet-IP networking (with L-8s, DMXs and LXE consoles/touchscreen interfaces and networked-in talent stations).

As an interesting aside, Wheatstone’s DIY approach to manufacturing was one of the reasons why Bonneville standardized on WheatNet-IP audio networking and consoles across all six markets. “We couldn’t have foreseen COVID happening or the supply chain issues that followed, but back then that was one of the deciding factors to go with Wheatstone. We liked the idea that Wheatstone manufactured everything in-house and we liked that scalability…we knew it could probably affect how we scale on a project like this,” said Farnham.

In fact, he added, “Wheatstone was the only manufacturer at one point still producing products. I waited nine months for a shipment from one vendor, but when I called Jay (Tyler) and said, ‘I need three consoles and a handful of Blades,’ they had it here in no time.” 

The engineering team officially wrapped up the corporate-wide project earlier this year but the benefits of being their own systems integrator are ongoing. 

“By building that knowledge base within Bonneville, we’ve been able to share ideas and share resources as one engineering team. This also gives market engineers ownership of their facilities.  That was one of the big motivations for keeping integration in-house,” said Jason Ornellas, Regional Director of Technology for Bonneville International.  

Both Ornellas and Farnham are quick to point out that not every broadcast group can or should be their own systems integrator, just like not every manufacturer has the collective resources to manufacture products under one roof. “There are some really good integrators out there. But for us, with our corporate culture evolving away from silos to being one big team, we wanted to get that sense of ownership. We wanted to grow our engineering team so we could make changes ourselves when we needed to, without having to call in an integrator later,” commented Ornellas.

All of which will help Bonneville adapt in the future but came with a huge learning curve up front. Check back here as we follow how that curve played out as six market CEs and two regional engineers, under the leadership of their corporate engineer, renovated more than a hundred studios for 22 stations in six Top 25 markets over a four-and-a-half year time frame.

Planning a studio project? Download our new ebook Studio Project Planning Guide for tips on design and project flow.

BYO in 2024 can be anything from building strong partnerships to taking ownership of the entire supply chain to meet product specifications and deadlines, as we do at Wheatstone with every studio project we undertake.


Getting Smarter

The broadcast engineering shortage shows no signs of letting up, which is why anyone walking into a studio today needs to be able to work without help from technical staff. We’re Getting Smarter About Studios and so is our AoIP system, from automatically bringing up the right mix-minus and codec for a hurry-up remote to monitoring fader position and mic on/off states so that when a presenter sits down to talk, the studio camera automatically turns on, pans to the correct chair, and begins recording.


Quick. How many broadcaster engineers does it take to change a studio? The answer is none because (drum rimshot, please) the studio has to want to change.

Every broadcast facility today has to be able to switch studios and so much more without a broadcast engineer being there. It can be as basic as the right mix-minus and codec automatically materializing for a hurry-up remote. Or, it can be as intricate as the WheatNet IP monitoring fader position and mic on/off states so that when a presenter sits down to talk, the studio camera automatically turns on, pans to the correct chair, and begins recording.

We’re getting so much smarter about studios these days. All of our WheatNet IP studio projects involve cross connecting elements and making smart associations that automate much of the backend setup when places, times, studios, and plans change—and when you have to go with the flow, from a console surface one minute to, say, a tablet or laptop the next (or even an I/O Blade in the TOC ). With so much intelligence now built into AoIP, you no longer need to send a technician along with your presenters to remote venues or have a tech onsite every time you make a change.

Just about every broadcast facility today can benefit from intelligent AoIP networking. Consider our One Studio Wonder that does everything from a single studio: on-air, production, even syndication. An IP-12 console provides four event switches, which gives four completely independent console snapshots that can let you go from production to on-air without a lot of prep time. What that means in real operational terms is that this community station can do without a second studio and all the costs associated with it. 

If you’re planning your next studio, or if you want to get the most out of the one you have, be sure to download our Studio Project Planning Guide for ideas and tips on getting the most intelligence out of AoIP networks.


Triton Digital

Radio Needs More of This in 2024. We’re referring to advertisers, of course, and we know just where to find them. Triton Digital now makes it possible for broadcasters to sell streaming and on-air ad inventory on digital exchange platforms like Google. That’s one reason why we now include the Triton MRV2 streaming protocol in all our streaming products and software (Triton in Wheatstone).


What radio really needs today is more advertisers and we know just the place to find them. Here, in this brief interview between our Dee McVicker and Triton Digital’s Jean-Luc Wasmer, we talk about streaming and advertising. We explain programmatic ad exchanges, why we added the Triton protocol to our streaming products, and what it all means to Wheatstone customers who want to increase on-air and streaming ad revenue.

DM: Many of our customers know Triton Digital as a CDN company that makes a really good streaming protocol, which is why we now include it in Wheatstone streaming appliances and software. What they might not know is how that streaming protocol plays a part in getting more ad revenue. Can you explain? 

Jean Luc

JLW: Right! First, let me start by saying that, yes, we are a CDN. But more important, Triton Digital is also a programmatic ad exchange known as the “Triton Audio Marketplace,” where broadcasters can offer ad inventory to advertisers. So, when companies like Starbucks, Geico and Ikea buy web display ads, they can buy radio as well within the same environment. And the MRV2 (Media Relay version 2) protocol you implemented in your streaming software is critical because ads transacted on our exchange (along with publisher direct-sold ads) can be precisely inserted into streams. We created MRV2 to be able to transition between ad insertions and programming cleanly and very precisely, down to the millisecond.

DM: How does the Triton Audio Marketplace work? 

JLW: As an exchange or SSP (Supply-Side Platform), we integrate with almost 40 DSPs (Demand-Side Platforms) like Google DV360, TheTradeDesk and Xandr, where buyers working for digital advertisers go to buy and run their campaigns. It’s almost like the stock exchange, only for ads. Traders work on behalf of the advertiser to get so many qualified impressions. It’s an auction system and what Triton does is give broadcasters like Beasley, Bell Media, iHeart and other Wheatstone customers the tools to be able to offer available inventory on these digital ad platforms; our exchange lets broadcasters make their inventory available to anyone interested in buying. We specialize in audio only. There are “omnichannel” platforms that do video, audio, and display ads but only a very few like us that specialize in audio. Our marketplace offers access to more than 100 billion audio impressions per month, and we’re growing fast. We just announced our acquisition of Manadge, which will allow us to provide rich audience intelligence for programmatic and direct sell advertising campaigns.

DM: Up until now, we’ve been talking about mainly streaming inventory, but do I understand correctly that Jelli is now part of Triton and this adds an OTA piece to your marketplace ad exchange?  

JLW: Correct. Jelli was owned by the same company as Triton (iHeartMedia) and we merged together last year, which accelerated the integration of the Jelli system to our programmatic exchange. As you know, originally Jelli was a system where people could vote for songs online. Eventually, they created this ecosystem where people could go to their website and buy ads that would run on stations that used the Jelli system. It turned into an advertising platform rather than a strictly content platform, but it was a closed system. You had to go onto their portal to buy ads. Now, with that underlying technology from Jelli as part of the Triton Audio Marketplace, advertisers can buy on-air ad inventory from broadcasters. This brings the broadcast inventory, not just the streaming ad inventory, to those digital platforms that advertisers use. The first over-the-air programmatic ads were heard on KLAC in Los Angeles in March. 

DM: Wait, are you saying that we can now sell on-air ad inventory on digital exchange platforms like Google? 

JLW: Yes, a small change is required by our DSP partners to support OTA but 95% of the integration is unchanged so we expect fast adoption. This could make all the difference for radio because as of now, radio is missing out on advertisers. We’re seeing more and more that the people who work in advertising don’t buy radio because they can’t access it easily on the digital platforms they’re now using. They are more interested in getting exposure for advertising campaigns across a number of media and that old way of buying radio on these old legacy systems is too inconvenient. Advertisers are looking to buy on-air and streaming inventory and this is a great way for them to do that. 

By the way, smaller station groups that don’t necessarily have a large digital advertising department can now take advantage of large brokerage agencies to represent them on the exchange. Katz, DAX and TargetSpot, for example, can act like brokers and buy inventory from broadcasters and when they sell it, they make a commission. We now build that type of transaction into our platform so these agencies can represent stations as an extended sales team for them. 

DM: So what you’re telling me is that our streaming customers can offer advertising time on your open exchange and be able to accept ads via the MRV2 protocol, which we now include in our Streamblade/Wheatstream appliances and Layers Stream software?  

JLW: Yes. We created the MRV2 protocol because we needed a precisely timed, clean transition between ads and content, and the protocol that was widely in use at the time (and still is) wasn’t cutting it. We need to be able to detect to the millisecond where the break for the ad starts so the transition is very clean without any overlap. In other words, [we developed it] to make sure the ad insertion isn’t botched. It guarantees that everything is timed perfectly so the sound quality of ad insertion is great. The protocol is part of the foundation of everything else, and it’s good that we’re able to include that as standard in Wheatstone audio streaming products.  

DM: Thanks for taking the time to explain this, Jean-Luc. We’ll see you at IBC in September! 

Jean-Luc Wasmer is the VP, Partnership Integration & Architecture, for Triton Digital. Wheatstone sales engineers will be at IBC, stand 8.C91, and will be available to answer any questions on MRV2 and Wheatstone streaming software and appliances for provisioning and processing streams.


Wheatstone’s streaming appliances and Layers cloud streaming software are now available with Triton Digital’s streaming protocol.

Triton Digital developed its MRV2 (Media Relay version 2) as a proprietary streaming transport protocol between the station’s master control room and the CDN to achieve the most accurate ad stitching and to ensure a high-quality listening experience.

Adding MRV2 to Wheatstone streaming appliances and Layers software provides seamless integration between the studio AoIP system and content delivery, plus offers new streaming revenue opportunities for Wheatstone’s large installed base of customers around the world.

 Affected are WheatNet-IP streaming appliances Wheatstream and Streamblade as well as Wheatstone’s new Layers Stream software, which is part of the Wheatstone Layers Software Suite for mixing, streaming and FM/HD processing instances in house on a server or off-site at an AWS or other cloud data center.



It’s a noisy world out there and mics continue to take the brunt of it. You’ll need a professional voice processor in 2024. We can recommend a good one: our new Audioarts Voice 1.


All About IP

Booking satellite time for a guest interview and rushing them over to a studio for a three-minute segment is so 2019. Web conferencing is in, embedders/de-embedders are out, and It’s All About IP In The Evolution of TV News.


Booking satellite time for a guest interview and rushing them over to a studio for a three-minute segment is so 2019. Web conferencing is in, embedders/de-embedders are out, and everything is about IP. 

By connecting routing, mixing and studio control through Ethernet cabling, AoIP opens up accessibility and gets rid of outdated wiring and layers of audio infrastructure. For example, one common upgrade is to drop an I/O Blade at various mic or talent workstations in the studio and run a cable back to a central rack room. Another is to connect the wall of plug-in mics and other auxiliary XLR devices to the control room using one WheatNet-IP high-density I/O Stagebox One and a cable. 

AoIP mixing consoles come with expansive IP audio networks that can scale all the way up to several network elements and geographic locations, such as across a WAN for use in REMI or other remote broadcast applications.

SNMP Alerting

WheatNet-IP audio network I/O Stagebox One and a single CAT5e/or 6 cable can be used to connect a wall of plug-ins to the control room. 


News room1

You’re going to need your friends in 2024 as engineering resources shrink, belts tighten, and more is being demanded out of less. Lotus is just one example of a group faced with a hard cutover to a new studio without a CE onsite to manage it all (What’s Missing From This Studio?). During times like this, you’ll be glad you kept your industry friends close, as Lotus did when RadioDNA, SCMS and Wheatstone teamed up to fill that gap and complete its new studios under an impossibly tight deadline.


A broadcast integrator, an equipment dealer, and a manufacturer walk into a studio…

This would make a great opening line for a bar joke, except it’s no joke. What’s missing here, like so many broadcast studios these days, is the CE.

KNWN 97.7 FM/1000 AM, KLPZ 101.5 FM and KVI 570 AM moved into a new studio facility earlier this year following their acquisition by Lotus Communications from Sinclair Broadcast Group.  Absent throughout the design, the planning, the buildout, and the implementation of Lotus’ new Seattle studios on 1st Avenue was an onsite CE, due in large part to a broadcast engineering shortage.

“There’s so much that falls under the CE role and it’s hard to find that today. Those older guys are either gone or retired and the CEs that remain are so competent that their time becomes valuable,” said Lotus DOE Jason Houts, who oversaw the studio project from Lotus corporate in Los Angeles until he was able to hire a contract engineer to fill the CE role. 

Studio 1Without a CE onsite, he leaned heavily on AoIP intelligent networking by Wheatstone, project management by SCMS, system integration by RadioDNA, and the occasional flight to Seattle from Los Angeles.

“Integration is my new favorite word,” commented Houts.

He makes the point that there is no substitute for a competent CE, which is why most Lotus facilities in ten major markets - including Seattle - are maintained by local CEs or contractors. “I’ve got firefighters who can fix anything and deal with just about anything, and there’s so much more to deal with in all of our locations with towers and IT. A new facility on top of that just isn’t an efficient use of their time,” he said. When it comes to a once-in-a-blue-moon event like a new studio, he added, technology partners like Wheatstone, SCMS and RadioDNA are more efficient and bring valuable expertise because they do it every day. “A good example of this was our news studio. We had never done a news station before Seattle, but Rob at RadioDNA had all that experience with news stations like WTOP, which really opened up what we were able to do for KNWN (previously KOMO AM/FM). We could never get that on our own,” said Houts, who not only used the same integrator as the top billing news station in the country but also the same studio network and work surfaces (RadioDNA and WheatNet-IP respectively, of course).

Studio 2

In addition to fast-tracking workflows by positioning news edit stations in line with the news desk, Rob Goldberg and his team at RadioDNA created AoIP salvos and macro sequences for triggering and automating newsgathering from the NewsBoss automation system, which is integrated into the native AoIP environment through the WheatNet IP control interface (ACI) (as is the Zetta automation system). They also custom developed touchscreens for quick news editing and used a combination of Blade utility mixers, I/O and WheatNet IP scripting to automate IFBs as well as route, control and mix down live feeds from multiple sources.

That kind of deep understanding of technology, space and workflows shaved off time and cost, and was especially important given the critical timing of the studio move, said Houts. Lotus had 18 months to move three FMs and one AM from the original KOMO TV building as part of its deal with Sinclair, most of which was burned up in red tape for a pending property lease that eventually fell through. Once they found a suitable space and started building new studios in earnest, they were up against a hard cutover. In less than six months, they had to frame out, network together, and bring four on-air control rooms, two production rooms, a voicetrack studio and a news desk with three editor positions live.

Talent Station

Doug Tharp at SCMS managed equipment needs, delivery details and deadlines as the project changed location and scope. “They pretty much tossed us the keys to the new space and we figured out the rest, from what would work for the talent to equipment details and meeting target deadlines,” said Tharp. The one constant was WheatNet IP audio equipment, which had been purchased beforehand by Sinclair and had been sitting in a warehouse pending the Lotus acquisition. Included with the acquisition were I/O Blades and LXE and IP-12 console surfaces, talent stations, mic processors and an assortment of AoIP elements; a full studio system that could be put together in a myriad of different configurations.

It all came together at the beginning of the year, in a 9,500 square-foot facility on the fourth floor of an office suite with sales occupying the east side facing the Seattle Space Needle and studios for three FMs and one AM occupying the west side facing out over Puget Sound. All studios plus a decked-out retreat area for the talent overlook the sound in a shared architectural experience.

Rack RoomThe TOC just beyond the sales office is the first point of entry for visitors and is built out in a grand display of radio technology.

Every single bit of this is first class. It’s the best and most advanced studios we have in the company,” said Houts, who continues to work with Wheatstone, SCMS and RadioDNA to refine the system – in many cases via remote interface to the WheatNet IP audio network. Being able to remote into the AoIP network for regular maintenance and occasional troubleshooting is one of the benefits of the new facility, which also lessens the impact of the engineering shortage on Lotus.

Studio 4

“The engineering shortage is making us think smarter these days,” said Houts.

Lotus is one of the oldest privately owned groups and currently owns and operates 48 radio stations in 10 major markets in the U.S., several of which are also WheatNet IP audio networked and operated studios.

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The Wheatstone online store is now open! You can purchase demo units, spare cards, subassemblies, modules and other discontinued or out-of-production components for Wheatstone, Audioarts, and VoxPro products online, or call Wheatstone customer support at 252-638-7000 or contact the Wheatstone technical support team online as usual. 

The store is another convenience at wheatstone.com, where you can access product manuals, white papers and tutorials as well as technical and discussion forums such as its AoIP Scripters Forum

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REMIXWe've got remote solutions for virtually every networkable console we've built in the last 20 years or so. For basic volume, on/off, bus assign, logic, it's as easy as running an app either locally with a good VPN, or back at the studio, using a remote-access app such as Teambuilder to run.

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For this FREE e-book download, we've put together this e-book with fresh info and some of the articles that we've authored for our website, white papers, and news that dives into some of the cool stuff you can do with a modern AoIP network like Wheatstone's WheatNet-IP.

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