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IP radio deployment is slow

Many stations in Latin America have only been concerned with the transmission part and are not attentive to the other area of radio which is the quality and control of the content. 


Especially in Latin America, radio continues to be the medium that has the best chance of reaching rural or remote areas that other media do not reach, therefore, the importance of bidding processes for new stations that advance in Peru and Mexico. And although radio is still in force, today it must adapt to the new realities imposed by technology and listeners.

To learn a little more about the current state of radio in Latin America and the challenges that stations have to remain in force, TVyVideo+Radio spoke with Marcello Costa, a Brazilian engineer with nearly 30 years of experience in the information technology market, 21 of them dedicated to the automation of radio stations in Brazil and Latin America.

- Publicidad -

Marcello is operations manager of the company Playlist Software Solutions, based in Brazil and a subsidiary in Miami, dedicated exclusively to producing computer systems for radio stations, which, since 1995, has automated more than 2,500 stations throughout the Americas.

TVVR: What are the changes in technology for the production and transmission of AM and FM radio that you consider most important in the last 20 years?
Marcello Costa:
I think it was computing and the internet. The computer by adding in the stations all the procedure of automation of the content and the most reliable control of the whole radio. The internet for bringing the dissemination of a radio to the whole world and bringing information democratically and quickly to everyone.

TVVR: What is the state of radio today in Latin America, from a technical point of view?
Marcello Costa:
Technically, the largest stations are well advised on the whole technological concept, there are good engineers, they have financial resources to buy good equipment and research in new technologies. But medium and small radios - wherever you walk - are experiencing difficulties in all sectors, because they do not have the financial resources to buy good equipment, hire good engineers and production and presentation professionals. This way you can't generate content that competes directly with the larger media. There are many equipment, computer systems and professionals with a more accessible cost, but I still believe that a considerable percentage of radios do not have access to these because they do not have enough income.

TVVR: From your experience, what are the main deficiencies that radio has in Latin America, from the technical point of view?
Marcello Costa:
Many stations have only cared about the transmission part - I would just like the radio to be heard far away -  and they are not attentive to the other area of the radio which is the quality of content that is going to be transmitted and all the control of this content. They don't have complete computer systems that make everything controlled productively and reliably; the sound of the radio is not passed through audio processing, the studio has no acoustics, the microphones are bad. To summarize, they believe that to ensure more listeners they have to tune in to the radio far away and not invest in the quality of the programming.

TVVR: Listeners are increasingly demanding with audio quality, do new systems privilege quality?
Marcello Costa:
Yes, today there are many ways to have a good sound. There are very good audio processors on the market with affordable prices, also the computer systems industry has created many software that make processing devices as they are, without the need to buy a device, everything is done on a single computer, thus guaranteeing a smaller cost and a larger number of stations have a good sound quality. But if there is no good content, there is no good communication, all the part of a good audio is lost.

TVVR: How easy is it to do a remote AM and FM radio broadcast today?
Marcello Costa:
We, the computer engineering professionals, are in favor of looking for new technologies that are cheaper for the stations. The work is being tireless, but very soon the stations will have how to transmit their programming with cheaper equipment and low-cost computer systems and apps with the quality they deserve and with total control under the programming.

TVVR: How does AM and FM radio relate to the internet?
Marcello Costa:
The internet did not come to take the place of radio. The internet is more of a resource that AM and FM should use to add benefits to their programming and broadcasting. When television arrived, people of the last century said that radio was not going to exist anymore and radio is so far on the air. The same goes for the internet, radio has to add this resource to its day to day and not compete with it.

- Publicidad -

TVVR: Are there technologies that allow easy radio transmissions, with an Ipad and a microphone, but is it sustainable to maintain a constant broadcast? Can these technologies be used for AM and FM radio?
Marcello Costa:
Any transmission has a dependence on the medium to which it is transmitted. In this decade we are living a general transformation of the ways we communicate, everything is becoming more mobile, more accessible. That's why radio also has to change its ways of communicating with its listeners. All technology evolves and I believe that today it is as possible to transmit content through mobile devices with the same security and confidence as using a radio frequency link.

TVVR: What is IP technology for radio?
Marcello Costa:
It consists of more safety for transmission, more dynamism and adaptability to future changes, a smaller operational cost and the main one: a sound without interference.

TVVR: How is the implementation of IP radio in Latin America progressing?
Marcello Costa:
Still very slow, like a turtle. Many stations do not have enough resources to invest, because the equipment - first of all - is expensive for the reality of the radios and others believe that it is not yet so safe, but I guarantee that they are wrong.

TVVR: In addition to IP and HD radio, what new technology are expected for radio that may set trends in the coming years?
Marcello Costa:
I believe that the use of the Internet as the main source for the transmission of programming and communication without borders, people can do and also listen to the radio where they are, anywhere, at any time.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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