ENCO DAD Automation Simplifies Workflows and Boosts Reliability for First Natchez Radio Group
Rock-solid dependability, exceptional ease of use and powerful advanced applications save time and effort.
First Natchez Radio Group has deployed the ENCO DAD radio automation platform to enhance reliability and streamline operations across its five Mississippi-based radio stations. Chosen after extensive research to replace the group’s aging automation system, its ENCO DAD system went live this summer and has since delivered tangible benefits.
First Natchez Radio Group’s one AM and four FM stations broadcast a diverse range of programming from their Natchez, MS headquarters to listeners in Southwest Mississippi and Eastern and Central Louisiana. With its end-of-life Scott Studios SS32 radio automation system becoming increasingly unreliable, the group sought a dependable solution that would also deliver functional and workflow improvements.
“The reliability of the new system was our first and foremost consideration, but we also wanted something that offered easy remote access and better voice tracking capabilities,” said Josh Wells, technical operations manager for First Natchez Radio Group. “And of course, we wanted it all without breaking the bank. ENCO DAD met all of our criteria, giving us the robustness and feature-richness we need while coming in less expensive than its closest competitors.”
That affordability was further amplified by the DAD platform’s flexible ability to run multiple stations on a single machine, shattering the ‘one station per system’ model of many automation offerings. Wells chose to spread the group’s five stations across three on-air systems as the best balance of cost-effectiveness, concurrent live program control and redundancy for their needs.
The DAD software’s user-friendly interface made it easy for operators to get up to speed on the new system, while its flexible configurability delivered immediate productivity gains.
“ENCO DAD has proven much easier to use than our previous system,” said Wells. “SS32 required roundabout methods for many things we did, so the hardest part of learning DAD was simply ‘unlearning’ our old habits of doing things the hard way. Using the powerful DAD Command Language, we set it up so we can push a single hot button to execute 10 commands, from enabling or disabling mixing boards to merging playlists with logs from our traffic and billing system. This saves us a lot of time and effort, and we don’t need specialized users to perform these tasks.”
First Natchez Radio Group also takes advantage of many advanced DAD tools. Wells highlighted the DAD Dropbox utility, which eliminates manual conversion and import steps when bringing in audio files, as a particular favorite. “I love it, and our DJs love it,” he raved. “When we want to bring songs, imagery or even full shows into the system, we can just drag and drop the files into a folder and DAD automatically ingests them and inserts them into the library.”
ENCO’s remote voice tracking applications earned similar praise. “We augment our local radio personalities with additional talent in Nebraska and Texas and one of our local DJs is moving to another city, but we want to keep her on the air,” he explained. “ENCO’s fantastic voice tracking tools let us do that.”
“The DAD system automatically sends playlist sections and clips of the songs’ outros and intros to the remote jock, who then uses the DAD Remote Tracking Client to record the voice track and send it back for automatic integration into our playlist. It couldn’t be easier.”
Wells also lauded the iDAD application, one of ENCO’s enCloud family of mobile and browser-based tools. “Using the iDAD app, we can send remote commands to the system from our mobile devices through an easy interface, wherever we are,” he said. “iDAD also enables us to have multiple live users on a single system at the same time. While our stations are deployed across three separate computers, we often air four high school football games simultaneously. One live board operator can be in front of the machine using DAD with a mouse, while another operator triggers hot buttons and watches countdowns in a separate DAD array panel through an iPad.”
Together, these rich capabililties have combined to give First Natchez Radio Group the significant operational and workflow improvements it was looking for. “Our experience with ENCO DAD has been great,” Wells concluded. “It has given us the reliability we need, it’s straightforward to operate, and it saves everybody hours each day.”
Founded in 1983, ENCO Systems is a world leader in playout and automation system solutions for demanding radio and television organizations. ENCO is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan USA and retains a worldwide distribution network. For more information, please visit: www.enco.com.