Engineer's Corner

Credit Credit: Ryan T Conaty

The Engineer's Corner is an occasional series penned by RIPR's IT & Engineering Director, Aaron Read.  

Any time he thinks there's something useful, important, amusing, or otherwise interesting enough to write about?  This is where you'll find it.  The highest compliment he gets, and frequently, is from readers who assure him that even though they have no idea what he's writing about, they love that he's writing it.

Our Intrepid Engineer is a little intimidated by Alexa
James Baumgartner RIPR

Rhode Island Public Radio, in conjunction with our webcast provider, StreamGuys, has created a new Alexa Skill just for RIPR!  To activate it for your Echo or Echo Dot, just go to this address:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0721LS5H2

Your intrepid engineer can be a bit, err, intimidated by how much Alexa can do...especially how much it can insert itself into your personal life...but even he can't deny that it's pretty cool.  Just say:

"Alexa, open Rhode Island Public Radio."

Tonight during Marketplace (6:30-7pm) there will be about 10-15 minutes of dead air on RIPR.  All our FM signals will be off, and the webcast will be down.

Astute listeners probably noticed at 8pm on Friday night (Jan.20th) that RIPR was airing our new "Double Content Delivery System."   It's still technically in the prototype stage, so there's some bugs to work out, but overall we were very happy with its ability to put out twice as much content at once.  Soon we'll roll it out across our schedule, and you'll barely be able to make sense of all the content we'll be throwing at you!

Okay, so, yeah, that's a joke. :)

RIPR's Intrepid Engineer sips cocoa during the storm
Lisa Read / RIPR

With the forecast being for 10 to 15 inches of snow (!!!) across the Providence region today, why is your Intrepid Engineer smugly sipping hot cocoa in his kitchen, instead of frantically sweeping mounds of snow from the satellite dish?

Tower crane
Aaron Read

UPDATE 03/06/17: AT&T reports they are   FINISHED!  WOOOOOT!!!  :)  No more reduced power days on 102.7FM!

UPDATE 03/03/17: Unfortunately, if not unsurprisingly, AT&T was unable to finish today.  They'll be back on the tower Monday 3/6 at 9am so reduced power on 102.7 again.

AT&T Tower Climbers on 102.7 Tower
Aaron Read RIPR

UPDATE 3:15PM: The tower crew needed a few extra minutes to finish up, but they are done and down from the tower...and we are back on the air!

-------------------

To our South County listeners: 102.7FM may be off the air for periods between 11am and 3pm on Tuesday June 21st to allow AT&T Wireless tower climbers to perform emergency repairs on their equipment.

Radios on Omni Hotel Roof
Aaron Read RIPR

This week we have crossed a new milestone for our Studio/Transmitter Links (STL) for WELH 88.1FM.  Longtime EC readers know that we've had, well, "issues" with the STL for a long time.

102.7FM is off-air from about 1:15pm to 2:30pm or so on Saturday Dec. 5th for emergency tower work by AT&T Wireless on their antennas, which are a few feet below our FM transmission antenna on the same tower in Narragansett.   We have to shut down to get the power levels low enough for the safety of the tower climbers.

They say it shouldn't take more than about an hour.

Front and back of SureStreamer
APT

Transmitting audio over the internet is a fact of almost every radio station's life these days, and RIPR is no exception.  In fact, we use it even for mission-critical purposes like getting our main programming audio from our studios to our transmitters in Seekonk (88.1FM/Providence) and South County (102.7FM/Narragansett Pier).  But while audio over the internet is so ubiquitous that everyone takes it for granted, it's important to remember that, strictly speaking, it's a terrible idea and the internet was never designed for it.

That's where nifty devices like the new APT SureStreamer come in.

Logitek Mosaic mixer
Aaron Read RIPR

Our new Logitek Audio-over-IP (AoIP) mix console system, and its accompanying ENCO automation system, is in the process of being installed.  We'll have some on-site visits starting Nov.2nd and the big changeover will be the week of Nov. 16th.

Starting on August 18, 2015 we've added a new feature to the ripr.org homepage: you can download MP3 audio files of the three most recent local newscasts!  So if you just missed the news, but still want to get caught up on the most breaking of breaking developments, fear not - you can get it right from our website!

Lost mode in Find My iPhone
HowToiSolve.com

We've all been there.  Even your Intrepid Engineer has done it.  You're having a perfectly lovely day.  You decide you want to check your email, so you reach for your phone and...

...wait...

...where's my phone?

...WHERE'S MY $#%%!@*^& PHONE?!?!?

Oh no, you've lost your phone. Now what?

Cute dog listening to headphones
iPhone6Wallpapers.com

Listening to RIPR online gets easier every day!  But since the webcasting world is constantly changing, we have to change, too! If you've got a problem hearing us on your Android phone, or you want to know what's going with the stream on our website?  Or maybe you need a little help choosing a wifi radio?  

All is revealed on our Streaming Help page at www.ripr.org/streaming

Check it out for all sorts of helpful info on how to keep the bits flowing and RIPR on your speakers - now freshly updated by your Intrepid Engineer with new info on podcasts and NPR One!

RDS on 881FM
Aaron Read RIPR

Ever looked at your radio and noticed there's text there, showing the artist and title of the song you're hearing on your favorite FM station?  Ever wonder what that is? I'll tell you: RDS!  Starting in the early 1990's, radios in the USA had the ability to display Radio Broadcast Data System text information, more commonly known as RBDS or just RDS.   

Multiple TV's in Studio A at RIPR
Aaron Read RIPR

Thanks to a recent major grant that RIPR applied for and received, we have added several 40-inch LCD TV screens to Studio A, our "air studio".   Four total, plus a fifth existing LCD TV.  So we can watch ALL the things!!!

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