Wheat:News October 2023

Wheat News Banner

WHEAT:NEWS October 2023 Volume 14, Number 10


Proof of Life

Meet Brian King and his son Nick King, one a self-made broadcast engineer who has spent four decades in the business and the other a 30-something audiovisual technician born and raised in the industry.

Brian King and Nick King

One is more IT leaning, the other is more analog leaning, and together theyre proof that some broadcasters are made while others are born. The two are contract engineers who have worked on several studio projects together, the most recent a new AoIP networked DMX studio for Plenty Valley 88.6 FM in Melbourne, Australia.

As it happens, our DMX system, with its AoIP console surface and accompanying mix engine including built-in network switch all rolled into one, was the perfect father/son project. “AoIP makes life a lot simpler these days because you do all the crosspoints and salvos in software, but the approach is the same as it’s always been,” said Brian, who, in fact, wired and crimped a sizable audio patchbay for Plenty Valley’s original studio almost 25 years ago.

By going with DMX, the volunteer-run community station got a simple plug-and-play AoIP system complete with five-port switch that let them create a smaller local network now, and add on I/O and a console surface later for its other studio.

This is one of the smaller projects for the two. Previously, the Kings installed a five-studio WheatNet IP audio network with programmable AoIP consoles (LXE) for which Nick did all the AoIP scripting and custom workflows… as well as whatever wiring was needed.

“Nick is really the one who has his head around the WheatNet platform as far as scripting and working with Screenbuilder, but he’s just as happy with a soldering iron,” commented the elder King.

Here, captured in photos, is Plenty Valley’s new DMX studio as it comes together.

A01 2

The journey to AoIP routing and control begins in Studio 2 for Plenty Valley FM. Shown here, Melbourne contract engineer Brian King after unwrapping the new DMX console surface fresh from the Wheat factory.

Nick Kings

Second generation broadcast engineering tech Nick King preps the studio for equipment placement. Next up, running the cable. 

Aoip Integration

Easy AoIP integration to the tally lights and studio screen, all neatly done.

Rack Room

Meanwhile, in the rack room, a new Audioarts mix engine is racked up for the DMX audio console—RJ45 connectors, AoIP logic, and five-port Gigabit Ethernet switch included. Also shown, a WheatNet IP I/O Blade for routing extras and when its time to update the second studio with a DMX console surface.  


Here, Brian is modifying the I/O on the existing analog board in Studio 1 so it can connect to the I/O Blade in the rack room. Plenty Valley expects to update Studio 1 to a DMX console surface in the near future. 

DMX AoIP console

The new studio with DMX AoIP console and routing went live on July 25. Notice the clean workspace for laptops. There are several USB ports on the back plate, plus double GPO power outlets with USB charger on the tabletop. 

DMX studio

The DMX studio through the looking glass at Plenty Valley FM. 

Technics SP 15

Heres something you dont see in broadcast studios these days: two Technics SP 15 turntables. The SP 15s, unlike the popular SP 10s of the day, play 78 rpm records in addition to 33 and 45 rpm records. A few of the presenters at Plenty Valley FM still spin the occasional vinyl album. 


Will Ferrell Walking On Set

Add another Dan Patrick remote and comedian Will Ferrell to the list of places weve gone and people weve met.

Will Ferrell became the fifth “Dannette” on The Dan Patrick Show the week leading up to the August 26 football match between the University of Notre Dame and the U.S. Naval Academy in Dublin.

The show rented an office building in the Temple Bar area of Dublin and turned it into a television/radio studio. Dan Patrick’s manager and TV director Eric Jones arranged to have local crews build and light the set. With help from the show’s Milford, Conn. crew, the studio came together and Jones hired Jim Hibbard with Pacific Mobile Recorders/Studio Builders, Sacramento, Calif, to handle the audio setup and mix the show.

The Wheatstone remote package was sent by slow boat (literally). Hibbard arrived in Dublin to engineer the show and it was two full days of unpacking the pallets and setup. Gear included two road cases loaded with the Wheatstone Blades and Cisco switches plus two large Pelican cases with the WheatNet LXE 16-channel console, TS-4 talent stations, plus mics, stands, adaptors, and all the cabling.

Wheatstone Equipment

Hibbard, a systems integrator, has built all the permanent studios as well as remote studios for The Dan Patrick Show since 2010. Hibbard is known for his signature sound using our M4IP-USB mic processors. "Unless you’re sitting in a bathtub, I can probably get you the sound you're looking for with an M4IP,” he said (for details, read Sound Check). 

The remote video truck arrived on the second day with power for both studio and backroom power distro so that all the power came from a single source (the NEP truck). In the studio backroom TOC, the two Wheatstone racks were connected via Ethernet and then fiber was used to connect the TOC to the NEP truck. After a quick reconfig of the M4IP four-channel mic processor due to a microphone failure, and adding an additional TS-4 talent station for Will Ferrell, the show was ready for the first day of a three-day broadcast. The show featured coaches, former coaches, TV commentators, and former Notre Dame players as guests. Will Ferrell was a fun and funny addition to The Dan Patrick Show, and as the fifth Dannette, his job was to banter with Dan and the other Dannettes, but also to come up with questions for the guests. “Will Ferrell is quite knowledgeable about sports and conducted his segments like he’d been doing radio all his life,” said Hibbard. “He knew exactly what to do, even though I imagine he's more used to television.” 

The Dan Patrick Show is known for its elaborate remote studio sets, among them a set built on top of Pier 40 in lower Manhattan for the week prior to the big game in New York. The Dan Patrick Show broadcasts daily 9a-12n (ET) from its own studio “mancave” in Connecticut that includes a football field, basketball court and putting green. All studios are WheatNet IP audio networked and controlled.

Shoe Story

Shown, Dan Patrick sitting in the guest chair chatting with Will Ferrell on his right during a commercial break. The box Dan is holding contains new shoes, one of which Dan gave Will on Wednesday and told him if he came back the next day, he’d give him the other shoe…which he did.



When one door closes, another one opens.

The same goes for windows, as seems to be the case with the FCC filing window that is opening in November for LPFM license applications.

This is the first filing window since 2013, which accounted for 2,800 LPFM license applications, many for translators related to AM revitalization. With that first wave of translators for AMs behind us, this upcoming licensing window is open to schools, churches, non-profits, governments or other educational institutions that could benefit from operating a community LPFM station. (We told you about one successful LPFM community station in last month’s Wheat News, Putting the Art in Radio, Audioarts Included.)

The FCC shows a little over 1,900 LPFM stations on the air as of June, down from around 2,100 stations a few years ago.

The window for LPFM license applications is November 1 to 8. To help identify available FM channels for an LPFM in your community, check with the FCC’s LPFM Channel Finder. LPFMs are for noncommercial educational broadcasting only and operate on the FM band with an effective radiated power of 100W or less at 100 feet antenna height above average terrain.

For your LPFM cost estimates, be sure to include an EAS decoder for emergency broadcasts, an FM audio processor to handle peak limiting, an FCC approved transmitter, and studio gear such as console, mics, laptops, source players, and studio routing and control. Click on Wheatstone’s webpage Audio Gear for LPFMs for consoles, mic processing and audio processing ideas. 



If you’ve been streaming along, business as usual, you might be overlooking a few important changes that have taken place lately. Here, our senior software engineer Rick Bidlack gives us a quick update and what every broadcaster should be thinking about for their streaming operations.

Q: What is the biggest change that is overlooked by broadcasters who have been streaming for a while?

RB: The vast majority of devices out there are now capable of receiving high quality, high bitrate streams, and the cost of doing so keeps going down. That hasn’t always been the case, so the simple fact is that they can probably bump up to a much higher bitrate than they could in the past. And, as we all know, a 192kbps AAC-LC stream sounds much better than a 64kbps HE-AACv1 stream, which in turn sounds MUCH better than an MP3 stream at the same bitrate.

Q: What else should they be thinking about?

RB: The most important thing they can do after a high bitrate is to use audio processing made specifically for streaming. We now know that aggressive audio processing, the kind used in FM, for example, can increase the intermodulation and other distortion products that cause the streaming codec to make mistakes and remove or add frequencies that it shouldn’t. A good audio processor made for streaming uses adaptive algorithms and other less extreme measures to create uniform loudness and control peaks. 

Q: Any recent developments in technical standards that we should know about?  

RB: We're very excited about RIST (Reliable Internet Stream Transport) as a solution for getting full-bandwidth streams from the production studio up to your FM or streaming processor running in the cloud, using the public internet — no dedicated fiber-optic required. We foresee more and more broadcast hardware and software being RIST-capable as stream transport into and out of the cloud becomes more commonplace.  

Q: One final question. Ive heard you say that streaming is likely to be the first practical use of cloud for many broadcasters. Why is that?

RB: Streaming on a cloud service like AWS seems to be a good fit, especially for those events like a concert or game because there’s no hardware involved. It’s fairly easy to spin up and tear down streams, and you only pay for the cloud services you use. Streaming is likely to be the first practical use of cloud of all the broadcast applications for these reasons, but also because CDNs already have a cloud presence. It’s not much of a stretch to originate streams from AWS or another data center. We introduced a cloud version of Layers Stream to give people that option. We’re integrating streaming into the studio operation in a number of ways. For some that might mean having streaming take place in an AoIP appliance or as software on a server, and in some cases, it might mean they will actually be doing that in the cloud, where their CDN provider already is. Our goal is to make streaming a natural part of the broadcast operation.



We keep bringing home the gold! A panel of industry peers singled out Layers Stream for IBC 2023 Radio World Best of Show and RedTech Best in Show awards at the IBC show in Amsterdam last month.

It’s great to be understood… and that so many get our browser approach to stream provisioning, audio processing and metadata support. Layers Stream also brought home an NAB 2023 Radio World Best of Show award in April!



Experience for yourself AoIP 5.0 and what a WheatNet IP audio networked facility can do.

Stop in to see us at an upcoming show and ask us about Layers streaming on AWS, the latest option for your next console surface, and how scripting, virtualization and intelligent AoIP can work together for you. Be sure to ask about our new Audioarts Voice1 processor and our mighty LiON FM audio processor, too.

IBC Amsterdam - September 15-18, stand 8.C91

WISC Madison - October 10-12

NAB NY - October 25-26, booth 507

Head over to a Wheatstone booth or tune into our social media channels to experience what’s new in broadcast studios and processing. See you soon!






We hope you'll come along with us at Club Wheat by clicking on the SUBSCRIBE button below to begin receiving Wheat News in your email inbox every month.

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 our AoIP Scripters Forum

Compare All of Wheatstone's Remote Solutions

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.

Remote Solutions Video Demonstrations

Jay Tyler recently completed a series of videos demonstrating the various solutions Wheatstone offers for remote broadcasting.

Click for a Comparison Chart of All Wheatstone Remote Software Solutions


Have you seen the latest smart studio trends? Discover expert tips, surprising uses for AoIP Blades, 6 common studio gotchas, and how to be aware of little expenses. A must-read before you begin your studio project.


Curious about how the modern studio has evolved in an IP world? Virtualization of the studio is WAY more than tossing a control surface on a touch screen. With today's tools, you can virtualize control over almost ANYTHING you want to do with your audio network. This free e-book illustrates what real-world engineers and radio studios are doing. Pretty amazing stuff.

AdvancingAOIP E BookCoverAdvancing AOIP for Broadcast

Putting together a new studio? Updating an existing studio? This collection of articles, white papers, and brand new material can help you get the most out of your venture. Best of all, it's FREE to download!


IP Audio for TV Production and Beyond


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. 

Got feedback or questions? Click my name below to send us an e-mail. You can also use the links at the top or bottom of the page to follow us on popular social networking sites and the tabs will take you to our most often visited pages.

-- Uncle Wheat, Editor

Site Navigations