Someone Donated $10 Million To KEXP - Page 4
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Thread: Someone Donated $10 Million To KEXP

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by AQH View Post
    $4,271,123

    .
    Is that an "endowment" or just donated funds for operations?

    If it is an endowment, the income would be less than $12,000 a month if conservatively invested.
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  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEduardo View Post


    The fact that the system did not automatically switch to the AUX likely indicates a failure in gear that does not and can not have redundancy, such as a combiner or switcher for the RF feed to the antenna. If they could not turn the AUX on by remote control, then someone had to go to the site and do the switch manually and fix the problem.

    Most stations have an auxiliary transmitter at the site where the main is located, and they usually switch automatically if the main fails. Few stations have full second site auxiliary installations. Not knowing the inside scoop at KEXP I do not know whether they have two or more transmitters at the main site and/or an auxiliary site.

    However, there are a few points where most FM stations can fail, no matter how redundant their installation is, such as the tower the antenna is on, coax fails due to arcing and lightening, antenna switching failures, catastrophic power supply failures (like a bad component in a transfer switch system) so there has to be an understanding of the system and the failure before negligence is blamed.

    Nahh... I was being sarcastic. I imagine the guy who has to deal with this isn't all that happy right now. Beyond that, whatever the reasons are for the transfer delay, its remotely possible that not even we experts have it completely right.

    I've been there though... most engineers have. It's not fun.

  3. #33
    What I don't get is how the station could be off the air for over 10 minutes without someone noticing at the station (if that is the case -- others here mentioned that the studio didn't know that the station was off the air).

    I was at KCMU, KEXP's pre-cursor. There was an "on air monitoring" switch on the board.

    I guess no DJ's or air staff monitor off the air anymore? Maybe the new digital 'boards' (if they still use boards?) don't have an 'on-air' monitoring switch?

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by boombox4 View Post
    What I don't get is how the station could be off the air for over 10 minutes without someone noticing at the station (if that is the case -- others here mentioned that the studio didn't know that the station was off the air).

    I was at KCMU, KEXP's pre-cursor. There was an "on air monitoring" switch on the board.

    I guess no DJ's or air staff monitor off the air anymore? Maybe the new digital 'boards' (if they still use boards?) don't have an 'on-air' monitoring switch?
    As explained, most stations don't monitor the over the air signal now because digital processing puts a significant delay in the returned audio, making it useless for studio use. So we rely on monitors that give us status, create alarm actions, etc.

    I'm not sure the studio did not know the station was off the air. What is likely, though, is that the transmitter site sent a notice to the engineer(s) saying the signal was off. Most stations now have systems that engineers can used with a cellular phone or tablet to check status, turn transmitters on an off, monitor A/C, alarms, etc. But if no command from the engineer's device got the transmitter or the auxiliary back on, it is necessary to get to the transmitter site.

    This stuff happens even to the best engineered station; Murphy's Law is an equal opportunity offender.
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  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by boombox4 View Post
    What I don't get is how the station could be off the air for over 10 minutes without someone noticing at the station (if that iI guess no DJ's or air staff monitor off the air anymore? Maybe the new digital 'boards' (if they still use boards?) don't have an 'on-air' monitoring switch?

    If I were working in the game these days I'm not sure I would monitor off-the-air anymore!! The processing (thanks to PPM technology, etc.) has become so incredibly horrible I don't listen in the car … so not sure I would want to listen in the studio.

  6. #36
    Thanks to PPM technology there is a PPM decoder box that monitors the PPM signal. KEXP encodes PPM so they must have one. Stations hook the Alarm output to an alarm on the remote control or a light at the studio to tell when PPM is failed. Most of time it means dead air or silence. Usually the PPM decoder is hooked to audio that is off air to ensure that the PPM signal is getting passed all the way through the transmission chain.

    It's not uncommon for PPM alarms to activate when the transmitter fails and there is no audio at the receiver hooked to the PPM monitor. So in reality there should have been several alarms going off at KEXP.

    However it's unclear at this point if the staff at KEXP may have interpreted the PPM alarm for the People Pledging Money alarm.

    In the non commercial or the donation radio model it looks like the PPM alarm can have two meanings.
    1- Your off the air and people are pledging Money so you get back on the air and stay there.
    2- Your on the air with audio passing but the PPM Arbitron signal is not present. People are not pledging money.

    I'm sure this extra step took time to digest and figure out which would help explain the long off air time and why it may have taken a while to figure out they had to go to the transmitter. And if people are pledging Money whats an extra hour of off air time, but more money.
    Last edited by xmtrland; 09-14-2018 at 02:21 PM.

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by xmtrland View Post
    And if people are pledging Money whats an extra hour of off air time, but more money.
    Sounds to me like you're jealous. The fact is this station has a committed group of fans who support the station because of what it is. That includes the corporate donors who made that $10 million pledge you keep bringing up. There is a core group of listeners who will support it even if it's off the air for 90 minutes. That's what people who work in non-com radio work for. This isn't a primary station that needs to provide emergency information. The comparison to commercial radio is every minute you're off the air is money that has to be refunded or made-good to advertisers.

    How many other outages has the station had in its history? How about a little context?

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    Sounds to me like you're jealous. The fact is this station has a committed group of fans who support the station because of what it is. That includes the corporate donors who made that $10 million pledge you keep bringing up. There is a core group of listeners who will support it even if it's off the air for 90 minutes. That's what people who work in non-com radio work for. This isn't a primary station that needs to provide emergency information. The comparison to commercial radio is every minute you're off the air is money that has to be refunded or made-good to advertisers.

    How many other outages has the station had in its history? How about a little context?
    Sounds to me you are misinformed about the $10 million, read the original post about the source.

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    How many other outages has the station had in its history? How about a little context?
    What does that matter? Non-com or not, the engineer's duty is to KEEP THE STATION ON THE AIR. If you can't do that then you should be replaced. That's the "context".

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Piotrowski View Post
    What does that matter? Non-com or not, the engineer's duty is to KEEP THE STATION ON THE AIR. If you can't do that then you should be replaced. That's the "context".
    I've worked for a lot of radio stations and have known a lot of chief engineers. None have ever faced that kind of ultimatum. Even at a commercial station where actual dollars are at stake. The way we assessed the value of our engineers was how quickly they returned the station to the air, and in that context, this one did a relatively good job. But hey, we live in a reality TV environment where everyone wants to vote other people off the island. The reality I know is that crap happens. When you run a radio station, chances are equipment will break. I had engineers say "If you don't use it, it won't break." But if it didn't break, we wouldn't need engineers. Maybe you or AQH can tell me if this engineer is an actual employee or a contractor. I suspect the latter.

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