Stuff breaks. Your transmitter or on-air console (or anything else) will someday go “poof.” If you have a back-up plan, you can keep going with little disruption. If you have no back-up plan… [dead air]
Many high-end transmitters have multiple power modules, so a failure in one module doesn’t shut everything down. A failed module can be removed and replaced while the transmitter is running. And many on-air consoles can also have their modules replaced without the need to turn the unit off.
That’s great for the larger stations that have the budget for modular systems. But small community stations, and others with limited funds, may not have equipment with these features. They need to have ways to stay on the air when something breaks.
The best back-up for the transmitter is… another transmitter. The spare doesn’t need to be the same power as the main. Depending on the location of your core audience, a small back-up transmitter may still cover the majority of your listeners while you get the main unit repaired. We have FM transmitters starting at 30 watts by Crown, Marti, PTEK, QEI, Ecreso, and Armstrong.
I find that many small stations have only one mixing console. It’s on the air live during morning and afternoon drive times. And it’s doing production during the rest of the day, while the computer plays automated programming. This is called “putting all your eggs in one basket.”
I recommend that you put together an inexpensive kit consisting of a small mixer, a mic or two, and a recorder. This will give several benefits:
– You will have a way to do production while the “main” mixer is on the air.
– It can be the “News Room”
– It can be taken out of the station to do remote appearances.
– It will be the back-up if (when) the main mixer is down.
For example, look at some of the packages we have put together for Podcasting. These are in use every day producing quality work for many internet broadcasters. They don’t have all the functions of a full-on broadcast console (monitor muting, remote machine starts, etc), but they can keep you on the air if the main board is down for repairs.
Call us. We’ll help you select the best combination of products for your situation.