Capital Radio has been using a hard disk audio storage system on air since December 1988. The system was designed by Southern Broadcasting Systems of Perth, Western Australia and manufactured by Racom Broadcast of Reading. The system is used at present primarily for the storage of commercials and promotional trails to be played on Capital FM and Capital Gold. The fully duplicated system currently has capacity for six and a half hours of stereo audio. Dolby ADPCM codecs are used to compress the digital audio data to give more efficient use of the storage capacity available. At present the system is available to users in any of five studio areas with any four being able to access the system simultaneously. Control of playback from the system can either be by means of a simple dedicated console or via a touchscreen connected to a PC using software provided by a third party such as MediaTouch of the US. Both types of control are available at Capital Radio. The system has shown considerable advantages over the use of NAB cartridges which it is has replaced for these functions particularly where it can be used to support more than one radio station in the same location. The provision of a play log has been of great value to the commercial scheduling department. Development is continuing to take place to improve the system performance and flexibility and this will be outlined briefly at the Conference.
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