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Radio Broadcast Technical Consulting and Sales
 
10032 Island Drive, Brainerd, MN  56401

 


Engineer's Log of Mark W. Persons
Arbitron Equipment Installed


May 7, 2009:  Add one more experience to Mark's resume.  He installed the equipment necessary to encode Arbitron data on three radio stations.  There is a primary and a backup encoder for each station along with a monitor, connected to the station air monitor to verify all is well.  Green lights tell the story.  Red lights mean trouble.  
In this case, the installation was at the WYRQ, KLTF, and KFML radio stations in Little Falls, MN.  Here are all of the equipment racks in a hallway outside the engineering room.  The Arbitron equipment is in the bottom half of the far left rack.  The installation went well, but it took most of a day to get it all wired and tested. 
The equipment is not very deep, but it soon became clear that nine power outlets were required to get the job done.  The interesting part is that Arbitron does not supply the XLR-3 connectors, otherwise known as Switchcraft A3F and A3M.  It takes ten connectors (six A3M and four A3F) to wire one analog stereo FM radio station.  It takes just six A3M and three A3F connectors for a analog monaural AM station.         
Here is Mark standing behind the entire rack system.  There are plenty of wires to look after here. 

Arbitron digital data is added to each of the programming audio streams after the first audio processor and before the STL system.  The data is not heard by listeners, but can be detected and logged by Portable People Meters.  These little gadgets are about the size of a cell phone.  The data is used in place of traditional listener diaries to survey listener tastes in many markets.  It all started in the larger markets and is making its way down to the smaller stations. 

April 19, 2010 Update:  After visiting with other radio broadcast engineers at the 2010 National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas, NV, Mark learned that the Arbitron equipment needs ventilation to stay cool.  To do that, three blank rack units (5-1/4" of panel) were removed from the equipment rack.  That allowed some space between each Arbitron unit.  In essence, there was one screw hole between each unit.  The cooling is needed to prevent the equipment from overheating and failing causing loss of audio to the station or stations involved.  

The stories go on and on.  Stop in again sometime.  I'll leave the soldering iron on for you. 
Mark W. Persons
  
Ham WMH

  Questions?  Email Mark Persons:  teki@mwpersons.com  

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page last edited 02/22/2016