Channel 103

Channel 103 broadcasts on 103.7 FM (Fremont Point), after being awarded the local licence in 1992 (started 25th Oct). The official site is and there's Rob's too.

Here is the studio as it looked in 2006

and here it is from 2004

and way back when.

You like to see the mixing desk?

In the old days radio was done 'by hand', the hard way - playing CDs one after another, with jingles and adverts on 3.5" floppies (compressed digital audio). The whole thing was a manual exercise with barely time to think. Presenters, who have to turn up half an hour in advance (to be safe - gives time for alternates to be arranged), REALLY needed that time to sort out their shows. A print out would be waiting for them, detailing the entire show, and they'd need to dig out the CDs from the library. Every jingle and advert meant finding the right floppy and stuffing them into the player.. and filing them away properly afterwards. How quaint and archaic by today's automated standards..

These days it's all on computer, using RCS Master Control "the Selector-friendly digital audio system". The DJ can just turn up and seemingly have little more to worry about than pressing one big square 'NEXT' button (fires the next track when not scheduled to cross-fade, or 'segue') although obviously there is actually plenty more to keep them busy! The capable PC drives two screens and has four soundcards. For those of you not used to split-screen, only one mouse is used and the pointer can leave one screen and jump over to the other, just like as if you somehow split a normal screen into two and moved the two halves apart. Two soundcards give A and B music channels, a third one is for hotkey jingles, and the fourth is used for auditioning upcoming tracks and links (and for 'voice-tracking' pre-recorded DJ talk); this fourth channel is thus seldom used with the fader actually up. These four channels are on the right of the 'script tray' in the center of the console. Heading left we have presenter mic, main mic again but for voice-tracking, IRN news fader, news studio, CD 1 & 2, ISDN, telephone, etc.

On the left screen, at the top are the times (elapsed and remaining) of the current track playing, with a progress bar. On music tracks this also shows the remaining time until vocals start, so that presenters can witter on, or play a jingle, until just before the singing kicks off. DJs love doing that. Below are the current track and the next two, with A or B to show which of the two fader channels they're on. Below that is the current selection of hotkey jingles, which appear on the third fader if triggered by pressing the hotkeys on the custom keypad on the left.

The right screen shows the schedule of tracks in the show, of all sorts whether they be music, ads or jingles. Those played already scroll up off the top, those yet to come are below - but there is full scrolling up/down over the whole show along with a quick way to 'return to now' if you get lost. Scrolling left and right allows you to wade through the ton of info per track. At the bottom of the screen is where the joins between one track and another can be previewed (DJ listening on pre-fade, on fourth PC fader) and the timing of cross-fades can be altered to perfection. Voice tracks can be recorded so that the DJ can do part of a show in advance and then leave the studio for a 'comfort break'.. leaving the computer to it - a nice feature to have when you're bursting. That's what I call progress! All the great computerised 'live assist' features give the presenters plenty of time for them to get things perfect and think up what to say to entertain the listeners.

Earlier version of left screen

Earlier version of right screen

Icons and track colouring. The jingle blends into first song, no intervention. DJs talk after songs, fire up next (can change to segue if req.). DJs must talk before ads. Ads rapid x-fade from one to next.

If by some miracle this page makes it all sound simple, trust me there are many other dimensions of complexity and it still looks bewilderingly impressive in action. It certainly makes me realise how behind the times my skills are, LOL!

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