Zack Riepenhoff – Chief Engineer
Notes from the Engineering Desk:
Busy, busy, busy: After building out a new tower site, I really need to get some pictures up here to show off the efforts of the engineering team. Our online player is now reflecting the new “Oldies 97.3” branding and new apps have been submitted. Please check for updates if you are a user of our mobile apps in order to ensure you have the latest and greatest version.
Things have a funny way of coming full circle. Our “new” transmitter site is on the air with the original transmitter that we signed on with in 2004. We did upgrade our audio processor to a gently used Omnia One. We also have a nifty device, the Site Sentry 4, which watches over everything and sends me emails if a problem is detected. The emails have been few, since winter is usually a quiet season unless we get icing which can damage towers and antennas, and so far we have been fortunate not to receive it. Summer is more “interesting” thanks to thunderstorms, and lightning related problems (300 foot towers make good lightning rods). Unfortunately we know that you can get hit even if you are not the tallest object around…ask anyone at the station about August 2011 sometime!
Can you see our RDS message? We are now providing Title/Artist information on our RDS subcarrier. If your radio supports RDS, you should see a logo for “RDS” somewhere on the radio, or a button marked “info”, “RadioText”, or “RT”. On your radio display, you’ll see a scrolling message with information on the current song that’s playing on the air.
IPhone users: Our iPhone app has finally arrived! A link to the App Store is below.
Listing on VTuner: We should now be available in the VTuner Internet Radio Directory, so you can pull us up on freestanding Wi-Fi radios. Please note that our stream is in AAC+ format and not mp3, and therefore may not be compatible with all devices.
Online audio vs. off-air reception: If you’ve noticed our online stream sounds different than the on-air audio, here’s why. The on-air audio is processed through a Telos Omnia-One processor, which is a sophisticated multiband DSP unit that is designed to limit the audio properly to maintain legal modulation per FCC regulations. The internet audio feed is processed through a much less sophisticated Aphex 320A Compellor processor that provides some automatic gain control and compression but without the hard limiting required in the on-air audio. I’m looking at other processing options for the internet stream. Let me know what you think by sending comments to the engineering mailbox.
Our Android app is available on the Google Play store. Click on the logo below to be taken to the app.
Hardware Internet Tuner notes:
I have done some testing with my VTech branded WiFi radio at home, and discovered that our stream is compatible with it. The only catch is that the song title information does not appear for some reason, even through we are embedding this information in the metadata of the stream (so that TuneIn app users can see the titles). WSWO-LP is not listed in the streaming directory for the VTech device, so I had to enter our information manually. I have submitted information to get our stream listed on the VTuner internet radio directory which is used by many of these internet tuner/WiFi radio devices. So far, we’re not there yet, but hopefully will be listed soon! Until then, you can reach me by email for directions on how to enter our stream information manually on your WiFi radio.
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Zack relocated to the Dayton area from southeast Ohio to attend Wright State University. He got his start in radio while still a high school student, at the now-defunct WZIO (currently WEKV) near Portsmouth, starting out as a board operator and statistician for sports broadcasts and eventually moving up to occasional basketball color commentary and play-by-play duty.
While at Wright State, he was involved at student radio station WWSU (106.9 FM) as a sports broadcaster, calling numerous Wright State basketball and baseball games, a few WSU volleyball matches, Fairborn and Beavercreek high school football and basketball, and several indoor football games of the former Dayton Skyhawks. He also handled engineering and repair tasks and was involved in a major upgrade that installed the first-ever computer automation system at WWSU to enable 24-hour broadcasting, and a complete replacement of the transmitter site equipment.
Zack got involved with WSWO prior to the September 2004 sign-on and has been amazed at the station’s growth from its humble beginnings. The 2013-14 sports season will mark his 16th season of involvement in sports broadcasting. He has moved on from being a play-by-play man for Wayne to the color/stats position for the Greene County Game of the Week on WBZI in Xenia, but returns to call the occasional Warrior baseball and Lady Warrior softball game during the spring.
When not maintaining the equipment and computer systems or covering sports, he works as a systems engineer in the aerospace industry.