WFMU, an independent freeform radio station, is using an iPod as an alternate music source when the station’s satellite feed fails during inclement weather, according to longtime listener Brian Redman.
“I was at the WFMU record fair Sunday and was talking to Ken Freedman, the station manager about Apple’s iTunes Music Service and Macs in general,” Redman told MacCentral. “In the course of the conversation he told me about the iPod at the transmitter.”
WFMU broadcasts to the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area and beyond over 91.1 and WXHD 90.1 FM and Internet streaming. Their studio signal reaches their 90.1 transmitter in New York’s lower Hudson Valley via satellite feed.
Station manager Ken Freedman installed a 5GB iPod at the transmitter in Mount Hope to cope with the inevitable loss of the satellite feed during the thunderstorm season. By using a phone to dial in to a remote control unit at the transmitter site, station staff can switch to the iPod instead of satellite audio. The Apple device is set on continuous random play from a playlist containing the extensive collection of “Live at WFMU” CDs (live music recorded at the radio station’s studios).
“The iPod gives us the best, least expensive way of achieving audio backup for the long thunderstorm season,” Freedman said. “It’s a one-time expense instead of paying ISDN fixed and monthly charges. We could have used a cassette or minidisk, but that gets real repetitive since the transmitter shack is unmanned, and in thunderstorm season, we may need to employ this backup method for a few hours each month. You don’t want the listeners hearing the same one-hour loop each time there’s a thunderstorm. And space is at a premium also; we pay by the inch for our rack space. “
WFMU’s streaming broadcast is found in the default iTunes radio list in the “Public” section. The radio station is entirely non-commercial and totally listener supported.