Radio Transmission Processing

Did you ever get the chance to see your station’s secret weapon in sound processing live in action? – The key behind cutting edge broadcasting sound. If not, you better contact your station’s engineer and make sure, you’ll hear it with your own ears, because here’s the magic happening.

After various discussions with the man himself, Greg Ogonowski (the guy who is the mastermind behind the Optimod) and Gary Kline, the CTO of Cumulus Media and various other broadcasting specialists, this topic is my new baby. I am super interested and know that I have to learn a lot more about the transmission processing, which is the last step in your station’s chain. Did you ever ask yourself the question, what exactly broadcasting compression will do and what it has to do with the elements you put together in the studio? If not: NOW IS THE TIME to ask that question and to learn more. This could be a great way to sound better than the competitor — a great way to stand out!

Various manufacturers are fighting for the best sound and every station has its favorite. What about yours? What do your engineers prefer or do you have an own favorite in sound processing? What product treats your station’s sound the best? Let me know.

Cheers, Andy

  1. Hi there,
    I’m a Station ID producer for about 16yrs now, and the thing that always pop-up when delivering the jingle package or a straight forward commercial is…How will it sound On-Air…….is there a Safe mastering preset to consider that will work perfectly on all Final processing. Because in the studio it sounds perfect but sometimes i have the chance to listen to my product on-Air on some stations, well it’s like they are compressing the live out of my mix&mastering. So maybe there is a way to pre Mix&Master for those situations. please let me know

    • The final processing is every station’s secret and is different from every station and every hardware they use. Creating one preset which will work on every station’s processing, won’t be 100% possible, but there is something you can do. Try to get an on-air recording of one or several of your elements and analyze, what the difference is and how the station’s processing affects your element. You can also hear the station’s processing on the music they play by comparing an on-air recording of a song with the unprocessed version from your hard drive.

      Try to get you mixing and mastering suited to radio. Especially when it comes to bass, less is more when it comes to radio, because a lot of the lower frequencies won’t be heard at all. This will make your track less booming and gives you a tighter dynamic range with less compression. Try to reduce your compression a bit. As you can hear, a lot of stations compress the hell out of their material, so already heavily compressed audio will sound flat on the final processing. Leave a bit of air and dynamic for your elements, so the station’s processing won’t crush them.

      Hope this was useful for you and keep on rocking.

      • Hey Thanks for the advice.
        Nice Blog BTW.

        greetz,

        -Dave

      • che says:

        Agreed, we dont use a particularly heavy processed setting on the end of the chain because we play a range of old and new music (and the new stuff is so slammed it would distort if we pushed it to boost the older music). BUT it will still boost your bottom and compress ur production further. So yeah, be aware and roll back your subs a bit and back off your prod compression/limiting more than it ;’ounds’ otherwise ALL your peaks will be gone. Think about producing just a bit heavier than the hottest tracks you play, then it should fit.

  2. Hey Guyz, Thanks for the heads Up, I did a commercial jingle yesterday and followed your advice on the bass part and just had the end limiting working on the peaks, must say it sounded nice on the air. I think I’m used to the European sound (Holland) that everything should and must be as loud as possible but here on the island the way they are using the compression it can not handle that much aggression. But once again Thanks!! Finally!!! I can discus these things with people who knows what they are talking about. Greetz, Dave

    • che says:

      cool mate! The irony is if you push the limiting very hard if doesn’t get any louder it just sounds flat and starts to break up. Just listen to what the processor does to the music compared to just playing the track and set YOUR processing on your prod accordingly.Soon you will find the perfect balance for your station.

    • Hi Dave,
      Sounds great. It’s really nice to know we could help you. You’re always welcome for your ideas, wishes or feedback.

      Thanks and have a great one.

  3. […] mastered songs, effects and work parts, which will get another mastering during production AND a station mastering chain. You also could say, that some of the material will get through three mastering chains before […]

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