A College LPFM Gets Redundancy to ENCO DAD Workflow


It has a mere 28 watts of power but serves all of tiny Hillsdale, Mich., as a student-run FM facility licensed to the local college. Open to all enrolled students who wish to take part in either on-air or behind-the-scenes roles in broadcast communication, Hillsdale College students have the ability to produce promos, use Adobe Audition and, now, operate broadcasting automation software from ENCO.

The facility, WRFH-LPFM at 101.7 MHz, made the recent update to its DAD radio automation software; Hillsdale has been using it since 2015. With the upgrade, “Radio Free Hillsdale” migrated to a fully redundant architecture through ENCO’s Gateway product.

With programming experience on his resumé, seven-year WRFH General Manager Scot Bertram believes DAD helped him and Hillsdale students into operating the station with ease, with such DAD features as ENCO enConveyor Automated File Download and ENCO Dropbox modules making day-to-day broadcast operations flow with ease.

“Live programming at WRFH is minimal, so we invest a lot of time in planning our broadcast schedule,” Bertram explains. “The students that help run the station broadcast a wide spectrum of shows from politics, news, sports, history, science, and some music for up to eight hours a day. A single day’s programming can often total up to 20 different shows, and we end up recording many in advance and playing them back through DAD.”

Hillsdale students use ENCO DAD to manage and automate broadcast content, uploading and running MP3 files while using third-party software from ENCO partner MusicMaster for program scheduling. Using ENCO’s enConveyor and Dropbox modules, radio operators can pull down, move around, or slot files into the DAD automation workflow with ease. “Once everything is set up through Dropbox, our newscasts and other content is immediately programmed,” Bertram said. “The rules are already set within our Dropbox configuration, so all broadcast content is labeled the right way and played out appropriately.”

Given these extensive preparation efforts, Bertram reached out to ENCO about a product that would protect their on-air content. That included an upgrade to new ENCO-provided hardware, and adding the Gateway offering to back up audio content and databases to physical and cloud-based storage devices. “We are a low-power station with limited resources, and one important system we lack is a generator,” said Bertram. “Gateway replicates and synchronizes all of our content so that when we lose power as we occasionally do, everything appears in the correct order once we resume broadcasting.”

Bertram believes that the education the students gain at the radio station and the training they receive on ENCO DAD will serve them well should they aspire to a career in broadcasting. “When they intern over the summer or eventually go to work in the industry, these students are going to see automation systems and will run into a considerable number of places that use ENCO,” he said. “Having familiarity with the way it looks and functions is an enormous benefit, so ENCO DAD has been a valuable tool for the student learning experience.”

— Reporting by Brian Galante