Rethinking Remote Broadcasts By Adding Video

For as long as either of us can remember radio has been doing their remotes essentially the same way. Some signage, a few giveaways and an audio connection to the studio.

Because I was born into the business I’ve been involved with radio since the 1980s and my father goes back even further. For as long as either of us can remember radio has been doing their remotes essentially the same way. Some signage, a few giveaways and an audio connection to the studio. Recently that connection has been through the internet and before that phones or a Marti. Side note, I had lunch with George Marti a few years ago when he was in his mid-eighties and still sharp as a tack. Sadly, he has since passed but he was one of the smartest radio brains I’ve ever had the pleasure of picking. If he were still with us I bet George would be surprised that we’re still doing our remotes eerily similar to how we did them when he invented his revolutionary device back in the 1940s. That’s why it’s time for us to rethink how we do remote broadcasts by adding the element of video, every single time. Here’s how I suggest doing that and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Purchase one to three cameras for each station that have wireless and wired capabilities. MevoStarts are a good option I’ve been recommending for years. They allow 1080p multi-cam livestreaming through their free Mevo App while simultaneously banking to an internal SD card to give you all the angles for post. They’re still roughly a grand for three and for another grand you can add the MevoCore, their new 4k addition. Also make sure you get the ethernet power adapter for another $200 so you can hardwire one. The only thing I don’t like about the MevoStarts is that they drop to 720p for their wired webcam mode. Recently I’ve become very fond of Osbot’s cameras as well. I’ve got an Osbot Meet4k with AI auto focus for my webcam that’s incredible and only $150. Step up to the Tiny 2 for $330 and it’ll use AI to swivel and follow you. They also have a wireless Osbot Tail that I haven’t tested yet but appears to be an AI powered, wireless multicam solution that would work well in remotes in addition to in the on-air studio. All of that being said there are TONS of inexpensive, small and easy to operate cameras to choose from now so there’s no excuse for stations to put off purchasing a few to put into every remote bag.

Once cameras are involved subscribe to a service like Riverside FM to allow the remote broadcaster and a broadcaster or board op in the on-air studio to have a live, two-way audio/video connection that’s banking both the audio and video locally to each of their computers. That means a short connection glitch on either side won’t ruin the final product. To be clear I’m recommending Riverside because I use their services and I’m more familiar with how their platform works, but I have clients who use Streamyard’s similar service and are happy with it. In fact, I’m so pleased with Riverside I’m stepping up to their business account so any of my consulting clients can affordably get the benefits of it. With that business account we can help set up their studio, jump in as a producer in a pinch to adjust settings on any end, help out with postproduction, allow them to capture 4k local recordings and customize everything. Using Riverside for a remote broadcast would allow talent to record all of their segments as both audio/video allowing the board-op to use the best audio on air, quickly edit if necessary in the built-in editor, immediately post the video to the web and social, plus all of it would be stored on the cloud to use later for sizzle reels or a sponsor recap. Riverside could be used in place of a codec or alongside one if you still want to use the codec to send closures to do remotes without board ops.

Anytime video is involved lighting becomes critical and many of the places radio stations go for radio remotes aren’t very well lit. So, it’s important for the remote crew to have some supplemental lighting with them. I like LumeCube, they make durable, dependable and fairly affordable lighting products that work well in and out of the studio. But, most of their lights are going to run $150 each. Stations looking to start with a smaller investment could add similar, but less expensive lights from any number of companies before making the jump to LumeCube. This is a $50 light I added recently for my office/studio to improve the lighting on my podcasts and coaching sessions. It comes with a desk clamp so it would work well for remotes as well but it isn’t wireless.

Finally, and most importantly, the audio. There are a few ways to do this now. The cheapest and easiest way to start is a USB mic. AudioTechnica has this one for $50 that’s good enough for :60 remote breaks. For doing full on shows I would jump up to at least the Rode or, even better, the ShureMV7+ that’s only $279 and includes built-in processing through their free Shure App. If you want to use existing XLR mics, add hot keys and another level of audio redundancy step up to a Rodecaster. Any of these plugged into a laptop with Riverside and a good webcam is the second simplest way to do a remote or audio/video podcast from anywhere. The absolute easiest is a newer iPhone with the Riverside app, a tripod and a wired or wireless mic but you lose a little bit of quality and redundancy.

I understand that adding the element of video can be intimidating. But, there are too many benefits not to make that leap. Video works considerably better on social media, adds another very sellable element to our station websites and breathes life into any sales recap or proposal for the next potential client. Plus, thanks in large parge to the emerging creator economy, it’s now much more affordable and user friendly than it was a few years ago.

What do you think, have you added video to your remotes yet and, if so, how’s it going? Comment below or email me at Andy@RadioStationConsultant.com. If you haven’t yet, consider bringing us on as consultants to help you make the jump to video.

Pic designed by DC Studio for Envato Elements.

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