CSG Native Stations Transition to Satellite/Terrestrial Receivers 

Affiliates, including CSG qualified Native stations, of the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) are in the process of completing a major receiver switchover as part of a major PRSS system change. Specifically, our stations received new high-tech satellite/terrestrial receivers. Thirty-six CSG Tribal public radio stations are interconnected through the PRSS.
   
The project involved deployment of XDS headend hardware and the XDSv7 Content Management system from manufacturer ATX. The two new ATX XDS PRO4S Integrated Receiver Decoders are integrated with Content Depot. These two receivers enable content management, scheduling and automation integration, replacing old Decoders at each station.

In addition, NPR rebuilt the system hub known as the Network Operations Center (NOC) in Washington and made significant upgrades to the Backup Network Operations Center (BuNOC) in St. Paul, Minn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dale Neiburg monitors functions in the NPR Distribution Services Network Operations Center control room in the basement at NPR headquarters in Washington. Photo: Allison Shelley/NPR


The new PRSS system hosts a backchannel internet connection. This allows instantaneous remote status monitoring by the NOC at NPR headquarters. That means NOC will know immediately if a station is having signal issues or has gone offline. For example, stations who have not installed the receivers yet, are considered offline. The pandemic has caused installation delays for some stations.

The benefits of the new receivers to Native stations are significant. The new ATX system enables stations to add new services immediately, and to add others over time with some additional development work. Other benefits include Internet backup for satellite feed failure. If the satellite signal is lost for any reason, the new PRO4S receivers will automatically switch to an internet feed. The receivers will also help NPR consider future bandwidth-delivery options over terrestrially based networks. Using the new system, stations can subscribe national radio content and schedule the content when they want to air it locally.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A view inside the Backup Network Operations Center (BuNOC) in St. Paul, Minn. Photo: Allen Baylus, Doug Bevington, NPR

 

A view inside the Backup Network Operations Center (BuNOC) in St. Paul, Minn. Photo: Allen Baylus, Doug Bevington, NPR

Changing out equipment is never easy. The effort required careful planning and execution because it involves an overhaul of equipment, software upgrades and working with stations across the country, in different time zones. In addition, the technical design of each Tribal station varies. This means that the receivers require a different, unique effort to fully integrate into each broadcast station’s audio chain.
 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public Radio Satellite System interconnection diagram

If your station is needing help installing the two new receivers, NOC technicians and the PRSS help desk have adapted to phone and Zoom calls to make this transition as smooth as possible.



 

 

 

 

ATX XDS-PRO4S Integrated Receiver Decoder

The new receivers have an expected life span of four to five years. However, NPR is maintaining a limited inventory of replacement receivers, and has an arrangement with the system vendor for repair or replacement as needed.

In conclusion, the change allows the PRSS to provide better service to stations through a network monitoring system to help troubleshoot local receiver issues 24/7. The ATX system also better positions the system for network topology changes — including the transition to a terrestrial delivery system as those costs become more affordable. Stations now have increased flexibility to create multiple unique playout schedules from the receiver, including the ability to time delay live content.

If your station is experiencing problems with the installation of the new receivers, let NPM staff Shawn Bitsui know at sbitsui@nativepublicmedia.org. We will connect you with the help you need.

Sincerely,

Loris Taylor
President & CEO
Native Public Media