BRANSON, Mo. At Hometown radio, KOMC(AM)-FM and KRZK(FM) in Branson, Mo., the Ultimate Digital
Studio II and RS-HD combo make the job of operations manager a breeze. Just don't tell the general manager - he
thinks this computer stuff takes a lot of work. We program two 50 kw FMs: one for country listeners and one for
a large population of adult standard fans. We have a UDS II system in each control room.
Training is a breeze. Operators learn one system, then go from station to station, maximizing our
air talent resources. They all love the UDS II system. Old vinyl-and-tape guys like me pick it up in a
flash. Even people who have never done radio can operate the UDS II with a minimum of instruction. I have
been a happy Ultimate Digital Studio costomer since our original purchase in 1991. when I heard a new
feature-rich UDS II system was in development in 1994, I was on the phone to Dallas to get on the list to
be one of the first kids on the block to have one. It turned out to be a sound choice.
The previous incarnation of the UDS II was a product of TM Century. TM sold that portion of the company
to On Air Digital USA about a year ago . As a long term UDS customer, I was a bit uneasy about the
deal at first. But the best of the TM team moved with the product, and service from On Air is stronger than
ever. The reliability of the UDS/RS-HD combination is impressive. Neither the UDS II software nor its
associated computer have caused me to be off the air for one minute in the past seven years. The only time it has
been off is when we turned it off to rearrange the studio or when a power failure ran longer than the UPS backup
could hold on. We have since installed a 4 kW generator to power all components attached to the UPS., All I have
to remember now is to keep the gas tank full and give it a squirt of Stabil once in a while.
And because the UDS II is PC-based, acquiring replacement peripherals is a snap with a visit to the
local computer store. I often hear tales of woe from my contract engineer friends about someone's system locking
up, a glitch with some software or a unit mysteriously fried by some errant static charge. I just smile and
say, "Maybe I should knock on wood. That just doesn't seem to happen at Hometown Radio." I credit the
people who have built these systems with a commitment to quality. There are some top-drawer developers at On
Air Digital who are continually refining and adding useful features to the UDS II.
Adding to the mix
The original Ultimate Digital Studio system was a reliable box, but lacked time-based features that even
older proprietary units could boast. The UDS II came along to address those issues and added a host of other
features. Although the on-screen display did not change much between the two versions, the entire UDS II
software scheme was rewritten from the ground up. The new software was thoroughly tested in-house in Dallas and in
real-world beta tests in the United States and abroad. The result is a product that controls a wide range of audio
sources, interfaces with all major music scheduling software packages and allows the operator to time out every hour
with precision. Control room clutter is kept to a minimum. We have done away with paper logs, PSA's and liners can
appear on screen with a keystroke and even the weather has an on-screen home. A pop-up countdown timer is handy for
contests, there is a perpetual calendar and a calculator that does basic math and time calculations. The UDS II
makes provisions for RBDS as well. When recording liners for walkaway operation, we can key in the run times of
your announcements. As these are entered in the playlist, the Time Update key can display how the remaining hours of
the day will time out. Judicious use of this feature and the voice-tracking capability of the UDS II has led
seasoned radio pros to inform me they can't tell when I am live or tracked.
Every once in a while, we all make a bonehead mistake that will put some information on the screen never seen
before. But help is only a phone call away and the answer is right there. I once got confused and loaded the KOMC
(adult) schedule for the ensuing day into the KRZK (country) machine. When I saw that most of my music had not
loaded, I immediately thought there was a problem with the machine - as they say, popes and operations managers are
infallible. Technical support helped me check out a few things on the scheduler list. Suddenly I realized I was
looking at the Andrews Sisters instead of the Forrester Sisters on my country playlist. Reloading the proper schedule
put everything right and the current day's events continued to run like nothing ever happened. And the tech guy was
gracious in trying to make me feel less stupid for performing the radio equivalent of the square peg in the round
hole. Reliablity, ease of operation, dependable tech support and a vision to the future make the UDS II a
suitable choice. From time to time, I have suggested features to enhance the UDS II system, and each time
the On Air folks have responded with software that does the job. I scan their "wish list" of enhancements for
other customers using different source devices and find they are meticulous about meeting the needs of each client.
If you are looking for a system that will reliably take your station into the 21st century, I would recommend you
look at the UDS II.