During the night, and at some times in the day too, we will not have a live presenter available in the studio. This could be due to holidays, illness, bad weather or just the time of day/night. This is when the Trust AM computer automation system comes into play and 2010 will be itís 10th year of operation.
A computer is programmed with about 7,000 music tracks covering our wide variety of musical styles, on top of which are over 1,000 links and jingles, used to create the shows we broadcast via the computer.
It is a clever system, we can tell it to play just instrumentals, which it does between 6-7am every day. It will play an hour of classical music from 7-8am on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The regular Supergold shows are set up to mix the 50ís, 60ís and 70ís, and so on.
Quite a few of the shows from the computer will have a set of voice links between the songs, it can even be set to use days of the week, so the presenter will tell you itís Tuesday, or whatever. On special occasions, like Christmas, we will have entire shows pre-programmed to make sure that our listeners get the best from our station.
As well as playing the music, the computer will bring you the latest news bulletin from London at the top of the hour. If we have some promotions running, like a road-show event or sponsor message, we can play an advert at a set time.
Some people are convinced we actually have someone live on air and itís been known for the phone to ring in the middle of the night for a request! We have to thank our technical team for making it all sound so good. Just as with the rest of the day, you never know what song is going to be played next.
The songs can be replaced from time to time, allowing for some that have not been heard for a long time to be aired, and some others are then retired for a while. We have over 180,000 tracks in the CD library and not all of these are on the computer system, so you should hear More Variety on Trust AM with our presenter team.
The computer is always there, 24 hours a day, ready to take over at any time. The technical people can even monitor the system from their homes, making sure it is on the air through the night, adding or removing songs and checking the log file.
At Doncaster Royal Infirmary we have a system in place that allows us to relay the main station signal from Bassetlaw. We can also drop in local presenters there, giving us split programming. One show going out at Bassetlaw while another is broadcast at Doncaster.
We are now fundraising to enable this to be fully integrated, which will allow us to operate the entire Trust AM network from either site, meaning we can transmit programming from Doncaster back to Bassetlaw, with the possibility of linked request shows as well.
This will mix in with the computer playout system as we can then send a signal from one site to the other, via radio link or the Internet, to swap the audio to whatever studio the next programme is coming from. In time it could even be possible to have the presenter broadcast from their home Ė if the BBC can do itÖ
Itís all a long way from the early days of carrying a tape recorder round the wards and playing a show to the patients.
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