Fun Roads Media Remotely Monitors OTA TV Broadcasts With Telestream’s Wirecast Studio
Telestream’s Wirecast Studio streaming solution is allowing Fun Roads Media to remotely monitor over-the-air broadcasts by its Television Network affiliates across North America. The Agoura Hills, CA-based Fun Roads, the first national TV programming network focused on the allure of hitting the open road by car, RV, motorcycle, bike, or boat to visit various tourist destinations, launched in 2019. The quickly growing network has already signed deals with multiple TV stations that now air its programming on their free, 24-hour secondary DTV channels in such cities as Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas.
Fun Roads Media Founder Ashley Gracile attributes the success of his ad-supported media operation on producing engrossing shows that motivate viewers to seek out the advertisers’ products and services. To verify that his TV network is airing reliably, broadcasters are contractually obligated to send him an RTMP video stream that he can remotely monitor from headquarters.
“Wirecast is typically used by organizations to originate live streaming productions,” says Gracile. “However, Fun Roads has found it to also be a very capable and cost-effective way to decode multiple RTMP streams for confidence monitoring.”
While the actual program distribution is handled by a broadcast playout services company in Fort Lauderdale, FL, there can still be occasional technical difficulties that occur. For instance, newly signed stations may experience “on-boarding” issues, such as hardware incompatibilities or trouble getting and processing the program feed from Florida. While the playout company works closely with the station to determine the cause and implement a solution, it’s also helpful for Fun Roads’ own engineer to see the problem for himself and weigh in with his own recommendations. This requires the ability to view the live RTMP (open source Real-Time Messaging Protocol) streams from the station on monitors in the master control at Fun Roads Media’s studio. This is particularly beneficial if Fun Roads’ employees are located remotely while on assignment, working from home or practicing COVID-19-related social distancing.
Gracile discovered that Wirecast Studio—live video production and streaming software from Telestream—can take multiple, concurrent RTMP feeds and display them on a multiviewer monitor as well as stream them to social media sites.
“Wirecast is not only cost-effective for us, it’s also a very portable and user-friendly way to remotely monitor the TV stations that carry our shows,” explains Gracile. “Without it, there’d be no practical, affordable way for me to rest assured that we’re delivering on our value proposition to viewers, advertisers, and partners.”
Gracile explains that while having the remote monitoring capability was crucial to the growth and success of the business, it also needed to be extremely cost-effective and easy to deploy. With prices starting at just $599, Wirecast Studio is packed with a wide range of integrated, professional tools for producing and streaming live video, including digital audio mixing, CG text, and keying.
Fun Roads Media has three licenses for Wirecast Studio, which feed live signals for nine different TV stations to multiviewer displays in their master control and lobby. Additionally, when Fun Roads’ staff engineers are off-site, Wirecast Studio can be quickly set-up for remote monitoring and troubleshooting to stream one or more problematic live TV signals to the company’s private YouTube channel (or to any other social media site) from any smartphone, iPad, or computer. This way, Fun Roads can still stay in the loop to maintain strong ties with its advertisers and partners.
“Whenever our partners or advertisers call to tell us there’s a problem with our programming in their local market, it boosts their confidence in us when we can say we already know about it, and that our teams are already working to straighten it out,” says Gracile. “They feel even better if we call them first to let them know we’re seeing glitches. That’s what Wirecast Studio does for us. Wirecast Studio is a user-friendly, reliable, and cost-effective answer to our remote monitoring needs at this milestone in our company’s growth.”