During the recent absence of Chief Operator Martin Gibbs from late May through early June, many of our programs did not air on their scheduled dates, causing repeats of some programs and others, such as our children’s programs, to air out of sequence.
First, we’d like to sincerely apologize to our listeners and let you know we will do our best to prevent this from happening in the future.
Many years ago, virtually all programming that was not live arrived on pre-recorded tapes through the mail. Our operators would have to pick the proper program, place the tape on a playback machine, and then start it at the right time. Since the operator was always present, there was plenty of time to insure the right program played at the right time. Even though there was an occasional problem, it was almost always a single event.
With the advent of computerized automation, we run the station with far less staff and far better overall reliability. However, often there is no one is present to “watch” the program and even if they are there, there is no simple “label” to look at to confirm that the correct program is playing. While we find it convenient to blame the computer, in reality it is the information that people place on the computer that is the root of the problem.
Let me explain how we now receive the programming you hear on Christian Family Radio, which comes in a variety of ways.
A few of our programs, notably IRN/USA Radio Network News, Crosstalk, and Music ‘Til Dawn, are aired directly off of a satellite receiver at their scheduled times. The remainder of programs that are not either music or live broadcasts that originate in our studio must be stored on our system and aired at their scheduled times.
About 30% of these programs are placed on our system using the “AMB-OS” system. This system is sponsored by a consortium of Christian broadcasters and uses a combination of satellite and internet technology to place programming directly on our server. This system proven to be the most reliable in insuring that the correct program is ready to be played at the scheduled time. Examples of programs that come to us through the AMB-OS system are Focus on the Family, Love Worth Finding, Unshackled, Adventures in Odyssey and Our Daily Bread.
The remaining 29 programs either arrive on CD or must be manually downloaded from the Internet. These require our staff to perform the transfers and track on log sheets the status of each program.
Christian Family Radio runs on a weekly schedule. Each month is divided into numbered weeks, Week 1 through Week 5 (for longer months), starting on Monday and running through Sunday. Early Monday morning, the appropriate week is transferred to the system. If this is not done, the previous week’s programming would air. If a mistake is made anywhere along the way, one program or the entire week’s programs would be wrong.
Sometimes programs come in late, just before their scheduled air time. Such programs require “special handling” for us to manually move them to the proper place on the server.
In these most recent problems, I was able to review the state of our programming on Monday, June 10 while still on vacation. “Week 2” was scheduled to play, according to our calendar. While looking at the programs that we received complaints about, I found that “Week 4” from May was actually playing. So, Monday afternoon, I restored the “Week 2” programs and all appeared to be correct, but this caused another change in the sequence of children’s programs that were reported to me by listeners on Tuesday. So, to the best of our knowledge, the correct programming is now playing on Christian Family Radio.
We will be reviewing our procedures with our staff and seeing if there is something we can do to better insure that you hear your favorite program on its scheduled date. Thank you for your faithful listening, and many thanks to those of you that called our attention to our problem. If you do suspect you hear something repeated or out of sequence, we really do want to hear from you. Please feel free to use the contact forms on this web site or give us a call so we can quickly fix the problem to keep it from getting worse.