Australian Radio Network (ARN) has opted for managed services from cloud-based streaming provider StreamGuys.
The broadcaster, which operates 12 radio stations nationwide plus digital entertainment platform iHeartRadio and podcast publisher the iHeartPodcast Network, wanted to simplify its streaming operations and prepare for growth. To accommodate evolving technology, ARN had worked with several major streaming and cloud vendors, but found day-to-day operations becoming too cumbersome.
Joe Sexton, technology director, ARN (pictured) said: “While we learnt a lot in the process, the most obvious lesson was the challenge of managing our own public-facing production platform. It wasn’t as simple as ‘set it and forget it.’ The server farm required constant maintenance, which is time consuming – particularly when dealing with multiple vendors.”
ARN decided to migrate its services to a hybrid hosting environment and considered moving its streaming infrastructure to its private cloud, but wanted to explore using a managed service that had previous experience with dynamic audio. Its first goal for the transition was to simplify its streaming infrastructure to prepare for the future.
“We had multiple vendors and legacy systems supporting our live streams, making the existing infrastructure overly complicated and difficult to scale,” said Sexton. “We also wanted to increase our streaming capacity to accommodate an expanding number of audio channels and ensure suitable headroom for the forecasted listener growth. Finally, we wanted to improve our reporting and analytics, as our management, commercial, and content teams had limited visibility of real-time or historical data.”
The migration of ARN’s streams to StreamGuys started in March 2020. “The StreamGuys team was incredibly professional throughout the onboarding and user migration process,” said Sexton. “It is honestly the first time I’ve migrated so many streaming services with no noise. The lift-and-shift was seamless, and this was during the early months of COVID-19 when everything else was difficult.”
StreamGuys now manages live streaming with midstream ad replacement for ARN’s brands KIIS, Pure Gold, and The Edge, which are all integrated into the iHeartRadio Platform. StreamGuys handles the broadcaster’s full audio payload, including radio simulcasts, DAB+ simulcasts, iHeartRadio stations and an expanding array of audio partnerships. Audio streams are hosted through StreamGuys’ Australian datacentre, giving 100% uptime to ARN’s listeners.
StreamGuys’ SaaS suite also provides ARN with tools to monitor its operations. SGmetadata monitors what ARN is encoding from its studio complex to ensure that ad break replacement is being properly triggered. StreamGuys also created custom alerts in its SGalerts monitoring system to notify staff of changes to ARN’s load balancing or other outages in ARN’s systems.