Concept

Broadcast automation

Summary
Broadcast automation incorporates the use of broadcast programming technology to automate broadcasting operations. Used either at a broadcast network, radio station or a television station, it can run a facility in the absence of a human operator. They can also run in a live assist mode when there are on-air personnel present at the master control, television studio or control room. The radio transmitter end of the airchain is handled by a separate automatic transmission system (ATS). Originally, in the US, many (if not most) broadcast licensing authorities required a licensed board operator to run every station at all times, meaning that every DJ had to pass an exam to obtain a license to be on-air, if their duties also required them to ensure proper operation of the transmitter. This was often the case on overnight and weekend shifts when there was no broadcast engineer present, and all of the time for small stations with only a contract engineer on call. In the U.S., it was also necessary to have an operator on duty at all times in case the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) was used, as this had to be triggered manually. While there has not been a requirement to relay any other warnings, any mandatory messages from the U.S. president would have had to first be authenticated with a code word sealed in a pink envelope sent annually to stations by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Gradually, the quality and reliability of electronic equipment improved, regulations were relaxed, and no operator had to be present (or even available) while a station was operating. In the U.S., this came about when the EAS replaced the EBS, starting the movement toward automation to assist, and sometimes take the place of, the live disc jockeys (DJs) and radio personalities. in 1999, The Weather Channel launched Weatherscan Local, a cable television channel that broadcast uninterrupted live local weather information and forecasts. Weatherscan Local became Weatherscan in 2003 but was shut down in 2022.
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